Friday, December 27, 2013

The Offering: review

Title: The Offering (The Pledge #3)
Author: Kimberly Derting
Rating: 4 stars
Summary: True love—and world war—is at stake in the conclusion to The Pledge trilogy, a dark and romantic blend of dystopia and fantasy.
 Charlie, otherwise known as Queen Charlaina of Ludania, has become comfortable as a leader and a ruler. She’s done admirable work to restore Ludania’s broken communications systems with other Queendoms, and she’s mastered the art of ignoring Sabara, the evil former queen whose Essence is alive within Charlie. Or so she thinks.

 When the negotiation of a peace agreement with the Queendom of Astonia goes awry, Charlie receives a brutal message that threatens Ludania, and it seems her only option is to sacrifice herself in exchange for Ludanian freedom.

 But things aren’t always as they seem. Charlie is walking into a trap—one set by Sabara, who is determined to reclaim the Queendoms at any cost.

I finally figured out the genre of the Pledge series: medieval dystopian. I mean, Queendoms, old technology, magical powers...totally fits, right? Also, I really need to stop giggling when I read the word Queendom. It's awesome, and why haven't I read it anywhere else before.

All in all, The Offering is a great ending to the trilogy. It doesn't go on too long, things get figured out and I'm really happy with how everything turned out. But the whole romance in here irked me. There wasn't much Max and Charliana interactions, actually, but when there was...ahh let's just say unfortunately there was the "It's perfect." beat. "You're perfect." moment which just made me cringe so badly...but I got over it. Mostly the whole thing was gushy and annoying, but that's just me.

Cliche numero dos was Charliana valiantly going by herself (et sidekick) to turn herself in to the other Queen Elena that was so predictable, and really why do you have to do that, Charlie. After everything though, it wasn't some stupid selfless act; I liked how it played out. AND she let someone get sacrificed for her in the process. That's some strong Queenness, that is. War isn't pretty, duh.

Even though Charlie is Queen of her country and has like a hundred guards, I strongly supported her want of self defense lessons and hand to hand combat training. I didn't understand why this was so frowned upon, why she had to hide it. Wouldn't you be more comfortable if you knew your awesome queen was able to defend herself against possible traitors nearby, or out in the battlefield if that's where she ended up? Sure, her friends could be surprised at her for wanting to learn in the first place, but guys, get over it and support her. They did, it just took a little longer than I expected.

There is more technology and dystopian-hinted gadgets and ruins in the second book, and I missed that in here, we just got a few battles instead, which is okay. I really liked Caspar and his crew too, the forest dwellers.

If you're anxiously awaiting the release of the last book in the Pledge trilogy, don't worry, if you choose to pick The Offering up the day if its release, your new year will begin with a great, page-turning book.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Venom: review

Title: Venom (Secrets of the Eternal Rose #1)
Author: Fiona Paul
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: ya historical fiction, mystery
Summary: Cassandra Caravello is one of Renaissance Venice’s lucky elite: with elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, her own lady’s maid, and a wealthy fiancé, she has everything a girl could desire. Yet ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape.

When Cass stumbles upon a murdered woman—practically in her own backyard—she’s drawn into a dangerous world of courtesans, killers, and secret societies. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a mysterious artist with a mischievous grin... and a spectacular skill for trouble. Can Cassandra find the murderer, before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancé, or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco?

Beauty, love, romance, and mystery weave together in a stunning novel that’s as seductive and surprising as the city of Venice itself.

My review: 

It did take about 80 pages till I could really get into Venom. But once those dead bodies started showing up, I couldn't put it down.

The setting is different; Renaissance Venice. It's beautifully described, but realistically, not an ideal picture of the place, which made every scene that much more believable. With all the mention of different Pilazzos and the island she resides on, I did have a hard time mapping the place together. (also, I haven't been to Venice yet.) Maybe a map would have been good to have in the front of the book.

Yes. There is a love triangle. Thankfully that awful thing wasn't used much in Venom because one of the guys isn't really present until near the end. Unfortunately that might change in Belladonna. But who knows. I can say Cassandra's feelings and situation made her stand out from other love triangles I've scorned in the past. So I give the author kudos for that.

Besides the love triangle issue, guys this book is a murder mystery! And it has no supernatural beings!! Isn't that awesome? So rare nowadays. I love how Cass is superstitious, probably how I would be in her position. And Falco is all, don't be foolish, there are regular evil humans who exist. You have no idea how happy I am that this didn't turn into a paranormal. Historical fiction! One of the best ya hist-fic I've read.

My one concern is I can't really get a grasp of the ages of our characters. Was there a mention of fifteen early on in the book for Cass? It's sort of disorienting, and I don't know the time well enough when one girl would become engaged. Fifteen indeed, or more like eighteen? If anyone caught that, let me know.

I'm so glad I already own the second book!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Help my local indie bookstore!

Hello bookish people! Something exciting is happening: my indie bookstore needs your support! :)

Changing Hands Bookstore is the oldest and largest bookstore in Arizona, and the only independent bookstore around me. I spend way too much time there and buy all my books from them, know everyone who works there, and they even have programs for younger teens to read ARCs and review them in the store. I especially have that program to thank, for without it I would not have thought to start this book blog. They also have authors come frequently to talk and sign books, which is so cool for fans and bloggers and people who like signed books. (Who doesn't?)

Their 40th anniversary is coming up in the spring, and some great news is they have expanded to a second location which should be opening up in a few months. It is deeper into the city, and they are even building a cafe/bar into it which is so super cool. But they need your help! Changing Hands has started an IndiGoGo campaign to help build the store, and for donating even the small amount of $10 you can get neato bookish perks.

There's only 12 days left but they're more than halfway there! And they only get the funds if the campaign reaches its goal. If you want to help decrease world suck by supporting an independently owned business, I really suggest clicking this link to even just take a look at their hilarious video.

Here's the page: Frank 'N Moby Build a Bookstore

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and hopefully you can help my bookstore out! :)

Share the awesome!


Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Iron Knight & MaddAddam: mini reviews

Title: The Iron Knight (Iron Fey #4)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Source: Changing Hands Bookstore
Rating: 5 stars
Summary: To cold faery prince Ash, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing any gentler feelings the Winter prince might have had. Or so he thought.

Then Meghan Chase; a half human, half fey slip of a girl; smashed through his barricades, binding him to her irrevocably with his oath to be her knight. And when all of Faery nearly fell to the Iron fey, she severed their bond to save his life. Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer fey can survive.

With the unwelcome company of his archrival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cait sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a journey he is bound to see through to its end: a quest to find a way to honor his vow to stand by Meghan's side.

To survive in the Iron Realm, Ash must have a soul and a mortal body. But the tests he must face to earn these things are impossible. And along the way Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice.

My Review:

Wow, well, this was like a billion times better than the first three books in my opinion. I am so glad I stuck with the series. It's never been one of my favorite series, but I bought all the books, so I stuck them between other reading this past year. 

I am so glad this book exists, and is in Ash's pov because he really needed some peace of mind, or whatever you call it. The Iron Knight is certainly your old-fashioned tale of dashing princes, epic trials, soul-searching, and most importantly, comic relief. Maybe my problem with the previous books was that I just couldn't ever completely like Meghan. So since she wasn't really in much of this, I was able to focus on the rest of the supporting characters, and actually pay attention to them.

Also, great middle-epilogue. We manage to get a HEA without all the cheesiness. So glad! But the actual ending was sort of bittersweet. I think it's easy to say Puck and Ash's relationship is my favorite in this series; it's so complicated and true.

If you thought the ending to The Iron Queen was good, the ending to The Iron Knight is fantastic.

I'm not sure I will continue on to the sequel series, but if I do, it will be after they're all out, like I did with this one. And only if I'm reassured that's all she's going to write. I can't have her go all Cassandra Clare on me, one is certainly enough. ;)

(Um, small use of language below, in case that offends. But if you're used to reading Atwood's books, it probably wouldn't.)

Title: MaddAddam (MaddAddam Trilogy #3)
Source: Changing Hands Bookstore
Rating: 5 stars
Summary: A man-made plague has swept the earth, but a small group survives, along with the green-eyed Crakers – a gentle species bio-engineered to replace humans. Toby, onetime member of the Gods Gardeners and expert in mushrooms and bees, is still in love with street-smart Zeb, who has an interesting past. The Crakers’ reluctant prophet, Snowman-the-Jimmy, is hallucinating; Amanda is in shock from a Painballer attack; and Ivory Bill yearns for the provocative Swift Fox, who is flirting with Zeb. Meanwhile, giant Pigoons and malevolent Painballers threaten to attack. 

My Review:

What captures me most in this trilogy, now more than before, in MaddAddam, is the unconventional narrative style. It reads like a story, as in storytelling, not in book-reading, if you follow me. With the complexity of the characters lives twined together throughout years of events, much of the book is told in dialogue and flashbacks. Our main point of view is from Toby, though it's third person, present tense. In my opinion, that is probably the most horrible viewpoint decision, but because of the whole storytelling thing, it's really the only way to go, and I think it worked for the most part. Near the end that all got very different with Blackbeard (one of the Crakers) narrating and helping out due to Toby's deterioration, but nevertheless still as captivating.

Oh the slang/lingo/language she came up many strange combinations of words and play on words...I can't even begin to list them, but one that was most intriguing was the Church of PetrOleum and the entire belief system related. The creativeness impressed me most definitely.

For one final small thought, one of my favorite Craker understandings was this: When Snowman-the-Jimmy started to recover, he realized some things and naturally when bad things happened, he would cry, Oh Fuck! and the Crakers would pester: Oh Toby, what is this Fuck? Who is it and where is it? She had to give some reasonable reply, so she said, "Fuck is who we call on when we need help and are desperate; Fuck flies through the air and gives aid to who needs it." The definitions she had to create for the Crakers...they really make you think about what we say every day.

MaddAddam answers all those questions and whereabouts of people that were introduced in the first two books, and it ends well, but with lots of bloodshed. I would recommend reading "Oryx and Crake" and "The Year of the Flood" before MaddAddam, but it doesn't really matter what order you read the first two, but this one really should be read last.

Hm. Those didn't end up to be mini reviews, did they?
-Jane :)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Across A Star-Swept Sea: review

Title: Across A Star-Swept Sea (For Darkness Shows the Stars #2) (but can be read as a standalone)
Author: Diana Peterfreund
Rating: 5 stars
Source: Changing Hands Bookstore
Summary: Centuries after wars nearly destroyed civilization, the two islands of New Pacifica stand alone, a terraformed paradise where even the Reduction—the devastating brain disorder that sparked the wars—is a distant memory. Yet on the isle of Galatea, an uprising against the ruling aristocrats has turned deadly. The revolutionaries’ weapon is a drug that damages their enemies’ brains, and the only hope is rescue by a mysterious spy known as the Wild Poppy.

On the neighboring island of Albion, no one suspects that the Wild Poppy is actually famously frivolous aristocrat Persis Blake. The teenager uses her shallow, socialite trappings to hide her true purpose: her gossipy flutternotes are encrypted plans, her pampered sea mink is genetically engineered for spying, and her well-publicized new romance with handsome Galatean medic Justen Helo… is her most dangerous mission ever.

Though Persis is falling for Justen, she can’t risk showing him her true self, especially once she learns he’s hiding far more than simply his disenchantment with his country’s revolution and his undeniable attraction to the silly socialite he’s pretending to love. His darkest secret could plunge both islands into a new dark age, and Persis realizes that when it comes to Justen Helo, she’s not only risking her heart, she’s risking the world she’s sworn to protect.

My review:

Recently I've been in a YA book slump. I was starting to think I had outgrown any YA book I attempted. So for the past few weeks I've been distracting myself with non-fiction and classics, but finally I felt the need to read something lighter, something I could lose myself in. And if you're having the same problem, I suggest you pick this book up. It's definitely the cure.

From the first page, you'll get lost in the stunning, over-the-top costumes and luaus of Persis' island home. Though it was essential for Persis to have all this excessive luxury to help disguise her personality, I couldn't help but be awed by every bizarre creation. From her gengineered 'sea mink' to the choice of hair color, and even the whole concept of 'flutter notes'. Throughout the entire book, new tech is introduced. (In an odd way, the majority of Albions reminded me of citizens of The Capitol, and I mean that only in their fashion choices.)

Persis Blake may only be sixteen, but she has to be one of the most clever YA characters I've read in a while.  She has taken on a hugely difficult role, and pretty much has to sacrifice her personality to almost everyone she knows, in order to keep them off her tail as the Wild Poppy. Persis "Flake" is what everyone associates her with now. She's an airhead who is Princess Isla's best friend, and foremost fashion advisor. Anyway, most assume the Poppy is a man.

For those who have read For Darkness Shows the Stars…don't worry, there are cameos! I mean, they're not secret or anything. Essential to the plot line. It sure was nice to see Kai and Elliot again!

I don't want to write an overly long review of every single thing I liked about this book and all the great and important supporting characters, because I'm sure you'll just agree anyway when you read it. (It is not too late to add to your Christmas list, remember.)

All in all, Across a Star-Swept Sea is a fantastic and well-written retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel, and I'm just as impressed with it as I was the first book, a retelling of Persuasion, For Darkness Shows the Stars. I dearly hope Diana Peterfreund decides to write more retellings in this dystopian world of hers; there's so much potential. But either way, I've had a hell of a toe-curling read thus far.


I suggest reading the prequel novella The First Star to Fall, and my review of the first book is here.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Fault in Our Stars: review

Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Rating: 5 stars
Summary: Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

My Thoughts:

I never expected to write a review on this book. I mean, I don't read cancer books. And I've said that to anybody who's recommended it to me. Oh, but I am so glad I finally decided to give it a try. Now I just have to figure out how to put my thoughts into words.

First though, to be honest, this is the first book of John Green's that I've really liked. I read Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska a couple years ago, and I liked them okay, but now I guess I can say I'm a true fan, having read The Fault in Our Stars. (I'm a bit late onto that boat, but hey, I got there.) Before reading, I had no idea what the story was actually about, besides the c word, and someone named Augustus. (both of which I learned from religiously watching the videos.) I really love when books have small and unassuming summaries.

Okay. There isn't much to say. The Fault in Our Stars is a genuinely fantastic story, and I think everyone should read it. It'll probably change you, even if it's only a little. For me, I paused while reading, thought about what was said, reread passages a few times, that sort of thing. It's a thinker book. I don't come across those very often, considering how many books I read, and unfortunately it's almost unheard of in the YA section of fiction. Or maybe I just read too much fantasy.

The relationship between Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters is perfect. Perfect in the way that it's not perfect, which makes it feel so not-made-up. Their intellectual ponderings back and forth are so engaging, and there are many quote-worthy statements. On the other hand, their relationship with Van Houten is most fascinating to me, because I could never really guess how it would turn out. He is a very interesting and different character.

Even though this is a teenagers-with-cancer's really not. It's a teenager book. The teenagers may talk about death a lot, well, because they'll die a lot sooner than most teenagers expect to. There is an international flight, which is slightly more unusual for a teenager book. And there is kissing. But it's safe to say any age reader would enjoy this story.

I guess, it's the way that cancer is talked about, that makes it different. Teenagers/young adults/kids have cancer...but they're still just that. Cancer is cancer, which sucks like no other, but to me, this story shows how people can separate themselves from it, if that's making any sense. The tone is uplifting, in a way that makes you crack a smile between the tears every now and then.

I think I found the right time to read this, too: A few weeks ago my mom finally reached her five-year-free of cancer anniversary. This past weekend, I walked the Susan G Komen 3-day walk with her and saw hundreds of cancer survivors and thought of the thousands that didn't. And I read most of the book with my cancerous cat wheezing on my shoulder. So safe to say, it was an emotional weekend.

My only regret upon finishing it. I wish I could go back and read it again for the first time. I didn't mind the crying, it was worth it.


Post Script, I totally can't wait to see the movie.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Moon and More: review

Title: The Moon and More
Author: Sarah Dessen
Rating: 4 stars
Summary: Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough.

Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo's sophisticated, exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby.

Emaline's mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he's convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar world of Colby?

Emaline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where she's going?

Sarah Dessen's devoted fans will welcome this story of romance, yearning, and, finally, empowerment. It could only happen in the summer.

My review:

While this is not my favorite of her books, I still definitely recommend it to any Dessen or contemporary reader. It's a nice escape read, which was really good for me after reading a rather depressing and deep book. The Moon and More is on the longer side (for her books) at about 430 pages, but it's entertaining enough to deserve that length.

My favorite thing to do while reading Sarah Dessen's books is finding all the cameos along the way, from her other books. Colby is a small town, but with each book, I feel more and more familiar with it and it's people. I was able to find quite a few references in here, including a moment of "Gotcha!" which made me laugh.

Benji, Emaline's half-brother, is probably the character I like most next to Morris. My heart broke for that little ten-year-old, and if I lived in Colby, I'd totally adopt him as my little brother. He has a crazy spirit and is full of fun ideas. Morris on the other hand, IS my little brother...needing-exact-instructions and shuffle-step and everything. It's really hilarious how Emaline describes her best friend.

Emaline's famliy Realty company sounds busy, hard, and would probably be really fun to watch on a show. Her family is an odd bunch, but for the most part, everyone gets along and it's nice to read about them. I would like to see some other story off of one of those characters, even though they're all

My main issue with the book is actually the whole relationship thing with Emaline. It seems a little weak, and even though the new-guy-love-interest (aka Theo which is an awesome name by the way) has some enjoyable quirks to start out with...well honestly he was really annoying. I feel if I met him in real life I'd just walk away while he kept talking. At first it was sweet, because he's so enthusiastic about everything in the world, but then I started to see what Emaline started to see: Not From Around Here. And I didn't really like it.

Luke, the boyfriend, was okay. He wasn't in the story overly much for me to really get a huge opinion on him. Nice guy. That's about all I can come up with. Not too much development.

Maybe that's what this book was supposed to be about, not about the boys and drama crap associated, but with Change, and how Emaline deals with that change; be it her father, Theo, Luke, Benji, school, everything. And that part of the story is really well done, that much I can say.

It's not summer anymore, but stick your feet in the sand anyway. It's a great feeling.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Dystopian Giveaway Hop!

Thanks to My Shelf Confessions and I Am A Reader, Not A Writer for hosting this hop!
You can see the complete list of hop participants here.

I'm giving away a book to two winners, from these three books. First winner picks from all, second winner picks from the remaining two.

I have a new paperback copy of Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, and ARC of Monument 14, or an ARC of Dualed up for grabs. So enter below, and I wish you luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Looking for Guest Reviewers. Also, I found this awesome blog.

(If you're looking for the Spooktacular Blog hop giveaway, keep scrolling down a bit. It's there.)


I haven't been reviewing much lately. I don't really have much of an excuse because honestly, keeping up a stream of strong opinions is kinda tiring. Not that I don't love it, but since I got back from Europe this summer, I've been rereading old books, and reading more random books, and it's been nice (and lazy) to rate it on goodreads and move on to the next one.

So, then I thought, maybe there's some people out there with budding blogs, or not even bloggers, but someone who wants to rave about this really awesome book they read recently (or maybe rant about a crappy book they read recently.) Maybe they'd want me to post their review/thoughts for them, or promote their blog. I'd probably get more of a variety of books, and I'd meet new bookish people.

If you're interested in posting a review here, send me an email, and for now, the months of November and December will be mainly consisting of guest bloggers. Assuming I get any responses...but hey, it's worth a try.


I just stumbled upon this totally awesome blog. I think it's relatively new because there is no way I could have missed this before. Now, naturally I have to tell everyone I know about it. See, it's called the Recaptains. And they save the world. One book recap at a time.

Here they are, and I added their button to my sidebar. Beware. Spoilers. (duh.)

I recently read the one for Insurgent, since I opened my copy of Allegiant yesterday and had no idea who all the minor characters were. Now I do! And Maggie Stiefvater personally wrote a recap for The Raven Boys, so go over there for the very least to read that one.

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Horde: review

*Warning: possible mild spoilers for the first two books*

See my review of Enclave, and Outpost.

Title: Horde (Razorland #3)
Author: Ann Aguirre
Rating: 5 stars
Release Date: October 29th 2013
Summary: The horde is coming.

Salvation is surrounded, monsters at the gates, and this time, they're not going away. When Deuce, Fade, Stalker and Tegan set out, the odds are against them. But the odds have been stacked against Deuce from the moment she was born. She might not be a Huntress anymore, but she doesn't run. With her knives in hand and her companions at her side, she will not falter, whether fighting for her life or Fade's love.

Ahead, the battle of a lifetime awaits. Freaks are everywhere, attacking settlements, setting up scouts, perimeters, and patrols. There hasn't been a war like this in centuries, and humans have forgotten how to stand and fight. Unless Deuce can lead them.

This time, however, more than the fate of a single enclave or outpost hangs in the balance. This time, Deuce carries the banner for the survival of all humanity.

My Review:

  Wow. I'm a bit stunned. This was better than I could even imagine. I got chills at one point, and teared up at another. It's a long book. Many things happen, trust me. I did not want this book to end.

  To be clear, this is not a zombie book. This is a book about war. A war against something they can't identify at the moment, can't really fathom. But it's certainly not zombies. And I really hope you've figured this out by now in the series. It's something way cooler than zombies. I'll just leave it at that.

  In regards to her relationship with Fade, it reminds me a bit like Wash and Zoe. Deuce is the strong, dominant one, and Fade is actually pretty emotionally compromised for a lot of this book. (Not that Wash is like that, but he isn't as much as a fighter as Zoe. Maybe this comparison just died at my fingertips.) Anyway, it's like, equality in their relationship then. Deuce is all "you can lean on my shoulder all you need, I'm here and not going anywhere. I got your back." I like her security and confidence.

  Also! Once more, Stalker is not a love triangle angle. Aguirre said so herself at the talk I went to. It's more like a love...line between the three of them. I am just so glad he isn't. He's nice and all, I guess, but totally not right for Deuce. Maybe in another universe, I can see that. But not in this storyline. The triangle that appears in the second book only really surfaces out of Deuce's ignorance on her half; she's not aware about how she is acting, and what it means. And I completely accept that as a legit mistake. It makes a good subplot. Okay, rant over now.

  I love all the new things Deuce learns every day. Small things that people have to learn, that didn't occur to me. Things like currency, what a guilty conscience is, basic cultural traditions, new words... and especially one thing that stood out: what a biased opinion is. I think this discovery really changes her world-view. To paraphrase what Deuce says, "I just thought something was true, or not true." That possibility sparks her curiosity about the history of human settlements and what exactly Freaks are, which is an essential part to the story.

  Deuce is a very strong girl. And I don't mean that in the normal kickass way (there's plenty of that!), but she's a strong person inside, too. Aguirre has figured out to make Deuce almost-girly and compassionate, because a true strong female character is strong in spirit as well. As we're seeing that, Deuce is learning that herself, too. It's okay to hug someone; that doesn't make you weak.

  Like I said though, there's plenty of ass that gets kicked. Freaks go down in the hundreds, and with Deuce leading the humans against them, reminding me of River Tam all along, you get really sucked into the war right along side everyone. So watch out, and hold your ground as you finish this fantastic trilogy.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop!

As usual, this annual hop is hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer, and you can find the complete list of participants down below.

For this hop, in the spirit of spookiness, I have a few options. There will be two winners! They can each choose up to two books from the ones listed below. US entries only, guys.

A Spark Unseen by Sharon Cameron is an ARC.
The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron is a hardback from the publisher, read once.
Dead Silence and Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting are ARCs, and both signed by her. :):)

I think those books all have an element of creepiness, right? You can't go wrong with a gothic setting and dead people.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Fall of Five: review

Warning, series spoilers ahead!

Title: The Fall of Five (Lorien Legacies #4)
By: Pittacus Lore
Rating: 5 stars
Summary: John Smith—Number Four—thought that things would change once the Garde found each other. They would stop running. They would fight the Mogadorians. And they would win.

But he was wrong. After facing off with the Mogadorian ruler and almost being annihilated, the Garde know they are drastically unprepared and hopelessly outgunned. Now they’re hiding out in Nine’s Chicago penthouse, trying to figure out their next move.

The six of them are powerful, but they’re not strong enough yet to take on an entire army—even with the return of an old ally. To defeat their enemy, the Garde must master their Legacies and learn to work together as a team. More importantly, they’ll have to discover the truth about the Elders and their plan for the Loric survivors.

And when the Garde receive a sign from Number Five—a crop circle in the shape of a Loric symbol—they know they are so close to being reunited. But could it be a trap? Time is running out, and the only thing they know for certain is that they have to get to Five before it’s too late.


   I think these books just keep getting better and better. And after the whirlwind of this one, I can't wait to get my hands on the last book of the series that I'm *hoping* comes out next year. But, you know, a tomorrow-release would be great too. Just sayin.

   The great thing is, that even though there are a lot of POVs switching in here, the different fonts make it a step easier to keep track of, and they're also all in first person. So my normally pet peeve rant about multiple POVs can be excluded from this review.

   I know the author is a pretty seasoned writer (the first book had me cringing more than once), but his writing and storytelling have gotten way better with each book in this series so far. In The Fall of Five, the mention of the "love triangle crap" is even lampshaded. That gets points from me.

   There are a few new characters introduced, Mal, Adam, and Five obviously. First two: good first impressions. Five: bad first impression. And while the character of Five is essential to all the Garde reuniting and saving the world blah blah blah...I never ended up liking him and his sweaty palms all that much. As for the rest of the Garde, Nine is annoying but funny, Marina is pretty neat, and reminds me of a sort of motherly type for the group, and Six is still the most badass.

   My favorite character is still Sam. Sam the human. (Well, Sarah is a human too. And she's a little more tolerable now.) Anyway, I feel I can connect most with him, out of all the characters in this series. Not because I'm like him at all, but I would love to be who he is in the story. The one who reacts positively when being told your best friend is an alien. I mean, who wouldn't think that's totally awesome, right?? You need help saving the world? I don't mind being the nerdy sidekick! Maybe I can help the planetary relations once this is all over. All in all, he is a Goode character, and I really hope he doesn't die.


You can see my review of the previous book, The Rise of Nine, here.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Books for trade/sale

Okay! Since my trade shelf is bursting, and I need more room, I'd like to direct you to my up-for-trade list. Most of these books are ARCs and in great condition. I have them all posted on the YA Book Exchange, and so here are the Books I Have For Trade and make sure to scroll through all the pages... (My wishlist is posted with the book.)

If you're looking to trade, just email me and we can figure something out! I know the obvious solution to deplete my extra books is to hold a giveaway, but don't worry, I do have a few of those lined up.

(And if you're just really wanting a book, I might be willing to just send it to you if you pay shipping...just let me know.)

So anyway, that is all. Happy reading!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Down and Out in Paris and London: review

Title: Down and Out in Paris and London
Author: George Orwell
Rating: 4 stars
Summary: This unusual fictional account - in good part autobiographical - narrates without self-pity and often with humor the adventures of a penniless British writer among the down-and-out of two great cities. The Parisian episode is fascinating for its expose of the kitchens of posh French restaurants, where the narrator works at the bottom of the culinary echelon as dishwasher, or plongeur. In London, while waiting for a job, he experiences the world of tramps, street people, and free lodging houses. In the tales of both cities we learn some sobering Orwellian truths about poverty and society.

This is a very easy book to just read in one sitting. The writing is quick and the chapters just blend together. I'm kind of glad I didn't read this before my Europe trip, because I would have forgotten the time gap, and crossed those two disgusting cities off my list. (Which, I can now report, are much improved.)

There are two distinct parts to the book, the narrator's time in Paris, and then in London. I have to admit, for the first 30 pages or so, I thought this was a non-fictional account of Orwell's history growing up since the main character doesn't actually have a name, and the back cover almost implies it. But I think it's just based off of some of his experiences, because there are sure some dirty secrets I'm sure weren't common knowledge at the time.

I enjoyed the Paris work more, because though it was extremely gritty and depressing, it's Paris. And I'm growing fond of that city, no matter its faults. What amazed me the most is how little you can actually live on, after pawning all your possessions, and not eating for days on end. It made me lethargic just thinking about his days. Life as a "poulanger" (can't remember it exactly?) sounds awful, and I don't know how people did that sort of thing. There isn't life, it's just getting by; having no bigger purpose than a few hours work in the future.

For London, he mainly talked about where to sleep every night. Those spikes were described so horrendously, it was hard to believe. I am so glad the hostel-like places have improved since, at least, in the cleanliness factor. The thing that kept confusing me was all the different ways of adding up money. There's too many different terms for sixpence, halfpence, one and fourpenny, etc besides that, I mean, you can pretty much tell he's living dollar to dollar.

He did meet many unique individuals during his time in both cities, and those snippets of people's lives really gave this book a heart, and showed me people do this, or did this, and survived. Some of course, better off than others, but really it's quite impressive.

And that six-page chapter in the middle somewhere, describing all the slang and swear words of London in that time, was totally enjoyable.

I highly recommend this book.


I have yet to read his famous 1984 but I did read Animal Farm a while back which was...interesting.

How'd you like this? Should I do more non-YA book reviews? I do read a number of classics and adult books, just don't always take the time to review them.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Deepest Night: review

Title: The Deepest Night (The Sweetest Dark #2)
Author: Shana Abé
Rating: 4 stars
Summary: It’s 1915, and sixteen-year-old Lora Jones is finishing up her first year as a charity student at Iverson, a prestigious, gothic boarding school on England’s southern coast. While she’s always felt different from everyone around her, now she finally knows why: She is a drákon, a rare, enchanted being with astonishing magical abilities.

  As war hits Britain’s shores, and Lora reels from an unimaginable loss, she finds that her powers come with grave and dangerous responsibilities. At the request of Armand Louis, the darkly mysterious boy whose father owns Iverson, Lora will spend her summer at his lavish estate. To help the war effort—and to keep Lora by his side—Armand turns his home into a military hospital, where Lora will serve as a nurse. For Armand is inescapably drawn to her—bound to her by heart-deep secrets and a supernatural connection that runs thicker than blood.

  Yet while Lora tries to sort out her own feelings toward Armand, fate offers an unexpected surprise. Lora discovers there is another drákon, a prisoner of war being held in Germany. And that only she, with her newly honed Gifts, will be able to rescue him.

  With Armand, Lora will cross enemy lines on an incredible mission—one that could bond her to Armand forever, or irrevocably tear them apart.

 My review:

   This is the third good-second-book in a row this week. I'm happy. Authors, you keep these coming now, okay? *knocks on wood*

   For the most part, I have no particular strong feelings to point out in here. These are my escape novels, and I don't have to think more than "well, I wish I could Turn to a dragon like that." So that's a nice break, of course. My one complaint of course, was upon reding the first page and remembering my favorite character had died in the first book....still a bit mad that. But this romance sort of thing is okay, and I'm less annoyed at it now. Wow I managed that without any obvious spoilers.

   It's also refreshing to read a new book of an established author. Nowadays there are so many debuts out there; while that's great and exciting, it's also sometimes hard for me to read a bunch, because I can tell they're still trying to find their own niche and style in the writing world.

   While I'll always be a bigger fan of Abé's adult drakon series, little by little this series is growing on me. I do like how certain people/things subtly connect with the other books, but there are still so many unanswered questions, and I am now anxious for the third and final book in the trilogy.


My review of the first book is here.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Dance of the Red Death: review

Title: Dance of the Red Death (Masque #2)
Author: Bethany Griffin
Rating: 4 stars
Summary: In Dance of the Red Death, Araby’s world is in shambles—betrayal, death, disease, and evil forces surround her. She has no one to trust. But she finds herself and discovers that she will fight for the people she loves, and for her city.

Her revenge will take place at the menacing masked ball, though it could destroy her and everyone she loves…or it could turn her into a hero.

With a nod to Edgar Allan Poe, Bethany Griffin concludes her tragic and mysterious Red Death series with a heroine that young adult readers will never forget.

When I first heard this was going to be a duo, I got really excited because I really loved the first book. Them for some reason around the release, I started coming across a bunch of terrible reviews. So I warily ordered it from the library...and it was just as awesome and exciting as the first! A great conclusion of the story, and I can't wait for Griffin's next Poe retelling. Araby's world has such a vivid atmosphere, and I can guess the next story will be just as dark. (Because Poe, you know.)

Only a couple things bugged me. Both of those are called Elliott. (Not really. just the first.) I'm honestly not sure why everyone seems to be "Team Elliott" because I can't stand a single word that comes out of his mouth. And the fact that Araby is/was sort of in love with him or something...ugh. If the rest of the storyline wasn't so good, I would have serious issues with that character. He's possessive, selfish, arrogant, and downright sadistic and manipulative. (Yeah, I know. Bad childhood. But really??) I just don't get how anyone could like him. This is me being harsh. But it is my opinion.

The imagery with the masquerade ball and Prospero's palace, and the airship, swamp, even the Red Death victims....all very realistic. Still, still, cannot picture how exactly the porcelain masks work. Since this series is kind of steampunk, I think it would have been cool to have a few "info blurbs" and sketches every now and then in the books.

You can see my review of the first book, Masque of the Red Death here.

By the by, Bethany Griffin's next book will be another Poe retelling, called The Fall. <-- add on Goodreads!


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Just Like Fate: review

Title: Just Like Fate
Authors: Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young
Rating: 4.5 stars
Source: review copy from the publisher for an unbiased review
Summary: Caroline is at a crossroads. Her grandmother is sick, maybe dying. Like the rest of her family, Caroline's been at Gram's bedside since her stroke. With the pressure building, all Caroline wants to do is escape--both her family and the reality of Gram's failing health. So when Caroline's best friend offers to take her to a party one fateful Friday night, she must choose: stay by Gram's side, or go to the party and live her life.

The consequence of this one decision will split Caroline's fate into two separate paths--and she's about to live them both.

Friendships are tested and family drama hits an all-new high as Caroline attempts to rebuild old relationships, and even make a few new ones. If she stays, her longtime crush, Joel, might finally notice her, but if she goes, Chris, the charming college boy, might prove to be everything she's ever wanted.

Though there are two distinct ways for her fate to unfold, there is only one happy ending...


   I hear parallel universes are the new dystopian now, eh? Well count me in because this is my first book in the subject, and I'm a fan already. (Honestly, I think I've seen quite a few parallel universe stories out there the past few years, I just avoid them because I can't stand mirrored covers. But I'm getting past those shallow thoughts...slowly)

   Picking this book up to read was a no-brainer since I've been a huge fan of Cat Patrick's from the start, and more recently started fangirling over Suzanne's newest book, The Program. I haven't read many co-authored books...actually at the moment, I can't recall a single one. I definitely recognized Cat Patrick's writing style over Suzanne Young's, but that's probably because I've read more of her books, and I've only read Young's dystopian/futuristic-esque. One thing I'm curious about; how did they write it? I wonder which author wrote which decision?

   So as far as the story goes, you have the two different paths, "stay" and "go" which flip each chapter, and I am so glad the choice is written on the bottom of each page because I think I would have gotten confused and mixed the two up. They're obviously different, but the same events happen this way and that, and I had to pause and trace things back from time to time. At first I was rooting for the events of "stay" to be the real one, (or whatever is supposed to happen at the end) but my opinion quickly swayed back to "go" and I liked the story a lot more in those chapters.

   From the perspective of a newbie in this branch of sci-fi, it was very cool to see a character's different choices. Like, instead of screaming in frustration for choosing one way or another, I was like, oh, I get my way too. So now I will be on the lookout for more parallel universe books, if anyone has good recs, I'm all ears. Just Like Fate is a light read; I read it in a day. But it did have some good thought provoking aspects for teenagers, and I really liked that. Also, the ending is satisfyingly ambiguous.


To read my reviews of Cat Patrick's books: Forgotten, Revived, The Originals
And my review of The Program by Suzanne Young is here.

Thanks again to Simon and Schuster for the book; this review is in no way biased, these are my honest thoughts.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Crown of Midnight: review

Title: Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Rating: 5 stars
Summary: After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king's contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.

Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king's bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she's given a task that could jeopardize everything she's come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon -- forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice. 

Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?

Is it just me, or have there been more and more quality sequels coming out? *knocks on wood*

To start with, when I read Throne of Glass, I liked it. Celaena turned out to be a snarky cool character and the story had potential. But the book didn't stick with me. I don't own it, and I never really told anyone "dude you HAVE to go read this book." As far as fantasy goes, even though everybody was absolutely raving about it, my favorite aspect probably had to be the badass cover. (See my ToG review and cover comparison here.)

When I stumbled upon a galley of Crown of Midnight, I figured the first book had lots of potential, so I'll see if this second book is any good.

I am so glad I did.

There isn't much recap, but if you remember the main characters, that'll keep you in the loop. I was fuzzy on the rest, but as things kept moving forward in here, I just paid attention to what was in store next. There is literally no boring pages or chapters, and I finished the first half of the book in one sitting before I even realized it.

I have a feeling Maas has read some good fantasy, and used that knowledge to build a fantastical world of her own. She knows how to correctly make a fictional world. In Throne of Glass, you don't get to see much of the world besides the mines of Endovier, and the Glass Castle. It's really in the pre-novellas and the ones coming before Crown of Midnight that give you more of a glimpse of Celaena's world. I have a feeling the third book will open the world up yet again.

As far as POV goes, (one of the main points I pay attention to when picking a book,) it is third person like the first. We do get a handful of scenes in Chaol's, Dorian's, and the king's POV, but they're usually short and mysterious. And they're usually because Celaena's knocked out somewhere. For the most part, it works well for the writing style and the story.

There is some major character growth in here, guys. I can't say all I want to say without ruining the book for you. But whereas I thought the main cast of characters to be basic, rather shallow creatures in ToG, there is so much fleshing out and angles being uncovered, I am extremely grateful I kept going on the series. Even just Celaena, who has been keeping her past very secret. I kept asking myself "did I miss something from the first book, when her past is explained? Or the novellas?" Well, you'll see.

There has never been a more appropriate thing to say about this series: Who can you trust? Because I thought I had it all figured out a half-dozen times while reading Crown of Midnight. And Maas really has a way of making you think you know what's going on. Trust me, you don't.

Most of why my views did a one eighty in CoM, is full of spoilers, but when you read it and things start coming together, you will know exactly what I am talking about, and probably love it more than the first one as well.

Of course I can recommend this series to fans of Maria V. Snyder's Study Series, Cashore's Graceling books, and perhaps some old Eragon fans. (What? Really? Yes. Really.)

Did anyone notice how in Goodreads there's all the sudden six books in the series? At first I was annoyed, because I knew I would have to read them all. But after finishing CoM I am very, very glad. A lot of things need to happen. Artifacts to find...people to assassinate...I can't wait.

For those who have read Crown of Midnight, what'd you think of it?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I'm back! And some summer mini-reviews for you.

Hiatus over! I'm back from backpacking around Europe this summer. While I was gone, my Kindle kept me company, so I did not go completely without books. (It sure was hard though, and I missed my paper books at home very much.) I did read about 35 books, but here are a few I bothered to write mini-reviews for. These are also posted on Goodreads along with the rest of what I read on the trip.

The Girl Who Was on Fire: Hunger Games Trilogy essays anthology
Summary: In The Girl Who Was on Fire, thirteen YA authors take you back to Panem with moving, dark, and funny pieces on Katniss, the Games, Gale and Peeta, reality TV, survival, and more. From the trilogy's darker themes of violence and social control to fashion and weaponry, the collection's exploration of the Hunger Games reveals exactly how rich, and how perilous, protagonist Katniss' world really is.

• How does the way the Games affect the brain explain Haymitch's drinking, Annie's distraction, and Wiress' speech problems?
• What does the rebellion have in common with the War on Terror?
• Why isn't the answer to "Peeta or Gale?" as interesting as the question itself?
• What should Panem have learned from the fates of other hedonistic societies throughout history and what can we?

My rating: 5 stars
Review: These essays were great! None in particular, because they all kind of blended together, but there were some good point of views about different themes in The Hunger Games trilogy, and now I have more appreciation to Mockingjay. I don't hate it anymore, and I'm interested to read it again with a new mindset. I definitely recommend this book if you're at all a fan of the series.

Possible series SPOILER ALERT
Summary: Kaylee has one addiction: her very hot, very popular boyfriend, Nash. A banshee like Kaylee, Nash understands her like no one else. Nothing can come between them.Until something does.

Demon breath. No, not the toothpaste-challenged kind. The Netherworld kind. The kind that really can kill you. Somehow the super-addictive substance has made its way to the human world. But how? Kaylee and Nash have to cut off the source and protect their friends—one of whom is already hooked.
And so is someone else…

My rating: barely 2 stars
Review: When I hit the "I'm finished" button for this book I truly meant it. I'm finished with this book, and series all together, I can't stand it anymore and it's not worth my reading time. I can see why these books are popular but they're just not for me. I don't want to rant unreasonably but..

The idea of banshees is wonderful and unique, but when you stick it in a high school and have underlying everyday high school problems with a paranormal just loses the charm. Anyone know of other book series on banshees?

The adults here are badly written. First, the right thing is done because the adults are actually clued into the banshee business and everything; in fact they ARE banshees too. It's a genetic thing. The problem falls when at every turn of events the main character (wait what's her name again?) is in some dire circumstance (as happens in most climaxes) and she repeatedly refuses to call her dad, or clue in her uncle. Anything. Anybody. Why? Because she is afraid of getting grounded. You know, I really don't have to keep going on that subject. It's ridiculous.

And one last small thing. The protag's cousin Sophie, aka Ice Bitch Queen Character....yeah she's freakin 15 years old. Think of that. I can't even imagine being mollified by a fifteen year old. And I hope I'm using that word right, because I don't want to be sounding like a fifteen year old.
But REALLY, I get that the protag is only barely 17 or something, but that just makes me roll my eyes.

Okay rant over. I'm disappointed. I really wanted to like this series, and I figured three books were enough to judge a seven book series.

Oh. Don't get me wrong, there were aspects I liked about these books. Tod the reaper. Netherworld-building. 
Yeah that's it.

The first two books were bearable. This pushed me over the edge.

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Althea is the sole support of her entire family, and she must marry well. But there are few wealthy suitors--or suitors of any kind--in their small Yorkshire town of Lesser Hoo. Then, the young and attractive (and very rich) Lord Boring arrives, and Althea sets her plans in motion. There's only one problem; his friend and business manager Mr. Fredericks keeps getting in the way. And, as it turns out, Fredericks has his own set of plans . . . This witty take on the classic Regency--Patrice Kindl's first novel in a decade--is like literary champagne!

My rating: 5 stars
Review: Excellent book! I already wish I could read it for the first time again. There are many laugh out loud moments; the story doesn't take itself entirely seriously. Every time someone mentioned Lord Boring, or Mr. Fredericks did something stupid and tactless around Althea, my face broke out into a smile. If you've recently finished reading all of Jane Austen's books, or others of that kind and/or need something to get out of a book funk, you have to give Keeping the Castle a try. It's a short book but has depth and the writing style is sure to keep you entertained. Now, where can I find another book like it??

Summary: Old Gods never die…

Or so Athena thought. But then the feathers started sprouting beneath her skin, invading her lungs like a strange cancer, and Hermes showed up with a fever eating away his flesh. So much for living a quiet eternity in perpetual health.

Desperately seeking the cause of their slow, miserable deaths, Athena and Hermes travel the world, gathering allies and discovering enemies both new and old. Their search leads them to Cassandra—an ordinary girl who was once an extraordinary prophetess, protected and loved by a god. 

These days, Cassandra doesn’t involve herself in the business of gods—in fact, she doesn’t even know they exist. But she could be the key in a war that is only just beginning. 

Because Hera, the queen of the gods, has aligned herself with other of the ancient Olympians, who are killing off rivals in an attempt to prolong their own lives. But these anti-gods have become corrupted in their desperation to survive, horrific caricatures of their former glory. Athena will need every advantage she can get, because immortals don’t just flicker out. 

Every one of them dies in their own way. Some choke on feathers. Others become monsters. All of them rage against their last breath.

The Goddess War is about to begin.

My rating: 5 stars
Review: Besides the slow (but steady) pace...totally awesome! I can't wait for the next one; Kendare is at her best, and I am still a little shocked at her brutality to her characters. Such dedication.
And yes, that is my entire review.

Summary: Riley, a teen orphan boy living in Victorian London, has had the misfortune of being apprenticed to Albert Garrick, an illusionist who has fallen on difficult times and now uses his unique conjuring skills to gain access to victims' dwellings. On one such escapade, Garrick brings his reluctant apprentice along and urges him to commit his first killing. Riley is saved from having to commit the grisly act when the intended victim turns out to be a scientist from the future, part of the FBI's Witness Anonymous Relocation Program (WARP) Riley is unwittingly transported via wormhole to modern day London, followed closely by Garrick. 

In modern London, Riley is helped by Chevron Savano, a seventeen-year-old FBI agent sent to London as punishment after a disastrous undercover, anti-terrorist operation in Los Angeles. Together Riley and Chevie must evade Garrick, who has been fundamentally altered by his trip through the wormhole. Garrick is now not only evil, but he also possesses all of the scientist's knowledge. He is determined to track Riley down and use the timekey in Chevie's possession to make his way back to Victorian London where he can literally change the world.

My rating: 5 stars
Review: Now another series from Eoin Colfer I can look forward to! It's full of action, witty dialogue, and nasty bad guys. I have a soft spot for time traveling, and this is now one of my favorites in that genre. It's for a tab bit older audience than the Artemis Fowl books, I think, because it's not as lighthearted. Great capture of the 19th century London streets though, I felt completely immersed.

Summary: Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, wants to be known as a doctor, not a necromancer. But Tsar Alexander III forbids women to attend medical school; his interest in Katerina extends only to her ability to raise the dead. Twice now, Katerina has helped him by using her power to thwart the forces of darkness—vampires bent on resurrecting the lich tsar Konstantin Pavlovich so that he can take what he sees as his rightful place on the throne. Katerina thought she had bound Konstantin to the Greylands, the realm of the dead, but he has found a way out. Now he is searching for the Morning Star, a sword that will allow him to command a legion of supernatural warriors.

Katerina must find the sword before Konstantin does—and she must travel to Egypt to do so. Along the way, she puts up with unwanted attention from her former fiancé, the nefarious Prince Danilo, and struggles with her feelings for her true love, George Alexandrovich. But with the looming threat from Konstantin, Katerina's focus remains on the sword. Russia's fate will be determined by whoever wields the Morning Star—and delivers the final blow.

My rating: 3 stars
Review: I guess I never really was a huge fan of this series to begin with. I liked it enough to keep going, but the way it was written really made it hard to follow at all, so I just picked it up here and there and that's how I got through. Not saying it's a bad series by any means, you just have to pay attention to all the Russian names and relations etc. 

So it's a nice ending to the series, but the last chapters felt rushed and completely unexpected, a tad out of character? Also, through the last two books and most of this one, Katerina was striving to be a doctor, when women weren't doctors, and how it actually played out...well I'm still not sure I like it. She seemed to compromise a few of her beliefs to be with...the one who wins the love triangle. (spoiler avoided.)

Very neutral three stars.


Well there you go! I know that doesn't nearly make up for a three-month absense, but I have some pretty good books coming up in the next couple months, so keep an eye out! Have you read anything either outstanding or awful this summer?