This novella tells Mara’s backstory and how she joined the rebellion. When her village is attacked by Inviernos, Mara must escape and help any survivors she can. Turns out all the survivors are children and they must cross the Shattered Mountain to find the rebellion in the desert. It is a treacherous journey and the group has very little in the way of supplies. This story highlighted Mara’s strength and explained how she came to be the way she is in the Fire and Thorns series.
This is a lovely little love story in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone universe. Zuzanna and Mik are probably the best part of the second book in the series. This is the story of how they finally came together and it is a meeting they will tell their grandkids. I loved the scavenger hunt aspect and how they both loved each other from afar but were too afraid to do anything about it.
The White City, 1893: In turn-of-the-century Chicago, with the World’s Fair bringing bustle and excitement to her home city, sixteen-year-old Emily Wheiler should be reveling in her youthful beauty and the excitement around her. But her whole life changed when her mother died, leaving her to be the Lady of Wheiler House. At last, afraid for her life and with nowhere to turn, Emily is Marked by a vampyre and brought to the Chicago House of Night, where she begins a magickal new life that should allow the wounds from her past to heal. But as she gains strength, and a powerful new name, she carries a dark need to wreak vengeance on the man she trusted most.
A great companion book to their House of Dark series. I thoroughly enjoy the backgrounds they create for the main characters in the books. If Neferet wasn’t such an evil character, I might feel sorry for her. This book make a great explanation for why she is the way she is.
In a future Manhattan devastated by environmental catastrophes and epidemics, sixteen-year-old Lucy survives alone until vicious hounds target her and force her to join Aidan and his band, but soon they learn that she is the target of Sweepers, who kidnap and infect people with plague.
This wasn’t too bad, as far as dystopian novels go. I thought it was good, but fairly predictable to me. Teens will enjoy it and want to read the rest of the series to see how the characters turn out. I think I may pass on the rest of them. Very interesting to wonder if we would turn out the past as quickly in order to get our survival skills fine tuned.
The conclusion of the Maze Runner trilogy. Our hero Thomas does not trust anyone at Wicked even though now they say the time for lies has ended. Wicked claims that it is up to the Gladers to complete the final blueprint for the cure for the flare and that they need to have their memories restored to complete the process and agree to a final voluntary test. Thomas already remembers more than anyone at Wicked knows and he doesn’t trust that the memories that would be restored would be real. But the truth is more dangerous than Thomas can imagine. Will he survive the cure?
Tom and his father have been traveling from place to place, grifting along the way to keep themselves fed. When Tom’s talent for virtual reality simulation games gets noticed, he is tapped by the those in the highest echelons of the US military to join their elite group of combatants who are currently fighting World War III. Tom agrees and is quickly shuttled off to the Pentagonal Spire, where these new types of soldiers are trained. He’s in for a bit of a shock when he gets there though. While the military aims to get the best and brightest, natural traits just aren’t enough in this brave new world. Each plebe (combatant-in-training) must receive a neural transplant. The brain is altered in such a way as to enhance memory and processing, while also allowing plebes and combatants to directly connect to the space ships that are doing the actual fighting in the war. Tom isn’t crazy about the transplant and realizes that he’s been manipulated, but eventually agrees to it on his own terms.
At first, Tom kind of loves his new transplant; he’s faster, smarter, better looking – everything that he wasn’t before arriving at the Pentagon. It isn’t long, however, before the drawbacks of the technology become glaring apparent. For instance, Tom learns rather quickly that the brain can be easily accessed and hacked by others, including curmudgeonly teachers, bullies, enemy combatants and the corporations that finance a plebe’s promotion to combat. Naturally, in a school full of teenagers with the same type of implant, hijinks ensue.
For me, this book had a kind of Ender’s-Game-meets-Harry-Potter (or Percy Jackson, if you prefer)vibe. Tom and his friends were, to me, strongly reminiscent of the Harry-Ron-Hermione trio. His programming professor reminded me of Snape. The bully? Total Draco potential. The virtual training and manipulation of children comes across as an updated rendition of Ender’s battle school. It’s both fun and thought-provoking. I read this with my middle school book group; everyone in the group loved it. Interestingly enough, roughly half the group said they’d love to have similar implants while the rest shuddered at the thought.
I can’t help but think that this manga is really more for established fans than those new to the Soulless series. I haven’t read any of the series, so I didn’t really know what to expect when I picked up the manga-style adaptations. I was not terribly impressed. In fact, I was kind of annoyed at the whole experience.
The story is lacking in detail and world-building, but that’s probably the result of it being an adaptation. The artwork is merely OK; it uses a lot of manga tropes, which, in an American comic, feels off somehow. I’m honestly getting very tired of popular series being turned into “manga”. Particularly annoying to me in this particular volume is the depiction of the female characters. The ridiculously large breasts and plunging necklines come across as entirely superfluous.
I wanted to like this series; I really did, but ultimately it just fell flat.
Eleanor and Park is the story of two teenagers in 1986 Omaha. They are both different and don’t quite fit in. They bond over comic books and music. Each day on the bus they become closer and closer without even speaking. Then one day they realize they can’t get enough of each other. It is first love in all its intensity. They are everything to each other and don’t need anyone or anything else.
I couldn’t get enough of this book. Eleanor and Park are both so intense in their own ways. Their love for each other is so all consuming. It is that first love where you don’t think you can go on without the other, where nothing else matters but being with that person. It is the first love where you don’t think anything else will ever compare. Their feelings were palpable and actually made me cringe at times because they were so intense. Her relationship with Park is a very good contrast to her horrible home life with a mother who has emotionally abandoned her children and an abusive step-father. I think I held my breath during the last few chapters of the book when everything came to a head. The ending left me wanting more and just a little bit heartbroken, but hopeful for the future.
Andi, Quinn, Frederick and Dylan are all sucked from their lives and into another world. It is a world where fairy tales are real. They are assisted/kidnapped by a mysterious Mr. Jackson who is reluctant to turn them over to his boss. The four must figure out why they are in this world and what role they need to play. It turns out each of their grandparents escaped from Elorium many years ago and they are back to finish the abandoned tales.
I really enjoy fractured fairy tales and this one didn’t disappoint. The girls’ tales were easy to figure out. Andi had a magical cloak and shoes, Quinn’s hair grows at an alarming rate. The boys were a little more difficult and less obvious. I liked the mystery of the story and the open-ended ending that allows for more tales.
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley.com.
I enjoyed parts of this book immensely – however, the romance aspect of “oh, I couldn’t possibly be honest with him” drove me nuts. But the action was uptempo like Divergent, and the ending was good. I was told it was a cliffhanger, but I thought it was a good ending – everybody wound up where they should be, but new things were going to happen next! Can’t wait to read the next one.
Terry Pratchett has always been one of my favorites. I have read almost everything he has written. Dodger, like Nation, is a stand alone novel filled with detail, humor and insight. Pratchett is best when he is conveying a message. His books are never heavy-handed, but they do get his point across in a humorous and ironic way, which I completely enjoy.
Dodger is a young tosher, who scours the sewers looking for things that have been dropped or washed away. He is not a thief, but has no problem taking advantage of something just sitting there. He lives with Solomon, a Jewish jeweler, and Onan, a very smelly dog. One night he sees a young woman in danger and rescues her from a couple of thugs. He also meets Charlie Dickens and John Mayhew who help him find a place for young “Simplicity”. Dodger, despite himself, becomes entangled in Simplicity’s web and sets out to save her permanently. He uses his wits and street smarts to solve the mystery of Simplicity and make sure she is free in the future. He has run ins with Sweeney Todd, Robert Peel and many others along the way. And despite himself he becomes something of a hero.
I loved listening to this book. Stephen Briggs does an excellent job bringing not only Dodger to life, but London as well. Pratchett’s words and Brigg’s voice make everything seem tangible. You can smell the stink of the sewers and see the hardships of the poor in Victorian London. There was just something that sucked you into the life of Dodger and didn’t want to let you go. I worry about what is going to happen once Pratchett is too sick to write anymore. Will anyone be able to fill the void? He has such a unique voice and perspective that I don’t think he can be replaced.
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins’s groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year.
I loved the first and second books. The final, however, left me a little confused and disappointed. The plot took off and left character development in the dust. I frequently went back to re-read and thus, found it difficult to get lost in the story.
While Violet’s mother is on vacation for the summer, Violet is sent to live with her artist father. After an embarrassing entrance at his art show, it becomes abundantly clear that her father is not particularly cut out to be a father. A wealthy Japanese art collector commissions Violet’s father for a mural in their Tokyo office and Violet finds herself heading off to Japan with her father and his business associates. In the meantime, the same associates have had priceless Van Gogh drawings stolen from their vaults. Violet suspects her father’s new girlfriend, but tells herself she’ll investigate more in Japan. Violet’s father sets himself to work on his mural while his employers deal with the Yakuza, claim to be the owners of the stolen art and imply that they will stop at nothing to get it back.
There are a lot of things that bothered me about this book. Many of the details are exceptionally convenient (Violet’s absent-minded father who can’t seem to be bothered to notice his daughter, the presence of Violet’s BFF who happens to be summering in Japan with her family, etc.), others are strictly red herrings. Violet is not particularly well-developed as a character, in spite of lengthy descriptions of her manga work-in-progress and her love of Japan. She is extremely naive and is fully convinced that she and her teenaged friend can solve a mystery before the Yakuza do. She never seems to question whether or not she is out of her depth. The mystery itself is totally convoluted and borderline confusing. The rest of the story isn’t well developed either, in spite of the fact that it drags on for 360 pages. There’s a lot of “telling” and not much “showing”. Odds are good the reader will figure out most of the mystery long before the characters do, provided they’re willing to stick it out to the end.
Odette is a young Jewish girl living in Paris at the beginning of World War II. When the Nazis invade, her father is arrested and sent off to prison camp. In an effort to keep Odette safe, her mother sends her to the countryside where Odette will learn to blend in with the Christian community there. She learns to pose as a Catholic, learning prayers and attending mass. All the while, she must keep her Jewish identity a secret to avoid capture by the Germans. Odette has become exceedingly good at keeping secrets and considers this just one more to add to the list. Eventually, Odette begins to feel at home in the countryside. Back in Paris, she had been bullied and harassed for her Jewish background even though her family were not practicing Jews. In the country, Odette is perceived as a Christian and thus “fits in” with her new friends, but she knows she must never talk about who or what she really is.
This is a lovely novel-in-verse about a family doing whatever it takes to survive under extremely challenging circumstances. It is also based on a true story. Odette spends nearly the entirety of the war in the countryside which makes for some discomfort on her mother’s behalf. Odette’s identity begins to shift the longer she is away from her parents. Is she playing the part of a Catholic girl, or is she actually becoming one?
After the first four waves of the alien invasion, there’s not a whole lot of humanity left on earth. Cassie has been on her own, struggling to survive. The only thing keeping her going is a promise she made to her little brother. Of course, she’s not sure that her brother is even still alive. But if she doesn’t try, then what’s the point? Cassie isn’t even sure she knows who she is anymore; she is so far from the girl she remembers herself being before her life became focused on survival. When she meets Evan, she isn’t sure about him, but is willing to give him a chance. After all, saving her brother will be easier with help, assuming that Evan really is human.
This book had a lot of hype leading up to its publication and I approached it with some trepidation, in spite of the fact that I’ve been a fan of Yancey’s Monstrumologist series. Fortunately, I found it to be quite entertaining, even it wasn’t the mind-blowing experience the early press made it out to be. Starting the story during the fifth wave of the alien invasion is an interesting place to begin. Cassie doesn’t have all that much information about what’s going on. All she can do is speculate based on what she has witnessed, but appearances can be deceiving. Fortunately for the reader, there are other narrators whose perspectives aid in the world building. I cannot say that any of the revelations came as a surprise, nor are any of the themes particularly ground-breaking. Readers will likely be more interested in the characters themselves. There are strong survival and military elements which balance out the hints of romance rather nicely. Adept plotting adds to the tension and makes for a fast-paced read. There’s plenty to like here if you’re not going into it expecting miracles.
In this 17th Century Japan the Shogun is a woman…and the harem is full of men. The tale told in the Chronicle of the Dying Day continues as the young female shogun Iemitsu tries desperately to conceive a male heir. But her lover Arikoto seems unable to give her a child, and they must betray their hearts to save their country. Meanwhile, the Redface Pox continues its ruthless progress through Japan, leaving famine, despair, and the threat of anarchy in its wake.
Rain is a quiet girl who attends a swanky private school in New York. The day after a party, Rain gets a call from the mother of an old friend wondering if Rain has seen her daughter. Rain had seen her old friend, Wendy, at the party the night before, but had left before Wendy. Within hours, a call from the police comes in with reports that Wendy’s body has been found in Central Park. Consumed with the guilt of not having acted on her instincts at the party and angry at the lack of compassion shown by her classmates, Rain decides to investigate a bit on her own.
Rain had previously been a close friend of Wendy’s, but Wendy had aspirations of popularity, which involved people and activities that Rain had little interest in. Wendy had since earned the reputation of being a party girl and notorious boyfriend stealer. In other words, Wendy had plenty of people who didn’t like her for a variety of reasons. When evidence that the killer may be a student at their prestigious boarding school is leaked, Rain becomes convinced that she knows who the killer is, but she must get out of her personal safety zone if she’s going to get justice for Wendy.
This book reads a lot like a Gossip Girls-style whodunnit. The lives of the characters are those of extreme privilege, which largely makes them unlikable. Rain as a character is interesting enough. She was born with a cleft palette, which led to years of speech therapy. As a result, she doesn’t like speaking out loud with people she doesn’t know well. She’s also surprisingly sympathetic to Wendy’s situation, but still relatively naive with regards to the lifestyle Wendy led. The plot moves fast and there are a few twists and turns, but observant readers will have the mystery solved long before the end of the book comes.
In the second book of the Hunger Games trilogy, Katniss and Peeta have secured their lives in Victors Village. Katniss spends the year dreading two things; trying to figure out her true feelings regarding Peeta and Gale, and the victors tour throughout the districts.
Katniss’ problems intensify as President Snow travels to District 12 to issue a personal warning about her behavior inspiring rebellion.
Now, Katniss has to gamble the safety of the people she loves with her own life.