Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN by Sarah J. Maas, A GATHERING OF RAVENS by Scott Oden

A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3)

Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin's maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places. 

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

What I thought:

I've been impatiently waiting for my next dose of Feyre and Rhysand and, well, pretty much everyone. But mostly Rhysand, TBH. I've been team-Rhysand since book 1, before we knew the things we know--things I can't tell you in case you haven't read it. Because I shall spoil no things. Ahem. 

So why not 5 stars? There were a few parts here and there that earned eyerolls, a sprinkling of huh? moments, and the sex... I'm definitely for sex, but here it was meh. And the ending (the ending after the ending, really) dragged for me. Instead of icing on a cake, it was more like the MCs each trying to get the last word. 

But, overall, amazing. I love this world and the characters and I'm already twitching a bit thinking on how long I'll have to wait to find out what happens next.  

Rating: **** (4.5 stars)

_______________________________


To the Danes, he is skraelingr; to the English, he is orcneas; to the Irish, he is fomoraig. He is Corpse-maker and Life-quencher, the Bringer of Night, the Son of the Wolf and Brother of the Serpent. He is Grimnir, and he is the last of his kind--the last in a long line of monsters who have plagued humanity since the Elder Days.

Drawn from his lair by a thirst for vengeance against the Dane who slew his brother, Grimnir emerges into a world that's changed. A new faith has arisen. The Old Ways are dying, and their followers retreating into the shadows; even still, Grimnir's vengeance cannot be denied.

Taking a young Christian hostage to be his guide, Grimnir embarks on a journey that takes him from the hinterlands of Denmark, where the wisdom of the ancient dwarves has given way to madness, to the war-torn heart of southern England, where the spirits of the land make violence on one another. And thence to the green shores of Ireland and the Viking stronghold of Dubhlinn, where his enemy awaits.

But, unless Grimnir can set aside his hatreds, his dream of retribution will come to nothing. For Dubhlinn is set to be the site of a reckoning--the Old Ways versus the New--and Grimnir, the last of his kind left to plague mankind, must choose: stand with the Christian King of Ireland and see his vengeance done or stand against him and see it slip away?

Scott Oden's A Gathering of Ravens is an epic novel of vengeance, faith, and the power of myth.

What I thought:
First let me say that I love me some unlikable protagonists. Liars, murderers, thieves... Yes, I'm all down. The badder the better. The MC here has unlikable down to a science, but he's boring AF. And boring is a sin I cannot tolerate.  

Then there's the girl issue. And it was an issue for me. The main female protagonist is carted around like a lazy sack of vagina, making the men do all the work, rescuing her and whatnot. No agency. Her character arc reads like a paint-by-numbers. 

There are other characters and they show up at convenient times to do convenient things, but the entire plot is Grimnir trudging around looking for his revenge. Plenty of gods and gore. But victory is ensured before the battles begin and all the foes are easily defeated. 

Sigh. The premise intrigued me in but the book didn't deliver. Not for me and can't recommend. 

Rating: * (1 sad star)
*I received an eARC of this title from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.



Happy reading. Share your thoughts and book recommendations in the comments and find me on twitter: @chellypike.

Chelly

Thursday, May 25, 2017

THE ROMEO CATCHERS by Alys Arden, THE FLAME IN THE MIST by Renee Ahdieh, SIMON VS... by Becky Albertalli...




Is blood thicker than magic in La Nouvelle-Orléans?

Tormented by the fate she condemned her mother to, and by the lies she’s forced to tell to cover it up, Adele scours Storm-ravaged New Orleans for the truth about her family’s magical past. But every turn leads her back to the one person she's determined to forget: Niccolò Medici. Not even the multitude of enchanted locks on the attic door trapping Nicco within can break their connection.

Sensing Nicco calling to Adele, Isaac tries relentlessly to keep her from exploring paths too dark that would endanger them all. But a new threat is rising: the Medici’s presence has attracted something else to New Orleans…an older enemy, one that will bring Isaac’s haunted past to life, test the witches’ friendships, and jeopardize Adele and Isaac’s blossoming relationship.

In this spellbinding continuation of The Casquette Girls saga, Adele must draw on the past—from seventeenth-century Florence, a time bubbling with alchemy and fraternal betrayal—and sort history from fantasy if she is to have any chance of saving her mother, her coven, and her magic.
 

What I thought: 

First, this picks up where THE CASQUETTE GIRLS (book 1 in the series) leaves off. So if you haven't read it yet, go ahead, I'll wait...

Wow! You read fast. Ahem. 

I loved Adele in THE CASQUETTE GIRLS. The city is a character in its own right. And the actual characters, its like Alys Arden peeled them off the streets and pasted the onto the pages. All of that is still fabulously true in The Romeo Catchers. 

And OMG how to do profess my adoration without giving anything away? 

Okay, here goes... There's a bunch of mystical witchy stuff and amazing friendships and *sigh* romance. And that's just scratching the surface. So, yeah, I think everyone should read this series. 

Rating: ***** (5 stars)

*I received an eARC of this title from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. (And I also pre-ordered it because it told me it wanted to live on my bookshelf.)

_______________________________________




From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Wrath and the Dawn, comes a sweeping, action-packed YA adventure set against the backdrop of Feudal Japan where Mulan meets Throne of Glass.

The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor's favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family's standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.
Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and track down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she's within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she's appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she's ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.
 

What I thought: 

Let me count the ways I love Mariko. Independent. Check. Fierce. Check. Brave. Check... I could go on and on and on, but then you'd never get to the end of this review... and then you'd never get to read this amazing book. 

This story is so rich in culture and the details paint such a fascinating picture I wanted to crawl into them and hang out for a while. Renee Ahdieh's writing is beautiful and I will read everything she writes. Yes, read this. You also want: THE WRATH & THE DAWN and THE ROSE AND THE DAGGER, which are links because I'm a giver. 

Rating: ***** (5 stars)

*I received an eARC in from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. (But I pre-ordered it anyway, because I wanted to pet it like a kitten. It is pretty soft. Just saying. ;))

_______________________________


Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Okay, so I'm way late to the game. This lovely book has been patiently waiting on my shelf for forever as I've been plowing through not-yet-published books. Shame on me.

Simon. Sigh. Blue. Sigh. This story is so well done. Simon is so fresh and real and I had all the feels. Highly recommend and my 13yo agrees (and she stole my copy and won't give it back.)