This story was really engaging. I really liked Leigh and her almost boyfriend Axel. I thiSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
This story was really engaging. I really liked Leigh and her almost boyfriend Axel. I think their relationship was really sweet and really interesting. They are both artists and use similar mediums but do different things. I think art fans will find some really interesting things to connect with in this story.
Leigh has a complex relationship with her father. He doesn’t really support her art. He wasn’t really on board with her going to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents either. Then he just leaves her there even though there is a huge language barrier for her. That seemed really strange to me. In order for this YA to work the parents had to be almost completely absent though, so that was convenient.
The best thing about this story is the way that Leigh learns to embrace her mother’s culture. Her mother really became Americanized after marrying her father. Although she still does have an accent, which I could actually hear as I read the book. Leigh doesn’t know much about where her mother came from. This story is Leigh’s first visit to Taiwan and her first meeting of her mother’s relatives.
There is also a love interest that Leigh remembers and receives communication from via email. I really enjoyed this bit because it softened the blow for Leigh after loosing her Mother, even if the relationship was really complicated. It did have a lot of sweet scenes.
THE ASTONISHING COLOR OF AFTER is a book about grief, hope, love, family, and self discovery. I think this will be loved by readers who enjoy magical realism and immersion in other cultures. It does have a touch of the fantastical like all magical realism, so be prepared for some unbelievable events. As a bonus, this book details vivid scenes and so much food it made me hungry....more
This was such an original story. If you enjoy real characters with a mythology and culturSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
This was such an original story. If you enjoy real characters with a mythology and culture all their own, this is something you simply MUST read.
This is the story of a people fighting for their freedom (and their magic) from the tyrants in power that stole it from them. It is about owning who you are and embracing your destiny. The characters are so relatable as they make mistakes in their journey, but they also face the biggest fears and fight for what they know is right.
I highly recommend this epic tale with masterful worldbuilding and unforgettable characters....more
I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I pick up this book. I thought it would be an adventure, and it was, but it was terribly long. Tess’ backstI wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I pick up this book. I thought it would be an adventure, and it was, but it was terribly long. Tess’ backstory was by far the most interesting part of this story. She did something to shame her family and so as the oldest twin she allows everyone to think her sister is the older one, so she can get married first. Once Tess finds a suitor for her sister, she runs away from home. On the way, she picks up her old nanny, who just happens to be a quigutl. I can’t even begin to describe what a quigutl is other than they are kind of gross sounding and are not socially acceptable travel companions. Tess is an outspoken alcoholic and it has a lot to do with things in her past. Once the secrets Tess has been holding in are revealed the story is much easier to like. The problem is getting there. This story is almost too long for what it is trying to accomplish....more
A CONSPIRACY OF STARS takes place on a distant planet called Faloiv. Octavia’s grandparenSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
A CONSPIRACY OF STARS takes place on a distant planet called Faloiv. Octavia’s grandparents and other scientists have crash landed on. The big job on this planet is to become a ‘whitecoat’ scientist, studying the animals of Faloiv. Everything changes when Olivia witnesses a native Falvoii being attacked and captured by the scientists in the council of N’Terra. With a little help from her friends, Octavia must learns the truth about what her family and other scientists on the planet are actually trying to accomplish.
This book starts with Octavia living her life. We learn about the place she lives as the story progresses. Octavia is somewhat sheltered by her parents, the school, and even her living quarters. The world starts small for Octavia and then as she learns more the world opens up for Octavia and the reader.
This world is completely unconventional in it’s eco-structure and natural habitats. The native people living on this planet are Faloii, they look different and they have freakish spots on their skin that moves. They don’t communicate only verbally and that’s part of what makes them, and this planet, so unusual.
We don’t see much of the outside world. The story really focuses on the settlement that Octavia lives in, N’Terra. N’Terra is divided into sections depending on what job people have and what the scientists in each section are studying. This settlement is primarily academic as the first settlers were mostly composed of scientists. Where they were headed and what their actual goal was in traveling is not covered in the story.
The creatures of this world are all extraordinary in their appearance and skill set. Octavia and her classmates only know the creatures of this world and even they find them fascinating and worthy of study. People can’t actually survive in the wilds of Faloiv, so understanding how the animals do is the key to living on this planet. Studying the native species on Faloiv is the primary focus of the people living in N’Terra. Only through science can they learn how to live better on this rough planet.
The main focus of this story is friendship as Octavia tries to understand something she witnesses and the coldness in her parents marriage. All of the characters are important to move this story forward. Octavia does have a romantic interest in this story in one of her classmates named Rhondo. I liked the slow build of these two and they eventually progress into a partnership of necessity as they are thrust into danger.
I really enjoyed this story. Even though some of seemed really far out. I would highly recommend it to science fiction fans. It brings up some good questions about how far we should really go in the name of science. There were a lot of unanswered questions but I think this story ended in a really good place. I will definitely be reading the sequel....more
The characters in the book are pretty awesome. Naomi is brilliant. She really loves, andSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
The characters in the book are pretty awesome. Naomi is brilliant. She really loves, and lives for, her little brother who has a heart condition. Her whole life has been trying to figure out a cure for his heart and stay with her brother. Being drafted isn’t anything she is interested in. Her goal in the competition is to be sent home to her family.
Leo, like many kids in the competition has nothing to go home to. His whole family was killed by a Tsunami. He hopes to be one of the ones going to Europa so that he can make his country proud. The competition gives him something to live and strive for.
Despite their different views about the competition, Naomi and Leo share a connection. With only each other to rely on and trust in the competition, they both set out to learn more about where they are going and the motivation for ISTC. This leads them down some dangerous paths.
There were a lot of nerdy science fiction elements to this story. Earth itself is being plagued by storms and it is hard to imagine our planet like that. The competition the draftees are placed in shows off some new technology along with actual robots helping to make the selections. I loved reading about the virtual reality scenes as well as the ones that took place underwater.
I liked Leo and Naomi together. They were both driven and ambitious. Their friendship-to-romance is fun to read about and a great pace. The other candidates all have interesting back stories, but Leo and Naomi were the main focus of this story. I loved the action and suspense of the competition along with the descriptive scenes in this book. I had no problem picturing the characters. I also really loved the diversity in this story as the characters come from all over the world.
There were a few surprising twists in this story. I am actually shocked about the ending and need the next book right now. There were a few obvious coincidences in this book that were kind of cheating. This book reminds me so much of NYXIA by Scott Reintgen, and although I liked THE FINAL SIX, it wasn’t quite as well executed. Overall the pacing and suspense kept me turning pages and I enjoyed this story....more
My immediate feelings for this book were not good. The story starts off with Rahim, and hSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
My immediate feelings for this book were not good. The story starts off with Rahim, and his story isn’t that interesting to me. I disliked this beginning so much I almost quit this book before it even got started. The story quickly switched to Javan and then I really started to enjoy it. I like Javan so much that I was full of angst at what happened to him upon leaving school. I rooted for him throughout the book.
Javan is a “good” person who has been doing all the “right” things to become a fair and worthy king. He spends all his time at school studying and really deserves to be labeled the best student. I liked him for all these reasons, and the fact that he was a skilled fighter. His proper speech and the way he holds himself becomes a dead giveaway when he gets to the prison. I really liked that the story set him up be good at fighting and to have a good heart as well.
Of course, the romance between Javan and Sajda was an entertaining thing to imagine as they start off so scared of each other. Sajda is actually a slave to the warden and is hiding a terrible secret. Sajda brings a lot to this story, both good and bad, and I rooted for her to have a happy ending almost as much as I rooted for Javan.
Although the religion of this world isn’t overdone, Javan is a very devout character. He is on this knees begging daily for justice. This story was full of corrupt villains and evil schemes. We get POVs from Javan, Rahim, and Sadja. It was nice to read the struggles and motivations for each character. I even ended up feeling kinda bad for Rahim.
I really enjoyed this story. It was such a nice break from reality. I feel like I need to go back and read the rest of this series, since it all takes place in the same world. THE TRAITOR PRINCE was cleverly written and thoroughly enjoyable. I would highly recommend this to YA fantasy fans....more
Five reasons to read THE QUEEN’S RISING by Rebecca Ross:
The main character, Brienna, hasSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
Five reasons to read THE QUEEN’S RISING by Rebecca Ross:
The main character, Brienna, has mysterious origins and she isn’t perfect.
She doesn’t know who her father actually is, only that he is Maevanian. The world is in a bit of turmoil since the king of Maevana has overthrown the kingdom of Valenia. Brienna grows up in Valenia and she is half of each kingdom, so it made her loyalties a bit muddled. Despite being thrown into some odd situations, she makes the best of every situation. I enjoyed seeing a female character that trusted and loved so much.
Brienna has a lot of self doubt that I think most people will find relatable.
Brienna is surrounded by child prodigies who study for seven years in one passion. She isn’t sure where her passion is when she arrives at school. She tries her hand at art, music, drama, and wit before finally settling on knowledge. So what should have been 7 years of knowledge, she has to cram in 3 short years. I think her struggle to know who she is really is starts at an early age and carries through her school years.
There is a lot of sisterly love without a lot of rivalry.
It is so nice to see girls encourage and hold each other up instead of constantly comparing themselves to each other. Brienna goes to school with all girls and she comes to love them all as her sisters. I loved seeing how these girls come together and really love and root for each other to be successful.
The writing was so good.
The world building in this story is pretty amazing. I could really imagine each scene easily with the author’s descriptive writing, which was not over the top. There didn’t seem to be any info dumps, yet the world was clearly explained. The cultures of each kingdom are clearly defined so it is easy to understand why Valenians might be upset to see a daughter of Maevana end up a master of the passion of knowledge.
The story flowed really well.
There are parts to this story and each one builds up on the next; Brienna as a child being dropped off Magnolia House, Brienna trying to fit in at something, Brienna studying hard to learn master knowledge, Brienna and her “patron” planning to over throw a kingdom, and finally the shocking twist that I didn’t see coming. The main part of this story is of Brienna and her peers in the last year of school, trying to secure a “patron” who will take them on as an apprentice.
THE QUEEN’S RISING ended with a few shocking twists and a bit of a cliffhanger. I can’t wait to see where the author takes this story next!...more
Let’s cut to the chase, this book explores something I have NEVER seen in YA. I am talkinSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
Let’s cut to the chase, this book explores something I have NEVER seen in YA. I am talking about a character that is attracted to both female and males. Bisexuality is nowhere in YA and I am so happy with the way the author portrayed in this book. I mean, yes there was action and a pretty good story to follow, but more importantly the character doesn’t offer apologies or explanations for the way that she is. Asra is bisexual and it doesn’t need to be explained.
The other thing that stood out to me about this book was the fact that Asra is an empathetic character. It is possible to have great power and still put the needs of other before yourself. As you read the book you see it doesn’t always work out for the best for Asra, but she still ends up where she needs to be. There aren’t enough characters with power and empathy. Asra has both and that makes her a hero to me. I know some may get frustrated by her but I loved this about her.
The writing in this book is very descriptive. I love descriptive writing and I could almost draw this world for you, because I was there thanks to the details the author provided. The characters were very well drawn, too. Ina and the king are both very well written characters. There were a few other characters that I grew to love in this story but I don’t want to give away too much.
This story is suppose to have happened 200 years before the events in OF FIRE AND STARS. This book could absolutely be read as a standalone. I would recommend this to fantasy fans especially if you are looking for a book with a LGBT theme that isn’t the only thing the story contains. INKMISTRESS was beautifully done....more
This book was a stand-alone that I almost wish has a sequel. THE HAZEL WOOD was such a faSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
This book was a stand-alone that I almost wish has a sequel. THE HAZEL WOOD was such a fantastical story. Alice seems normal and at the point where we meet her, she is living a pretty normal existence. She lives with her mother and step-father. They are wealthy but Alice knows her mother is not happy. Soon they will probably be moving, as they have been doing since Alice was a baby.
Alice is the perfect blank slate character. She is just as confused as we are in this story. She doesn’t understand her past and doesn’t have any real friends except maybe her sister-in-law. After Ella is kidnapped, Alice sets out with one of her Althea’s fanatic fans to find The Hazel Wood. For Finch, this is the trip of a life time. For Alice, this trip is a life and death mission to find and rescue Ella.
The beginning of this story is slow and then the story picks up around the time that Ella gets kidnapped. From there, the story turns into a real magical mystery and the story gets kinda dark. There were points in this adventure to find The Hazel Wood that I was genuinely afraid. Once we find the Hazel Wood the story flips and bends and we go sideways. It was pretty amazing.
My favorite parts of this story, other than the creepy scenes, were the parts where Finch retold the stories in Althea’s book to Alice. I can’t reveal too much more other than to say that. THE HAZEL WOOD surprised me in the best sort of way. I loved this book and I highly recommend this. If you enjoyed EVERY HEART A DOORWAY by Seanan McGuire, than THE HAZEL WOOD is something you will probably also enjoy. I was lucky enough to read them back to back and even though they are by different authors, they have the same dark atmosphere....more
FLASHTIDE takes place a couple of months after the firSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren Check out my review for FLASHFALL
FLASHTIDE takes place a couple of months after the first book. We are in a different place surrounded by a different type of people. Orion and Dram are living in the mountains with the conjis (conjurors). They are plotting and scheming, then the unthinkable happens. It forces Orion’s hand and this story to start moving at a much faster pace. Orion gleans a lot from these people and uses that knowledge as the story moves froward. Major things happen to both Orion and Dram as they are split up and face some serious obstacles. It doesn’t seem like a happy ending is in the cards for these two, or the people of this world.
It took me a while to get back into this story. I have to admit I wasn’t sure what was going on until Dram and Orion were separated. They are now on the other side of the flashfall. It is suppose to be where freedom is and a gateway to the free city. It turns out most of that was a lie. Not everyone living in the free city is free. Now that they have made it to the other side of the flashfall they are grouped with miners of a different sort. For a short time, this story turns into a competition for flash dust. You won’t believe how these people are mining it. It is even worse than on the other side of the flashfall.
They are both caught by horrible people who blindly follow orders. The conji they were just traveling with get it even worse then sub-pars do, which is what Dram and Orion are. This part of the story is pretty hopeless for our heroes. There doesn’t seem to be any way for them to get free and be together. Then to make it even worse, Dram ends up in a horrible situation. I can’t say more about that without spoilers but trust me, you will know when you get there.
The romance gets even better in this story. Even though Orion and Dram were separated for some of this story, it feels like they were so much more serious about each other. Things happen in this story that test how serious Dram and Orion are about each other. This is a love they are both willing to fight and die for. There is plenty of action, like in the first book, but the stakes are even higher. The radium on this planet is still a real threat and the story never lets us forget that living on this planet will actually kill you.
This book was not as good as the first in the series. That’s really unfortunate because I had high hopes for this story. There were definite time jumps in this story. In reading the first one, I thought it was just me reading at a furious pace but no, there are huge gaps of time happening. This book/series could have been longer if the author had spelled out some of those gaps for us. I think they would have been worth reading. In one part of this story, I remember Orion was tortured and the who thing is glazed over, almost as if Orion doesn’t want to talk about it. Orion is telling this story, as it is only in her POV, so maybe that is what the author tried to convey. I am not sure.
This was still a really good story. The writing is really descriptive and there was a lot of emotion that I could feel coming from all the characters. I think you would have to read book one in order to understand this world as it isn’t well explained in this story. For those of us who have read the first book, this story explores more of what is happening on the other side of the flashfall and how deep the corruption of this planet goes. I just wish there weren’t any time jumps. I would still totally recommend this series to YA sci-fi fans. This series is wholly original, its action packed, and the characters are pretty amazing....more
Nemesis has now fully come out as a Diabolic to the universe. The girl Nemesis was genetiSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
Nemesis has now fully come out as a Diabolic to the universe. The girl Nemesis was genetically engineered to protect is dead and her affinity for Tyrus, the next Emperor, is full blown. Everything is good for Tyrus and Nemesis, except the ruling class, the Grandiloquy, doesn’t accept a diabolic as being a person. There is also a religious faction that is the popular enough to make real trouble for Tyrus when he announces that Nemesis will be his bride and Empress. I rooted so hard for Tyrus and Nemesis to be happy and accepted. The author had other things in mind though.
It took me a minute acclimated to who was who in this story. It jumps right in with Tyrus ruling and Nemesis by his side. They aren’t married yet, but the plans are in the works. They are a good team. I loved how Tyrus and Nemesis trust each other above all others. They thwart quite a few assassination plots as some would rather see Tyrus’ cousin on the throne.
You’d think this would just be a cat and mouse game of Tyrus and Nemesis fighting off the evil in the universe. It definitely starts off like that, but then the author throws in these clever twists that make failing the most probable outcome. This story really kept me on my toes. By the time I hit the middle of the story, I was completely ignoring those around me to read this book and figure out how the lovers would get out of this.
The futuristic technology in this series gets more of an explanation in this installment. In book one it was science versus religion, and this book explains why. The person responsible for all of that will be known. There is also heavy use of narcotics in this book. I don’t remember much of that from book one, but Nemesis was so new to the universe we discover all the dirty details along with her.
Although the story does take us, once again, traveling through space and exploring, the details were not as descriptive as they were in the first book. I didn’t understand some of the scenes, especially in space, but it didn’t really matter since it wasn’t the point of the story. The struggle between the characters was the whole point of this story.
I loved that the author kept this whole story in Nemesis’ POV. We know everything she knows and yet we are all in the dark at what is going on behind closed doors. Nemesis still feels like a diabolic in this story, but she does have some things happen to her which opens here eyes to what it really means to be weak, and fully human.
It seems like some characters were new to me, but they probably were introduced in the first book and just didn’t seem as important at the time. Maybe reading book one then this book would have cleared things up for me. Once again, it didn’t really matter to me enough to take away from this story. I just thought I would mention it here, in case you are like me and forget character details a year later. Character relationships are important in the progression of this story line.
In the end, the author did things to make me feel some kind of way. Things are not working out the way I thought they would. Maybe you will see it coming. I held out hope for other things. I guess I still do. Admittedly, I didn’t love this book as much as book one but I would still highly recommend it. It is a really good science fiction series with a kick-ass heroine. There is no way I could not read the next book in this series. I need to see what happens next....more
This story is pure Russian folklore complete with a sleepy little town surrounded by a vaSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
This story is pure Russian folklore complete with a sleepy little town surrounded by a vast wilderness and a seemingly endless winter. Everyone in Vasilisa‘s, (Vasya), hometown worships both God and the spirits that haunt the town. They leave offerings for the spirits and the spirits protect them from evil. When Vasya father remarries a nutter who sees and is frightened by the spirits, and a new holy man comes to town, they convince the people to turn away from the spirits and stick to worshiping the “one true god”. That’s when everything gets really bad and dark for the people of her town. Vasya may be the only one with gifts dark enough to protect her people, but at what cost.
This story builds slowly introducing Vasya and her family, most of whom practice the old ways. The town sees Vasya as a witch and wild child who runs off into the forest getting into all sorts of trouble. The story begins with Vasya‘s birth in those woods and her mother’s death. This sets Vasya up to be raised by a father who loves her fiercely, but isn’t quite sure what to do with her. It doesn’t help that all his other children are pretty normal and want normal lives of being married and making children, things which Vasya seems to have no interest in.
The story includes some interesting characters, one of whom is a horse named Nightingale. They also include a pair of brothers who are demons of the woods and of winter itself that no one but Vasya and her half-crazed step mother can see. The story is told in lyrical prose that might be a bit hard to follow at first. Once I figured out the rhythm of the story, I got really into Vasya‘s story, but I admit it took me a while.
Although the story moves forward at an awkward pace, I felt every scene and could easily imagine the environment of each character. There is good and evil, but it is more a story about living in the grey. When a girl is born different she opens the eyes of everyone she encounters to the supernatural all around them.
Although this book tells a complete story, I am really looking forward to where the author will take the characters next. There were a few loose ends but I am sated by the conclusion to this story. This story so much of an experience of the senses. THE BEAR AND NIGHTINGALE will appeal to readers who love superstition and fear as the main tone of a fairy tale. It is an adult book about Russian folklore and it is beautifully written....more
Jules lives in a world where time can be bled away and used as currency. She lives in a vSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
Jules lives in a world where time can be bled away and used as currency. She lives in a village close to the royal city of Everless. Jules finds her father bleeding out too much of his time just to pay the rent in their shabby home so she decides to take a job in Everless, where she can earn more then they need to live. Everless is the place her and her father ran from 10 years earlier, a place her father forbids her to go. For her father, Jules will go back to Everless hoping that she won’t be recognized. In Everless Jules finds herself in the middle of the mystery of her family, her heritage, and the royal line that holds the people of Everless in check.
Jules was such an amazing character. I found all the characters to be very well developed. Although we are only really follow Jules, everyone was fleshed out and given depth. I loved that Jules was so relateable. She does exactly what I would have done in her situation. Her journey is full of danger and questions that must be answered.
The currency of this world is time. Most people use time to pay the bills and earn time as they work. The royalty in Everless spend time like it is nothing. The author is careful to remind the reader that every luxury afforded the royals was bled from some poor soul. They use time to flavor their drinks, to breath life in to landscapes, and to buy secrets and trust from people working in this royal city.
EVERLESS had great world building and I loved the descriptive language. There are some modern conveniences but most of them exist due to the time being used to make things better. I don’t have the vocabulary to describe how this works, but the author was able to convey the idea easily enough for me to understand. It was very believable. People are still uses horses and swords and making things by hand, too. It all seemed effortlessly blended and will actually make sense when you read this story.
There wasn’t a real love interest in this story. There were some hints at romance, but it isn’t the main focus. I loved that about this book. There was a lot of secrecy in this story. People are lying and Jules is being lied to at almost every turn. I loved the suspense. There was a definite need for haste in this story as Jules is in some horrible situation. Jules faces off with some of her deepest fears. I really didn’t guess where the story was headed as the story twisted and turned in directions I did not see coming.
The bottom line is that I highly recommend this book. Science fiction and fantasy fans will probably enjoy this book. I might suggest that you wait until the next book comes out. You are going to want to read it right away. I can’t wait to see what happens next!...more
The main character of this book, Jude, is a girl who was stolen away into a land of fairiSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
The main character of this book, Jude, is a girl who was stolen away into a land of fairies and magic. Her and her twin sister, Taryn, are just along for the ride as her older sister, Vivi, is all Madoc (Vivi’s real father) really wanted. Their mother was Madoc’s Fae bride but fled as soon as could to live in the mortal world. When Madoc found them he kills their mother and the twins father right in front of the children before stealing them away to live him in the land of Faerie. Vivi is half Fae and really hates being in Faerie. Jude and Taryn can’t leave since they are mere mortals so they make the best of their situation.
THE CRUEL PRINCE is Jude’s story of wanting to be something more than she is. Madoc does right by the twins despite the fact that they are mortals and allows them to believe that they can fit in.This is a story about fulfilling the dream of your destiny, and it is also a story about not letting bullies keep you down. Jude and her sister, but especially Jude, are constantly picked on for being mortal. They can’t help who they are any more than the Fae can help being born Fae. Here we have some parallels to the real world and what some people go through just for being different.
The thing that really blew me away about this book, is that the main character is not the special snowflake. Yea, she is different from the people who live in her world, but so is Taryn, her twin, whose big aspiration is to marry well. Jude really wants to fight for the king. Jude is secretly employed by the favored next king to spy on his enemies. It's an exciting job for Jude. Things don't happen the way they should for this king-to-be and it's all tangled up for Jude. Now she has to make some decisions about where her loyalty actually lays.
Also, she struggles with what people see when they look at her and her own view of herself. Her need to fit in is palpable, but these Fae brats won’t let her play their reindeer games. They are powerful and dangerous. One is particularly cruel to her and she hates him but she can’t even talk back. This brat is royalty and she is a mere mortal. He's a cruel prince and his hatred for Jude is just unjustified. The Fae have absolute power and can make humans do things, it is really wicked.
The only thing I can say that was a little troubling was that her big sister, Vivi by being Fae, has the ability to travel back to the human world, and she really wants to go there and never return. Because just being Vivi’s little sisters is what got their parents killed and forced them to grow up mortal in Faerie, Vivi stays with her sisters. I hate that they can just back back anytime they want by asking their sister to take them. This makes me think that part of the next story might just take place in the human world. I really hope I am wrong because the land of Faerie is something I really want to explore more of. I have faith that Holly Black can make the mortal world interesting, I just want to spend more time in Faerie.
I would highly recommend this book to fantasy fans, especially to those who like Fae books. I would also say that those looking for a different type of YA protagonist might want to pick this up. Jude is badass but she is nothing compared to the Fae. This was a tense, but highly enjoyable read and I can’t wait for the sequel. ...more
The thing is that I really enjoyed Wintersong. I couldn’t wait for this book to be released. I so wanted to read more about Liesl and the music that wThe thing is that I really enjoyed Wintersong. I couldn’t wait for this book to be released. I so wanted to read more about Liesl and the music that was in that book. This book went in a completely different direction. The romance that seemed to bloom between Liesl and the Goblin King doesn’t seem to exist in this book. This book was primarily told in dialogue and parts of it went in circles. There was an adventure and that was fun. This book took place mainly in
Vienna which was nice to explore. The main relationship in this story was between Liesl and her brother. Although he is part of the lore told about in Wintersong, this book did not explore more of that lore, or the underground. The last 25% of the book was pretty good but overall I was unsatisfied with this series ender....more
This story is about a kick-ass rebel named Zara who ends up being picked for the Honors pSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
This story is about a kick-ass rebel named Zara who ends up being picked for the Honors program.
As an Honor, Zara will be sent into space for one-year. Her job will be tough as she and her fellow Honors will be working closely with (actually inside of) Leviathan, an alien ship species. The goal is to learn as much as she can exploring space while the Leviathan get to study our species. The thing is, Zara isn’t really interested in any of that. She just needs to stay her ass out of jail, and away from the mobsters who want revenge.
Zara chose to be emancipated in New Detroit, instead of going with her Mother and sister to live on the crowded colony on Mars. After escaping the clutches of her father’s madness, she is a true rebel in every sense of the word. She relies on herself and she steals what she wants. She rejects all the modern advances for a life of freedom. She may be a petty criminal, but she still has her dignity.
When Zara meets Nadim, the alien space ship she and her partner will be traveling in, they form a friendship. First it is just out of loneliness, then it grows to something more. When Zara realizes the real reason they chose her to join the Honors, Zara and her partner Beatriz must figure out how to help Nadim stay alive and learn all the secrets he keeps from them.
Zara and Nadim share a special relationship. I was as intrigued as Zara was to learn about the alien spaceship species. The relationship builds slowly and kept my interest the whole time. The conversations start off like anyone might imagine and then they get deeper. Zara and Beatriz share a special bond, too. They find a great way to work together using their own strengths to make up for each other’s shortcomings. The main theme of this book was Zara’s ability to learn to trust someone to take care of her.
Most of this story takes place on the ship called Nadim in the year 2142. Zara lives in an environment close to what we know now in New Detroit. Her exposure to modern technology is as our would be, because even though it is available, she isn’t used to it at all. Both Beatriz and Zara grow protective of Nadim and they each have their own nooks in the ship to call home. Despite all the technological advances, it easy to imagine the space Zara and Beatriz call home. The writers did a seamless job telling the story and describing the scenes.
The cool thing about this book, other than everything I just mentioned, is that Zara is such a cool character. She goes from rags to riches, or more like from our time into the far off future in technology. She isn’t very smart, but she doesn’t lack for courage. The whole set up for this book is pretty amazing. The world building is well explained without info dumps. It was also full of descriptive language that helped me to “see” what was going on.
I am really looking forward to the next book in this series. Kudos to the authors for creating such an amazing series starter. I highly recommend this to young adult science fiction fans!...more
The set-up for the story is awesome. Unfortunately, the main character, Violet, is compleSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
The set-up for the story is awesome. Unfortunately, the main character, Violet, is completely pre-occupied by her lust for a cop who acts suspiciously throughout most of this story. The first scene in this story is Violet saving the cop, Danny, from being killed on old earth. I honestly expected the bad guy he was chasing to end up being the love interest. I guess I read too many books where that happens.
Danny is not the bad guy per se, but I felt him guilty of something throughout most of this book. I didn’t get what she saw in Danny. It wasn’t until almost the end of this story that I actually warmed to him.
There were vividly described scenes in this story. I also think the story moved at an excellent pace. The world was not well described. New earth, for all its perfection gets hardly any description. I have no idea what it looks like except that it is cleaner than old earth. Old earth is pretty well described but since most of the story takes place on new earth that didn’t help me much.
I still don’t understand how a whole bunch of citizens of earth left so many people behind to fend for themselves. Maybe I do, but it reminded me of WWII a little but without the Gestapo to threaten people. This society has the intercept to keep the new citizens in check way before protesting. The thing is that the intercept came into play after half the population left the other half to die in old earth. Violet doesn’t even remember old earth, so we can’t really blame her. Danny is a recent addition to new earth so he misses it.
Violet’s character felt a bit flat to me. She has a best friend and we do get a little of her story, but mainly she is there to move Violet and the story forward. Danny and Violet have a non-existent relationship until Violet decides to spy on Danny to find out why he keeps going to old earth.
The ending contained a twist that just killed would have my enjoyment of this story, had I not already had issues with it. Side characters, that really had minimal involvement in the story suddenly become key players. I really disliked the ending of this story because it felt so off from the rest of it. The intercept plays a role but betrayal is an even bigger role. Although this is the first in a series, it could be a stand alone since it tells a complete story. I doubt I will continue reading this series....more
TOWER OF DAWN is a story that needed to be told. Last year, when I reviewed EMPIRE OF STORMS I mentioned that a certain character was missing. This seemed very deliberate. I am happy to tell you that this is his story, and Nesryn’s, and Yrene’s. TOWER OF DAWN explains where Chaol went, how he dealing with his injury, and what is to become of him and Nesryn (and a few other people they meet).
Chaol starts this story off in his wheelchair. I have no idea how he traveled, but somehow Nesryn and Chaol end up at the very top of the southern continent in Antica. Their purpose there is two-fold; convince the healers of Torre to help Chaol walk again, and get the support of this powerful kingdom to help fight the war that is coming.
Chaol is not quite the character I remember from CROWN OF MIDNIGHT. He is in a wheelchair and dealing with wounded pride. He doesn’t feel seem the man he used to be. He isn’t kind to everyone he meets. Chaol has a lot of resentment and is consumed by what other people think of him being in that wheelchair. His short temper is glaringly obvious when he meets Yrene and embarrasses Nesryn by acting like an ass.
To be completely honest here, I am conflicted on how I feel about Chaol after reading this installment. There were a few scenes where I really disliked Chaol. His temper to Yrene, even towards the end of this book was rude in some cases and unforgivable. I saw him as taking what he wanted and I didn’t really like him using his looks and charm to get away with using people.
Nesryn and Choal together start off the story feeling really old and tired to me. Nesryn and Chaol seemed like a pairing for convince, even though I felt so strongly about them at the end of EMPIRE OF STORMS. I had no interest in seeing Chaol and Nesryn together right from the start of this story. Whatever was between them has runs it course.
I felt bad for Nesryn but not enough to really be invested in her story with Sartag. At least at first. I felt completely different by the end of the story though as I got so invested in the story of Sartag and Nesryn. I couldn’t even tell you which story line I liked more. They were both really interesting and action packed.
Chaol is disabled in this story and that plays a huge part of the change in him. He is used to being the most fit, the most ready for a fight, the one everyone turns to for direction. In this story he is in need of help with a lot of things. Having to ask for help from a healer who obviously doesn’t like him just because of where he comes from does not make this easy for him. He does grow though and it has nothing to do with healing, but more with accepting things as they are.
I think the disability was well written. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to be stuck in a chair but Chaol gave me what I think would be an accurate glimpse into what that might be like. Even if he could be healed, it is not something that will happen overnight. This means he has to rely on Nesryn to do more of the persuading for that army then he originally planned.
Nesryn gets really close to Sartag. I really liked Nesryn flying around with Sartag and then learning to fly by herself. Nesryn is a completely different person around Sartag. She is fierce, like Aelin, but in a more human way. I loved seeing Nesryn learn about her homeland and the combination of old and new.
I ended up really liking all the new characters, with the exception of one. I can’t say who, but if you read the story you will know exactly who I mean. I loved that we caught snippets of what Aelin and her crew were doing. It was fun to see what people who only heard about her really thought she was capable of. People in this kingdom also have views on what really happened to the glass tower and are not afraid to make assumptions about what they don’t know.
There was so much going on once we get to know who the key players are. This book was a thrill ride full of romance, friendship, and danger. I feel like this installment really tied a lot of mysteries together for me. Someone has to have more of an answer about the Wrydkeys and Vlag origins. I think the answers are right here, we just have to get them to the right people.
I am really looking forward to the reunion that is bound to happen in the next book. All of these characters with all of their different skill sets is what is going to allow them to win this war, at least I hope. I liked this book even better than EMPIRE OF STORMS. I give a high recommendation. Even if, like me, you aren’t sure you want to read this. You NEED to read this....more
See my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren See my full review for REPLICA here
RINGER is the second (and final) book in the REPLICASee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren See my full review for REPLICA here
RINGER is the second (and final) book in the REPLICA series. It tells linear stories of two girls; Lyra, who was raised as a replica but actually isn’t and Gemma, who is actually a replica but was raised as a normal girl. I enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed the first book in this series. The stakes seem even higher and they involve outside people who actually want to help them, and some that are determined to kill them.
Gemma learns that her father has plans to kill Lyra and Caelum. Gemma and her boyfriend Pete set out to try to save them. When Gemma and Pete are mistaken for Lyra and Caelum they find out that Haven is still housing replicas. They find themselves mistaken for replicas and then there they learn the awful truth about what it means to be a replica.
Lyra and Caelum are having a hard time blending in with society. They find themselves outsiders to a big wide world. Lyra wants to explore that world and Caelum prefers to watch it go by on television. They are closer then they have ever been and living almost like strangers to each other. The set out to their beginnings at Haven in the hope to find a cure for Lyra’s illness.
I read Gemma’s story first and then Lyra’s. Gemma finds herself in some horrible situations. First, she is mistaken for a replica and meets many like her. Exactly like her to be exact, except they are missing some essential piece that actually makes them human. Her relationship with Pete seems to have moved beyond awkward and moves to a more comfortable place. I was so happy to see Gemma in a good relationship because it seems so many around her in the first story were so untrustworthy.
Lyra’s story explores the question of what it really means to be human. Since she was raised with replicas she relies on what her father, who takes her and Caelum in, to explain that and how to function in society. I really enjoyed Lyra’s experiences since she sees the world with really fresh eyes. Some of the things her and Caelum do to survive are really questionable, but since they don’t’ really know any better it worked in the story.
In this story it is almost as if the girls have traded places. I enjoyed this spin as well as the formatting. The girls’ stories could stand alone but the fact that they intersect makes this story even more compelling. We get to see snippets of the girl in each story. The girls have grown so much since the first book and both of their story arcs are fun to read about.
I will say that the ending leaves a lot to the imagination. I honestly thought there would be a third installment to this series because so much is left unanswered. There were a few coincidences in both girls’ stories that seemed a little too perfect. All in all this was a pretty good story. It was original and fun to imagine. I would recommend this to YA Sci-Fi fans....more
There were some great things about this book. First, Fae. I can’t remember the last timeSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
There were some great things about this book. First, Fae. I can’t remember the last time I picked up a book with Fae characters and I loved their secret world. There is also royalty since The Queen of Rage and Fire and the King of Fire and Truth feature prominently in this story. There are Seelie and Unseelie courts. There is some sacrifice made to the Queen and it got me wondering if she was a good or bad queen. Either way I was on board to get to know her.
The second thing that is kinda cool is the ships that happen in this story. There are two major ones for me and I doubt I could say which one I liked over the other. It is fun when teenage love is explored for the reader with all the feelings of forever. That is the kind of relationships I like to see in YA.
We get to know all the characters pretty well. There is Lilywhite, Creed (musician who Lily fancies), Zephyr (the leader of the group and most loyal to the Queen), Violet (a free spirit nature lover), Alkamy (a starlet who loves Zephyr), Roam and Will (who love each other but we don’t learn much about them individually). They also each have at least one affinity to either air, water, earth or fire. Only strong Fae have more than one and the most powerful have all four.
There was also these fun Abernathy commandments Lilywhite recounts in her head through out the story. Those commandments were things her father (the crime lord) taught her. Later in the story the Black Diamonds seem to have their own commandments although they are not as numerous, and not repeated nearly as much.
My problems with this book are world building. Given everything I just said about the hidden world and courts that seems odd, I know. Hear me out. I couldn’t “see” anything in this story. Most of the book is dialogue with one or two descriptions dropped in. I didn’t find out where these conversations were taken place until late in the talking. I am the kind of reader who need descriptive details, and not just about what the characters look like.
I also didn’t like that these diamonds are at school, but there is not school-ish things mentioned in this whole story. Since they are so powerful and/or famous, why do they need that school anyways. The school is never really eplained, just the dorms where a lot of conversations take place. I left this book feeling sad that it didn’t explain much but I was hopeful that the sequel would clear things up for me....more
I have to admit I forgot some of the characters and ships going into this book, so it took me a few chapters to catch up. Once I figured out what was going on, I was completely hooked, again. I still have my personal favorite but all three of these Queens have grown and changed so much from who they were in book one.
The story starts off with all three sisters now having free reign to kill each other. Some are getting better at it, some are even more hesitant, and some choose an alliance I can’t see working out for all parties involved.There will be plenty of chances for these three Queens to face off as the houses love putting these three together for sport.
The sisters gain depth and get fleshed out in this installment.
Katherine, The Poisoner and my personal favorite, becomes this dark and powerful Queen hell bent on claiming the crown. I loved that the once weakest Queen is now clearly on top, for some reason, but she and her house are absolutely ruthless in their pursuit.
Arsinoe, The Naturalist, is much changed now that her true gift has been revealed. Her objective is to stay alive long enough to figure out how to use it to her advantage. Arsinoe grew much more interesting for me in this book. She is my second favorite.
Mirabella, The Elemental, is the one everyone thought would easily take the crown. Her power is still strong, but she deflects and chooses not to kill his sisters. I am still not on board with #teamMirabella simply because she is badass and chooses to be “good”. Ugh, that bored me about her.
This story moves at such a fast pace, I dare you to try to keep up with which sister is in the lead. There were some very interesting side characters (both enemies and allies) which kept each Queen in check. Jules, Arsinoe’s bff, plays a major role in this story and of all those side characters, she is the one I am interested in the most. Although all the side characters have some interesting going on.
There isn’t much more I can say about this book without giving away major spoilers. I will say that the end definitely left me wanting, nae needing, much more. I am elated to see that there will be two more books after this and you can bet I will be reading them both. Fans of Dark Fantasy should add this series to their lists and get reading immediately....more
Well THIS DARKNESS MINE is another dark book by Mindy McGinnis. I am not sure how she doeSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
Well THIS DARKNESS MINE is another dark book by Mindy McGinnis. I am not sure how she does it, but each book seems to getting darker. This story explores the life of a Sasha Stone as she becomes something else. Something much darker than anyone thought possible.
Sasha Stone has her whole life planned out. She is on top of her class and the best clarinet player in her school. She is almost guaranteed a scholarship to Oberlin Conservatory. She is dating a boy who also has his life planned out. She is the apple of her parent’s eye and always does the right thing. When she meets a boy named Isaac she can’t deny her need for him. He is everything she isn’t. Maybe she owes her want to another. Maybe she owes her want and even her life to the twin she absorbed in the womb who wants to take back control of her flesh.
This story is perfectly told by an un-relateable narrator. Sasha is going through something. She looses her spot as first clarinet, her perfect boyfriend, her friend’s trust, and her health all at once. Although parts of this felt really far fetched I couldn’t help but follow Sasha down the rabbit hole as she tries to expose the reason her life is falling apart.
Enter her twin sister, and a well played excuse.
This story explores a girl who knows no limits to how far she will go. Sasha is a terrible girl. She is horrible to everyone and destroys her whole life to prove a point. She also toys with people around her, but she is so sly you won’t even realize she is doing it until it is done. I haven’t felt so conflicted about a character in a long time.
The writing style of this author always explores dark characters in bleak settings. THIS DARKNESS MINE is no exception. Sasha is a girl you might know, a person full of excuses and explanations that defy reality. Sasha believes she is right, and that is all that matters. The settings and side characters were well written and easy to imagine.
I enjoyed this story about an evil/mentally ill girl, but some of it was very far from believable. I am torn on how to rate this. On one hand it was original and dark and a very wild ride. On the other hand it was shocking, and not always in a good way. This story is about insanity. Follow Sasha down the rabbit hole and see what you make of it....more
This story picks right up where WORLD AFTER left off. Penryn finds herself at the mercy oSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
This story picks right up where WORLD AFTER left off. Penryn finds herself at the mercy of some ruthless Angels. A deal is struck and Penryn finds herself back with humans trying to save everyone. Are people worth saving? Hell yes! With the help of DunDee and Paige the humans cook up a last stand like no one alone could imagine. It’s angels versus humans and humans don’t seem to stand a chance. Penryn and Raffe find themselves stuck choosing between their own kind, on opposite sides, or each other.
Things happen in this story and it is action packed. Penryn’s focus seems to have shifted from saving her family and herself to doing whatever it takes to be with Raffe. Like I said before, their pairing in romance isn’t my favorite part of this book. I like them pairing up and fighting.
An enemy’s motivation is revealed and people are pulled from the pit into this fight for good or evil. The pit contains all kinds of hellish nightmares and it was almost uncomfortable to read about. That is a good thing. I love when a book can make me feel. It is really imaginative and scary. I enjoyed the journey.
I was pleasantly surprised by the resources the humans came up with for this battle scene. I think it was wretched of the author to put Raffe in that situation. Choosing one thing makes him the biggest dick ever, and choosing the other makes him look weak. All throughout this story we see that angels who have chooses humans have “fallen”. I still have no idea who makes them fall or how that even happens.
I enjoyed the world this author created I just wish there would have been more of it. The fact that the end of the world showdown happens in San Francisco is a bit weird. Amiright? There were quite a few coincidences but nothing took away from my enjoyment of the action.
I really enjoyed this story right up until the Epilogue. Why couldn’t this have answered a few more questions? I am sure the author went into these books with explanations for how and why these things occurred, but she didn’t share them with the reader. I think reading these books back to back really helped me to gain a perspective for the series. I still have so many questions so I have made up answers in my head for things that should have been in these books. This could have been at least one more book, and then maybe we could have had the ending that we really needed for this series.
I grew so attached to these characters and this world. I would still recommend these books with the warning that the ending will leave you wishing for more....more
Lada has gone home to Wallachia only to find thaSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren Other books in this series AND I DARKEN
Lada has gone home to Wallachia only to find that she cannot secure the throne. Her goal to become prince of Wallachia is all consuming. She and her men will stop at nothing to get what Lada deserves. Lada is accompanied by her childhood friend, Bogdan. She is also missing her brother Radu, and requests him to join her. Radu is sent on a mission by Mehmed to pretend to deflect and spy in the great city of Constantinople. Mehmed is obsessed with his goal to conquer the city and even puts Radu in danger to accomplish this. Radu must choose between helping his unrequited love, Mehmed, and helping the sister that has always been there for him.
This book made me want to read the history. I dislike historical non-fiction, but this book made me want to do some research. I actually did look up some of the main characters from this story and the whole story is now very familiar. It is so inspiring to see how this author has blended historical fact with fictional characters long forgotten to make us all interested in their fate.
I feel like this story moved faster than the first book because it covered a much smaller time span. That seems wrong, but the first book covered decades and this story takes place over a year or less. This story alternated between Lada and Radu’s POV. Radu is sympathedic to Lada but wants Mehmed to love him. Lada wants her country and feels Radu’s rightful place is with him. Things are finally getting put into place for both Mehmed and Lada to achieve their life long goals leaving Radu with the scraps.
I really loved the historical setting for this story. There is something to be said for writing historical fact into a fictional setting. The author describes this gritty time in all its uncomfortable glory. The clothes, the housing, the weather, it is all well laid out for the reader. I think the most interesting place we visited in this story, and there was so much traveling happening here, is Constantinople. The city is not at all what Mehmed and Radu think it will be, but somehow it is exactly what I imagined a 15th century city to be.
“He had imagined Constantinople, had wanted it for Mehmed. It had been simple and straightforward. But now he knew the true cost of things, the murky horrors of the distance between wanting something and getting it.”
Lada is ruthless in this story. Living in the 15th century she hates the way women are treated and she vows to change that for the women in her own country. She gets her hands dirty, she is under estimated, she is the warrior her country needs to lead them. Lada struggles with her sexuality. She doesn’t regret leaving Mehmed but she needs something to fill the void. Lada seems bloodthirsty but she is only the product of a bloody family line that takes what they know is theirs. Lada spends most of this story building alliances in preparation of one final stand to demand the crown she knows is hers.
“Wallachia needs you, and you deserve Wallachia. Let your loyalty be only where your heart is. Everything else can fall by the road and be trodden underfoot as we pass to our home. My fierce little girl. You can do anything.”
Radu leads his life with his heart. He is torn between the safety of Nazira, his wife who he has grown to love very much in a platonic way, and pleasing the sultan he desires. Radu is such a good man and he is just in his approach to life. He may not be the warrior Lada is, but he fights for what is right. His is sickened by the war created by Mehmed for a city that isn’t really great, but housing some new friends Radu knows are worthy of living. The most disturbing aspect of Radu is that he fights for a religion he feels home in that forbids his very nature. His trials are heartbreaking. Radu has grown so much from the last book becoming possibly my favorite character. I need to see Radu with the happy ending he deserves.
“He would die on the wall tonight, between his brothers and his enemies, because he could no longer distinguish between the two. They had finally come to the end. Whichever side won, neither would triumph.”
This is fast becoming one of the greatest series ever. The characters are unforgettable. I can’t wait for the conclusion to this saga and I am secretly dreading it. Even the ending of this book was bloody brilliant. If you haven’t read this, I suggest you go right now and pic this up. Once again for this series,if I gave 6 stars, this sequel would get it....more
The main plot for Nix is Kashmir’s fate. Nix is trying to save Kashmir from drowning by going to a mythical city that is said to have been flooded. That really made no sense, but Nix is desperate to not loose Kash. At the end of the first book it seemed like Nix was caught in a love triangle, but in this story Blake is cast aside for Kash.
Kash is also from a mythical city so saving Dahut becomes even more important for Nix as she tries to change her future. These time-travelers do change the future by going to the past, but what then happens to their supposed future before the time-traveler? These questions don’t really get answered, but the concepts get explored which left me really thinking about fate.
This story has the crew exploring a mythical city, it’s castle, and memories. The city itself is beautifully described. There are mermaids, monsters, an oubliette, and plenty of places to hide a key.
Dahut keeps a diary of events which she seems to have no memory of. Once again, there is the question of fate because of course knowing something changes the way you move forward. If you can’t remember then that knowledge is lost. The same holds true for Nix knowing now that she is destined to loose her love. If she never knew that she might not have chosen Kash so much and been so desperate to save him.
This story blends a mythical city with real people. Crowhurst becomes king of Ker-Ys and uses Lethe water to take away memories to seduce Dahut, the king’s daughter, to go along with his plan. In real life, evidence found after Crowhurst’s disappeared on his 3rd voyage suggests that this attempt ended in possible insanity and suicide. The question then becomes, does Nix suggest the voyage to him, or was he going to do that anyways? The future is uncertain even here.
This story introduced Kashmir’s POV into the story. Kash is so smitten by Nix. They are obviously destined for each other, or is that what the author wants me to think? This story also explores how much Nix doesn’t want to end up like her father, mourning a lost love and living with depression. I loved that this book left some things open, while answering a lot of questions. There could be more to this story or it could all end right here. Either way I really enjoyed this book....more
This book is about a place where children go who have accidentally journeyed to a portalSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
This book is about a place where children go who have accidentally journeyed to a portal world. These children come home different after days or months of being gone, having experienced something that changes them forever. Nancy is one such child and she finds her home is no longer where she wants to be. Her parents, not understanding what happened to her, send her to a home full of children who have all been to different portal worlds and just want to go back. Of course, her parents don’t know that is what the school really is. Nancy makes some interesting friends at this home before a murder occurs. When another murder happens Nancy and her odd friends start to realize that the best parts of these children are being taken. Nancy is the main suspect in these murders. Nancy and her friends must solve the mystery to prove Nancy’s innocence.
“You found freedom, if only for a moment, and when you lost it, you came here, hoping it could be found again.”
“For us, places we went were home. We didn’t care if they were good or evil or neutral or what. We cared about the fact that for the first time, we didn’t have to pretend to be something we weren’t. We just got to be. That made all the difference in the world.”
This book was so unique. This whole story takes place at what the children hope is an in between place. Most of the children have homes to go home to, although some don’t. They all want to return to the “world” they accidentally found and hope it will be soon. This “world” is different for every child.
“You want to go back, and so you hold on to the habits you learned while you were traveling, because it’s better than admitting the journey’s over.”
These children all want to go back to the world they discovered and I felt so bad for them. As the story goes, most of them won’t be able to return. Those that can do and don’t come back. Their worlds are broken into logic or non-sense with some mixed worlds of high nonsense and high logic. The story starts with Nancy arriving at the home and learning about these worlds and their classifications as she does. It doesn’t make sense at first, but after a while it does. The author manages all this without info dumps or a a lot of back story. It’s pretty brilliant.
“Every day I wake up a little more linear, a little less lost, and one day I’ll be one the women who says ‘I had the most charming dream,’ and I’ll mean it. Old enough to know what I’m losing in the process of being found.”
Admittedly, this story was short. I wish for more, but I felt like it was a complete story. Without actually going to these worlds, we are stuck in limbo along with Nancy. I really loved the dark setting for these children. Most of them come back from their portal worlds twisted in some way. Nancy and her friends are the most twisted and it was fun and chilling to get to know them all.
“The petty-minded fools here think surgery and butchery are the same thing.”
This story moved slowly but I didn’t even mind that. I think it was explained quite clearly why all these characters were waiting for something and the murder mystery gave me (and Nancy) and chance to really get to know this home and the people that live there. Also, there wasn’t any romance. Nancy, the main character, is asexual and doesn’t want romance. Asexuality for the character is well explained, in my opinion.
EVERY HEART A DOORWAY was a really fun story that involved some original concepts, interesting characters, and a murder mystery. I am so glad this is a series. You can bet I will be reading more from this series and this author....more
Adam Thorne is having a tough adolescence. He is in unrequited love with a boy who cast hSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
Adam Thorne is having a tough adolescence. He is in unrequited love with a boy who cast him aside without just cause. The boy he is seeing is a really great guy, but also famously gay and so Adam must keep their relationship a secret. Adam’s father is a church minister and his whole family is very against homosexuality. It wouldn’t be so bad if they at least liked him, but they all treat him like the red-haired step child and his straight brother like the prodigal son. In a matter of just one day all of these situations will collide for Adam. Secrets will be revealed and people will be seen for who they really are.
That all sounds great right? I have to admit that I loved Adam’s story. I couldn’t even imagine what being a gay preacher’s son would be like but this book allowed me to see how uncomfortable and hypocritical it could be. At one time Adam really loved God and throughout the story he struggles with that love since his very nature is spoken against in the bible. Not to get too into the religion of this story, I have to say that this was well done. Be you a believer or not, you shouldn’t be offended by anything in Adam’s story.
Adam has some real emotional support in this story in the form of his best friend who is a bi-female (whom I can’t remember the name of) and his secret boyfriend Linus. These two act in different ways to strengthen and encourage Adam to face the things he must in order to be free. I loved Linus as an out and proud gay guy, but I also loved how patient he was with Adam.
The author did something really bold here for a YA novel and actually talked about the sex. Not just sex, but gay male sex! Bravo Mr. Ness for breaching this uncharted territory! Just like Judy Bloom’s FOREVER was in my generation for straight girls who were curious, so RELEASE is for homosexual young males. Patrick Ness tells the whole story for the reader and leaves little to the imagination.
The elephant in the room (or this book as the case may be), is the “ghost story” being told in alternate chapters throughout this book. This fantastical story about a girl who was first strangled and then weighed down to drown in the town’s lake.It was not well told. It has something to do with drugs and a teenage girl’s death.It is horrible, but it really had no business in this book. This part of the book tells the story of a ghost of a girl, a queen or a fawn, who seeks revenge and ultimately freedom. I didn’t enjoy that part of this book at all but I powered through it hoping it would somehow connect to Adam and his tale. Now let’s just say I wish I would have just skipped over those chapters.
Well other than that stupid ghost story, I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it. I was torn between 3 and 4 stars honestly. I am rating up because I have high hopes for this book. I have no one in my immediate circle that would really benefit from Adam’s story in this book. I think even straight YA readers will enjoy this. Since I really do think this is a Judy Bloom FOREVER kind of book, I am sending out a thousand wishes that this read ends up in the right hands and helps someone....more
NYXIA was such an awesome read! I should just say “GO READ THIS!’ but I want to tell youSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
NYXIA was such an awesome read! I should just say “GO READ THIS!’ but I want to tell you why I loved it so much first. This story has space, adventure, danger, a cool substance called nyxia, romance, alliances and betrayals. I have to admit I really love science fiction. I think up until reading this book, ENDER'S GAME was my favorite science fiction book of all time. I even read the whole follow up series (which dulled in comparison) just to spend more time with Ender. NYXIA is my new favorite science fiction.
NYXIA is something really unique. Emmett and his friends were hand chosen for a chance to be the first people to travel to the alien planet Eden. Emmett finds himself fighting with a team of nine other competitors in daily trials to be on top because the bottom two won’t be going to the planet. The technology is advanced beyond anything they have ever encountered and the company taking him there, Babel, isn’t telling them everything. Emmett and his team are working with a substance called Nyxia that can only be found on a planet called Eden. There they will work not only to mine Nyxia, but they will encounter an alien race that reveres children above all else.
Emmett, our hero, comes from a poor family. His mother is battling cancer and his father works two jobs just to support the family. Emmett’s mother stands at the end of a long list for new kidney. The company, Babel, offers Emmett the chance to travel to Eden, offers to pay him an enormous sum of money so he will be rich when he returns to earth, and offers to take care of his mother’s health problems by giving her the best medical care. It’s an offer Emmett could not refuse, but everything As Emmett gets to know his teammates, he finds he is not the only one poor or desperate enough to put everything into the competition.
All of the characters in this story bring their own flavor to the competition. Emmett may be poor, but he has a solid family backing him up. I loved how he uses gems of wisdom from his family to morally navigate through the competition.
“When you look back, it won’t be mercy you regret.”
They is also a diverse cast from different parts of the world and different strengths. Babel supplies the diverse cast for the competition with masks that allow them to be hear in a common language. It doesn’t sound plausible, but it works in this story.
My favorite characters from this story were many but two really stand out for me. Kaya (Emmett’s roommate)- a girl from Japan who is brilliant when it comes to strategy. She makes Emmett an early alliance and shows Emmett how everyone there is broken. I really loved her. Bilal– a Palestinian boy who always sees the good in everything. His smile and enthusiasm bring Emmett up so many times when he gets down. I wanted so much for Bilal and Kaya. I am just going to leave it at that.
The substance Nyxia bares mentioning here. Nyxia is such a huge part of the story and it is also so fucking brilliant. Nyxia is this substance that can transform into almost anything with just a thought. It is also the main reason why Babel wants to get their hands on more of it. Of course, wielding it takes practice which is part of the competition.
This story was so well written. It was fast paced with a lot of emphasis on the competition. Details are expertly woven into the story so that it felt like I was right there. I could see and feel every detail Emmett encountered in his journey. The whole story takes place on a spaceship in route to Eden. It was fun exploring the ship and trying to uncover the secrets of Babel while in the middle of this race for points.
I tried really hard to think of something negative about this book, and the only thing that came up for me was the sort of rushed romance that appears at the end of the story. I am sure it will develop nicely in the next book. We didn’t even get to the actually planet but that didn’t even bother me. This story stayed with my long after I read the last page. It gave me a book hangover in the best kind of way. I will file this under E for Excellent. This has been my favorite read so far this year....more
MASK OF SHADOWS was such a nice surprise. The assassin in this story is gender fluid. InSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
MASK OF SHADOWS was such a nice surprise. The assassin in this story is gender fluid. In fact, no where does it say whether Sal Leon is a male or female. Now that I have explained that, let me try to use the proper pronouns in this review.
Sal’s homeland of Nacea was massacred by Shadows. Sal is one of the only ones to see a Shadow and live. Living now as a thief at the latest heist Sal finds a flyer to audition to become the Queen’s Left Hand. Opal, named for one of the Queen’s rings, is open for auditions and either an invitation or a proven skill is necessary to join. Sal easily proves worth and enters the game. Sal becomes Twenty-Three, named for their number in arrival to the competition. Sal needs to win so they can serve the Queen but it is not for the reason everyone believes. Sal only wants to infiltrate the royalty to gain revenge for what was done to Sal’s homeland.
This story jumps right in with Sal finding out about he competition and then in the competition as Twenty-Three. I had no trouble understanding Sal’s nature with the way it was broken down.
“Address me however I look” I was both. I was neither. I was everything, but that wasn’t exactly a friendly conversation.
In this story they use swords, knives and poisons to kill so there is an old-timey feel to the story. There is mostly acceptance to Sal’s gender-fluidity, but there were some people who voiced issues with it. Sal can’t be the only person in this place that lives that way. I had to keep in mind that this story is just Fantasy, so the author really had free reign to define this world and the people in it however she wanted. I had no problems with the way Sal’s gender was handled.
Sal is a baddass assassin whether dressed as a man or woman. Sal grew up fighting in the streets and stealing to survive. Those strengths come in handy for the competition. There is an anonymity to the story as all 23 would-be Opals wear masks with their numbers on them. At first, all the assassins have free reign to try to kill each other, so long as the killing isn’t witnessed. I loved Sal’s wit with his opponents and clever preparations to avoid being killed by the competition. Sal gets a little help from the maid and I really liked seeing how Sal treated “the help”.
Sal also starts a relationship with a royal love interest named Elise. She teaches Sal to read the Queen’s home language (there are a few languages mentioned in this book and I can’t remember the name or location of any of them, sorry). Elise also teaches Sal manners and how to act at court. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see Sal put those skills to work so I have high hopes for the next book. I did like the beginnings of this romance. I’d like to see where the author takes that as well.
There is a few things I have to mention about this book that I didn’t like. Other than Sal, we don’t get much character depth. That should be a huge deal for me, but the story moved so fast I was just going along and didn’t notice that I didn’t know anyone really until they died. Also, the world isn’t really explained well. The scenes are well described but I know very little about the world. I wish I had a map or something. I don’t know how far Nacea is from where the competition took place and that bothered me some. Other than that I really enjoyed this read. I am looking forward to the sequel....more
I went into this book completely blind. I mean, I knew it was a fantasy book that featureSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
I went into this book completely blind. I mean, I knew it was a fantasy book that featured a girl, but looking at the cover could’ve told anyone that. I was so surprised with how much I enjoyed learning about the character of Mira. Mira is a girl with crippling anxiety and a touch of OCD in that she counts everything. She is in a place where her voice (speeches) mean so much to the people that she becomes the spokesperson of her realm. But she can only say what those in power tell her to.
Mira has a peace treaty named after her and people love her. They call her The Hope Bringer. When Mira discovers a secret about dragons being transported out of her realm, she ends up being thrown in ‘the pit’. The pit is a jail underground that usually means a death sentence. What she learns about herself and her fellow convicts rocks her world and free her of her obligation to those that who controlled her in her above-ground life.
Okay, admittedly my re-cap is pretty vague. There was so much more I want to tell you about this book and why you should read it. DRAGONS! Yes, and done well in world where they are necessary to appease the gods. They used to be fighting along side warriors to defend the realm, but the Mira Treaty makes owning them illegal. It also opens them up for trade to other realms. Of course, Mira is powerless in her prison. Or is she? Mira alone is the voice of the royal court so it’s up to her to say what the people need to hear. She is also one of the only people in this era that has actually owned a dragon and had some experience in their presence. This makes her so much more valuable to those in control in the pit and to those free in the realm above her.
This story jumps right in with Mira’s discovery of the shipping details of her beloved dragons. When she confronts those in power, she finds herself in a dark lonely prison cell surrounded by criminals. She forms a bond with the almost silent boy next door and the strong warrior girl in the cell across from her. Mira also has her neuroses to keep her company. Mira’s OCD and anxiety is well described and played out. I believed she struggled and I struggled right along with her. I also really enjoyed the descriptive details the author used to let me see Mira and her surroundings perfectly.
This story is told in alternate timelines which allows us to see Mira before, when she was dealing with bitch mother and handling dragons almost daily, and now, when she is in the pit. This story was full of surprises, from the love interest, to the dramatic finish. I never knew who to trust and like Mira I found myself mystified by the lights that kept the pit lit up during the day and pitch black at night. There is much more going on in this story besides the dragons, but they are such an amazing part of this story.
I really enjoyed this story and the ending left me wanting MORE. So I would definitely recommend this. The only thing I will admit is that the beginning is a bit confusing and may leave some readers quitting it early. It gets so much better though and that ending blew me away. I am anxiously awaiting the sequel....more