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Review Round Up #7

Posted May 23, 2019 by Lily B in Reviews / 6 Comments

Review Round Up #7Kingdom of Needle and Bone by Mira Grant, Cris Dukehart
Narrator: Cris Dukehart
Length: 3 hours and 3 minutes
Series: standalone
Published by Tantor Audio on April 30, 2019
Genres: Science Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 2.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

3 hours and 3 minutes
We live in an age of wonders.
Modern medicine has conquered or contained many of the diseases that used to carry children away before their time, reducing mortality and improving health. Vaccination and treatment are widely available, not held in reserve for the chosen few. There are still monsters left to fight, but the old ones, the simple ones, trouble us no more.
Or so we thought. For with the reduction in danger comes the erosion of memory, as pandemics fade from memory into story into fairy tale. Those old diseases can’t have been so bad, people say, or we wouldn’t be here to talk about them. They don’t matter. They’re never coming back.
How wrong we could be.
It begins with a fever. By the time the spots appear, it’s too late: Morris’s disease is loose on the world, and the bodies of the dead begin to pile high in the streets. When its terrible side consequences for the survivors become clear, something must be done, or the dying will never stop. For Dr. Isabella Gauley, whose niece was the first confirmed victim, the route forward is neither clear nor strictly ethical, but it may be the only way to save a world already in crisis. It may be the only way to atone for her part in everything that’s happened.
She will never be forgiven, not by herself, and not by anyone else. But she can, perhaps, do the right thing.
We live in an age of monsters.

It started with little Lisa Morris, an eight-year-old niece of Dr. Isabella Gauley as patient zero to fall to a new disease that would soon be known as the Morris disease. It didn’t take long for the disease that humankind believed to be eradicated to spread. They didn’t know that it was the first wave, or what it would do to the human body until it was too late. As Dr. Isabella Gauley scrambles to help the survivors that were left untouched, the rest of the world scrambles to beat a virus that is proving itself impossible to beat.

This was…

The concept of the book I found to be interesting. It’s a take on what could happen if people choose not to vaccinate their kids and how herd immunity as a whole helps the world. I think the concept would have been so good if the book was more developed and not a novella. It’s told in a third person and while the narrator did a good job with the story, I think maybe it was because I was listening to it, the story sounded like a preachy opinion piece. I found this style made me very disconnected with the characters because we never really get to know them or their emotions.

I thought this could have been done so much better. Instead, it was so repetitive and heavy-handed. I get that the author might have strong opinions on what’s going on in the world today and it’s fine, I just thought she could have used that idea and made this into an edge of your seat novel with stronger characters. Instead, it was subpar, preachy piece of writing with a lack of character development that leaves you kind of detached the entire time.

And the thing that pissed me off the most was the ending. What in the f- was that ending? If you’re going to go the lengths to point out how herd immunity is important to the world, why would you insert an ending like that in there? And then it ends so abruptly, it made no sense.

This was my first Mira Grant novel, and I found myself largely disappointed by lack of development, substance, and storytelling. She had something really interesting here, but the execution failed. I’d hope this is just a set up for future books.

Review Round Up #7Eighteen Below by Stefan Ahnhem
Series: Fabian Risk,
Published by Minotaur Books on December 4, 2018
Genres: Thriller, Crime
Pages: 560
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 Stars
Heat:two-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The third book in the internationally bestselling Fabian Risk series, a terrifying story of stolen identity and serial murder.
ON A HOT SUMMER'S DAY
The police chase a speeding car through the streets of Helsingborg. When they reach the bridge, the driver keeps going straight into the cold, dark waters of the Öresund strait.
A TRAGIC ACCIDENT
The body recovered from the wreck is that of Peter Brise, one of the city's richest tech entrepreneurs. Fabian Risk and his team are confident this is suicide. Young, rich, successful—Brise just didn't know how to ask for help.
TURNS EVERTHING A LITTLE BIT COLDER...
But then the autopsy reveals something unexpected. Brise was already dead when his car crashed. He'd been brutally murdered two months ago. His body frozen in perfect condition, at eighteen degrees below zero...Something doesn't match up. And when a string of other odd murders and unusual behavior come to light in the area, Fabian Risk takes the case.

I don’t have a lot to say about this book. It’s a dark Nordic noir that follows an Inspector Fabian Risk. The book was a chunker with two separate mysteries that didn’t connect. I felt like there was probably enough material from both to create two separate books instead of jamming everything into one dense book.

I thought it was okay and that’s about it. The writing is good. The character development was there. Maybe it’s because I’ve started it with book three, and not one, I found myself detached from the characters and never really caring.

There are some really dark and twisted themes in this that made me cringe at times. The book meandered a bit and I found myself losing interest at times. But the dark mysterious in this book were interesting enough to hold my attention, I found them very unique.

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Review: Hounded by Kevin Hearne, Luke Daniels

Posted April 12, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 17 Comments

Review: Hounded by Kevin Hearne, Luke DanielsHounded by Kevin Hearne
Narrator: Luke Daniels
Length: 8 hrs and 11 mins
Series: The Iron Druid Chronicles, #1
Published by Brilliance Audio on April 19, 2011
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Format: Audiobook
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Heat:one-half-flames

8 hrs and 11 mins
Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old - when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.
Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power - plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish - to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil

Atticus O’Sullivan is the last of the Druids. He seems to live mostly a peaceful life in Tempe, Arizona. He owns an occult bookshop that he also sells herbs and tea’s out of. On his spare time, he likes to shape-shift and go hunting with his Irish wolfhound. Life almost seems good, but an angry Celtic god wants his sword and he has been looking for Atticus for a while. Suddenly, people are showing up to try and kill him to get the sword back and Atticus needs to put this fight behind him ones and for all.

I listened to this on audio and oh wow, wow. I wish I did that sooner. I did have a physical copy of this book for a long time, I picked it up, but my attention strayed and I had to put it down. On audiobook, this series is a gem, Luke Daniels is a fantastic narrator. He just really brings Atticus and Oberon to life and makes you fall in love with them and the story. I found myself invested and it became such an addictive read. I have not had a lot of books where the audiobook enhances the series, so if you thought about trying this one out, I strongly suggest you give a shot. It was such a great experience.

I loved Atticus, and I loved Oberon his dog. The relationship is just so much fun, and the humor in this book is fantastic. I had the hardest time walking away from this book and I wanted to know what happened next.

There is a lot going on in this book with a wide array of characters but Luke Daniels does a wonderful job keeping them apart. I absolutely adored the fact that he used Celtic mythology in this, it’s just so refreshing and different for me.

Overall, I am not completely in love with this series. I highly recommend it on audio, because the narrator does a fantastic job and the story is just so much fun with a brilliant cast of characters. Already on to book two myself.

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Review: The Wife by Alafair Burke

Posted April 5, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 11 Comments

Review: The Wife by Alafair BurkeThe Wife by Alafair Burke
Series: standalone
Published by Harper on January 23, 2018
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

His scandal. Her secret.
When Angela met Jason Powell while catering a dinner party in East Hampton, she assumed their romance would be a short-lived fling, like so many relationships between locals and summer visitors. To her surprise, Jason, a brilliant economics professor at NYU, had other plans, and they married the following summer. For Angela, the marriage turned out to be a chance to reboot her life. She and her son were finally able to move out of her mother’s home to Manhattan, where no one knew about her tragic past.
Six years later, thanks to a bestselling book and a growing media career, Jason has become a cultural lightning rod, placing Angela near the spotlight she worked so carefully to avoid. When a college intern makes an accusation against Jason, and another woman, Kerry Lynch, comes forward with an even more troubling allegation, their perfect life begins to unravel. Jason insists he is innocent, and Angela believes him. But when Kerry disappears, Angela is forced to take a closer look at the man she married. And when she is asked to defend Jason in court, she realizes that her loyalty to her husband could unearth old secrets.

The Wife is a type of thriller that starts out with a bang, hooks you and never lets you go.

Angela is married to Jason Powell, they live with her son in a charming carriage house in Manhattan. When Jason wrote his book, his career exploded, and he became the center of the media – a place Angela was careful to avoid. Now, charges are being filed against Jason for inappropriate behavior, by one his current intern and another by a woman claiming rape.

I thought this was interesting, but I thought it could always have been a bit better.

I went into this book completely blind and it was definitely a way to do it. It kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time wondering what was really happening with Jason and the women who accused him of such terrible actions.

I did struggle a bit with this. First, I wasn’t a big fan of Angela. At the beginning she felt like a big pushover, until we learn more about her past and why she is the way she is. It started to shed some light on her actions and demeanor.

This book digs into the rape “culture” in America. I don’t like to call it that, but I wasn’t sure if there was a politically correct term for it. Thought this plays a huge role in the story, I felt like such an important topic could have been handled a little differently in this book. Needless to say I wasn’t sure I was a fan of how it turned out or was used in this case and when the unraveling came, I found myself a bit upset about it. I don’t think I can say much without spoiling the book, but it just feeds into certain misconceptions.

The ending, I did not see coming. I was trying to put together what was happening, but it ended up being nothing like what I thought it was going to be. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I completely bought it due to the actions throughout the book – at times it felt like it was just thrown there at the end as a shock factor because the original might not have been strong enough.

Overall, despite certain issues with the book, I did find myself enjoying it. I do like endings that are unpredictable, so I cannot complain too much about it and the story flowed and was fast paced. If you are a fan of twisted endings and psychological thriller’s this is definitely worth checking out.

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Review: To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Posted March 20, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 15 Comments

Review: To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra ChristoTo Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
Series: standalone
Published by Feiwel & Friends on March 6th 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 342
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.
The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

To Kill a Kingdom is a loosely based Little Mermaid retelling. It follows Princess Lira one of the most dangerous sirens who one time a year, rips a prince’s heart out. Her collection keeps growing with now seventeen Prince’s that she has murdered. But when the Queen decided to punish Lira for taking a heart too soon before her Birthday, she turns her into the thing that Lira hates the most – a human.

Prince Elian loves the ocean and is the only place he calls home despite being an heir to one of the most powerful Kingdoms. He is a pirate that travels on his ship with his crew while hunting Sirens, and has given himself a name as a notorious Siren killer. When he discovers a naked woman in the middle of the ocean, he knows she is far more than what she appears – but she promises him help finding the Eye of Kato – a powerful weapon that can take down the Sea Queen.

As far as as sirens, mermaid books go, I think this is the best one I have read in a long time. The author does a good job with how she handled mermaids and sirens a like and I found it interesting and original. The writing was really good too and for the most part kept me engaged, despite some pacing issues.

That being said, I felt like this book could have made an interesting adult book. Sometimes the character roles make you forget just how old everyone is and when you finally remember, it sometimes felt hard to believe. Like Elian is about 17 to 18 years old and yet he is one of the most feared Pirates and spends his life killing sirens and building his name around it, at times his age felt off. Until, you remember that he was also completely naive when it came to Lira. He found a naked woman in the middle of the ocean, with no ships in sight, and she seems to know a lot about sirens as well as their action – and he couldn’t put that all together?

The pacing was good for the most part, I did love the world and the world building. I did wish there was a bit more, but I get how the story was supposed to flow and be fast paced. Of course, most of the story ends up being about the crew travel to a Kingdom that holds the Eye and the rest 10% or so dedicated to a battle. At that point I found that I was reading the story just to finish it.

In my honest opinion, for me the book sits at between 3.5 and 3.75 stars but because this was one of the better siren, mermaid books out there I did round it up to 4 stars it is definitely worth the read if you enjoy those type of books because thus far it is one of the better ones out there. I did enjoy it and I did find the writing really good and loved the world the author created.

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Review: Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

Posted March 15, 2018 by Lily B in Audio, Reviews / 11 Comments

Review: Waking Gods by Sylvain NeuvelWaking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel
Series: Themis Files, #2
Published by Random House Audio on April 4th 2017
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 9
Format: Audiobook, Kindle Edition
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

As a child, Rose Franklin made an astonishing discovery: a giant metallic hand, buried deep within the earth. As an adult, she’s dedicated her brilliant scientific career to solving the mystery that began that fateful day: Why was a titanic robot of unknown origin buried in pieces around the world? Years of investigation have produced intriguing answers—and even more perplexing questions. But the truth is closer than ever before when a second robot, more massive than the first, materializes and lashes out with deadly force.
Now humankind faces a nightmare invasion scenario made real, as more colossal machines touch down across the globe. But Rose and her team at the Earth Defense Corps refuse to surrender. They can turn the tide if they can unlock the last secrets of an advanced alien technology. The greatest weapon humanity wields is knowledge in a do-or-die battle to inherit the Earth . . . and maybe even the stars.

I listened to Sleeping Giants last year and absolutely fell in love with not only the audiobook but also the story.

Waking Gods picks back up a few years after the events at the end of Sleeping Giants. Now it seems that Themis isn’t the only robot out there as another Giant robot appears on Earth, than another, than another. Soon Kara, Dr Rose, Vincent and their mysterious friend are out there again trying to figure out why the robots are showing up and are they a danger to Earth.

This was a thrilling ride. I love having all the voice actors and the characters right back telling the story. They do such a great job with the book it is both exciting and an interesting listen. There were a few parts that I found myself reading the actual book for (mostly the scientific parts), but overall the audio is my favorite part.

The story itself is exciting as a reader, I was eager to find out what happens to the characters and what do the giant robots want from the Earth. This definitely had some science fiction elements to it, but it was easy enough to get into the story. Sylvain Neuvel really knows how to bring the characters and their personalities to life through simple character dialog and files. This is not written as a traditional book which I think makes it even more exciting.

I did have some gripes about it

First, I didn’t like the voice of Eva. I get that she is suppose to be 10 year old girl, but she was super whiny and listening to it was a bit grating.

The second gripe might be a spoiler so please read at your own discretion below

View Spoiler »

 

That’s all. I am enjoying this series, it’s really well done and I am looking forward to digging into book three and seeing how it wraps up. That ending definitely threw me in for a loop.

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Review: The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett

Posted March 2, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 7 Comments

Review: The Warded Man by Peter V. BrettThe Warded Man by Peter V. Brett
Series: Demon Cycle, #1
Published by Del Rey on March 10th 2009
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 434
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat:two-flames

As darkness falls after sunset, the corelings rise—demons who possess supernatural powers and burn with a consuming hatred of humanity. For hundreds of years the demons have terrorized the night, slowly culling the human herd that shelters behind magical wards—symbols of power whose origins are lost in myth and whose protection is terrifyingly fragile. It was not always this way. Once, men and women battled the corelings on equal terms, but those days are gone. Night by night the demons grow stronger, while human numbers dwindle under their relentless assault. Now, with hope for the future fading, three young survivors of vicious demon attacks will dare the impossible, stepping beyond the crumbling safety of the wards to risk everything in a desperate quest to regain the secrets of the past. Together, they will stand against the night.

Why I enjoyed The Warded Man by Peter V Brett

It’s been a long time since I read an adult fantasy. I introduced my husband to the book because I figured it was something he would like and then he pressured me into reading it. My relationship with The Warded Man started out slow. The book, like any adult fantasy is awfully dense and since it’s been a while since I read an Adult Fantasy, I almost forgot how dense the books can get. I was pleasantly surprised that it did only take me a week to finish the first book.

So let’s explore a few points of why I thought this was interesting.

The World

The world set in Peter V Bretts books is super different. It’s dark, it’s riddled with demons called Corelings that come from The Core. The corelings can come in different shapes and forms. There are wood demons, fire demons, wind demons, sand demons, etc. Mankind, fear them because they destroy towns, kill people without mercy and they seldom have a way of fighting them. They do only come out at night, and the only protections, most people have, that choose not to fight them, is warding. People ward symbols into their homes, or the walls of their town or posts in order to keep the demons out and from destroying their lives. If the wards fail, it creates a breach and the demons can come through without mercy and rain havoc on the town and its inhabitants.

There are stories of people who choose to fight the corelings, but most have succumbed to what they think is their fate and hide behind the wards. Those people choose to believe that their main job is to survive by populating humanity the world as fast as they can since their numbers are getting smaller.

The world is dark, it’s gritty, its cruel and at times it was really hard to read. Parts of the book made me cringe. I can’t say I enjoyed the parts about women thinking their only goal left in life is to make babies as soon as possible. It was both disturbing and hard to digest. I did enjoy the world as a whole and the different places that it was broken down into and how everything worked together. There was definitely a difference in people depending on where they came from.

The Characters

There are three major characters in the first book. We follow Arlen, Leesha and Rojer. Like all adult books, we start their journey from when they are very young and the events that unfold around them to make them into the type of people they become at the end of the book. All are cruel, all are not easy to read, but the world that they live in is dark and scary and molds them as people. I found them all really interesting and enjoyed how each chapter was devoted to a specific character as they grew, what was happening up until the point that their lives intertwined.

 

The Plot/Pacing/Writing

The plot was enjoyable, the stage is set and I cannot wait to see what happens next on their journey.

The pacing was slow at first, there is a lot of information, there is a lot of character growth at the beginning of the book. I started enjoying the book more the last 60% because the characters were grown and their life has taken a critical turn. There was more action and adventure, so the movement of the book was better.

The writing is good, Brett definitely knows how to weave a story that is unlike anything I have yet read. It’s interesting and I am looking forward to see how it unfolds.

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Review: The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Posted February 9, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 9 Comments

Review: The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn BarnesThe Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: The Fixer, #2
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on June 7th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Thriller
Pages: 360
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Library
Rating: 4 Stars

The Kendricks help make the problems of the Washington elite disappear…but some secrets won’t stay buried.
For Tess Kendrick, a junior at the elite Hardwicke School in Washington, D.C., fixing runs in the family. But Tess has another legacy, too, one that involves power and the making of political dynasties. When Tess is asked to run a classmate’s campaign for student council, she agrees. But when the candidates are children of politicians, even a high school election can involve life-shattering secrets.
Meanwhile, Tess’s guardian has also taken on an impossible case, as a terrorist attack calls into doubt who can—and cannot—be trusted on Capitol Hill. Tess knows better than most that power is currency in D.C., but she's about to discover firsthand that power always comes with a price.

Gahh this book is hard to review without giving away much of what happens at the end of book one, but I will try.

The Long Game starts shortly after the events following from book one. Tess has found herself trying to navigate her new life after discovering more secrets about not only her family, her grandfather, but also that there might have been a fourth player involved in the murders that have happened.

Now being a fixer runs in her family, and Tess finds herself thrown into that lifestyle at school. When one of her classmates asks Tess to return the favor and help her win the class presidency, the stakes end up higher than Tess is ready for and secrets that should have been buried come falling out.

Terrorist, murders and secrets, this book really takes you onto one wild emotional ride. I found myself on the edge of my seat once again as I sat there wanting to know what will happen to Tess and her classmates. Some revelations have left me a little on a heartbroken side and we got to say goodbye to a few characters from book one.

The ending was great, though the fact that the author is not writing any more books in this series is a little disappointing, because it leaves you with a lot of unanswered questions. I felt bummed when I realized that after the ringer that we were put through we would never know how all of this was going to end, so let this be a warning to those going into the books, because I found myself debating the unfairness in being left the way it was.

Also, I was a little disappointed that despite Tess’ grandfather who raised her being such a major part of her life and book one, it was kind of ignored in book two.

Overall, this was a great series and it showed quite a lot of promise, the fact that it’s run was cut short, I think is quite a bit disappointing, especially when we are left with a lot of unresolved issues that were major in the book. But, despite all this it is well worth the read because in the end, this series was super exciting, fun and interesting. I definitely do not regret reading.

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Review: The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Posted February 5, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 11 Comments

Review: The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn BarnesThe Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: The Fixer, #1
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on July 7th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Thriller
Pages: 372
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This thriller YA is Scandal meets Veronica Mars.
Sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick has spent her entire life on her grandfather's ranch. But when her estranged sister Ivy uproots her to D.C., Tess is thrown into a world that revolves around politics and power. She also starts at Hardwicke Academy, the D.C. school for the children of the rich and powerful, where she unwittingly becomes a fixer for the high school set, fixing teens’ problems the way her sister fixes their parents’ problems.
And when a conspiracy surfaces that involves the family member of one of Tess's classmates, love triangles and unbelievable family secrets come to light and life gets even more interesting—and complicated—for Tess.
Perfect for fans of Pretty Little Liars and Heist Society, readers will be clamoring for this compelling teen drama with a political twist.

Sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick is about to have her entire world turned upside down. Having spent her entire life on her grandfather’s ranch, Tess is suddenly uprooted and moved to D.C by her much older sister Ivy Kendrick, where she is thrown into a world of politics and power.

Tess never knew what Ivy did for a living in D.C. All Tess knows was that Ivy abandoned her after their parents death and the grudge against her sister for bailing and barely calling is strong.

It doesn’t help when Tess learns from the kids at school that Ivy is a Fixer who fixes people’s problems, including a lot of problems for the parents of the teens that go to her school.

When a conspiracy surfaces that might involve more than one family of her new school and Tess’ own classmates, Tess finds herself in a very complicated situation and she doesn’t like being kept in the dark. But what Tess does not realize is just how dangerous power and politics might be.

This was wonderful. My first book by this author and needless to say it will now be my last, I am already on book two and loving it.

Jennifer Lynn Barnes really knows how to write a complicated story that hooks you from the very first page and keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire time. I had the hardest time parting with this book. I loved the characters, I loved the mystery, I loved how all the lies connected and how everything unfolded.

That shocking moment about Ivy and Tess in the end, I almost did not see coming, but it ended up being such a good twist that only made the book even more compelling.

Tess is a character that is easy to follow. She is still pretty much a teenager in her own way, but it was nice to see that despite her loneliness and grudge against Ivy, she still cares very much.

The writing for this was just great, it kept me interested, the storytelling was well done, how everything connected seemed to be well though out and it ended up being a really engrossing read that I cannot wait for more from this author.

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Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Posted January 27, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 15 Comments

Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly BlackThe Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Series: The Folk of the Air #1
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on January 2nd 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 370
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.
And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.
To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.
In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

Jude was only seven years old when she watched both of her parents get murdered and both she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. After ten years, Jude wants nothing more but to belong in Faerie, despite the fact that she is mortal, but a lot of fey despises humans, especially Judes rival Prince Cardan.

Jude knows what she has to do in hopes of earning her place and respect among the fey and that is to get a place as a knight of the court. But, when Jude is trusted into a civil war that threatens the Courts of Faerie, Jude must risk her life in order to save her family and Faerie from the bloodshed.

This was my first Holly Black book and it did not disappoint. The writing was wonderful and kept me wanting to turn those pages. The world building was rich and dynamic, I really felt like I knew the place with all its beauty as well as cruelty. The character development was gradual and satisfying.

I did like Jude as a character, she was an easy one to follow – very loyal, very smart, and does not allow the fact that she is a mortal in an immortal world to drag her down. Despite being defiant and of course a somewhat of a flawed character, she knows what she needs in order to survive even if at times the chinks in her armor really show.

I didn’t feel like there was a special snowflake alert in this book. Jude uses the help of others around her in order to stay alive and survive as well as fight a battle that seems impossible to win as a mortal. Faerie teaches her how to become cunning, quick and deceitful and it really starts to show as the character is faced head on with some ugly realities of the Courts of Faerie.

I did have an issue with the Judes relationship with Madoc, I found it a bit hard to grasp, especially with what had transpired in the past. It was a bit odd that Madoc’s eldest blood daughter remained defiant with hate for her father, but Jude and her twin sister did not show that what had happened effected them. I don’t find all that believable, even if they both were young – they were seven and it probably should have had some negative effect on them.

Judes relationship with her twin sister Taryn was absolutely frustrating at times and honestly could have killed the book for me if it wasn’t for everything else. It seemed petty, childish and just infuriating. When I found out why the feud between Cardan and Jude started, it was hard not to grit my teeth. I almost gave this 3.5 stars, but the storytelling won me over and pushed it back towards the edge.

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Review: Addison Cooke and the Tomb of the Khan by Jonathan W. Stokes

Posted November 28, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 12 Comments

Review:  Addison Cooke and the Tomb of the Khan by Jonathan W. StokesAddison Cooke and the Tomb of the Khan by Jonathan W. Stokes
Series: Addison Cooke #2
Published by Philomel Books on November 14th 2017
Genres: Middle Grade
Pages: 464
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Goonies meets Indiana Jones in Addison's second laugh-out-loud adventure! A journey through Asia in pursuit of the legendary tomb of Genghis Khan.
Fresh off of a victorious treasure hunt and rescue mission in South America, Addison Cooke just can't seem to steer clear of rogue bandits, pesky booby traps, and secret treasure troves. But it sure beats sitting around in school all day.
Addison's aunt and uncle, on the other hand, are none too happy about their habit of attracting kidnappers. When they become pawns in a dangerous gang's plan to steal the most prized possession of the notorious Mongolian leader Genghis Khan, Addison and his friends find themselves once again caught in the middle of a multi-million-dollar international heist. Armed with nothing but their wits and thirst for adventure, they travel across Asia in an attempt to rescue Addison's family and stop the treasure from falling into the wrong hands.
Brimming with round-the-clock action and tons of laughter, Addison Cooke and the Tomb of the Khan is perfect for fans of Indiana Jones, ancient history, and James Patterson's Treasure Hunters series.
Praise for Addison Cooke
"Combines the derring-do of Indiana Jones with a genuine archaeological mystery. Stokes brings a cinematic scope to the story. This lively debut promises more seat-of-the-pants thrillsfor readers who love adventure."--Booklist
"Cinematic pacing and action drive the story, but it's Addison and his friends who will keep readers engaged. Humor is never in short supply . . . and Addison's endless optimism and irrepressible confidence in his own abilities are endearing."--School Library Journal
"Addison is often one step ahead of the adults, but his lead is constantly threatened, building steady tension throughout the novel, screenwriter Stokes's debut."--Publishers Weekly

Schools out, summer is in, and Addison and his group of friends are off to Asia!

Trouble seems to follow Addison no matter where he goes, fresh of a treasure hunt and rescue mission in South America – Addison finds himself in a whole new set of trouble out in China.

When Addison and Molly’s Aunt and Uncle get kidnapped in China by the mysterious Madame Feng, they must use their knowledge as survival skills in order to beat Madame Feng to what she really wants – the Golden Whip from the lost grave of Ghenghis Khan.

This was a really fun read. At over 400 pages, the pace was steady and exciting. Addison is a very interesting 13 year old boy, who is witty, but a bit quirky at times. He hates germs, he loves to read and seems to always have the knack of knowing how to get his friends out of trouble.

The story and the progression was kind of interesting for me, because I was always interested in Mongolia and Ghenghis Khan. I actually did not know that his tomb/grave was purposely done so not even the Mongols could find it. I had to google that bit myself and the author did mostly stick to the fact at the beginning of the book about the possible locations and how he was buried.

I thought that was fun because not only does it provide middle grade kids with a fascinating plot, fun characters, great adventure and a strong set of friendships, it also educates quiet a bit.

I did have to take my time time with the rating because I wasn’t sure about a few things. I did have to keep in mind that this was a middle grade adventure novel and a lot of it does seem a bit out there, but that’s okay, because to me, it allows the children to get caught up in the excitement and imagination. That part I am fully aware of and perfectly fine with, despite some scenes. I especially loved how the author took the fact that they are kids into consideration and during a lot of scenes he limited their capabilities of what they can or cannot do. I love how they think it would play out in their head and how it actually happens is completely different because at the end of the day, Addison and his friends are still children. That kind of line of thinking was awesome and I think something that can be related to.

I wasn’t sure how the kids would relate to Addison thought because for a 13 year old, he is witty, he can talk circles around you and get himself out of sticky situations. He is also the type of kid that will read The Art of War. But, despite being a sort of prodigy (?) Addison still uses tactics that are childlike and it just makes you giggle.

This was a great book. It was fast paced. There is action, adventure, a mystery and it is really, really well written you guys. I absolutely loved the writing, Stokes just does a wonderful job that it even makes it really enjoyable for an adult because I forgot at several places that this was a middle grade book.

My favorite character I would have to say is Dax’s (the adult in this book) copilot Mr.Jacobsen a goofy Great Dane.

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