HOME   ABOUT ME   BLOG REVIEW INFO   BOOK REVIEW INDEX   GIVEAWAYS

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Book Review: The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding (The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding #1)

Release Date: September 5, 2017
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Length: 272 pages
Source: eGalley from NetGalley

"I would say it's a pleasure to meet thee, Prosperity Oceanus Redding, but truly, I only anticipate the delights of destroying thy happiness."

Prosper is the only unexceptional Redding in his old and storied family history — that is, until he discovers the demon living inside him. Turns out Prosper's great-great-great-great-great-something grandfather made — and then broke — a contract with a malefactor, a demon who exchanges fortune for eternal servitude. And, weirdly enough, four-thousand-year-old Alastor isn't exactly the forgiving type. 

The fiend has reawakened with one purpose — to destroy the family whose success he ensured and who then betrayed him. With only days to break the curse and banish Alastor back to the demon realm, Prosper is playing unwilling host to the fiend, who delights in tormenting him with nasty insults and constant attempts trick him into a contract. Yeah, Prosper will take his future without a side of eternal servitude, thanks.

Little does Prosper know, the malefactor's control over his body grows stronger with each passing night, and there's a lot Alastor isn't telling his dim-witted (but admittedly strong-willed) human host. 

From #1 New York Times best-selling author Alexandra Bracken comes a tale of betrayal and revenge, of old hurts passed down from generation to generation. Can you ever fully right a wrong, ever truly escape your history? Or will Prosper and Alastor be doomed to repeat it?

    

Review:

Protagonist(s): Prosper is the black sheep of the Redding family. For some reason, he doesn't seem to have the same luck and "charming" personality that the rest of his family does. His extended family treats him poorly, there's even a scene where Prosper goes over his cousins' names and after each one gives an example of how that particular cousin has been cruel to him, let's just say that there probably wasn't two sides to those stories. I wasn't even two full chapters into this book when I started tearing up with how sad Prosper's loneliness and isolation is. He literally has zero friends at the beginning of this book. However, that's all before Prosper learns that a demon, properly called a fiend, even more specifically a malefactor, is inside his body, waiting to get to full power and escape on Prosper's 13th birthday. There were so many times throughout this story that I wanted to hug Prosper and tell him he's worth something, which probably would have been weird for a nearly twenty-four-year-old man to do to a nearly thirteen-year-old boy he's not related to, but still, I empathize with Prosper so much and his journey and development over the course of this book is fantastic! Everything felt very natural and realistic, you know, minus the magical shenanigans. Alastor was also such a great bit of comic relief! His insults were astounding and I really liked him as a character, and since he's sort of part of Prosper I feel like I can talk a bit about him here. Alastor definitely has flaws, but his development is just as phenomenal, if not more, than Prosper's own.

World Building: This world is phenomenal. We learn so much about how the various worlds inside this universe work and how malefactors come into play and work within it. There's an interesting demonic (fiendish?) hierarchy within this story that serves as a bit of a subplot, or Alastor's plot, that begins to come more and more into play. The way the magic system works in this world is so captivating. I love how the author seems to be setting up a much larger story within this one. I know that's rather typical for series, but the way it's done here is particularly ambitious and exciting. There are elements brought in toward the end that I can't wait to see more of, things that sound grand and imperious. The whole tone of this story is perfect for the Fall season. Every moment I read this tale I wanted a nice hot cup of cider, maybe some candy corn until I realized it's 100° F and practically the middle of summer. It's a great Halloween read, while it's not scary there is definitely some nice spine chilling moments and moments of spectacular tension that make it perfect for an October read, plus the character Toad practically screams Halloween!

Predictability: I went into this book knowing what it's about, but I have to give the people over at Disney-Hyperion a round of applause for explaining the story without giving too much away. I mean, there were so many times in this story that I didn't know what would happen next. The author does a great job at leaving the breadcrumbs of foreshadowing throughout this novel. Sometimes I was able to pick the little things up and put the puzzle together, but other times I was completely floored only to look back and see all the signs I'd missed. There's one particularly, well actually two particularly, game changing twists towards the end, one that I had sort of guessed, but wasn't completely sure on, and another that I was sure of but still somehow rocked me to my core when proven right.

Ending: The ending of this story is magnificent! As things start to escalate things become more and more clear, which all leads into this amazing scene full of revelations and twists and I physically couldn't stop reading the story. Everything rises into this amazing crescendo that seems to set up the wider story of this world, and just when I'm waiting for the cooldown period to start, the book is over. This ending is amazing, I loved every second of it, but I need the next book. I've felt a need this strong before and I'm afraid I'll wake up tomorrow with the biggest book hangover I've ever known and you know what, it'd be worth it.

Rating:


I loved this book, no scratch that I LOVE THIS BOOK! Everything just sucked me in and didn't let go. I can't wait to see what happens next and I can't wait for more of this world, and the series over arching plot to be uncovered as our hero(es) make their next move.

POST SIGNATURE

Monday, August 14, 2017

Book Review: Stolen Secrets

Release Date: September 19, 2017
Author: L.B. Schulman
Publisher: Boyd Mills Press
Length: 304 pages
Source: ARC from Publisher

When Livvy's mother abruptly moves the family across the country to San Francisco, sixteen-year-old Livvy is shocked to find that she's been lied to. Instead of working for a bakery, her mom is actually taking care of Adelle, Livvy’s grandmother who she thought was long dead. Suffering from Alzheimer’s, Adelle begins to shout strange things, mistake her own name, and relive moments that may have taken place in a concentration camp. When Livvy and her new friend, Franklin D., find journal entries from the Holocaust in Adelle’s home, Livvy begins to suspect that her grandmother may have a shocking link to a notable figure-Anne Frank.

This intriguing book has gut-wrenching plot twists and a strong heroine, making this a compulsively readable mystery.

    

Review:

Protagonist: Livvy Newman has always been the "responsible" one in her household. With her mother having been an alcoholic for as long as Livvy can remember, she's taken up the more parental role, however, when her mother moves them across the country with the promise of a great job, Livvy can't do much about it. Upon arriving in San Fransisco, Livvy notices her mom acting a bit off and soon discovers one family secret after another. On the whole, I liked Livvy, she's a fairly complex character, someone who prefers fact to fiction and needs order to her life. She's a bit flawed though not in a totally off putting way. She can be selfish and distant to people, but those are the things that get worked on over the course of the story.

Romance: I'm going to just level with you, I didn't care one bit about this romance. It wasn't that it was an offensive or aggravating romance, I just didn't care for it. I never felt romantic chemistry between Franklin D. and Livvy, and yes I said Franklin D. because manic pixie dream boy that he is he needs his middle initial acknowledged every time you speak his name. The thing is, he really grated on me in the beginning of this book, he was way too over the top quirky, he came on way too strong, acted kind of stalkerish towards Livvy, all while feeling like the manic pixie trope without the air of mystery that makes it so compelling. To tell you the truth he grew on me, but only as a platonic friend to Livvy. I felt the romance was forced and completely unnecessary.

World Building: The main plot of this story is fantastic! I mean, it's a multigenerational story of three women and their struggles with each other, mixed in with deeply kept family secrets relating to World War II and the Holocaust, that tells a compelling narrative of how one woman's attempt to hide who she really is affected not only her daughter but her granddaughter as well. I was a bit apprehensive of the author writing fiction that would incorporate as historic and important a figure as Anne Frank, but I had faith that she would provide a well and a sensitively crafted piece of historical fiction and I'm happy to say that she definitely delivered. On the whole, I loved the main plot of this book and how everything ran together. We get flashbacks that help provide context and flesh out who Adelle is, or was, and what led her to make certain decisions. All of that was fantastic but was dragged down by a multitude of superfluous subplots. The romance was only one subplot that I felt was unnecessary, but there were quite a few others. Subplots that would either be dropped only to appear at some random time late in the story and almost instantly resolved, or subplots that would be written away for a while so there would be time to focus on the main plot. Everything felt like a big chaotic mess. Ironically, when it came to Livvy's school everything felt very empty. Sure there would be references to teachers and other students, but literally, the only student we see Livvy have any semblance of a conversation with is Franklin D. We hear how she's friends with his friends, which I think are the only other students mentioned by name and it took Livvy a long time to meet them, and how she does interact with them, but we never really see it.

Predictability: This book could be very predictable, well almost all of the time. I don't think there was a single big twist in this book that I didn't call. There were a couple of small ones I didn't, but the author was quite a bit generous with the foreshadowing, in fact, I was rather surprised when I predicted probably the biggest twist in the story because the author put in one too many pieces of foreshadowing early in the book. Interestingly enough I guessed a smaller "twist" that came near the end of the book after having only been a couple of pages in. I did like how the story unfolded even if I did guess what would happen, and it doesn't really take away from the enjoyment of the book.

Ending: Something I found rather odd about this story was that what would typically be the final climax of this story happened much too soon for it to actually be considered the final climax. The scene was an interesting one, but while it did add a bit to the main storyline of the book, in the end, it was the climax another subplot that just felt superfluous, I understand why the author added it, and I do think it sends an important message, but in the end this subplot, as well as most of the subplots in this story, feel more pinned on than incorporated. After what could have been the final climax comes the answers. The answers to every reader's questions. I felt the author handled this section particularly well. The characters' emotions and reactions felt very genuine and well crafted. The ending can be a bit too idyllic at certain moments, but I still greatly enjoyed it.

Rating:


Overall, I really liked this book and found the main plot of the story to be stunning and entrancing, however, the subplots really detracted from my enjoyment and that coupled with a romance I really didn't care about and felt unnecessary, led to my decision to knock off a star, it was almost two but after finishing the book quite a few things that I dismissed as subplots I was able to connect with the overall plot and gain an even greater appreciation for it.

POST SIGNATURE

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Novella Review: The Straw King (Dorothy Must Die #0.5)

Release Date: November 10, 2015
Author: Danielle Paige
Publisher: HarperCollins
Length: 97 pages
Source: Library Audio Book

Once upon a time, the Scarecrow's only wish was to have a brain. This digital original novella is the fifth installment in the prequel arc to the edgy and thrilling New York Times bestsellers Dorothy Must Die and The Wicked Will Rise and follows the Scarecrow after he finally gets his wish.
In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the Scarecrow received the gift of a brain from the Wizard and was appointed the new ruler of Oz. In The Straw King, the Scarecrow's tale takes a crooked turn when his reign is threatened. With faith in his newfound wisdom shaken, the Scarecrow will turn to anyone who can help—even if others have their own interests at heart.
The Straw King by Danielle Paige is a dark and compelling reimagining of a beloved classic and is perfect for fans of Cinderby Marissa Meyer, Beastly by Alex Flinn, and Wicked by Gregory Maguire.

    

Review:

Protagonist: When I went into this novella, I expected it to largely take place around the same time as Heart of Tin, and show how the Scarecrow, here nicknamed Scare, became twisted by the gift the Wizard imparted upon him at the end of The Wizard of Oz. Let's just say I was partially right. Scare starts out as a very sympathetic character, he just wants to be the best ruler that he can be. This, Scare thinks, involves a lot of reading. However, when a rag tag group threatens his rule and marches to overthrow the Emerald Palace, slaughtering whoever gets in their way, Scare needs to figure out how to be a good leader and fair ruler. That sounds like a nice, semi-typical, story, but what this character goes through is a bit different. The darkness in Scare comes out softer than with Tin in the previous novella. With Tin, he pretty much started out with his heart being twisted by obsession, with Scare, he more begins to doubt whether his gift even works. With a little push from a particular "Not-So-Good" witch, he'll find just how cunning he can be and what he needs to do to get what he wants. I really liked the development of Scare, don't get me wrong he's in no way a hero, but I liked seeing how knowledge and cunning slowly corrupted him. There were a couple key moments from his development from Straw King to Mad Scientist, but the bits we did see and the development that was shown was very intriguing and compelling.

World Building: This story takes place only a couple years after what I'm just going to call the source material from now on. Anyway, this story does expand Baum's world with Paige's vision as we learn more about the history of Oz, as well as a certain group of all female soldiers who believe that their leader would make a better leader than Scare and use brutal tactics to find a way to take over Oz. While we do see this world expanded a bit, it's honestly not much. This is a very character driven story, but we do get a glimpse into Glinda's master plan and see that she's been working at it for a while.

Predictability: I have to say, while I knew this story would be about the corruption of the Scarecrow, I was not prepared for the surprises and twists that this story holds. Granted they aren't game changing twists that will have lasting consequences in the main series, they're bits in pieces of the story that fit together in ways I wasn't expecting them to.

Ending: As for the ending of this story, well, it wasn't quite the ending I was expecting. I loved seeing how this story came together and how smaller storylines in this series entangle into an amazingly complex web. As this story winds down we learn more about Glinda's master plan, as well as Scare's. Scare has a lot of thoughts in his head, and his thirst for knowledge could lead him down a much darker path, but we already knew that.

Rating:


So I'm giving this story five stars because by itself it's a great and intriguing story of how the Scarecrow became the twisted mad scientist we see in Dorothy Must Die, but honestly other than providing minor context it doesn't seem to have any major significance to the main series. I mean, I know that novellas are essentially supposed to be filler, aspects of the story that aren't vital to the main plot, but I just wished there was some foreshadowing for the main series in these stories or something.

POST SIGNATURE

Friday, August 11, 2017

Book Review: The Dire King (Jackaby #4)

Release Date: August 22, 2017
Author: William Ritter
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Length: 352 pages
Source: Review Copy from Publisher

The thrilling conclusion to the New York Times best-selling series the Chicago Tribune called “Sherlock Holmes crossed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer” sends the eccentric detective and his indispensible assistant into the heart of a war between magical worlds.

The fate of the world is in the hands of detective of the supernatural R. F. Jackaby and his intrepid assistant, Abigail Rook. An evil king is turning ancient tensions into modern strife, using a blend of magic and technology to push Earth and the Otherworld into a mortal competition. Jackaby and Abigail are caught in the middle as they continue to solve the daily mysteries of New Fiddleham, New England — like who’s created the rend between the worlds, how to close it, and why zombies are appearing around. At the same time, the romance between Abigail and the shape-shifting police detective Charlie Cane deepens, and Jackaby’s resistance to his feelings for 926 Augur Lane’s ghostly lady, Jenny, begins to give way. Before the four can think about their own futures, they will have to defeat an evil that wants to destroy the future altogether.

The epic conclusion to the New York Times best-selling Jackaby series features sly humor and a quirky cast of unforgettable characters as they face off against their most dangerous, bone-chilling foe ever.

    

Review:

Protagonist: The final battle is about to begin as Abigail and Jackaby prepare for war over the worlds. With the Dire King planning on ripping the veil from between Earth and the magical realm that exists just beyond, there's a lot on the line and lives are put in serious danger. I love these characters, I mean, I know I titled this section "Protagonist" but I'm going to just gush about these characters for a while. Abigail is one of the fiercest and most strong willed women I've read about, and she's not even much of a fighter, she's proof that being a "strong female character" doesn't always mean being physically strong. I love how brave in the face of all she fears is and how she handles herself in this story. Jackaby is the quirkiest and most charming character I've ever had the pleasure of reading about. He, like Abigail, is also strong in his own way. He's very much a man of the mind and keen Sight, and how he uses those skills to his advantage in this story are astounding. Jenny has sort of had her story told, but she still has a little development left in her dearly departed self. Jenny is another bit of proof that strength isn't always muscle and sinew, given all that she's been through in the previous book, you'd think she'd hole herself up in her room for a while, but no, she's ready to take on even the toughest challenges. Then, rounding out our crew is Mr. Charlie Barker, a member of the Om Caini race, and his involvement in this story, is a bit heavy, while at the same time much lighter than I anticipated. I'll get into more specifics later, but I love Charlie, he's such a paragon of goodness, it's astounding, yet not grating as you'd expect it to be. Charlie knows what he wants out of life and if people around him would give him a second to voice his desires maybe he would get a chance to grasp them.

Romance: So, there is romance in this book, and as says the description Abigail and Charlie's romance does deepen as Jackaby gives way to his feelings for Jenny, but... there's a war about to start and there's not much of a time for romance. I'm serious though, while I did enjoy the romance in this story, that's not the main focal point and that's made abundantly clear, and I'm okay with that. I felt like there wasn't much need for a lot of romance as you know, the world is in danger of imploding or whatever it is that would happen, so I was actually very okay with the light touch of romance this book had, and let's be honest this isn't a series that's known for its romances.

World Building: So, the thing that made Ghostly Echoes my favorite installment in this series, tying storyline in that book to the rest of the series, was something that left me in awe, and the author manages to do it again, this time tying some things back even before the start of the series to Jackaby and his companions and their misadventures in New Fiddleham. In this story, we also learn more about Charlie and his family. We learn the life Charlie left behind and the responsibilities he shirked off to be a police man in America. Getting this look, not only into Charlie, but the supernatural race he belongs to is marvelous. It adds a new layer to the story and while there were elements that we didn't quite see played out and more skipped over, they were elements I still enjoyed nonetheless. This world is incredible and I loved every second of reading about it. We get to delve deeper into the magical realm beyond the veil (I forget what it's called and I'm too lazy to get up and get my book to check.) and learn more about its storied past and why it's separated from the human world.

Predictability: So, I was about to say that this book is full of twists and turns, but honestly other than one twist, maybe two but I called that twist I just gave up on it before it happened, I pretty much called every major twist in this book. Don't get me wrong I second guessed myself A LOT, but I still guessed the twists. The one I couldn't guess, or maybe I could have but didn't, shook me because that twist made me second guess a bunch of other twists that I did correctly guess but wasn't revealed yet. This twist shook the foundation of my prediction skills, and I'm not even sure we got a good enough explanation for it.

Ending: I want to just rant and rave about all the things that happen in this ending, the good and the bad, but no matter how I swing it, I can't say anything without, pretty much, implying spoilers, which I try and avoid doing at all costs. I will say this, the majority of the ending I loved, in fact, while there was one thing I wasn't too keen on, I kind of moved on rather quickly. However, I'll just say that the "Supplemental Materials" which is pretty much code here for epilogue, is what I want to rant and rave the most about. So, if/when you read this book and you want to rant and rave about the end too, I'm here for you if you want.

Rating:


So, I loved this book, yes I wasn't too keen on the ending, but I don't hold that against the author or the story, and honestly, I'm waiting to see what his (the author's) next move is before declaring any hatred toward this beautiful and wonderfully crafted world!

POST SIGNATURE

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Book Review: Crown of Three (Crown of Three #1)

Release Date: June 2, 2015
Author: J.D. Rinehart
Publisher: Aladdin
Length: 416 pages
Source: Purchased Book

Family secrets combine with fantasy in this epic tale of battle, magic, strange creatures, power, and fate—a Game of Thrones for a younger audience.

Separated at birth triplets, Tarlan, Elodie, and Gulph, have grown up knowing nothing about each other. However, an ancient prophecy says that the three will one day be reunited, overthrow the king, and bring peace to the land.

Each of the triplets has a special power that sets him or her apart from other people. Tarlan can speak to animals. Elodie can hear the voices of ghosts. And Gulph can become invisible. But what use are these abilities if they can’t stay alive long enough to claim the throne?

As three new stars shine in the nighttime sky, events are driving them together, but will the triplets live? Let alone rule?

    

Review:

Protagonists: Tarlan, Elodie, and Agulphous are triplets born to the king that signal the beginning of an old prophecy. Split up, so that their evil father won't find them, they know nothing about each other, and only one child knows about their origins at the start of this book. I did really like all three triplets, each one has a fairly unique personality and due to their individual upbringings, they have vastly different life experiences. I think my favorite character for this book would be Elodie since she has the most character development over the course of the book. Though I do have to say that Tarlan's animal companions give him a LOT of street cred with me. I mean, I wish I could fly on the back of a giant sentient eagle!.

World Building: Well, I'm going to air my BIGGEST grievance with this books out here, and it's not even something that the author did but more the publisher. There's no map in this book! I mean, did I NEED a map, no, but it would have helped me enjoy this book more. Regardless, the author does a pretty great job at bringing this fantasy world to life. I really enjoyed seeing the various parts of this world and how this kingdom fit together. One of the things I really like about this book is that there is a good chunk of magic, but it's nothing huge or game changing. In fact, a huge portion of this world building talks about how magic is dying in this world, it's so interesting.

Predictability: So, when I first saw this book I was immediately swept away by the cover, but when I eventually read the synopsis, I was extremely underwhelmed. This book proposes a fairly cliched MG fantasy premise, I mean, an evil king, prophesied to be overthrown by kids, kids will reign in peace forevermore, I mean it's pretty standard. However, as I read this book the author began to subvert the tropes in his synopsis. By the end of the first Act, I knew that every snap judgment I made about this book was wrong. This author seems to like to have gotcha moments, where you think things are going to go one way, only for crazy stuff to happen and everything goes sideways.

Ending: This ending floored me. As the final climax of this story began to unfold, I had a pretty solid idea in mind for where this story would end, and what would be set up for the sequel. Then as I said before things in this book tend to go sideways, and they did. The final climax was pretty well executed, and honestly, I don't really know where this story is going to go next. I mean, big picture things sure, but anything not big picture, not really. The cliffhanger is what really floored me though. I mean, I knew sooner or later it would happen, but... not at the end of the first book.

Rating:


I was really impressed with this book and it did exceed my expectations, though they were set really low. I did really enjoy this book, it just didn't grip me in the way a five-star book should. I am still excited to continue the series though!

POST SIGNATURE

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY! WIN a Pre-Order of Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo



She will become one of the world’s greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning. . . .

Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.

Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  1. THERE WILL BE ONE WINNER, WINNING tHEIR CHOICE OF ONE OF THREE EDITIONS OF WONDER WOMAN: WARBRINGER FROM THE BOOK DEPOSITORY.
  2. THIS GIVEAWAY IS OPEN INTERNATIONALLY*.
  3. THIS GIVEAWAY IS OPEN FROM AUGUST 8, 2017 AT 8:01 AM PST TO AUGUST 22, 2017 AT 12:01 AM PST
  4. THIS GIVEAWAY IS IN NO WAY SPONSORED  ENDORSED OR ADMINISTERED BY, OR ASSOCIATED WITH, RAFFLECOPTER.
  5. ENTRANTS MAY NOT ENTER MULTIPLE TIMES BY USING DIFFERENT ACCOUNTS WITH THE SAME INFORMATION, DOING SO WILL BE GROUNDS FOR DISQUALIFICATION.
  6. YOU, THE PARTICIPANT/ENTRANT ARE PROVIDING INFORMATION TO ZACH'S YA REVIEWS AND NOT RAFFLECOPTER. THIS INFORMATION WILL NOT BE GIVEN TO THIRD PARTIES OR USED IN ANY WAY OTHER THAN TO ENTER YOU INTO THE GIVEAWAY AND TO LET THE WINNER KNOW THAT THEY HAVE WON.
  7. WINNER WILL BE NOTIFIED BY THE E-MAIL SUPPLIED IN THE ENTRY FORM AND IF APPLICABLE VIA THE TWITTER SUPPLIED AS WELL - THE WINNER NEEDS TO BE IN CONTACT WITH ME IN SOME WAY WITHIN FORTY-EIGHT (48) HOURS OF THE WINNING EMAIL/ANNOUNCEMENT BEING SENT, OR, UNFORTUNATELY, THE PRIZE WILL BE GIVEN TO ANOTHER ENTRANT.
  8. I HAVE THE RIGHT TO CHANGE THE RULES AT ANYTIME AND, IF NECESSARY, TO REVOKE THE WINNER'S PRIZE(S). 
* UNFORTUNATELY THE BOOK DEPOSITORY DOESN'T SHIP TO EVERY COUNTRY SO WHILE THIS GIVEAWAY IS INTERNATIONAL, THERE ARE RESTRICTIONS. CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT IF THE BOOK DEPOSITORY SHIPS TO YOU.

POST SIGNATURE

Monday, August 7, 2017

Book Review: When Dimple Met Rishi

Release Date: May 30, 2017
Author: Sandhya Menon
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Length: 380 pages
Source: Review Copy from Publisher

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways

    

Review:

Protagonists: Dimple Shah wants nothing more than for her parents to let her attend this summer program for aspiring web developers called Insomnia Con. However, her parents only seem to want her to find the I.I.H, Ideal Indian Husband, but when the topic comes up, they relent and tell her it's a good idea. Are they finally trying to see her side of things? Rishi Patel wants to make his parents proud. As the firstborn boy in his family, he knows that it's his duty to get married and start producing grandchildren for his parents. Rishi finds comfort in his family's customs, so when his parents bring up the possibility of an arranged marriage, he's on board. First, though, he has to go to a web development camp and woo her. I was nearly instantly taken with both these characters and I was so entranced in their separate and intermingling character plots. At first, I thought this would mostly be Dimple's book, and it definitely starts out that way a little, but it quickly becomes evident that this story belongs solely to no one character. I loved how both characters grow and change with the help of the other and provide a different take on how they see their lives.

Romance: I LOVED the romance in this book. As this story unfolds the romance begins to move slowly, and what I think I loved most is that the author showed that romance and chemistry aren't all about the defining moments of a relationship, or steamy kisses and quick "I love yous" it's about the little moments. The things you notice about another person that they might not have noticed themselves, the way their smile can affect you, and how love isn't this all consuming monster of a thing. Sometimes love comes slowly, building up until the dam bursts open. I really loved what the author did with the romance in this book, it was so easy to get swept away in it.

World Building: I honestly don't know what to write here. I mean, the two main focuses of this book for me, at least in the world building department, are that the story is about two Indian American teenagers, but as I don't have a lot of experience with traditional Indian families I cannot comment on the accuracy of the portrayal, though since the author is Indian, I'll take her word for it unless told otherwise. I did like all of the little call outs to Indian culture and how it affects both of our main characters lives, for good or bad. I also liked watching Dimple and Rishi on a college campus, learning about web development, going to events at the college, etc. I did something similar while in high school, though it didn't cost me or my mom $1,000, it brought me back to those times and I felt the author did a magnificent job of showing off the program and how those who haven't been to college look at it.

Predictability: So, there were a great many times throughout this book that I didn't know where things were going. At the beginning, I wasn't sure whether or not Dimple and Rishi would form a romantic relationship. They could have just stayed friends and I probably would have liked it just as much. There were so many times that I doubted my own predictions because the author could have totally, and sometimes does, subverted some classic rom com tropes and I would have been okay with it, more than okay sometimes.

Ending: Ah, the ending of this book. I don't know if there's a final climax to this book really. I mean there is, but not in the way I was expecting, or have come to understand final climaxes. Everything in this story comes to an amazing head and it's really the final chapter that I nearly broke down. The final chapter reads as a sort of epilogue to this book. It's really well written and it just sucked me in and I couldn't help shedding a few tears. When I finally finished the book, much like with the last book I read, all I wanted was more. I know this is a stand alone but I want to see where these characters go next.

Rating:


I loved this book so much! Everything about it sucked me in and I couldn't help but love it. I can't wait to see what this author writes next. (Update! It turns out that there will be a companion novel about Rishi's brother and I cannot wait!!!)

POST SIGNATURE

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Novella Review: Heart of Tin (Dorothy Must Die 0.4)

Release Date: July 28, 2015
Author: Danielle Paige
Publisher: HarperCollins
Length: 93 pages
Source: Library Audio Book

Everyone knows the Tin Woodman as Dorothy's lovable sidekick, the tin man who longed for a real heart to beat inside his tin chest. This digital original novella is the fourth installment in the prequel arc to the edgy and thrilling New York Times bestsellers Dorothy Must Die and The Wicked Will Rise, and tells what happened to the Tin Woodman after he got his wish.

In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the Wizard gave the Tin Woodman a heart, and all lived happily ever after—or so the story goes. But in Heart of Tin, the heart wants what the heart wants—and the Tin Woodman's heart pines for Dorothy. The gift that the Wizard once bestowed on him turns twisted with longing. And when Dorothy returns to Oz with her own dark agenda, the Tin Woodman will do whatever it takes to help her rise to power—and to make her his.

Heart of Tin by Danielle Paige is a dark and compelling reimagining of a beloved classic and is perfect for fans of Cinder by Marissa Meyer, Beastly by Alex Flinn, and Wicked by Gregory Maguire.

    

Review:

Protagonist: So, the Tin Man, that guy who only wants a heart since, as essentially a robot, he doesn't have one, returns in this novella that details his obsessive love for Dorothy and the beginnings of the army that he has in Dorothy Must Die. Nearly from the start of this novella, I didn't like the Tin Man, or Tin as he's frequently referred to in this novella, and I don't think we're supposed to sympathize with him in any way in this story. I don't know how "old" Tin's supposed to be in this story, but since most depictions of him are of a fully grown man, his romantic feelings for Dorothy are extremely creepy, I mean it would be understandable, though honestly no less creepy if he fell for the sixteen-year-old Dorothy that comes back to Oz, but he talks about being in love with the twelve-year-old who initially left Oz behind. This "love," which is really some serious obsession, is what sends Tin down the path to what he becomes by the beginning of the actual series. While I never felt sympathy for him, it was interesting to see his journey from obsessive but overall harmless, to practically a stalker doing whatever it would take to get even the smallest bit of recognition from Dorothy.

World Building: This novella is DARK, I mean, probably one of the darkest things I've ever read. There's a scene, which I won't spoil, that had my stomach roiling with how gory and intricately detailed it is. I mean, look, the entire series is dark, but a lot of its darkness is hidden "behind the curtain" if you will, and tears one particular curtain away and shows it all in detail. Another thing I liked was seeing not only Tin's fall into darkness first hand, but third-handedly seeing the other companion's descent into darkness that I think will be detailed more in the next two novellas. Another interesting thing we get to see, although not completely first hand, is what happened almost directly after the events of No Place Like Oz, and Dorothy's sudden rise to power.

Predictability: So I debated keeping this section because most of the "twists" in this story would already be known for those who've read the first full installment in this series. However, there were quite a few surprises in this book. Nothing big or game changing, but things that happened that I didn't quite see coming that added to the addictiveness of this tale.

Ending: Okay, so while I definitely think that the ending to this story was a fantastic stopping place, I don't know why but I was expecting something more out of it. I can't put my finger on exactly what, but I don't feel like I got enough closure for this story. The final climax of this tale is frightening and intriguing, and the very end does have that perfect note of finality to it or at least finality to this tale, but there's still just something missing...

Rating:


I really did enjoy this story. It's dark, creepy, and sometimes downright terrifying, but with an ending that just inexplicably wasn't up to snuff, I couldn't justify a 5 star, or even 4.5 star rating. This is still a cpativating and interesting look into this world though and I can't wait to learn the other companions' tales.

POST SIGNATURE

Friday, August 4, 2017

Blog Tour Book Review: No Good Deed

Release Date: July 18, 2017
Author: Kara Connolly
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Length: 352 pages
Source: ARC from Publisher

Fans of Dorothy Must Die will love this reimagining of the legend of Robin Hood. Girl power rules supreme when a modern girl finds herself in the middle of a medieval mess with only her smart mouth and her Olympic-archer aim to get her home.

Ellie Hudson is the front-runner on the road to gold for the U.S. Olympic archery team. All she has to do is qualify at the trials in jolly old England. When Ellie makes some kind of crazy wrong turn in the caverns under Nottingham Castle—yes, that Nottingham—she ends up in medieval England.

Ellie doesn’t care how she got to the Middle Ages; she just wants to go home before she gets the plague. But people are suffering in Nottingham, and Ellie has the skills to make it better. What’s an ace archer to do while she’s stuck in Sherwood Forest but make like Robin Hood?

Pulled into a past life as an outlaw, Ellie feels her present fading away next to daring do-gooding and a devilishly handsome knight. Only, Ellie is on the brink of rewriting history, and when she picks up her bow and arrow, her next shot could save her past—or doom civilization’s future.

    

Review:

Protagonist: Ellie Hudson could potentially go to the Olympics if she focuses and wins the trials in Nottingham, yes that Nottingham, but she gets distracted by a ghostly monk and winds up in twelfth century England. Once there she takes on the role of an outlaw who dispenses justice to those who take advantage of the less fortunate. However, she cannot stay in the past for too long or she might not have a future to go back to. I loved Ellie a lot. I mean, she's just the kind of impulsive and sarcastic heroine that I needed. Over the course of the book, she does develop a bit more. I loved her development and her interactions with other characters. She's a bit of a goofball and can get a bit irate at times, but if you wound up in 12th Century England you'd probably be a bit pissed off too.

Romance: Okay, so this is going to be a short section... I hope. There honestly isn't that much romance in this book. I mean, there's some flirting and Ellie definitely admires masculine form(s), but in the end, there isn't really that much romance and how it all ended was kind of cliche. Don't get me wrong I didn't need more romance, or really any romance, I just wished it had been handled better.

World Building: When I first heard about this book I had assumed that Ellie would take on a Robin Hood type of role, not actually become Robin Hood. I did really enjoy how the author built out Nottingham and handled not only Ellie's culture shock, but how others view Ellie's weird speech patterns and clothing. I'm always up for a time travel book and mixing that with the lore of Robin Hood, and how those bits of the legend sprung from rumor were very well executed. While I admit I don't know too much about the Robin Hood legend, mostly what Disney and some other adaptations have told me, I did enjoy how the author told this story, and though it doesn't quite line up with the things I've heard, I did like the gender bending aspect and how the heart of the story stayed in tact.

Predictability: On the whole, this story isn't that predictable. Sure there were a few things that were fairly cliche and easily predicted, and of course your standard YA predictions, but there were also things that I couldn't have predicted if I wanted to. There weren't any jump out of your chairs and gasp level predictions, nothing that blew me out of the water, but there were a great number of twists that still felt right.

Ending: So, my main problem with this book is that it did take a while for Ellie to come into her role, and this isn't that long of a book, so the second half happens kind of quickly. Everything is sort of rushed and while I was okay with the story that was ultimately told, I felt like there was so much potential to tell more stories and after the final climax that's near impossible. Also, there were a few things that were more or less glossed over and the ending was pretty cliched.

Rating:


So, I did really enjoy this tale, but reading it five chapters a day, the ending really snuck up on me. I feel there was more the author could have explored, the ending felt a bit rushed, and the ending was kind of cliched. Still, a great read for those who like Historical Fiction or Time Travel stories.

POST SIGNATURE

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Book Review: The Vampire Prince (The Vampire Wish #2)

Release Date: August 3, 2017
Author: Michelle Madow
Publisher: Dreamscape Publishing
Length: 186 pages
Source: Review Copy from Author

To destroy the enemy, she will become the enemy.

Everything has been taken from Annika — her family, her friends, and even her freedom — by the vampires who enslaved her in the hidden kingdom of The Vale. But now she possesses a magical ring that contains Geneva, the most powerful witch in the world, and she’s ready for revenge.

When Prince Jacen invites vampire princesses from all over the world to the palace to compete for his hand in marriage, Annika finds her chance. By commanding Geneva to turn her into a vampire princess, she can try to win the cold heart of the prince who betrayed her and left her for dead. Can she keep the emotions she used to feel for Jacen in check? Because if her deception works and she becomes his bride, she’ll have full access to the palace... and she can destroy The Vale from the inside.

But with powerful players vying for control of the ring, and a dark magic rising outside the kingdom, there’s far more at stake than just the crown.

Return to the magical world of the Vale in the second book of The Vampire Wish series and get ready for twists and turns that you’ll never see coming!

  

Review:

Characters: So, while the first book in this series had three points of view this installment introduces another main character to its ranks. I'll get to her in a minute but first, let's talk about Annika and Jacen. Honestly, I didn't feel like they did a whole lot in this book. I mean, technically they did quite a bit, but in terms of character development, they didn't develop all that much, if at all, over the course of this story. This book mainly serves to introduce some new elements to this world, that I'll get to later, so Annika and Jacen pretty much spend the whole book sulking over the other. Camelia also doesn't do much in this book. I mean, she gets some advice on what to do next, but we don't get all that many chapters from her perspective. Finally, we have our newcomer, Karina, and since she's new she's instantly the most appealing character in this book. Don't get me wrong I love (or love to hate) the other POV characters, but honestly, while they do things they don't really do anything. Karina has a bit of a tragic backstory and I'll be interested to see how she'll fit into everyone else's plans.

World Building: The majority of this book is world building and set up. I hesitate using the term filler to describe this book since technically you can't completely cut it out of the series and have it change nothing. Things do happen in this story, it's just that they're spread a bit thin. There are a lot of new elements brought into this world in this book, and at times it could get a bit confusing figuring out how everything lined up. There's a bunch of setup and world building in this book, but as I said, the plot doesn't progress very far, pretty much the author just adds a bit of thinly veiled The Selection flair into her book and adds quite a few new topics and elements into the story to sort of steer it away from the Aladdin retelling that was so integral to book one's plot.

Predictability: Okay, so this book doesn't exactly deliver on the "twists and turns you'll never see coming" that the synopsis promises. Don't get me wrong there were a great handful of times that this book surprised me, but nothing really shocked me to my very core. Again, as I said before, not much really happens in this book I guess that's the theme of this review, so there's not all that much that happens to shock me.

Ending: So, there's not final climax to this book. I mean, again, this book is mostly an excuse to introduce new elements of this world to the reader, and so there wasn't really any climactic moments in this story. Sure, the ending is kind of cliffhanger-y, but since these books come out so close to one another it's not as if it'll be that long before there's more story, so the ending wasn't all that devastating, there are some things I'd like to know but honestly, I can wait.

Rating:


So yeah, nothing really happens in this book. If you loved the first one and want to continue, should you read this book? Hell yes. It probably introduces huge elements that will come into play later. Is it as thrilling a ride as Book 1? No, not at all. In fact, the only reason I'm not giving this book a lower rating is that the story is so short and the time between books is very quick that it's not as if it'll take that long for things to heat up again. P.S. Despite giving this book a low rating, I am still highly anticipating the next installment, I still love the world, this book just sort of felt next to pointless for me.

POST SIGNATURE