Friday, October 30, 2015

Book Review: Sweet

About The Book:

  Title: Sweet 
  Author: Emmy Laybourne 
  Pub. Date: June 2nd, 2015 
  Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
  Pages: 288
  Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads 
  Rate: 2/5 stars



Synopsis :

People would kill to be thin.

Solu’s luxurious celebrity-filled “Cruise to Lose” is billed as “the biggest cruise since the Titanic,” and if the new diet sweetener works as promised—dropping five percent of a person’s body weight in just days—it really could be the answer to the world’s obesity problem. But Laurel is starting to regret accepting her friend Viv’s invitation. She’s already completely embarrassed herself in front of celebrity host, Tom Forelli (otherwise known as the hottest guy ever!) and she’s too seasick to even try the sweetener. And that’s before Viv and all the other passengers start acting really strange.

But will they die for it, too?

Tom Forelli knows that he should be grateful for this job and the opportunity to shed his childhood “Baby Tom-Tom” image. His publicists have even set up a ‘romance’ with a sexy reality star. But as things on the ship start to get a bit wild, he finds himself drawn to a different girl. And when his celebrity hosting gig turns into an expose on the shocking side effects of Solu, it’s Laurel that he’s determined to save.

Review:

I was really interested in this book as soon as it came out. I thought the idea was really creative and the romance seemed super fun! However, I didn't like the book as much as I was hoping I would. The plot fell a little flat and the characters were so boring that I don't know how they drove a plot line for an entire book. 

The very beginning of the book was strong. It kept me wanting more and I really liked the two main characters. However, about halfway through I began to become overwhelmingly bored. Nothing was really adding up and certain things happened that I feel like were devices to serve the plot. It almost is so unrealistic, that it became silly. I know that the story said that Solu was marketed as an herbal supplement instead of a drug that is FDA approved, but even then I don't think the entire country is stupid enough to take a drug that isn't FDA approved.  For awhile, this book actually seemed very body positive. Laurel was honestly comfortable in her own body and wanted everyone else to be to. I thought it was even more body positive than the recently popular 'Dumplin', that everyone is talking about. However, towards the end it became very body negative. There were very unnecessary derogatory terms toward overweight people. I really want to read a great body positive book, *sigh*, where are they all? 


I didn't like Laurel and Tom's relationship. It seems forced and unnatural. I liked Laurel to a degree - I liked that she didn't give into peer pressure and I like that she was always concerned about her friends, but she also was so boring that I almost put the book down a few times. On the other hand, Tom was almost as insufferable as Laurel. He was sick of being known for what he did when he was little, but he's an actor so he should suck it the hell up. Yet, he still did the lamest gigs and complained when doing them. 

 It seems like this book is more of a cautionary tale, for what, I think it's open to interpretation. Is it don't trust diet supplements, don't get fat because then you won't have any self control, or is it don't follow what other people are doing? I still am not sure what the message of the book is, maybe all of the above.  This book wasn't my favorite, but it did conclude nicely. Even though I'm pretty sure this is a standalone novel, the ending seemed like it opened up for the possibility of a sequel. I probably wouldn't read the sequel, though. I'm not sure if I would recommend this book, and I'm not sure who I would recommend this book to. Maybe if you are someone that likes sillier books, this book could be for you. I rated this book 2/5 stars. 

- Jocelyn

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Book Review: Serpentine (Kingdom of Xia #1)

Serpentine (Kingdom of Xia #1) by Cindy Pon
Publication Date: September 8, 2015 

Inspired by the rich history of Chinese mythology, this sweeping fantasy is set in the ancient Kingdom of Xia and tells the coming of age story of Skybright, a young girl who worries about her growing otherness. As she turns 16, Skybright notices troubling changes. By day, she is a companion and handmaid to the youngest daughter of a very wealthy family. But nighttime brings with it a darkness that not even daybreak can quell. When her plight can no longer be denied, Skybright learns that despite a dark destiny, she must struggle to retain her sense of self – even as she falls in love for the first time.


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I had a very difficult time rating this book because while there wasn't anything particularly bad about it, I just never fully got into reading the story either. Nothing stood out to me enough that made me like it...it was just, eh. I was excited for this book originally because of the mythology. Chinese mythology isn't something that is used very often in books, and so any type of book that I find that has this type of mythology has my interest piqued. Even though this aspect of the book was good, the story just never captured my interest in the way I was expecting.

There were some things I enjoyed with this novel, so I want to talk about those before moving on to the aspects I didn't really like. So first is the mythology. The setting and the mythology is very well described and well written. I could easily picture everything, and in some ways, the story was very refreshing. I liked the uniqueness of the setting and the mythology. I also liked the fact that this story isn't about the upper class girl...it's about her handmaid. I thought this too was an interesting spin because the story could have easily been reversed. Granted, this is nothing new...I could name a handful of books that do this, but it worked well for this book and I think it deserves a mention. Finally, I did like that there is a female-female relationship in this book. Not many books do this right now, and it didn't feel like it was just put in the story (this is important to remember later on). The relationship actually had a role/place in the story, and it helped the story progress. 

Now onto what I felt didn't work. First was the characters. Nothing was particularly wrong with the characters, but none of them were that interesting either. I just never felt like I could connect to any of them, and I didn't find myself rooting for anyone. I didn't hate the characters in any way, but there were only little parts of each character that I truly loved. I didn't feel like the characters were developed enough for the reader to truly connect to them. Every character just needed a little something more. 

My biggest problem with this book was the romance. The romance between the main character, Skybright, and Kai Sen just felt rushed and thrown in the story. It's kind of insta-love because basically it was just one minute the characters meet, and the next they decided to be in love with each other. Half the time, I didn't even feel like they actually knew each other to even be friends! Ultimately, their romance just felt extremely unbelievable to me, and I just couldn't get over this fact while reading any scene. And then there was the lovely addition of a love triangle...at the Very.End.Of.The.Story. 

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This is a major no-no in my book, and I honestly was just left wondering why?? There was literally no reason for it, and again, it just felt thrown into the story to maybe add some drama. Only problem, there wasn't any drama to be had because as soon as the love triangle is introduced, the book is over. I'm not even kidding about this. 


                                      
Overall, this book just wasn't for me. The plot was kind of a roller coaster, as it had it's strong moments, followed by weak moments, but it did have it's shining moments. I loved how strong the friendship between Skybright and Zhen Ni was, but there is definitely some room for improvement for this book. I think that for some, this will be a great book, but at least for me, it wasn't my cup of tea.


Happy reading :)

~Cassie

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #19

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Jocelyn's Waiting On: 

The Shadow Queen: C. J. Redwine 
Publication Date: February 23rd, 2016

Synopsis: 


Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.

In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.

But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.

So it's another fairytale retelling for my WOW this week! I've heard mixed things about this one so far, but I won't let that deter me - I will make a determination on my own :) I'm on a fairytale retelling role… 

Cassie's Waiting On: 

The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine
Publication Date: January 5, 2016

Synopsis:

The Impostor QueenSixteen-year-old Elli was a small child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic. Since then, Elli has lived in the temple, surrounded by luxury and tutored by magical priests, as she prepares for the day when the Valtia perishes and the magic finds a new home in her. Elli is destined to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.

But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.

Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, the home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between the love she has for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must align with the right side—before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.


I'm a huge fan of Sarah Fine, and her books have let me down.  She writes such amazing stories full of suspense, intrigue, and adventure.  I'm sure this is going to be yet another hit from her.  Plus, I'm always up for stories involving magic and royalty! 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Book Review: Sweet Temptation (The Sweet Evil Series #4)

Sweet Temptation (The Sweet Evil Series #4) by Wendy Higgins
Publication Date:  September 8, 2015

Bad boy Kaidan Rowe has never wanted for anything—money, popularity, musical talent…hot girls—but seducing them is part of his duty as a Nephilim, slave to the demon Dukes. As the son of the Duke of Lust, Kaidan has learned his father’s ways, becoming a master of passion, a manipulator of chemistry. Disobeying his father would mean certain death. Thankfully for Kaidan, he’s good at his job. And he enjoys it. 

Until he meets Anna Whitt—sweet, smart, feisty, and inexplicably good—the one girl seemingly immune to his charms. The daughter of a guardian angel and a fallen one, she has a certain power over him, one that makes him wish for more than he could ever deserve. 

Determined to save all the Neph from their dark lives as the influencers of sin, Anna joins forces with Kaidan to overcome the demons’ oppressive ways. In the light of her affections, Kaidan must undergo his toughest test of all, a battle of the heart.

Sensual and swoon worthy, this companion volume to the acclaimed Sweet Evil series from New York Times bestselling author Wendy Higgins, told from the perspective of the irresistibly sexy and mysterious Kaidan Rowe, gives readers revealing insights into his struggle, his intense connection to Anna, and most of all, the true emotions that drive him.




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I've been sighing for Kai ever since I picked up Sweet Evil, and I haven't stopped since. This book is certainly no exception (and perhaps that was a tad bit more sighing because as well all know Kai is perfect and is just absolutely amazing). Everything about this book was fantastic, and is a must read for all fans of this series. I can't even begin to thank Wendy enough for this book as it rounded out the series perfectly. This book was a bittersweet read and while it made it even harder to say goodbye, it also made it a great way to relive all of the books.

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I will say that I wasn't exactly sure what to expect with Kai's POV, but it was seriously one of the best things I have ever read. He had me laughing and tearing up a bit, and let me tell you, I love him even more after reading this. And trust me, you will too. I won't lie, my heart broke for him in regards to certain things, and I just wanted to give him a hug many times throughout the book. But he also was his awesome bad boy self. I loved being able to see how the entire series played out from his perspective because while it was basically the same story, it wasn't. Wendy gave us readers something that few authors do, the ENTIRE story. We see all sides of Kai, what drives him to act in the way he does, and just how much Anna helped and changed him. We get to see key moments that played a role in making Kai who he is. We get to witness the pivotal scenes where he finally breaks free of the chains holding him to his past and embraces his future. 

The epilogue to this book was one of the most beautiful things I have ever read, and let me just say...thank you Wendy for giving all readers the gift of this epilogue. It made me tear up, and made me utter one last sigh before I closed the book. 

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One of my favorite things about this book though (besides the obvious of it being Kai 24/7) was the song lyrics at the beginning of every chapter. You could tell that Wendy put a lot of thought into each song for each chapter, to make it fit perfectly. The lyrics really set the tone for the chapter, and added a fun element to the story.

While I am extremely sad that this series is officially over now, I could not be happier with this book and am so thankful that Wendy decided to write it! I will always sigh for Kai, and if you haven't read this yet, drop everything and read it now. Get some Kai in your life once again!! Don't miss out on this one, or you'll seriously regret it! 

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Happy reading :)

~Cassie

Monday, October 26, 2015

Book Review: Romancing the Dark in the City of Light

About The Book:

  Title: Romancing the Dark in the City of Light
  Author: Ann Jacobus 
  Pub. Date: October 6th, 2015
  Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
  Pages: 288
  Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads 
  Rate: 3/5 stars



Synopsis :

A troubled teen, living in Paris, is torn between two boys, one of whom encourages her to embrace life, while the other—dark, dangerous, and attractive—urges her to embrace her fatal flaws.

Haunting and beautifully written, with a sharp and distinctive voice that could belong only to this character, Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is an unforgettable young adult novel.

Summer Barnes just moved to Paris to repeat her senior year of high school. After being kicked out of four boarding schools, she has to get on track or she risks losing her hefty inheritance. Summer is convinced that meeting the right guy will solve everything. She meets two. Moony, a classmate, is recovering against all odds from a serious car accident, and he encourages Summer to embrace life despite how hard it can be to make it through even one day. But when Summer meets Kurt, a hot, mysterious older man who she just can't shake, he leads her through the creepy underbelly of the city-and way out of her depth.

When Summer's behavior manages to alienate everyone, even Moony, she's forced to decide if a life so difficult is worth living. With an ending that'll surprise even the most seasoned reader, Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is an unputdownable and utterly compelling novel.

Review:

I love books about mental illness. I think there is a need for them in the world and I wish more authors would be brave enough to write about this touchy subject. I initially wanted to read this book because a) I like love triangles, b) I've never read a book set in Paris, and c) I like unique contemporaries. While reading the book, I quickly found out that a) This is definitely not a love triangle, b) Paris is kind of frightening in this context, and c) This is DEFINITELY a unique contemporary. 

“Kindness is like hope. It feeds hope. Which just keeps us around to suffer more."

Fan Cast of Summer: Saoirse Ronan
Summer is not my favorite main character, it's true. It's not so much that she pushes other people away, as much as she kind of complains about it when she does. She lies to herself about everything. There's a point where she is basically trying to convince herself that she is trying in school, when in reality she makes no attempt at even trying unless she's with Moony. Speaking of Moony, he was my favorite character in the story. The exact opposite of Summer, Moony tries so hard at EVERYTHING he does. Despite his terrible past, he still has a positive outlook on life. When we figure out that Moony can see Kurt too, I have that much more respect for him. He doesn't let his sadness consume him like Summer does. I figured out pretty early that Kurt was more of a symbol for someones internal struggle. The way he kept popping up out of nowhere was a little too convenient, even for a creepy stalker lol. Kurt was a really clever character and I love the angle that he played. 

Fan Cast of Moony: Brenton Thwaites
My biggest complaint with this book was that I didn't realize Summer was depressed until later in the story. It is written in 3rd person, so you really never know what Summer is feeling. I feel like maybe if I went back through the story, I might be able to find some subtle hints before it was revealed. I think making it a tad bit more obvious that she is depressed before she reveals thoughts of suicide would make this a more effective mental health story. Another problem I have is that if only select people can see Kurt, wouldn't they look at Summer like she was crazy when she was talking to him? I wish this would have been explained - maybe it was and I just missed it somehow. 

“Don't forget. Things will never, ever get better. Ending it now is best. 
And you'll leave the world a better place without you."

I think the ending of the story wrapped things up nicely, especially since the book itself is pretty short. Usually shorter books tend to have a rushed ending, but not this one. The last third of the story was extremely emotionally draining. That's when you really figure out the underlying problems that everyone is going through. The story goes from moderately happy to downright miserable in pages. I'd recommend this book to people who enjoy dark contemporaries or books involving mental health. I'm interested in seeing what this author comes up with next. 
***Thank you to St. Martin's Griffin for providing this book in exchange for my honest review.***

- Jocelyn 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Book Review: Escape from Witchwood Hollow

Escape from Witchwood Hollow by Jordan Elizabeth Mierek
Publication Date: October 29, 2014

Everyone in Arnn - a small farming town with more legends than residents - knows the story of Witchwood Hollow: if you venture into the whispering forest, the witch will trap your soul among the shadowed trees.

After losing her parents in a horrific terrorist attack on the Twin Towers, fifteen-year-old Honoria and her older brother escape New York City to Arnn. In the lure of that perpetual darkness, Honoria finds hope, when she should be afraid.

Perhaps the witch can reunite her with her lost parents. Awakening the witch, however, brings more than salvation from mourning, for Honoria discovers a past of missing children and broken promises.

To save the citizens of Arnn from becoming the witch’s next victims, she must find the truth behind the woman’s madness.

How deep into Witchwood Hollow does Honoria dare venture?
 


***I received this book from the author in exchange for a honest review.***

Escape from Witchwood Hollow was a spooky, quick read that will appeal to most, but not to all. The style of writing, and the style of the story itself, is not typical, and it can throw some readers off. However, it is very unique, and is an intriguing read that you'll fly through in no time. While it wasn't the best book I've ever read, it was still an pretty good story that could use a bit of improvement. 

There is a lot of potential for this story, it just needs to be flushed out a bit more. There were times when the story was confusing, and it took me a little bit to fully understand the time jumps/alternate POVs. This wasn't because I didn't know who was speaking, but because it was just a bit awkward. Honoria was okay as a female lead. The biggest problem I had was that I never truly felt a connection with her. Whether this was due to the fact that we don't truly read that much from her POV--her chapters are pretty short so we're never with her for very long, coupled with the fact that this book is short--or that she just wasn't that developed as a character, the reader just feels at a bit of a loss when it comes to her. 

Overall, this was a good mystery with a major twist ending. I was able to figure out most of it, but it was still interesting to watch everything come together in the end. With a bit more development of the characters and the storyline itself, this has a lot of potential to be a fantastic book! Check it out, and see if it's your cup of tea!




Happy reading :)


~Cassie

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #18

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Jocelyn's Waiting On: 

The Forbidden Wish: Melissa Jessica Khoury
Publication Date: February 23rd, 2016

Synopsis: 
She is the most powerful Jinni of all. He is a boy from the streets. Their love will shake the world... 

When Aladdin discovers Zahra's jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn't seen in hundreds of years -- a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra's very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes. 

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

As time unravels and her enemies close in, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire in this dazzling retelling of Arabian Nights from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury

After reading The Lunar Chronicles, I have become increasingly interested in fairytale retellings. The only retelling of Aladdin I've heard of so far wasn't getting that many great reviews, so I decided to skip it since TLC set my standards pretty high. This one definitely looks a lot better and I can't wait to give it a try! 

Cassie's Waiting On: 

Riders (Riders #1) by Veronica Rossi
Publication Date: February 16, 2016

Synopsis:

RidersFor eighteen-year-old Gideon Blake, nothing but death can keep him from achieving his goal of becoming a U.S. Army Ranger. As it turns out, it does.
Recovering from the accident that most definitely killed him, Gideon finds himself with strange new powers and a bizarre cuff he can’t remove. His death has brought to life his real destiny. He has become War, one of the legendary four horsemen of the apocalypse.
Over the coming weeks, he and the other horsemen—Conquest, Famine and Death—are brought together by a beautiful but frustratingly secretive girl to help save humanity from an ancient evil on the emergence. They fail.
Now—bound, bloodied, and drugged—Gideon is interrogated by the authorities about his role in a battle that has become an international incident. If he stands any chance of saving his friends and the girl he’s fallen for—not to mention all of humankind—he needs to convince the skeptical government officials the world is in imminent danger.
But will anyone believe him?


I've never read anything from Veronica Rossi, but I've heard good things about her book.  Honestly, this just sounds amazing.  I'm so intrigued by the description because it doesn't sound like anything I've ever read before!  I can't wait to see how I like her books.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Release Day Blitz: Wolf by Wolf


I am so excited that WOLF BY WOLF by Ryan Graudin releases today and that I get to share the news, along with an awesome giveaway! If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Ryan, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a signed finished copy of the book with a special WOLF BY WOLF pin! US only. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.


Special intro from the author:

"Once upon a different time, there was a girl who lived in a kingdom of death. Wolves howled up her arm. A whole pack of them--made of tattoo ink and pain, memory and loss. It was the only thing about her that ever stayed the same.

Her story begins on a train."

And so begins the story of Yael, a girl who can change her appearance to mimic any other female. A girl who must win a 20,000 kilometer cross-continental motorcycle race from Germania to Tokyo so that she can have an audience with Adolf Hitler. A girl who has every intention of killing him.

Whenever I describe the premise of WOLF BY WOLF to people, the reactions I get are quite similar. It's the "are-you-insane-or-are-you-onto-something" face: dropped jaw, squiggly eyebrows. I must admit, I felt many of those same feelings when I first started penning Yael's story. Alternate history + sci-fi + epic motorcycle journey felt like a strange recipe for a novel. But I pushed through my fears and kept writing, and I couldn't be happier with the result. I, for one, don't think I'm insane, but I'll let you, dear reader, come up with your own conclusion.

Happy reading!
Ryan Graudin

About The Book:
Title: WOLF BY WOLF
Author: Ryan Graudin
Release Date: October 20, 2015
Pages: 400
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, eBook


Code Name Verity meets Inglourious Basterds in this fast-paced novel from the author of The Walled City.
The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor's ball.

Yael, who escaped from a death camp, has one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year's only female victor, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin's brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael's every move. But as Yael begins to get closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?



About Ryan: 

Ryan Graudin grew up in Charleston and graduated from the College of Charleston with a degree in Creative Writing in 2009. She is the author of All That Glows and The Walled City. She resides near Charleston with her husband and wolf-dog. You can find her online at www.ryangraudin.com.  



Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads | Pinterest | Blog

Giveaway Details:
1 winner will receive a signed finished copy of the book with a special WOLF BY WOLF pin. US Only.
Ends on October 26th at Midnight EST!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 19, 2015

Book Review: Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3)

About The Book:

  Title: Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3) 
  Author: Marissa Meyer
  Pub. Date: February 4th, 2014
  Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
  Pages: 550
  Format: Hardcover, paperback, eBook, audiobook 
  Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads 
  Rate: 5/5 stars


Synopsis :

In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. 

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who's only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice. 

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.


Review:

This is the third book in The Lunar Chronicles series and it definitely did not disappoint. This series was the first ever fairytale retelling I've read so I feel like this series set the bar pretty high for me. It follows the story of Scarlet, Wolf, Kai, Cinder, Thorne, and the newly added Cress! 
“I promise, I will not let you die without being kissed."

Fan Cast of Cress: Dove Cameron
This series keeps on adding more and more character point of views and I really can't even tell you how  much it adds to the story. While I like Scarlet and Wolf, and love Kai and Cinder - I am obsessed with Cress and Thorne! Thorne is so beautiful and he really is a true gentleman at heart even if he denies it! One thing I love about this series is that all of the characters are fiercely loyal to their friends (and Kai, who is fiercely loyal to his whole country). I felt really sad for Wolf, but I was kind of sick of his sulkiness after awhile. After the entire ordeal in this book surrounding Wolf and Scarlet, I think that Scarlet handled herself much better than Wolf did. I still think Scarlet is the most brave female character in this series. I still do like Cress and Cinder, though! 

I'm really happy with the entire plot line. Each character has their own separate plot line, but they all involve each other in a big, mutual plot! Minor spoiler: Cress and Thorne are separated together, Cinder, Iko, and Wolf are separated together, and Scarlet is separated by herself. When they are all separated, I think the perspective of Cress and Thorne is my favorite ;). Between Cress's naivety and Thorne's huge ego, they have unexpectedly great chemistry together. 


Fan Cast of Carswell Thorne: Zach Roerig

“You said yourself that people of Luna need a revolutionary." She lifted her chin, holding his gaze.
"So I'm going to Luna, and I'm going to start a revolution. ”

It was slow at times, but not the point where the book seems unnecessarily long. Do you know what I mean by that? I think it's becoming a trend to make books so long and have so many plot fillers if seems like many books in one. Some people may like it, but I am not a fan. While this book was a little longer, it kept you interested the whole time. Anyway, I am just chomping at the bit for Winter. I am so happy with the ending of Cress, and I am willing to bet that Marissa Meyer wraps everything up nicely with Winter since the ending of every book in the series thus far was fantastic. 


- Jocelyn 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Book Review: Darken the Stars (Kricket #3)

Darken the Stars (Kricket #3) by Amy A. Bartol
Publication Date: September 8, 2015

Kyon Ensin finally has what he’s always wanted: possession of Kricket Hollowell, the priestess who foresees the future. Together, their combined power will be unrivaled. Kricket, however, doesn’t crave the crown of Ethar—she has an unbreakable desire to live life on her own terms, a life that she desperately wants to share with her love, Trey Allairis.

As conspiracies rage in the war for Ethar, Kricket’s so-called allies want to use her as a spy. Even those held closest cannot be trusted—including Astrid, her sister, and Giffen, a member of a mysterious order with a hidden agenda. But Kricket’s resolve will not allow her to be used as anyone’s pawn, even as the Brotherhood sharpens its plans to cut out her heart.

As the destiny prophesied by her mother approaches, Kricket will backtrack through her fiery future to reshape it. For she knows one thing above all else: the only person she can truly count on is herself.



So there's a reason I waited so long to write this review...I'm having trouble deciding how I feel about it. And it seems to be a consensus among Amy Bartol and Kricket series fans. On one hand, I really loved this book and it was amazing. But on the other, I am so bothered by the ending that it made me want to give this a lower rating. I have never disliked an Amy Bartol book, but I just am so conflicted on this one. Honestly, it was really only the ending that bothered me the most, because the rest of this book was fantastic. But that ending...ugh. I'm actually really angry over it. 

Amy has an amazing talent. There is no denying it in my opinion. She has such creativity and can spin an amazingly unique story that leaves you desperate for more. That is how this series started. I was instantly transported to Ethar, and fell in love with all of the characters that Amy created. Kricket was a fierce female lead, Trey was a swoonworthy bad boy that instantly grabs a piece of your heart, and the rest of the gang was hilarious and offered a great balance to the story. However, most of these characters that we fell in love with from the start were virtually absent from the story. I didn't really like this because I missed them so much. And the scenes they were in were far too short. I just kept wanting things to fast forward and Kricket to be rescued so they could come up with an ingenious plan to save Ethar. But this didn't really happen.

However, you know the thing I loved the most? NO LOVE TRIANGLE. It was always so nice when authors feel comfortable enough to not have a love triangle because I feel like it's so overdone these days. If you know me, you know I'm not a huge fan of them. Well, in this one, there's a love triangle. But the problem is, I don't really know if you can call it that because of what actually happens. I don't want to give away any spoilers, but I just didn't like what happened with Kyon at all. Now don't get me wrong, I loved Kyon. He was/is a great villain, and I loved how we got to see a different side to him in this novel. But I didn't like what happened between him and Kricket. This is partly why I'm conflicted. Because on one hand, I really enjoyed Kyon and Kricket together and their storyline, but I did not ejoy them as a couple.

I could actually get over the love triangle aspect of this, but unfortunately that's not where my ultimate problem lies. The ending was just a bust for me. Again, this is an area of conflict for me. On one hand, I didn't like the direction Amy took because it's very open ended and not a proper end to the series. I didn't like that there was no true conclusion, and it just felt like Kricket was taking the easy way out. However, this being said, I also think Kricket's decision was very true to her character and her feelings throughout the series in regards to what she was to become. I can't say too much because I don't want to spoil this for you, but I think (especially if you read other reviews) how difficult it is for me to decide whether or not I like this ending. Ultimately, I just felt kind of let down, as it wasn't at all what I would have expected. If this is truly the last book, then I'll be even more disappointed, but if there is another book...and Amy, I ambegging you to write another book...I won't be so upset.

Overall, Amy has told a great story with Kricket, and her storytelling is flawless. She knows how to write a good story that sweeps the reader into another world and makes you fall in love. But this is not the way you end a series, and I don't know if I can get over it. Check this out if you're a fan, just don't go in with any expectations. It might not be your favorite book, but it's still a worthy edition to the series. While I might be conflicted on the ending, I don't regret, in any way, reading this series. And it still will be one of my favorite series. If this truly is the end, I might just make up my own ending where everything works out ;)



Happy reading!

~Cassie