Review: Dry by Neal Shusterman

Title: Dry
Author:  Neal Shusterman
Publisher/Year:  Simon & Shuster Publishing 11/23/18
Length:   400 Pages

Overview

When the California drought escalates to catastrophic proportions, one teen is forced to make life and death decisions for her family in this harrowing story of survival from New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman.

The drought—or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it—has been going on for a while now. Everyone’s lives have become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn, don’t fill up your pool, don’t take long showers.

Until the taps run dry.

Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation; neighbors and families turned against each other on the hunt for water. And when her parents don’t return and her life—and the life of her brother—is threatened, Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she’s going to survive.

My Thoughts

I needed a change of pace for a bit and we all know that i’m a huge fan of dystopia, post-apocolyptic etc. so this fell right into my sweet spot. For those of you who follow what i’m reading on Goodreads, you’ll see that this has taken me FAR too long to read and that’s not a result of the book itself, but just that i haven’t been able to focus. This week though, i turned the corner and really invested my time in reading this story and i’m happy that i did.

It’s interesting how reading stories like this hit so close to home, especially since in this case especially it’s based on a scenario that’s so real and quite likely to happen if we don’t do something about consumption management now.

We find ourselves in Southern California, where the water/drought situation is so bad that neighboring states are now closing off waterways to Cali because those states are desperate as well. No one truly knows what the impact of all this will be but we quickly learn that water really is the one thing that keeps people sane and alive and without it, it’s an eat or be eaten mentality for society.

The nice way that this story is written is that we have chapters that alternate through our character’s POVs. not just two main characters, but essentially everyone that we meet. I personally enjoyed this because this is a situation that impacts different people in unique ways and seeing how it can either tear people apart or bring them together based on what they are living and feeling brings much more depth to the story.

Add to that, a variety of adjacent scenes that are happening throughout the similar surrounding areas for people who aren’t connected to our mains, and we get a really detailed and complex picture of what’s going on.

I really enjoyed how our main characters are all teens and maybe younger than teens, and even though they are faced with a situation that typically forces them to grow up quickly, they still remain acting as ‘kids’. We see some take leader roles etc, but they still act, talk and seem like kids and that’s refreshing. There are a few who take on personas that are not themselves and that comes to bite them in the end, but i think that it’s all realistic and natural.

There’s a great flow to this story – we see the initial shock and disbelief to what’s happening in the state, even though everyone knew that water was running scarce and that rationing wasn’t working. I feel like if/when this happens in reality, the exact same reactions will happen and things will sadly play out in a similar way. No one believes that things like this will happen to them, and no one prepares. (except for that one weird family down the street).

There are moments when we have hope – knowing that there is someone with survival skills around, knowing that there’s a Plan B to keep us moving towards. then there are moments of dispair when parents go missing, when the adults rebel and when they take for granted the fact that kids are more innocent and can just get things done. There’s the arc of fear and desperation when disease becomes widespread, when government doesn’t help, when hope is lost because a series of events happen to throw them off course.

The roller coaster in this story is wild and i think that if you take the time to enjoy this story – you’ll agree with that notion. I don’t know that i loved the way that this story ended – i think that it did part of the plot justice but then it did a bit of a disservice when the closure in some places seemed too easy. That’s just me though – i’m cynical and jaded and sometimes wish that things couldn’t all be wrapped in a pretty bow.

On that note – i really enjoyed this book and i’m glad that i finally just put my head down to finish it. well worth it. Enjoy!

Review: The Emerald Sea (The Glittering Court #3) by Richelle Mead

Title: The Emerald Sea
Author:  Richelle Mead
Publisher/Year:  Penguin Publishing 6/26/18
Length:   496 Pages
Series:  The Glittering Court #3

Overview

Tamsin Wright is unstoppable. She must become the Glittering Court’s diamond: the girl with the highest test scores, the most glamorous wardrobe, and the greatest opportunities to match with an elite suitor in the New World. Training alongside other girls in the Glittering Court, Tamsin immerses herself completely in lessons about etiquette, history, and music–everything a high-society wife would need to know. Once she’s married, she’ll be able to afford a better life for her family, so the sacrifice is worth it if she can be the best.

When her friendship with Mira and Adelaide, her roommates at the Glittering Court, threatens her status as the top-ranked prospect, she does the only thing she knows will keep her on track: she cuts them out of her life. But when her voyage across the sea goes off course, Tamsin must use her unrelenting grit and determination to survive the harsh winter far north of her intended destination in hopes of making it back to the Glittering Court in time to secure a proposal–and a comfortable future for her family.

Experiencing new cultures and beliefs for the first time, Tamsin realizes that her careful studies haven’t prepared her for everything, and with new alliances formed with roguish tradesman Jago Robinson and good-natured minister Gideon Stewart, Tamsin’s heart begins to be pulled in different directions. But she can’t let her brewing attraction get in the way of her ultimate goal: protecting the secret she holds closest to her heart, the one that would unravel everything she’s worked for if it’s uncovered.

My Thoughts

I LOVE this series.  not going to lie here.  I think that each time we get a new story about one of the girls, we’re taken on a journey that honestly we had no idea about.  I think that the dynamic between Adelaide, Mira and Tamsin was always a great one, but i think there was so much more to Tamsin’s story that no one knew about, that it’s amazing to see how it all panned out.

When Tamsin reappeared in each of the preceding stories, we knew that she and the other Gray Gull court girls had survived by being saved by a bunch of Heirs, but there’s clearly so much more to the story.

Tamsin was driven while learning to be polished in the Glittering Court.  She had one goal in mind, to snag the best bachelor, and someone who wouldn’t judge her for her past – which we had no idea about before.  So to see how that all panned out – how she lost her place and chance to get the best offer, then got routed off track from a storm, ended up with a colony of people who didn’t believe what she did and critiqued her for it all.  And all the while, managing to become the most wanted female there – with Gideon, a Jr. minister fawning over her from day one, Jago being smitten from the moment go.  and well, everyone else wondering if she  was some type of otherwordly being.

The way that this installment was written makes you see this whole journey as something completely different than what it was.  There’s so much strife, so many forces against Tamsin, that if she weren’t so focused, and confident, there would have been 20 girls and a chaperone that would have been lost.  You want to root for her yet you also want to hope that she’ll lose some of her harsh edge.

This truly is a roller coaster installment.  Hope, fear, hear break, relationship growth, insane romance etc.  I think that i’m going to be really sad if this truly is the end of the series – if we only get the stories of these three ladies instead of the other 40 perhaps. …but i guess i’ll survive.  Enjoy!

Review: War Storm (Red Queen #4) by Victoria Aveyard

Title: War Storm
Author:  Victoria Aveyard
Publisher/Year:  Harper Collins Publishing 5/15/18
Length:   546 Pages
Series:  Red Queen #4

Overview

VICTORY COMES AT A PRICE.

Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal’s betrayal nearly destroyed her. Now determined to protect her heart—and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her—Mare resolves to overthrow the kingdom of Norta once and for all . . . starting with the crown on Maven’s head.

But no battle is won alone, and before the Reds may rise as one, Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to defeat the boy who almost broke her. Cal’s powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable force. But Maven is driven by an obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means demolish everything—and everyone—in his path.

War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms? Or will the little lightning girl be forever silenced?

In the epic conclusion to Victoria Aveyard’s stunning series, Mare must embrace her fate and summon all her power . . . for all will be tested, but not all will survive.

My Thoughts

I started this book when it first came out in May and for some reason i was stuck in the first 50 pages….having the hardest time ever getting into it.  I think that part of it was due to it being so long since the previous installment came out and partly because to be honest, the first few chapters were slow moving.  I’m not one to ever let a book beat me though, so for the last few days, i’ve hunkered down and read it.  Let’s just say that by page 100, i was sucked back into this book like i have been with all the others and i’m both really happy with how it turned out and really upset.

We pick back up into this story at a time where Mare is still living the same predicament as always, loving Cal but not being able to be with him, having this interesting love hate thing with Maven, and really just wanting to find a way for everyone to live together happily.  It’s a pipe dream and there’s too much at stake for everyone if that happens.

what i’ve come to really enjoy about this series, and this final installment especially is the fact that it’s the women, the Queens who are truly powerful here.  i’m not going to get on a soapbox and start talking about how women should have more power, but Iris (Maven’s wife), Eve (Cal’s betrothed), Anabel (Cal’s grandmother), Mare, Farley…the list goes on and on…well, they are the one who call the shots – they manipulate, sure, but they are decisive and emotional and powerful and it’s amazing.

There are so many social causes here in this story too – it’s not just about growing into your role in life, creating the world in what you want it to be, realizing that you perhaps see things differently than your parents (which is the theme of all of these types of books when we see our main characters taking their own stance in life).  But in this story, we see counties dividing, fighting and looking to conquer one another for no reason aside from the feeling that they need to.  When in reality, they are all after a similar cause – to have something for their family to be proud of, to have equality, to have a better quality of life.  to love and cherish whomever you want.  family or friends or otherwise.  Yet, it takes 4 books, 500 pages a piece for these characters to come to that conclusion.

It’s sad though, there are so many characters that we continued to invest ourselves in throughout this series, and sadly many of them do not make it to the end.  Brothers die, friends are killed, people are manipulated to their own demise, and what should be a happy ending isn’t.  Even where the epilogue leaves us isn’t a happy ending.  it’s a statement – sure.  one that is meant to take you in one direction or another, but it’s not the ending that i know that i wanted and i’m sure that a lot of others wanted as well.

Questions becomes, does love conquer all?  is love strong enough?  is hope for change real and is there a way to change what was once destroyed?  i guess you have to read to find out and then maybe someone can let me know what they think too.  Now i’m off to find something else to read – and maybe cross my fingers that Ms Aveyard will write another novella in this series so that we can get more!  Enjoy!

Review: Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass #7) by Sarah J Maas

Title: Kingdom of Ash
Author: Sarah J Maas
Publisher/Year:  Bloomsbury USA 10/23/18
Length:   860 Page
Series:  Throne of Glass #7

Overview

Aelin has risked everything to save her people-but at a tremendous cost. Locked within an iron coffin by the Queen of the Fae, Aelin must draw upon her fiery will as she endures months of torture. Aware that yielding to Maeve will doom those she loves keeps her from breaking, though her resolve begins to unravel with each passing day…

With Aelin captured, Aedion and Lysandra remain the last line of defense to protect Terrasen from utter destruction. Yet they soon realize that the many allies they’ve gathered to battle Erawan’s hordes might not be enough to save them. Scattered across the continent and racing against time, Chaol, Manon, and Dorian are forced to forge their own paths to meet their fates. Hanging in the balance is any hope of salvation-and a better world.

And across the sea, his companions unwavering beside him, Rowan hunts to find his captured wife and queen-before she is lost to him forever.

As the threads of fate weave together at last, all must fight, if they are to have a chance at a future. Some bonds will grow even deeper, while others will be severed forever in the explosive final chapter of the Throne of Glass series.

My Thoguhts

OH. MY. GOODNESS!  what we have here is a finale to end all finales!  a perfect culmination of a series that has been so amazingly written, picturesque, detailed, full of emotion, tension, twists and turns.  And i’m actually ok with it being over because i don’t know how we could continued.

Like the summary says, we start off this final installment with Aelin being trapped in iron bonds – which suck the power out of her while she’s tortured by Maeve and Cairn.  Aelin proves to be stronger than anyone imagined, surviving through all that they do to her and never revealing where the wordkeys are.  She wavers though between hope and resigning herself to death because no one knows who is going to find whom and what that means for Terrassen and survival.

At the same time we have Rowan, Gavriel, and Lorcan all trying to find Aelin but also rally allies to fight Erawan and Maeve (and the Valgs).  we spend much of this book wondering if they will make any progress either way and succeed.

Parallel yet some more to that is the Dorian and Manon piece of things.  Manon and the Thirteen are no longer part of their clan, they’ve been exiled because of several reasons if you recall, and they are now in search of the Crochans – who are supposed to be mortal (or immortal) enemies, but whom Manon also should be their queen.  The alliance with the witches and Dorian is an interesting one, however we did see that there was a bond between Manon and Dorian in the last book, so it’s definitely fun / intriguing to see where that goes.  There’s a humbling factor in this story line with Manon and she needs to find a way to temper her personality and humble herself in order to win over the Crochans for their support and numbers.  There are strong personalities in both clans that makes for some combative interactions.

And lastly, there’s the mix of Aedion, Lysandra, the Khaganate and everyone else.  They are defending Orynth, the land of Terrassen itself, and they are both the final battle and the ongoing front line for everything.  If they fail, then the land is lost, but it’s an impossible task because while they are skilled, they don’t have the numbers and the powers that the Valg do.

So much of this story is comprised of parallel story plot lines – all converging at the final battle.  While we hope and wish for a happy ending, there’s no chance that everyone that we have come to love will make it in the end, and the sacrifices that are made really resonate.  With the exception of one death, i think that all had been validated and feel as though they were worthwhile, but one still hits me the wrong way.

I don’t know how our author Ms Maas does it.  To read this story and see the vivid picture in my mind of every interaction, character, scene, battle – it’s amazing.  There are so many details that could have been written any other way and still told the story – but the picture that’s been painted here is so thorough and complex that i’m in awe.

When i started this series, i was pulled in because of the underlying story here – of a girl who was trying to find her identity after being in limbo her whole life after her family was murdered.  She’s led into the light by a prince who has been under the thumb of a controlling family – and both ultimately want the same thing -freedom.  When that’s taken from them, from the world even through a race from a different world, well, they are forced to partner in an entirely new way to get that freedom.

They encountered so much adversity, so many different types of beings, and yet when there’s one common goal to pull people together, we see that maybe there can be hope.  Even when people deceive them, when they lie and trick and just all around are not honest.  Partnership, fighting for a common goal, against a common enemy shows how strong you can be and how perhaps there’s reason to partner instead of fight.

We’re left in a place with a full resolution of things that have happened throughout this series – and while not entirely happy or as expected, things have been laid out in a way that does everyone justice.  I hope you guys read this one, and if you haven’t started this series PLEASE DO!

 

Review: Wildcard (Warcross #2) by Marie Lu

Title: Wildcard
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher/Year:  Penguin Publishing 9/18/18
Length:   290 Page
Series:  Warcross #2

Overview

Overview

Wildcard (Warcross Series #2) by Marie Lu

An Instant New York Times Bestseller!

Return to the immersive, action-packed world of Warcross in this thrilling sequel from #1 New York Timesbestselling author Marie Lu

Emika Chen barely made it out of the Warcross Championships alive. Now that she knows the truth behind Hideo’s new NeuroLink algorithm, she can no longer trust the one person she’s always looked up to, who she once thought was on her side.

Determined to put a stop to Hideo’s grim plans, Emika and the Phoenix Riders band together, only to find a new threat lurking on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. Someone’s put a bounty on Emika’s head, and her sole chance for survival lies with Zero and the Blackcoats, his ruthless crew. But Emika soon learns that Zero isn’t all that he seems–and his protection comes at a price.

Caught in a web of betrayal, with the future of free will at risk, just how far will Emika go to take down the man she loves?

My Thoughts

OH MY GOODNESS.  that’s literally all i can say after reading this finale to the story.  I’ve always loved how Ms Lu has this ability to twist a story in so many unexpected directions, and this 2nd book of the Warcross saga does not disappoint.  It’s intense, it’s heated, you learn so many things that are completely unexpected and you want to hope for a happy ending.  yet you knwo that there’s no way that it can happen.

As you will recall, we were left at the point in the story when Em’s life was completely turned upside down just as everyone else in the worlds was too – once the new lenses that were shipped around the world for the NeuroLink synced everyone to Hideo’s system.  He used Em’s desire to make the world better and to be a good bounty hunter against her, and she played right into his hands.

Much of the world is now under the control of the link.  they are forced to be honest, forced out of crime, forced out of anything negative all because Hideo needs to find out what happened to his brother all those years ago.

She’s so good at what she does though that she gets sucked into the world and life that Zero had created, partially because of curiosity sure, but partially because she was forced.  He sent protection after her and that then turned into Em being forced into an organization known as the Blackcoats.  The group that it seems Zero is leading.  It’s also when Em makes the connection that Zero and Sasuke (Hideo’s brother) are one and the same, and then the story gets even more complicated.

All of this kick starts a roller coaster of a story.  Zero and the Blackcoats are not at all what they seem, and the girl who’s been protecting EM, a girl named Jax must have more of a conscience than the others because she reveals the back story, the history and the future goals of the organization, probably because she knows more than anyone what this life can do to someone.  She also reveals some secrets that completely blow our minds.

Whatever you thought was real, it’s not.  Whatever you hoped was going to be the outcome – it’s not.  Those that you wanted to see together?  impossible.  so from that point on, mind blown.

What’s so nice about the way that our author writes the story though is that the same folks who were pivotal to the first book are absolutely part of this story.  There’s no way that we would have made any progress, shaped the future without the Phoenix Riders, and they are as much a part of Ems life as they are ours.  we get to see parts of their stories as well which not only makes us love them more, but makes us get them and understand the bond that they share together.

The other challenge here is that all you want as a reader is a way to humanize the bad guys in a story.  Zero, Hideo to name a few but also the Blackcoats, Henka..the list goes on.  Ms Lu somehow manages it, and gives us such unique paths for each, in such a creatively drawn, illustrative and colorful world.  I”m in awe of what i’ve read.

We’re given closure here in this 2nd book – we see how outcomes took shape along with the implications of the world around them with these changes.  it’s powerful and emotional and enjoyable all the same.  You really do have to check out this story, and read book 1 first if you haven’t because i can say for sure that this is one of my favorite books read to date and you all know that i’ve read a LOT.  ENJOY!

Review: Two Dark Reigns (Three Dark Crowns) by Kendare Blake

Title: Two Dark Reigns
Author: Kendare Blake
Publisher/Year:  HarperCollins 9/4/18
Length:   329 Pages
Series:  Three Dark Crowns #3

Overview

Queen Katharine has waited her entire life to wear the crown. But now that she finally has it, the murmurs of dissent grow louder by the day. There’s also the alarming issue of whether or not her sisters are actually dead—or if they’re waiting in the wings to usurp the throne.

Mirabella and Arsinoe are alive, but in hiding on the mainland and dealing with a nightmare of their own: being visited repeatedly by a specter they think might be the fabled Blue Queen. Though she says nothing, her rotting, bony finger pointing out to sea is clear enough: return to Fennbirn.

Jules, too, is in a strange place—in disguise. And her only confidants, a war-gifted girl named Emilia and her oracle friend Mathilde, are urging her to take on a role she can’t imagine filling: a legion-cursed queen who will lead a rebel army to Katharine’s doorstep.

This is an uprising that the mysterious Blue Queen may have more to do with than anyone could have guessed—or expected.

My Thoughts

This story has truly taken us on a crazy journey and it’s one that’s not even close to being complete or clear.  We all knew that there was no good that could come out of Katherine being Queen, but the other sisters knew that they couldn’t not stay and they were not about to let themselves be killed for a history that they don’t believe anymore.

The third installment of the series brings us to a point in time where everything that everyone believed to be necessary wasn’t the case, that there are parts to their history that have been misrepresented, and as a result, the future for the queens is all a mess.

Katherine unfortunately has the position of being Queen at a time where she’s known to be the Undead Queen, and one who has little control over the people.  She tried replacing some folks on the Black Council in the hopes of looking stronger, making the right alliances and getting people to respect her.  Sadly for her, the dead queens inside her have a different plan, and we see how that really starts to play out throughout this story.

Then there are the other sisters, Mira and Arsinoe.  They fled with Billy to the mainland and somehow made it through the mist.  They’re trying to live life as they want, but i think that we can all agree that it would be far too easy.  Mira adapts a bit better since she’s always been one to play by the rules, but even she begins to see the shine come off of life there.  She’s not able to use her powers and that’s something that is hard for her since changing the weather was always something that calmed her.

Arsinoe on the other hand is a woman who will never conform and that just piles on the problems.  She wants to be with Billy and he with her, yet his family is not having it.  Arsinoe won’t wear dresses and she’s not of the right lineage so they continue to be pulled apart.  she feels like she has no purpose until she starts to be visited by a queen in her dreams.  What the message is though – no one truly knows.

What we do know is that it takes us back to the island, where we don’t just find Katherine trying to maintain the crown, but we find Jules, who is now dubbed the Legion Queen becoming the leader of the Rebellion.  There are pockets of people on the island who are with the rebellion and believe that Jules is the rightful leader.  The question from me of course is why is Jules so powerful?  is she perhaps a Blue Queen herself or is she perhaps of a unique parentage?

I had assumed that this story was a trilogy and when we were about 75% through, i wondered how our author Kendare Blake would wrap it all up.  Only to learn that nope – there’s more.  Anything that you thought was going to happen, did and perhaps did not, and we are left on a cliff.

Peityr wants to get the dead queens out of Katherine, but will that happen and if it does, what of Katherine will remain?  he takes the information from Madrigal, Jules’ mother to understand what Low Magic to use to get them out, but i think that there’s catastrophe looming.

Mira and Arsinoe seemed so close throughout this installment, but i’m forced to wonder if that’s sustainable now that they seem to have such different motivations.  Arsinoe is also hiding some key information that she’s learned from her visions and dreams and knowing that there is no good outcome from what she knows, i think we’re gearing up for something horrible

Jules seems to have lost her mind and it’s unclear if anyone will be able to help her gain control.  without a figurehead, will the Rebellion survive and overthrow?

so many questions and so few answers.  i can’t wait to see where the next book takes us since there will certainly be few happy endings and a lot more death and despair.  Enjoy!

Review: Allied (Ruined #3) by Amy Tintera

Title: Allied
Author: Amy Tintera
Publisher/Year:  HarperCollings 5/1/18
Length:   416 Pages
Series:  Ruined #3

Overview

Emelina Flores and her sister, Olivia, were determined to bring peace to the people of Ruina. But as the war for liberation raged on, what triumph and freedom meant to Em and Olivia slowly changed. As Olivia’s violence and thirst for vengeance became her only ambition, Em was left to pick up the pieces.

But it’s not only Em who is upset by Olivia’s increased violence. Other members of the Ruined army are beginning to see the cracks, and soon a small group of them defects from Olivia’s army and joins Em instead.

The two sisters are soon pitted against each other in an epic battle for the kingdom and the future, and only one will win.

My Thoughts

Such a great bit of closure to this story – one that i forgot about if i’m honest because i read the first 2 in quick succession and then had to wait for the third to come out.  Looking back, it’s been about a year – and should have honestly been shorter had i not had baby brain and realized that the final book came out back in May.  anyway – it is what it is.

So here we are, at the finale of the series – really wondering who was going to end up where, what friendships and romances would stay intact, if families could remain true.  Which kingdoms would come out on top and above all else, if good would overpower evil.

Em has too much pressure on her shoulders.  Ever since she took on the role of pretending to be the Vallos princess in book 1 to get into Lera and marry Cas – we saw that she was meant for greatness and that it would also mean that she would have to sacrifice a lot.  she lost a best friend back at the beginning, and found herself in a world where she was feared, yet had no power to back it up, cherished but uncertain that she was cherished for the right reasons and so ambitious to make the world a better place.

In this third installment, Em is with the rest of the Ruined, including Olivia as they plan a way to overpower Olso, stave off that attack, find a way to truly get peace with Lera through the help of Cas, and then figure out how to potentially find a way for the Ruined to have some type of life.  Olivia of course makes things impossible since she’s got a huge chip on her shoulder.  She was locked up for so long and yet no matter that Em got her out, she’s still looking for blood.  Em can’t even control her and we see throughout this story that even those who were on her side begin to question if there’s even any point to going her route.

Em and Aren continue to try to pacify her while building peace, and i think that had it not been for Aren, we would have seen Em crack.  Thankfully he’s the most powerful Ruined ever and that means that people stand on her side because of trust.  In this story too though we get to see more of Aren evolve.  We knew that he was a great and solid friend to Em, but we see a side of him where love comes into play – Iria is who he wants yet she’s taken back to Olso, thrown in jail and potentially left to be killed.  Seeing the side of Aren where he will go against his best friend to go save Iria, well it shows a softer side.  Add on top of that the friendship that starts to bud with Galo, Cas’s head of the guards, and you have to wonder if the world has flipped upside down.

The nice thing about this third book is that it’s not all about battle scenes,we get to see depth and engagement between the characters.  there are so many supporting story lines with Galo/Matteo, Aren/Iria ,Cas/Em Em/Olivia, August and everyone.  There’s a new generation trying to make the world into something different and while everyone is inexperienced in how to gain and hold power, we can see the best of intentions.

Of course though, we know that it all comes down to a huge battle, where characters that we’ve spent time with throughout all the books are shot at, killed, potentially changed forever and seeing how quickly the end pulls up once we get to the final chapters brings us to a conclusion like a bullet.

I think that we got all the resolution that we needed.  The smart thing here that our author did is that she didn’t give us a happy happy ending with everything all resolved.  We never find out a few answers on things, both for the main characters or the secondary folks.  Without spoiling things too – we never find out why Em is useless and if she really is useless.  part of me was really hoping that there was some trick like how Aren’s power worked that we would learn.  but i guess it’s not meant to be here.  oh well – but on that note – hopefully you guys take a read through this and enjoy!

Review: A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3.1) by Sarah J Maas

Title: A Court of Frost and Starlight
Author: Sarah J Maas
Publisher/Year:  Bloomsbury 5/1/18
Length:   215 Pages
Series:  A Court of Thorns and Roses

Overview

Narrated by Feyre and Rhysand, this bridges the events in A Court of Wings and Ruin and the upcoming novels in the series.

New in the #1 New York Times bestselling Court of Thorns and Roses series, A Court of Frost and Starlight is a glimpse into the lives of Feyre and Rhys as they begin to recover from the war that changed their world.

Feyre, Rhysand, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated — scars that will have a far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.

My Thoughts

i LOVE this series and i’m so glad that while it’s short, we get another installment to the series.  Where we left off with all these characters – the war had ended, and Elain and Nesta were ‘MADE’ and kingdoms are shattered and lives were lost.  It’s a troubled time, yet we know that this group of family/friends will do whatever they can to get back to normal life and make sure that they are with the ones that matter most.  the Winter Solstice is the perfect time for them to come together and enjoy each other’s company.

Of course, it’s easier said than done when Elain is still in her shell and wants nothing to do with Az who is her mate.  And Nesta wants nothing to do with anyone, including her mate Cassian.  So we get to see how that all starts to affect the larger group.  Rhys and Feyre have found that their love is stronger and runs deeper than ever and that’s the thread that carries the gist of the story.

So i consider this to be a novella – i guess it’s kind of noted as it’s a #.1 but it’s a bit longer than a traditional novella.  Each chapter is based on a different characters story at the time in things, and we get to see how the results of the war shape what their path is.  Amren now as a human, Mor trying to get past the fear that she has of looking weak, the men who are both macho and who want to make things right with their soulmates.

On top of that lighter part of the story, we have the undertone of what’s going on in the bigger picture of the world now after the war, and what i assume will be the main factor of the next installment.  There’s unrest among the people, there’s fear and hatred that so many died and there’s no longer a divide between the human and fae worlds, so we know that there’s bound to be issue and catastrophe there as well.  Tamlin is a shell of a man now and his land is the one that borders the human world, yet he won’t accept help from Rhys since there’s too much pain and hatred tied to Feyre.

Anyhow-  while this is a lighter more surface installment, it’s a good lead into what’s to come and i know that it’ll be great since the other installments were AMAZING.  The pre-read chapter in the end of the next book really shows us that Nesta is going to take a main role – her journey into the cauldron was something that even it did not expect, and she’s taken from it and will hopefully use those powers to help Rhys and Feyre and their allies v. against them.  we’ll have to wait and see i guess.  On that note – enjoy your day all!

Review: The Complication (The Program #6) by Suzanne Young

Title: The Complication
Author: Suzanne Young
Publisher/Year:  Simon Pulse 4/24/18
Length:   324 Pages
Series:  The Program #6

Overview

Every cure has a cost.

Tatum Masterson learned this after years of being monitored by The Program. She witnessed it when her boyfriend, Wes, came back changed, erased. And now, even the newest “cure” has a heavy cost—one she and Wes paid.

The Adjustment came into Tatum’s life just when she thought she needed it most, a promise for Wes to get back his forgotten memories. But when the procedure went wrong, a revelation shattered everything Tatum thought she knew.

Now, with no one left to trust, Tatum must find out what really happened last summer. And with the help of the boyfriend she lost, Tatum will have to dig into the past and future of The Program and its handlers.

And discover the true cost of a cure.

My Thoughts

I”ve been on the journey with this series for quite a long time and seeing how our author Ms Young is able to weave the stories of the different couples at the varying stages in the program, while also making sure to continue the thread throughout that keeps them all continuous, constant, and concurrent is impressive.  We’ve seen so much pain and heart ache, so much trickery and lying, and some of our favorite characters will forever be on the run so that they can have their happy endings.  So it’s time to see not only how things end up for Tatum and Wes now that a huge bomb has been dropped on Tatum’s reality, but we also get to see how things continue and potentially end for The Program, for Realm and for a few others.

I think that it’s hard sometimes to get a good YA series that isn’t only on the surface a lot of the time.  That goes a bit deeper for several relationships and story lines, as well as gives us the romance, the aspiration that you know is needed in the genre.  We get that here.

Tatum’s world was blown up when she learned at the end of The Adjustment that her life isn’t at all what she thought.  that she went through The Program.  She now has absolutely no idea what’s real, what’s been taken and what’s been implanted and who’s been lying to her, her entire life.  It’s a crazy roller coaster story that we get here coming to terms with everything.  When we fear that handlers are all around them, i have to admit that i guessed who a few were.   When we worry that some of the authority figures and family members are on the right or wrong side, more often than not, i’m wrong.

The constant though which we saw in the other installments is that while the program was able to erase memories, it’s often unsuccessful in erasing what the heart feels and believes, and we see over and over again that the romances, the loves between these couples really continues to come through.

Throughout this installment, we’re taken back to Dr Warren who is Tatum’s therapist and who we learn has her own motives.  We are back at the Adjustment office and what we see and learn there turns the world upside down.  We’re introduced to new ‘legitimate’ folks who really do play a key role as the story comes to a finale.  We see lives ruined and lives brought back together.  The biggest question of all, is the Program dead once and for all?  i know that we believed that it was before, but i don’t know that we’ll ever learn the truth there.

I’m kind of sad to think that perhaps this is the last installment because of the events that happened at the end, i’ve been really engaged with all characters here.  Realm while cocky really intrigued me.  Sloane/James, Tatum/Wes, Realm/Dallas, Nicole/deacon….there are so many story lines that we got to follow and enjoy that now without them it’ll be sad.  Oh well – that’s the life of a reader right?  on that note, i hope you all enjoy the rest of your day!

Review: Restore Me (Shatter Me #4) by Tehereh Mafi

Title: Restore Me
Author: Tehereh Mafi
Publisher/Year:  HarperCollins Publishing 3/6/18
Length:   255 Pages
Series:  Shatter Me #4

Overview

The girl with the power to kill with a single touch now has the world in the palm of her hand.

Juliette and Warner’s story continues in the electrifying fourth installment of Tahereh Mafi’s New York Timesbestselling Shatter Me series.

Juliette Ferrars thought she’d won. She took over Sector 45, was named the new Supreme Commander of North America, and now has Warner by her side. But when tragedy strikes, she must confront the darkness that dwells both around and inside her.

Who will she become in the face of adversity? Will she be able to control the power she wields, and use it for good?

My Thoughts

To be honest, i didn’t think that there would be a book 4, and i had a hard time remembering where we had left off in book 3, but i’m glad that i stuck it out for those first few chapters.  What we have here is an interesting continuation of the story that had a potential pause with Juliette taking over North America, and now we’ve restarted it all.

This next installment takes us to a point in time where Juliette is overwhelmed, still reliant on Kenji to be her best friend and source of guidance, and still madly in love with Warner.  the challenge there though is that Warner is in a tough head space in this book, and we see that life gets in the way of love – so you really don’t have a true sense of where these two are going to net out.  They can’t ever seem to catch a break now can they?

The journey in this book is one where the other supreme commanders are now ultra curious about who Juliette is and what she’s done and will do – so they send their children to the sector to uncover secrets.  We meet a few interesting people who we aren’t yet sure we’re able to trust, and along with them, a LOT of secrets are revealed.

We learn that Juliette isn’t at all what she seemed and what she thought she was, and sadly it was Warner who was guided to learn the truth (Castle is the bearer of information it seems) and as a result, he’s put in a position where telling Juliette what he knows means that he may lose her.

Her past is definitely not what we were led to believe, and how she got to the asylum and what her role is in life now are coming to the forefront of this story.  We are left with more questions than answers for sure, and the twist at the end makes us really wonder if anything that we knew from the first 3 books was real.

We meed Haider and Nazeera in this book – the children of the supreme commander of Asia, and they play an interesting role.  We’re never quite sure what to make of them, they aren’t really honest with their words or actions, but what comes out as they interact more and more with Juliette and Warner, it is a huge shock and potentially story changing.

When Juliette’s life is put in danger not once but twice in this story, we start to see who really is on what side, and question what we know even more.  The set up for book 5 really is nicely done, leaving us on a cliff that makes you really wonder what’s going to happen and what does that means for life as everyone knows it.

There’s one other aspect to this story that we only really saw in the later installments of the first few books.  The romance between Warner and Juliette started slow, and now is hot and intense for a YA book.  You can see how they are teenagers but they feel for each other in a much more mature sense, and the way that their love and passion comes through is genuine, and yet fairly appropriate for the nature of the book.

Anyhow – i can’t wait now for book 5, and i hope that you guys catch up on this series.