MY THOUGHTS I've made it to the last book in the series! This had a lot more going on than the pr/>This and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd
MY THOUGHTS I've made it to the last book in the series! This had a lot more going on than the previous books, but I still don't think it was as great as the first book in the series.
Cassie is now Balthazar's wife and she fears the day spring comes and Balthazar wakes up to impregnate her. She spends her days locked in the marionette cabinet, her nights outside under the stars. But she's not giving up, she's found a secret location where Ettinette, Balthazar's first wife, tried to escape. At the same time, Ethan is alive, but he is in the other dimension and far from Cassie.
While the last few books have been lackluster because nothing happens, this book has a lot happening. Almost too much because I wasn't sure what was happening sometimes. The pacing is fast, and some times things felt too coincidental (i.e. a person they know just happens to be there when they need them). Like the last book, we occasionally get Ethan's perspective. He has to journey from Canada to Maimi in the frozen world, but almost all of this is skipped over. We also see some short chapters from Tobias' and Jessamine's perspectives, which I liked because they do need closure in their stories.
This book combines many of the elements of the previous books. Many of the locations make a return. The parallel universe aspect is much larger in this book than the previous book, which made it a lot more interesting. There are also quite a number of twists and surprises along the way. I alluded to events feelings coincidental, and that comes partially from the fact that almost every character that has appeared in this series makes an appearance in this book. I do think Anya Allyn has a lot of interesting ideas, though. Really, this is unlike any other series I've read before, and she's created a very unique series. I just wish it was more focused.
While I have previously struggled with Cassie's character, she has certainly grown throughout the series. She has been in incredibly frightening situations, and she handles them with a lot more strength and bravery than I ever would. This book further explains that Cassie was always meant to be a part of this mess which, again, bothers me. I'm not the biggest fan of books that say characters are fated to do such and such. I prefer it when they are ordinary people put into extraordinary situations. When characters are fated to do something, it makes their strength less outstanding, because they were always going to do it.
Now, about that ending. The ending is a huge surprise and a huge risk. It's the kind of ending that may upset quite a few people. (view spoiler)[ So, Ethan is killed by Balthazar and then Cassie later drowns while killing the serpent queen. The last chapter flashes to another dimension with Cassie moving to Australia with her family (including Prudence). I didn't dislike this ending, maybe I would have been upset if I were more attached to the series (especially the romance). It did confuse me a bit because the serpent queen says that Cassie will remember everything in her life and it will haunt her, but then she doesn't. Prudence seems to though. Does this also mean that Cassie (and everyone else) are doomed to repeat everything all over again in each world? Or is this a world that they will live peacefully in? It is an interesting way to end a series, but it left me with more questions. Also, this is the third book I read this month in which the main character dies, so you know, I'm getting tired of these dark endings. (hide spoiler)]
IN CONCLUSION Overall, this was an interesting conclusion to the series. I don't know whether I'm glad I continued this series or not, but, again, I think the author has some fantastic ideas. I just wish they were more focused. Book one is by far the best in the series, and I think the original concept got lost along the way. I don't know if I will read more from this author or not. I kind of want to see if she has any other interesting ideas and whether her writing has grown since this series, but I'm worried I'll just end up disappointed....more
MY THOUGHTS After the end of Paper Dolls, I wanted to keep reading the series. This book was a little l/>This and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd
MY THOUGHTS After the end of Paper Dolls, I wanted to keep reading the series. This book was a little lackluster and wasn't really what I expected it to be. It had some interesting ideas, but it took a long time to get there.
Cassie doesn't know who to trust. The family that she thought she could trust, turned out to be part of the group that entrapped her in the Dollhouse in the first place. And Ethan, the boy she thought betrayed her, is back and has told her that she is from another dimension, a dimension that is in chaos. Her world is frozen, a world of ice, with serpents feeding on everyone. It's completely unrecognizable. Cassie, though, is back to being trapped, now in a castle instead of a Dollhouse. She and Molly are sent to the frozen world to find the book, but they end up in a lot more trouble.
After the end of Paper Dolls, I expected this book to focus on parallel worlds. That's part of why I continued, I'm a sucker for books featuring parallel worlds, but that wasn't the focus of this book. Cassie occasionally travels to the frozen world, but most of this book was, well, nothing. Not much happened. I actually was tempted to give up on this book, but I kept on reading because I paid for it.
Part of my disappointment comes from the synopsis. The synopsis has some frightening elements, but, I kind you not, none of that happens until the last 20% of the book. The rest of the book is mostly everyone trying to find the book, which is getting a bit old. I do think the last 20% was really interesting, and a lot more like what I expected from the book. It is incredibly frightening, and I really wanted to find out if Cassie would be okay.
This book is also in dual POV, showing some scenes from Ethan's perspective. It's interesting to see things from his perspective, but I really didn't care. I'm sorry, but Ethan isn't really that interesting of a character and I never felt chemistry between him and Cassie. I think there's romance in this book, but I say romance lightly because, well, I don't know how to explain this. Suddenly the characters are in love with each other, but I never feel a build and there's never real confirmation that they're a thing, they're just suddenly a thing. Also, while I like, Cassie, this book makes her seem like she's someone special and I don't really like that. In Dollhouse, it seemed like Cassie was in the situation because she was in the wrong place, wrong time, but now the book makes it sound like she was always meant to be a part of this. I don't know, I just preferred her being an ordinary girl that got sucked into this mess.
IN CONCLUSION Okay, I know I have a lot of nitpicks, but I did end up liking this book, mostly because the gothic elements picked up the last 20% of the book. I think this is becoming a guilty pleasure series, because I don't really enjoy reading these books, but I think Anya Allyn has a lot of interesting ideas, so I want to see how things turn out. Because of the monster of an ending, I am continuing the series....more
Short and Simple Review This is a strange but fairly quick read. It took me a b/>This and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd
Actual Rating: 3.5
Short and Simple Review This is a strange but fairly quick read. It took me a bit to get into this book because, at the start, it read like an adult book rather than YA. I am an adult, but I get a bit suspicious when a YA book reads more for an adult audience. One of the MCs, Beth, is dead and is helping her dad solve a case. I think the fact that the book begins with solving a mystery with an adult (as a ghost) did not read YA at first. Especially since Beth had a lot of focus on her dad. As the book continued, it did shift so that Beth became a major focus. The book also has dual perspectives. The other perspective is from Isobel Catching and her entire POV is in verse as she tells Beth and Beth's dad what happened to her. Her story goes into the realm of unusual but it was very interesting. Both main characters are aboriginal and a lot of this book carries inspiration from aboriginal stories which was great. While it did take me a bit to get into this book, the ending was absolutely fantastic and surprising. I think the way this book came together will stick with me....more
Short and Simple Review I loved The Candymakers, but I didn't like this book as much. Don't get me wrong, it's still a great book and the characters are still wonderful, but it felt like it was too long. The first half is similar to the last book where we get a POV from each kid, showing their POV of the same days. Unlike the first book, though, there isn't much of a mystery driving the first half of the book, so it felt really slow. Once the road trip starts, things pick up a little, but it still didn't grab my attention as much as the first book. I did notice that there were a lot of cameos and easter eggs from the author's other books, which felt a little like my childhood making an appearance....more
MY THOUGHTS 1965: Victoria's mother is dying and she's being abused by her father/>This and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd
Actual Rating: 3.5
MY THOUGHTS 1965: Victoria's mother is dying and she's being abused by her father. When the circus comes to town, she takes her chance and asks for a job, creating a new life for herself. Now: Callie is a tightrope-walker at her family circus, at least, she was until her mom decides to move her and Callie to an animal sanctuary. Both Victoria and Callie think that their situation is only temporary.
Once I read the synopsis to this book, I knew I had to read it. This was a wonderfully written book and I was drawn into the story. The book is in dual POV, switching between Victoria and Callie. I loved that this book has a dual perspective of family, within two different time periods. So many YA books use dual POV for romance and it was a breath of fresh air to see it used differently.
Out of the two narratives, Victoria's was my favorite. She was such a strong character, even though she didn't always feel strong, because she worked hard once she was in the circus and she had the courage to run away from her dangerous home environment. She really grows so much throughout her chapters and it was written extraordinarily well. Her story is also a bit more interesting. Yes, there is the historical backdrop and the circus setting that made it interesting, but there was an actual story progression in her chapters that made me want to keep reading forward. Even though I knew how parts of her story would end, thanks to Callie's chapters, and I knew that it would break my heart, I wanted to see how it got there.
Callie's chapters didn't interest me as much. Partially because I didn't like Callie very much. She lived in the circus her whole life but didn't care enough about anyone (except her grandmother) to make friendships with anyone. It made me a bit sad, honestly, but her character came off as obnoxious because she didn't seem to care about anyone else and just wanted to go back to the circus. Unlike Victoria,who had more of a reason to want to leave her home life and become her own person, Callie's reasoning just didn't feel as strong. I did like seeing her connection with tightrope-walking and all of her grandmother's notes helping her along. Callie's chapters worked the best when they felt like they were intertwined with Victoria's story, but there wasn't much of a plot driving her chapters, and I just wanted to go back to Victoria's chapters.
IN CONCLUSION Overall, this is a fantastic book, wonderfully narrated, and I loved the focus on family. Again, I preferred Victoria's story to Callie's and that greatly affected my rating, but I did like seeing hints of Victoria in Callie's chapters. The ending punches you in the gut. It hurts and I am again astounded by Victoria's strength. This is the first book I've read by Lisa Fiedler, but I will keep my eyes open for any more YA from her in the future. ...more
MY THOUGHTS I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this book. From the synopsis, I mainly expect/>This and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd
MY THOUGHTS I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this book. From the synopsis, I mainly expected a fun middle-grade book, and I did get that, but there was so much more to unpack from this novel.
This book, unsurprisingly, is mainly about a young boy named Walter Mortinson. Walter loves to invent odd things, but in the town of Moormouth, people are meant to work in tedium and kids are not supposed to have an imagination or to know things. Walter's mother thinks that he needs to stop inventing, as it will only lead to trouble, and join the family mortuary business. After an escalated argument, Walter finds a letter in the trash addressed to him from Flasterborn, the famed inventor. Flasterborn wants Walter as an apprentice, so Walter sneaks off into the night, taking Cordelia (a classmate who was once a friend long ago). They travel through odd towns, mirroring the adventure Walter's own parents took on the way to Moormouth fourteen years before.
I'll admit that it took me a bit to get into this book. Sosna-Spear carefully describes all of the settings and every character, even the smallest ones. At first, I did not see the purpose in this because these details would interrupt the story and some of these characters would never be heard from again. I would take breaks from this book and it was seeming to be a three-star read. Then, after a bit of a break from this book, I picked it up again and...I began to notice more purpose to all of these details. I liked learning everyone's hopes and fears and I was less bothered by interruptions from the past.
I mentioned this briefly in my little run-down, but throughout Walter's adventure, we also get chapters that take place fourteen years before as Walter's parents take the same route (although they took the route the other way around, so their story is backwards). I loved seeing all of the odd settings that the characters came across and there was so much imagination involved in creating these settings (which makes sense as imagination is a huge part of this book). They can be strange and feel random, but the way they are described makes them purposeful and it is just fun to see how each town differs in its way of thinking. I wish that more time could be spent in each town then there was. In truth, I feel like at times we didn't get to stay in a moment long enough. I'm not sure how I feel about that because I'm glad that the book is not talking down to readers by overly explaining what things mean or what happened, that is up to the reader's discretion. s to decide.
While the settings are a huge part of this book, the characters are the biggest part. I mean, Walter is in the title. The entire book we see these interesting things, but they are nothing without seeing how the characters react to what is around them. I mentioned how each character is shown in careful detail what their hopes and fears are. Well, with the main characters, we are shown that not everything is simple. With each odd encounter, we learn more and more about the main characters (Walter, Cordelia, and Hadorah, who is Walter's mother). It's interesting that so much attention is given to Hadorah, the main adult in the story. You really want to hate her in the beginning because she seems to be trying to squash Walter's imagination, but there is so much more at work in the story. Because there is a mix of past and present, we also see how much the past is affecting the characters, but we don't fully understand it until we near the end of the story.
Now, the ending of this book is a five-star ending. The ending of this book was absolutely fantastic, even though it broke my heart. In fact, once I got to the last one hundred or so pages of this book, you could not tear me away. This part of the book made me feel so many things and everything was coming together in a way I did not expect nor want to happen, but I felt like there was just so much said in the last portion of the book. Right now I'm struggling to even type out how the ending of this book made me feel because the best way to see that is just by reading this book.
IN CONCLUSION Overall, this is a fantastic book. There is just so much in this book about imagination, family, friends, and there is just so much creativity. If it weren't for my earlier struggle, this book would be five-stars, but who knows. Maybe I'll reread this someday and up my rating. I do recommend this book and I hope this book gets the attention it deserves. I noticed that Quinn Sosna-Spear has another book coming up, The Thirteenth Hour, and you bet I'm going to read that one when it comes out....more
Short and Simple Review This was one of those bittersweet books that makes you laugh but also makesThis and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd
Short and Simple Review This was one of those bittersweet books that makes you laugh but also makes your heart break. This book switches between Delia and Josie. Each POV has a clear voice specific to each girl and oftentimes their own stories, but the girls are best friends and the repertoire together was just fantastic. I don't think there are enough books featuring female friendships in YA and this book definitely gave me female friendship in such an authentic way. While there are other things happening in this book, such as Delia trying to find her dad and Josie's relationship with Lawson, at its heart this book is about a strong friendship. This isn't the first book I've read by Zentner, but I now definitely plan on reading his debut book and any other books he publishes in the future....more
MY THOUGHTS I'm having difficulty organizing my thoughts fo/>IThis and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd I received an copy of this book via Bookish First
MY THOUGHTS I'm having difficulty organizing my thoughts for this book. This is a fantastic book, but it also is a difficult book to rate.
This book primarily takes place in Madrid, 1957. It showcases Spain in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War and during the Franco dictatorship. It follows five characters. Ana, Rafael, and Julia are siblings. Their parents died after the Spanish Civil War for fighting against Franco (for believing in education free from the church). Rafael works two jobs, a butcher and a gravedigger, and is helping his friend become a bullfighter. Julia works as a seamstress and cares for her infant daughter. Ana works at a hotel, primarily making visiting rich Americans comfortable. Their cousin, Puri, works at a Catholic adoption center caring for the babies there. Unlike her cousins, she did not encounter loss from the Spanish Civil War and believes in the Franco regime. The last viewpoint is Daniel's. Daniel is an American. His family are oil tycoons from Texas, although his mother was originally from Spain. Daniel wants to become a photographer. The book primarily focuses on Daniel and Ana as they strike up a relationship, with occasional short chapters featuring the other characters.
One of my favorite things about Ruta Sepetys' writing is how she captures individuals. The book follows multiple perspectives, but each voice and perspective is unique to that person. She also writes the characters in such a way that they feel authentic and real. Their different perspectives also show how experience affects the viewpoint. Daniel sees the romanticized version of Spain at first, while Ana sees the hardship. Likewise, Puri firmly believes she is doing the right thing and that the nuns are right because of what she is taught.
Sepetys' books are always interesting because they focus on historical events that many Americans know little about--and this book is no different in that case--but the book is never just about the event or the time period. She does a great job of showing both, but by and large, this is about the people living in this situation, and that is what I love. I love being about to see the human aspect of history and humanity in these heart-wrenching situations.
Yes, this book does get heart-wrenching. I expected that going into this book. This book feels like it captures snapshots of what it was like living in this dictatorship as a young person (an apt description considering Daniel's aspirations). The pacing of this book is difficult to place. On one hand, I felt like very little was happening, which is true. The book is made up of small moments that build and build upon one another. Yet, the book did not feel like a slow read. I was drawn into these characters and even when very little was happening, I wanted to read more.
The division of the book was also very interesting. I don't want to give any what happens to divide the book, but I can say that it was done very well and I have not seen a YA book do this in quite the same way.
IN CONCLUSION Overall, this is a wonderfully written book. I loved how Sepetys wrote the characters and explored this setting. This would not be my favorite book of hers, but that's only because she's written so many other fantastic books that the competition is tough! I'm still trying to organize my thoughts about this book, though, and I'll likely be thinking about this book for a while....more
Short and Simple Review The Secret series continues and just like the last book, I found this one toThis and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd
Short and Simple Review The Secret series continues and just like the last book, I found this one to be enjoyable. There is a lot of oddities going on in this book, just like the last one, and I found it amusing keeping track of all the weird situations that Cass and Max-Ernest end up in. I felt bad for Cass because her mother had been kidnapped and she couldn't tell anyone else what was happening. There is a lot of chocolate in this book, which is why it's not good for you! I thought the uses for the chocolate were interesting although some parts in this book made me want to not eat chocolate. Same goes for the tuning fork. I thought it was really interesting, but putting an unwashed, hundreds of years old object in food and drink drove my OCD a bit crazy. The narrator continues to interrupt the story in interesting ways. As this book drew to a close, the reader gets a lot more information (a lot more than the narrator likely intended!) and ended in a very suspenseful way!...more
Short and Simple Review I have to admit that I did not like this one as much as the previous two. IThis and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd
Short and Simple Review I have to admit that I did not like this one as much as the previous two. I still loved it, I gave it four stars, but that is one less star than the previous books. For some odd reason, I felt like I was slogging through this book and it felt like it had middle-book-syndrome, even though it's not the middle book in the series. The book starts off right away, continuing off from the cliffhanger from the last book. That part was edge-of-your-seat, I need to know what happens next, excitement, but it did not last long. That's what it felt like for a lot of the book. Every time a big moment happened it was over too quickly. I did not feel like we stayed long enough in certain moments and it made the pacing slower for me. Now, the pacing did eventually pick up closer to the end and a lot of exciting things happened near the end, but it was still quickly wrapped up (although there were some really interesting scenes). The ending was still a satisfying ending.
And again, even though the pacing was off for me, I still loved this book. I love the characters and there was a lot explored in this book, expanding upon the ideas on the previous books. There is a big focus on what it means to be mech, human, or both (view spoiler)[as Noemi is now part mech part human (hide spoiler)]. The consciousness of a mech or a human, these scenes with Abel were some of the more interesting scenes in the book. There is especially a focus on morality, selflessness, and love. I still think that this book was great and all-in-all this is a fantastic sci-fi series. I hope Claudia Gray has another great sci-fi series being published because, after this series and the Firebird trilogy, I have high expectations for any sci-fi series she writes. ...more
MY THOUGHTS Reviews seemed to be mixed when it comes to this book, either you absolutely loved it, or yThis and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd
MY THOUGHTS Reviews seemed to be mixed when it comes to this book, either you absolutely loved it, or you don't. I, for one, absolutely loved this book! Once I entered this world I didn't want to stop reading it!
This book is divided into two POV's, Tella's and Scarlett's. To be honest, I preferred Tella's viewpoint. This may be because I loved Legendary more than Caraval, but at the beginning of the book there wasn't really a whole lot going on with Scarlett's POV. She was mainly reacting to things and acting upset with Julian in the beginning. As the story progressed, she did actually become a major player, but I was still more interested in Tella's perspective. Tella's chapters oftentimes had more agency, more heart, and I couldn't always guess what she was going to do. Tella is also so much more outspoken and I felt like her emotions were more complex. With Scarlett, I knew that she was going to end up with Julian, with Tella... there was a lot more going on. I will say that with both characters there has been a lot of change and one of my favorite parts about this series is that it is focused on a pair of sisters.
Now, I gotta talk about the romance, because you know there's romance. Again, with Scarlett, there wasn't much of a mystery there. There was kind of a love triangle, but not really. With Tella, there was a lot going on. When it came to the romance in Tella's POV I had no clue where it was going to head. She is still upset with Legend throughout most of the book and Jacks is also hanging around. I wouldn't call this a love triangle because there is a lot more complicated emotions here than a typical love triangle. Jacks, as a Fate, is not exactly a great guy, but he and Tella are connected together in some way. This book really played with my emotions and the Tella and Jacks situation was certainly one such case. I did not want them to be together, but I also was really interested in some of the scenes in which they interacted. A lot of confusing emotions in this book. I like Dante in the last book, but he is more Legend in this book than Dante. He has quite a few flaws and I don't really agree with some of the things he did, but, yeah, still wanted to ship it.
IN CONCLUSION Overall, I really loved this book and I didn't want to stop reading it! This was so much different than the last few books, the events were on a grander scale, and I just loved following these characters. There is a hint in this book that made me wonder if there will be a spin-off series, and I really hope there is, but whether there is a spin-off series or not, I do want to read more from Stephanie Garber....more