Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Hallo-read!

It's that time of year! When you go outside and force people to give you free candy! Fun!
It is never too old for you to go trick-or-treating, fyi.
Or, at least watch some kids or something so you have an excuse...

If you want to read some spooky, scary books that make you shiver down your spine while sitting in front of the fireplace (or a desktop screen), instead of drinking a ton of Pumpkin Spice Lattes or watching a horror movie with your friends, here are some:

Image resultThese are the secrets I have kept. This is the trust I never betrayed. But he is dead now and has been for more than forty years, the one who gave me his trust, the one for whom I kept these secrets. The one who saved me . . . and the one who cursed me.

So starts the diary of Will Henry, orphaned assistant to Dr. Pellinore Warthorpe, a man with a most unusual specialty: monstrumology, the study of monsters. In his time with the doctor, Will has met many a mysterious late-night visitor, and seen things he never imagined were real. But when a grave robber comes calling in the middle of the night with a gruesome find, he brings with him their most deadly case yet. A gothic tour de force that explores the darkest heart of man and monster and asks the question: When does man become the very thing he hunts?


When her aunt Penelope, the only mother she's ever known, tragically disappears while walking in the woods surrounding their estate, Lucy finds herself devastated and alone. Margaret has been spending a lot of time in the attic. She claims she can hear her dead mother's voice whispering from the walls. Emotionally shut out by her father, Lucy watches helplessly as her cousin's sanity slowly unravels. But when she begins hearing voices herself, Lucy finds herself confronting an ancient and deadly legacy that has marked the women in her family for generations.

Lucy Acosta's mother died when she was three. Growing up in a Victorian mansion in the middle of the woods with her cold, distant father, she explored the dark hallways of the estate with her cousin, Margaret. They're inseparable—a family.  

It was only an accident -- but it would change their lives forever. Last summer, four terrified friends made a desperate pact to conceal a shocking secret. But some secrets don't stay buried, and someone has learned the truth. Someone bent on revenge. This summer, the horror is only beginning....

If you don't want to read any horror stories, then you can check out some of my reviews for young adult books on the homepage.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas

Image result for empire of stormsThis series is one of my favorite series of all time. (CAUTION: This is the FIFTH book of a series, and I have not reviewed the second, third, or fourth book. But I HAVE reviewed the first book, Throne of Glass, so if you want to check that out, here's the link.) ANYWAYS, I was so excited to read this book, and after I finally got it, I pretty much read it in one sitting. (Or two. That book is long, okay? Stop judging me.)
Aelin Galathynius, or Celaena Sardothien (her alias), used to be an assassin. It turns out she's actually the heir to the throne of Terrasen. She's extremely arrogant, but honestly, you can't help loving her fiery personality and how skilled she is. I love a strong female heroine. You can't help rooting for her as she, with her "gang", or "Court", travel different kingdoms for their quest to find the Wyrdkeys. Aelin is actually extremely kind, but she acts confident, is confident, and is going to rule the world. Figuratively. Unless she is? (Sarah J Maas, are you there?)
Aelin's Court is made up of Rowan, Aedion, and Lysandra (primarily). Rowan and Aedion are Fae warrior princes. Rowan is Aelin's mate, while Aedion is Aelin's cousin. Lysandra is a shape-shifter. I really love the side characters (there are SO MANY SHIPS!), and Dorian, Elide, and Manon also join the crew. Aedion, at first, is in that "you're perfect" stage, but as he gets to know Aelin more, they become closer and he stops worshiping her. I really think that Aedion's character development was pretty good, but some of the other character's don't really change that much.
There's also a side story/perspective going on during the beginning of the book with Elide and Lorcan, who band together and travel on their quest. They are mysterious and secretive towards each other, but they slowly become closer friends. I think that everyone starts to form tighter bonds, rather than being a suddenly assembled group.
I give this book four stars. This book is in third person, and switches perspectives almost every chapter, until the end of the book where the peak of the plot comes. I recommend this for people who love fantasy with a skilled and feisty heroine

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak

Image result for the impossible fortressI think that this book was clever.
The romance was sweet, awkward, and they were misunderstood.
However, there were no consequences and there wasn't much character development.
Billy faced no punishment (other than the utter rejection of his first love, but that's not the point). It's his fault, he gives vitally important code to his friends, yet he doesn't go to jail? It is literally all his fault. Yet Mary pretty much easily forgives him in a snap.
What happened?
Mary is character that stays the same. She is completely static, yet she is one of the main characters. I mean, yes, she's... skinnier at the end of the book, but we are talking about personality. She stays the same. She doesn't really make any other friends besides Billy, and it's not like she took a whole new aspect to life or anything. She just stays the same.
In the beginning she's cheerful. In the end she is cheerful. What is the difference here?
Also- I feel like Bill's affinity for coding is not really represented here, it just describes himself as lazy and always thinking about drawing 8-bit characters. He's technically "not smart", right? Or is he secretly smart, but he doesn't try? This is not clarified in the story.
His friends aren't really alive. Clark is extremely insecure, but this hardly delves into anyone else's problems, just the romance. I feel like there should have been more context, and Clark's insecurities about his misshapen hand should be expressed more clearly. Other than the fact that he shoves his hand in his pocket, he seems pretty much fine.
Also, Bill describes girls as getting a look at Clark's hand, then suddenly shutting up in fright and dismay. This never actually happens in the story.
This definitely needs to go deeper into the stories of his friends and the people around them, it's too focused on coding and romance.
There needs to be more action. A lot of the story is just Bill saying it. Don't tell, show.
However, this book was good for several reasons.
I appreciated the style, it was consistent. Bill seemed like someone practical.
I liked the setting, where they have floppy disks and hard drives.
The romance seemed slow, and not too sudden. They seem to have a "love at first sight" experience, but it's not really developed. Their relationship as friends into a couple seems quick and choppy, but their friendship seems realistic.
This book definitely could be better, but I think that it's sweet in its own way. It definitely holds a lot of promise.
I give this book two stars. It had a lot of flaws, but I do recommend this for people who are into coding, and slow romances. Also, heists, I guess?

I received a free advance reader copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige

Image result for the wicked will riseFirstly, this is a sequel. I did not review the first book, Dorothy Must Die (sorry!), so if you don't want spoilers, look away!(Here's a little backstory~.) Amy Gumm is "trash". This modern styled retelling of the story, Wizard of Oz, is about another girl who goes to Kansas, after Dorothy. Back at Kansas, Amy was trash, with a single parent (one abandoned them), and a bunch of kids who make fun of her and call her Salvation Army. She's treated like trash, and everyone hates her. But suddenly, she's swept up by a tornado, and lands in the land of Oz. She finds out that Dorothy is evil, and Amy is supposed to kill her- there's a prophecy- yada, yada, yada. She is MAGICAL. And there is a love interest, Nox. Also, Pete is secretly Ozma. Basically, she pretends to be a servant, gains info, all that good stuff. In the end, she tries to kill Dorothy, but FAILS, thus leaving with a gigantic cliffhanger and all of us wondering what to do with our lives. Okay, moving on.
I feel like Dorothy's character development was great, but there was a lot of caution on the "too much magic is a no-no" rule. Foreshadowing much? Anyways, she has to find the rest of the gang so that they can reunite and figure out a plan to try to kill Dorothy. Again. Let's hope Amy doesn't fail again. (I should really stop throwing shade.) Anyways, it turns out that she was given more steps to her mission to kill Dorothy, which was to take the Scarecrow's brain, the Tin-Man's heart, and Lion's courage, in order to kill Dorothy.
Dorothy herself becomes more courageous during the story, although she's set back on the self esteem a little, after she failed to kill Dorothy in the first book. She also learns how to wield her magic more. I also think that the empathy of other characters really resonates with you. You can really relate, and not all of the characters themselves are perfect. They have stupid and irritating moments, but they also have genius and loving moments. I think that the characters really do represent the feelings of an actual human.
I loved the settings in this story. They all seemed wonderfully magical, and they travel a lot. I loved the wicked setting and the different magical objects that they encountered.
The plot was less interesting than the first, because in this she's more traveling and exploring other's characters, but it's still intriguing nonetheless.
I give this book 4.5 stars, and I definitely recommend this for those who love fantasy retellings, dark world building, and magical fighting.

Monday, October 24, 2016

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

Image result for a torch against the nightI liked this book. It was fast-paced, quick, and got your heart racing within a few minutes of cracking open the cover. However, this book was definitely disappointing. This sequel definitely didn't match with the first book, An Ember in the Ashes. 
Elias is an ex-Mask, running away from Blackcliff, from the Commandant, from all of the government that he so desperately hated. Paired up with Laia, he was running for his life. Elias is a careful and skilled fighter, while Laia is only a Scholar, one of the lower-class people. Laia is part of the rebellion, while Elias... is rebelling. In my own opinion, I don't like Laia. She seems too annoying to me. During the book, she was overestimated and for some reason, people liked her. I didn't really understand why people apparently gravitated to her, she wasn't charming or funny. She didn't really have any likable personality traits, except for the "determination" Elias loves her for.
In this book, they're traveling across the country to run away from the Emperor, and also to free Laia's brother. Many different people help them along the way, with mysterious and endearing personalities.
There's a love triangle in this book. And I was honestly so disappointed by this. Laia liked both of them? No, she did not. It was obvious that she was gravitating towards Love Interest A, but she still "fell in love" with Love Interest B. Although, this love triangle seemed to end near the end, so at least we (hopefully) don't have to deal with a love triangle in the third book.
This book had a lot of action, at least, and I absolutely loved Helene. She was, by far, my favorite character. She had gusto, she had nerves, and she was skilled. Also, she had MAGIC. She has to deal with a lot of suffering, since she is now Blood Shrike to her enemy.
This book encounters a lot of death, but I think that it's handled very tastefully. The world building was magical, and you could really feel the characters' emotions. Despite my loathing mixed feelings for Laia, I still appreciated the other characters and felt like the plot was very thorough. There was a LOT of foreshadowing.
This book is in first person and switches POVs about every chapter, between Laia, Elias, and Helene. Did I like this book? Yes, I definitely liked this book. I would probably give this book three stars. A good read, if you don't hate Laia. I definitely recommend this for whoever read the first book, and loves escape books and fantastic mythological worlds.