91 posts tagged series
Short Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Age Group: Young Adult
Genres: Fantasy, Adventure, Romance
Rating: 4/5 Stars
The danger associated with going into popular books with high expectations is that we often set said expectations so high that it’s almost impossible for any book to meet them.
I enjoyed this novel and will probably read the rest of the series, but it wasn’t my favourite book in the world. It was certainly a good high fantasy novel, but it didn’t have me completely hooked. There were some instances at the beginning that were fantastic—<spoiler>mainly that first attack when Alina went to cross The Unsea with the first army. THAT was terrifying and awesome.</spoiler>
There were moments where I was actually a little bit bored, waiting for things to happen, but at least now I know what people meant when they were talking about The Darkling! Alina herself wasn’t a bad protagonist, but I feel like she was just as much in awe of her abilities as the reader, so she was fumbling a bit for control in her new world. I feel like she will be a fantastic character in the last two books of this trilogy. In this installment, however, you can definitely see her transformation from naive girl to powerful fighter, and that makes for a love/hate relationship with her character.
I definitely recommend this series for fantasy lovers—but beware of reading reviews and getting too psyched over the hype: if you go in with no expectations, then you will enjoy the book more!
Review: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
Received From: Edelweiss
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Age Group: Young Adult
Genres: High Fantasy, Adventure, Romance
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Check it out on Goodreads here.
Snow Like Ashes is a heck of a debut from author Sara Raasch. As I’ve mentioned in my most recent reviews, I’m fairly new to the high fantasy genre and I have to say, this one rocked. It was full of adventure, revelations, and a wickedly cool world. The descriptions were great and every time magic made an appearance, I went a bit wild. Though not perfect, this was definitely a great introduction to high fantasy in the young adult age group.
Meira, the protagonist, has one of those unforgettable names because the other characters cry her name out so many times that it inspired me to create a drinking game. Honestly, it’s like everyone was calling her at some point. But I get it, it was a bit of foreshadowing for why they are always looking for her. Right?
I liked Meira because she was a badass. She didn’t take any trouble from anyone AND when someone did give her trouble, she always found a way around it. In a way, I liked her mostly because she reminded me of how I would react in a situation like hers. I’m sick of seeing female protagonists being pushovers, or people with unbelievable levels of patience. The truth is: real people make mistakes and sometimes act rashly, so it was nice to see a character whose actions were so organic, rather than planned out.
The world building was gorgeous! I don’t know how no one thought about creating a continent that is separated by seasons. Though it’s complex and intricate, Raasch’s fantastical universe is easy to get a hang of. Though my e-copy showed a very small map, I will definitely be glancing over it when it comes into my store!
While I loved Meira, I wasn’t too keen about all of the other characters. I liked Mather because he was this guy that we’re immediately introduced to as a potential love interest, so we instantly start rooting for the star-crossed lovers. But then, something happens and you’re introduced to SPOILER ALERT: A potential third point in a love triangle. Le sigh. I’m not a fan of love triangles and though this one is short lived, the idea of it being in this awesome book feels like a bit of a cop-out so some drama can come into the novel—when it is clearly not needed. But not all bad things come out of this third member in the triangle, because he ruins the potentially cliched situation that Mather and Meira almost get into it.
Now, onto the father-figure character in Meira’s life. The fact that she calls him Sir shows how disconnected she is from him, but also how she respects him (and yearns for his approval). This character, while serving his role as a motivator and a key to something that happens later on in the novel, shows Meira’s vulnerability and how alone she feels when she is actually surrounded by people. Sir’s presence shows us how plagued Meira is by her stance in the fight to get Winter, her home, back from the enemy, and how much she yearns for someone to love her. I would say that he is the spark to her internal fuse, in a way, because he is always there as a reminder of the secrets that neither Meira nor the reader knows.
Snow Like Ashes is surprisingly very dark. Though on the surface it seems like just another adventure to save a kingdom, there’s a lot of allusions to abuse—both in power and rape. This gave the novel a surprising depth, since it increased the secondhand terror that a reader might feel. Though this is fiction, it’s very disturbingly realistic.
I have multiple reasons for why I’m not giving Raasch’s novel a five star rating. Most are minor issues, like the fact that some of the characters (Like Therin) weren’t that well drawn out, so it was harder to connect and empathize with them; the slightly predictable storyline; and whole SPOILER love triangle thing.
My main reasons for not giving this one a five star rating are: the novel begins kind of slow and is a little hard to get into; and that this is part of a series, but with a couple of word changes, this could easily be a standalone novel. I don’t even know if I’ll read the sequel because I was so content with this one installment.
Would I recommend this novel? Heck yes! The conclusion gives you this huge sense of contentment after suffering through hell with Meira. You become so attached to her character that every time something huge happens or her life changes, you end up cheering.
If you like high fantasy, adventure, and kick-ass female protagonists, then you might like this one. I’m a rookie to this genre, but I’m definitely becoming more intrigued, thanks to Raasch!
-Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
This quote is pretty much my book collection in a sentence.
Review: The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
Age Group: Young Adult
Genres: Mystery, Fantasy, Steampunk
Release Date: May 14, 2013
Rating: 4/5 Stars
I went into Brandon Sanderson’s The Rithmatist with high hopes, especially since I’ve only just started getting into the whole young adult fantasy genre. I was not disappointed! While Sanderson’s novel wasn’t perfect, it was that nice mix of fun, mystery, and promise. I can’t wait for the sequel (which is supposedly coming out in 2015), and since I’m not a series girl, that’s saying a lot about this book.
Joel, the protagonist, is one of those characters that is very humble with his situation, even though he clearly yearns for more. I like the fact that he kind of teaches the reader about the art of Rithmatism as the story progresses, rather than bombard us with unknown slang and random facts. Like the students in his book, Sanderson kind of uses his story as a classroom where diagrams are on display and simple explanations of Joel’s steampunk world are readily available. I enjoyed that Joel doesn’t just info-dump his world’s history at the beginning of the novel, but instead, brings us into the heart of his love for the Rithmatic arts.
While I did like Joel’s character, I felt like his actions and the way he spoke and thought were a bit young for his age. Joel is sixteen, but with the third person narrative and his awkward conversations with his girl friend, he sounded more like a twelve-fourteen year-old just getting the hang of being a teenager. In other words, Joel was cool, but it felt like I was reading a middle grade novel rather than a young adult novel.
I think the idea of being able to create a sort of life with chalk is fantastic and as an artist, it would be amazing to see my artwork come to life. Sanderson’s idea is fresh and intricate enough that it can easily be made into a semi-long series (maybe a duology or a trilogy, at the most.) The conclusion left me with questions and new discoveries, which of course resulted in me wanting the sequel RIGHT AWAY.
Sanderson’s novel is also unique in that it doesn’t follow the usual formula. I found that in the places where he had the chance to be predictable, he did the exact opposite and fooled me. As a result, I found myself (a good kind of) wary with what would happen next. I was hooked and though it took me a while to finish this book, it’s purely because of my respect for what was going to happen next to Joel.
I was watching a YouTube video about book conclusions within a series and how sometimes a certain kind of closure is needed, even if the book is just a sequel, or the first in a multiple book series. For The Rithmatist, I can see how this issue would apply. The conclusion was well done and gave me (some) closure. Whereas I would have liked something else for Joel and for the book to simply keep going, Sanderson has other bigger, and better plans for Joel and his friends.
The pacing was great, the storyline was intriguing, captivating, and surprising, some of the characters could use a bit more work—but this is the first book in the series, so I’m not too worried about that—, and the massive twist near the end (and at the very end) had me both questioning my guessing abilities and wanting more, more, more.
In other words, this was great.
I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys a good steampunk novel that has a touch of fantasy to it. If you like mysteries and characters that are age appropriate (say, if you or your kid is 12-16), even if the characters are older than you, then this might be a book for you.
I have exciting news! On Wednesday, @yasminereads and I will be going to the #rickriordan event in #Toronto! I can’t wait to complete my collection of Riordan’s #books (before the new #series is released, of course!) If you’re going to be there, let me know! #bookstagram #percyjackson #heroesofolympus #kanechronicles #mg #middlegrade
The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard
Received From: Edelweiss
Age Group: Young Adult
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Mystery, Murder
Rating: 2/5 Stars
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first jumped into Sara Shepard’s The Perfectionists, simply because I didn’t read the synopsis (so that it could all be a surprise.) However, I actually wasn’t too surprised when this turned out to be something like Pretty Little Liars, but set in a different town. While it did have that ability to grab me until the conclusion, I was a little too eager for this book to end.
I’ll start with what went right with this book, so I can begin with a positive spin. The mystery is probably the best part of Shepard’s latest series because it actually does keep you guessing. Just like her prior series, The Perfectionists forces you to imagine the guilty party as the last person you’d ever expect, then [POSSIBLE SPOILER] pull the rug from under you. [END SPOILER] If not for the mystery, I probably would have abandoned ship on this novel early on.
But see, even the mystery was a bit frustrating because it wasn’t something new for Shepard. I remember reading the first eight novels in the Pretty Little Liars series and absolutely loving them because it was so fresh and juicy. But once more novels were announced, I decided to bypass the rest of the series. Why? Because it was just the same thing again and again, with added drama and unnecessary problems.
The Perfectionists is rife with situations that could have been easily avoided. Plus, it had plot holes (that, I know, will probably be filled later on in the series) that made me second guess a few things that I’d learned early on in the book. A lot of the drama introduced could have been solved from the moment said drama appeared—but of course, who needs common sense in a fictional world that thrives on drama? There were moments where I actually cringed and wanted to just end my experience with this book because of such unnecessary crap.
Another issue I had was how many characters there were. I know that in the synopsis (I read it when I was about halfway through the book) all of the girls are introduced, but five characters makes for a very convoluted story. During the first few chapters, when we’re getting to know each girl, I kept confusing one character with another, while forgetting who was whom and which boy belonged to which girl. It was, honestly, a mess. Plus, throw in the fact that I am very anti-third person and I wasn’t having a lot of fun with the whole thing.
The murder itself is predictable and slightly cheesy. The whole thing about them being guilty in the eyes of the law is another huge thing that could have been avoided, but nope. Instead, the girls keep their lips sealed and let the only thing that could have saved them slip by unannounced.
The conclusion is an obvious “cliffhanger” that lacked the need for me to hang on for dear life until the next book hits shelves. I was expecting what happened and was kind of surprised by the fact that the last sentence ended the way it did.
Overall, I would recommend this to fans of Sara Shepard, because you might like this if you’re missing Pretty Little Liars. You might like the mystery, drama, and twists, so check it out. For me, I think I’m going to skip Shepard’s next book in this series and wait patiently for something slightly different that doesn’t include more than two main characters and an overly complicated murder.
Sigh, Jamie ❤️ #books #bookstagram #outlander #dianagabaldon #dragonflyinamber #romance #fiction #currentlyreading #series #sequel #jamiefraser #quote
I need to be prepared for when I’m finished with #outlander…so, yeah. #books #bookstagram #dianagabaldon #series #sequel #romance #fiction #flowers #addicted #ilovejamie
The 100 series: The 100 & The 100: Day 21 by Kass Morgan
Received From: Publicist
Release Date: The 100: September 3, 2013; The 100: Day 21: September 16, 2014
Genres: Adventure, SCI-FI, Post-Apocalypse
Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: The 100: The 100: Day 21:
The 100 series by Kass Morgan has a very intriguing premise. The idea of sending kids back to an ailing Earth promised adventure, and the comparison between this series and classics that feature survival stories had me really interested. While I somewhat enjoyed this series, I was a bit bothered by a few things and felt let down, since I had to wait for the second book in order to get a more adventurous story about surviving on Earth.
It’s slightly difficult reviewing these two books because they are part of an unfinished series, but in a way, they can be seen as two different storylines. While the first book is a sort of guide to the characters and why they’re on Earth as once captured prisoners, the second book eases you into the real issues on Earth (which are hinted at the end of the first book.)
I understand Morgan’s need to introduce us to the characters since there are four (FOUR, yes, that’s not a typo) main arcs to follow throughout the series. I don’t know if I would have preferred for her to drop all of the information in a creative way at the beginning of the first novel, but the fact that she introduces these characters’ pasts through flashbacks in nearly every chapter for the first book grew very tiresome. I wanted to see the story of these kids on Earth, not their memories. If anything, the flashbacks would have worked as their own separate prequel novella, since it was like a disjointed form of storytelling throughout the book. Also, the flashbacks gave away pretty obvious stuff, which could have been better shown if they were presented as surprise endings for each respective chapter.
Also, I think that the narrative would have been a lot strong if it hadn’t been divided into four people, or at least, four characters who sounded very similar. If these characters were vastly different, then maybe it would have been better. By vastly different, I don’t characters with different socio-economic statuses, but different in how their narrative voices are represented. They all sounded kind of the same.
Those were my issues with the first book, which read more like a information dump than an actual Sci-Fi novel. The second book, however, is much better, though a bit predictable.
In the second book, the same protagonists from the previous novel reappear with greater issues on Earth. I can’t say much without ruining the book for those of you who’ve yet to read the first book in the series, but let’s just say that it is much better than the first book.
While it’s cool to meet some of the remaining ninety-odd kids that we didn’t meet in the first book, it still felt a bit disconnected. So many kids, yet somehow we only meet a dozen or so (maybe even less?). I’m not expecting to meet every kid, but not mentioning more than a dozen or so kids makes it hard to believe that there are so many of them. Also, let’s keep in mind that several huts are mentioned and the number of kids huddled in them and around them does not sound like that many kids to begin with.
For example: Come on, ONE deer for ninety-ish starving kids? Good luck. Don’t even get me started when some guy brings in a raccoon for breakfast.
While the pacing is better in the second installment, it’s rather slow, disjointed, and awkward in the first novel. I often had to put down what I was doing and force myself to read the first book. It just lacked that grabbing power that the second one had.
I really wish I could have liked these two books more, especially the first one since it’s where we get to meet some of the characters and see the situation they’re in. I wanted to like the characters and their self-sacrificing efforts to save the ones they love. But honestly, this series so far is just meh for me.
Would I read the next installment? Probably, but only because, like I said in this review, the second book is better (there has to be a formula for this, so the third book has to be even better, right?).
By the way, I loved this one comment that is made in the second book that basically describes humanity. One of the characters states that a bunch of people from different countries/nations were rounded up when the world was reaching a radioactive end, so as to leave Earth. But then one of the new characters in book two asks, quite simply, why then, with such diversity, does everyone on their ship speak only in English?
I loved that quip.
Would I recommend this series? Probably. There are people out there who love a good and easy read about a post-apocalyptic novel with a few SCI-FI touches. If you like characters who love to reminisce on the good ole days on a ship in space, then this series might be for you!
Kass Morgan, New York Times bestselling author of The 100 and its sequel Day 21, received a bachelor’s degree from Brown University and a master’s from Oxford University. She currently works as an editor and lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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Forever Sheltered (The Forever Series #3) by Deanna Roy
Publication Date: July 23rd 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Age Group: New Adult
“Tina would rather sew up her girl parts with dental floss than go on a second date with a man. She’s been dumped enough to know not to get attached.
But when Dr. Darion Marks comes into her art therapy room to ask a favor for a special patient, Tina recognizes the haunted look he buries beneath his stoic professionalism. So rather than be forced to ditch the handsome doctor after a single night, she decides not to date him at all.
So how exactly DO they end up half-naked in Surgical Suite B?
Dr. Darion has a lot to hide. His baby sister is the only family he has left, and he’s not leaving her treatment to some incompetent hack.
But now he’s breaking every hospital rule imaginable. He lied about his sister so he can manage her care, and now he’s banging the art therapy teacher between patient rounds like a fraternity boy at a keg party.
Nobody believes this can end well, not Tina’s friend Corabelle, who is overcoming a tragic history much like Tina’s, or even pink-haired Jenny, who thinks sex with strangers is good for your metabolism.
But Dr. Darion and Tina have one thing going for them – a fierce passion for each other that just might obliterate all their doubts, and solve all their problems.
Forever Sheltered includes many favorite characters from Forever Innocent and Forever Loved, as well as the much-anticipated wedding of Gavin and Corabelle.
It is a standalone HEA that does not require reading any other parts of the Forever series.”
Check it out on Goodreads here.
Buy it on the web:
Open INT: 2x 50$ Amazon Gift Card
“Deanna Roy is a passionate advocate for women who have lost babies. She founded PregnancyLoss.Info in 1998 and runs many online and in-person support groups. She is the author of several two-hankie reads, including Forever Innocent, Stella & Dane, and Baby Dust.”
Find Deanna on the web:
Saga Vol. 1-3 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples
Okay, so I’m no expert on graphic novels, but when someone like me (an amateur) is pulled in so easily by a graphic novel series, then you know you have something good. With that being said, this collection is brilliant. Not only is the art beautiful, but the storyline is captivating. (I NEED THE NEXT VOLUME, NOW!!!!!)
One of the things I love most about Saga is how complex it is. The world is elaborate and the story lines twist and turn, branch out and grow, and take on lives of their own. I like that yes, everyone is trying to hunt down Alana and Marko, but still have their own stuff to deal with. It’s not just the same thing over and over again, but a series of complications as other characters are indadvertedly brought into the mess that this illegal couple is leaving behind them.
It is this complexity other characters face that show us that this world that Vaughan and Staples created is about more than a) the war tearing the galaxy apart, and b) the illegal union of two defectors. Everyone has their own issues and wars to fight.
Also, I have to give major props to the huge collection of species, races, and cultures thrown in here. Not only do we get a completely unbiased view of the world in Saga, but we also learn about the different worlds. Plus, it’s super cool (and sometimes freaky) seeing all the different and strange people and aliens roaming this unique galaxy.
I love Alana and Marko and how her sass mixes so well with his need for peace—yet he is still a force to be reckoned with. I love how this little family strives to survive and how there are so many twists and turns.
I recommend this one to everyone who is old enough to accept that there is nudity in this, that there will be sex, and that there is a lot of blood shed. Also, if you’re old enough to be ready for a wicked storyline and awesome art, then you might want to check this one out!
You can check out the first volume on Goodreads here.