Book Review

Review: Wildcard (Warcross #2) by Marie Lu

Wildcard

 

Rating: ☆☆☆.5
Audience: Young adult, very little language, some violence, a love scene
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: Putnam
Release Date: September 18th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

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?

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

MIXED EMOTIONS.

This book is good, it is, but the author has let me down yet again with the ending.

[*side note: The ending to the Legend series was fine, but I thought it could have been a lot more satisfying. The Young Elites ending also left something to desire for me, so upon reading her third series I’m once again feeling let down.]

I wanted more. More about Hideo, about Sasuke, the Phoenix Riders, everyone. I think an epilogue would have been beneficial and would have satisfied my craving.

My main issue was Emika is so bland. She jumps from the Blackcoats, to the Riders, to Hideo, doing whatever they ask and not really following her own ideas. The action is there and intense, but because she lacks independence it runs dry.

The love story leaves you wanting more. It even says in the description that Emika has to take down the man she loves. I DON’T EVEN SEE WHERE THERE IS LOVE. They are barely in the book together, the one love scene is nice and all…and totally expected. A little extra fluff for the plot to give us what we thought we wanted. My heart was way more invested in Roshan and Tremaine’s story than Emika and Hideo’s.

Speaking of side characters, I missed them too. I missed the Phoenix Riders. Their presence is small and forced. Their dynamic was so fun in Warcross! It would have been nice to see them really all together.

I do appreciate we got all of Sasuke’s story. And that Jax was included. She was a great addition to the book. The plot focuses on Zero’s story and was fascinating for a sci-fi novel! The twist grabbed me and had me reconsidering my opinion on all things data based. That was different and great to read.

A young adult sci-fi novel. There is a few swear words and some violence. Discussion of suicide (no details). The love scene is glossed and small.

 

 

 

Book Review

Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel Beauty

 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy, kiss & love scenes, minor violence, no language
Length: 352 pages
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: January 28th, 2014
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle—a shifting maze of magical rooms—enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

A RETELLING FOR THE WIN.

I’ve heard for awhile now about this book, but didn’t know if I would like it so it sat on my TBR for a loooong time…

I wish I would have read this sooner!! It is definitely Beauty and the Beast-esque. And this was my favorite part.

While the vibe is definitely there, the story played out a long a much different line. The Kindly Ones (somewhere between Fae and Demon), Hermetic language, and Romana-Graecia period were all unique. There is a lot of talk about gods and their dynamic. This confused me a bit because most of it was superfluous. The stories that were necessary I glossed over and wished I had spent more time understanding them to fully unearth the story. But it was too heavy in the folk-lore for me.

“I knew better: there was no power I could buy or steal that would save me from my own heart.”

I adored Ignifex. SO MUCH. I’m a sucker for sass. Especially sass filled evil with a heart. He reminded me of the Darkling (Leigh Bardugo fans out there?). Nyx also held her own. Corrupt hearts was a big theme and the soul of the book. The acknowledgement and appreciation from the main characters for the malice that lies within everyone made for a dark tale. I loved the idea that there’s two pieces to each of us.

Some of the side characters are easy to push off a cliff. Not very remarkable and stand there convincing you to hate them more. Astraia is the most worthy of a good side, but she still annoyed me a lot too.

Without being a spoil-sport this book is not a love triangle. Even if you’re convinced it is. If I had known that beforehand it would have helped me a lot because I almost put the book down. There are also instances of insta-love. While not great, I get it. The book is a standalone. You don’t have the time to make a little more angst of it all. It still played off well and I was able to enjoy a good love story.

A Young Adult book filled with fantasy. No language and the very seldom love scenes are completely glossed over, keeping it appropriate for younger teens. Minor violence, nothing with gore.

 

 

 

Book Review

Review: The Law of Moses (The Law of Moses #1) by Amy Harmon

Law of Moses

 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult, paranormal contemporary, language, violence, some love scenes, kissing, etc.
Length: 359 pages
Author: Amy Harmon
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: November 27th, 2014
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Someone found him in a laundry basket at the Quick Wash, wrapped in a towel, a few hours old and close to death. They called him Baby Moses when they shared his story on the ten o’clock news – the little baby left in a basket at a dingy Laundromat, born to a crack addict and expected to have all sorts of problems. I imagined the crack baby, Moses, having a giant crack that ran down his body, like he’d been broken at birth. I knew that wasn’t what the term meant, but the image stuck in my mind. Maybe the fact that he was broken drew me to him from the start.

It all happened before I was born, and by the time I met Moses and my mom told me all about him, the story was old news and nobody wanted anything to do with him. People love babies, even sick babies. Even crack babies. But babies grow up to be kids, and kids grow up to be teenagers. Nobody wants a messed up teenager.

And Moses was messed up. Moses was a law unto himself. But he was also strange and exotic and beautiful. To be with him would change my life in ways I could never have imagined. Maybe I should have stayed away. Maybe I should have listened. My mother warned me. Even Moses warned me. But I didn’t stay away.

And so begins a story of pain and promise, of heartache and healing, of life and death. A story of before and after, of new beginnings and never-endings. But most of all…a love story.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

I KNEW IT.

If I tell you right up front, right in the beginning that I lost him, it will be easier for you to bear. You will know it’s coming, and it will hurt. But you’ll be able to prepare.

WHO DOES THAT? Who tells you the horror that you’re about to read? Amy Harmon does, that’s for sure.

After preparing myself for the worst, I then went on a ride where once again I was loving everything Harmon did. I will not that this is more paranormal as Moses can see dead people (not a spoiler, you know this pretty quickly). Knowing this beforehand would have helped me understand and connect with the story more.

Her stories carry such depth. The characters truly suffer and you feel it all. I don’t have a lot to say for this review, because I simply enjoyed what I read. I was wanting to read a love story and I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed.

Some portions are a little bit of a drag, and the inclusion of the side story didn’t seem necessary, but did add some action and intrigue that literally had me shouting “I KNEW IT!” when I got to the piece of the plot where the puzzle was complete.

Tag is also a great sidekick and he’s the center of the next book WHICH MAKES ME SO HAPPY. I think side characters can make or break a book.

There is language, but wasn’t enough where I started to feel that it needed to back off a bit. The love scenes are tasteful and a little descriptive. Some kissing and make-out scenes. Minor violence, including guns.

 

Book Talk

Book talk: How I Rate What I Read

I want to bring some more substance to my blog rather than just reviews! So let me know other things you’d like me to mention and I can work that in. I have a couple of fun ideas I hope to implement as I get a better hang of blogging.

I first wanted to start off with an explanation of my grading system. I know each review blog has their own way of defining what each book means to them, and this is what my reads mean to me.

  • I maybe DNF this book or if I did it was so very hard to get through. Plenty of mistakes in all forms (grammatical, plot holes, character issues, etc.). Not sure why I finished the book in the first place. I rarely give this out, only because I stop reading before it’s worth giving it a star in the first place.

☆☆

  •  I finished the book! Woo boy though, I will not be picking up the next book in the series. I will also not write a super long review. Even if I could rave about why I didn’t like the book (and I do think negative reviews need to be voiced) I don’t like to shout from the rooftops about it. I’ll express my opinions and let you conclude your own!

☆☆☆

  • This book wasn’t bad. Some flaws I couldn’t ignore, but I enjoyed the story overall. It’ll be a toss-up if I go for the next book. There were also some good points that kept me flipping pages.

☆☆☆☆

  • TOO GOOD Y’ALL. I thoroughly had a good time reading this book. I have already ordered the next one. There was something missing that kept it from being a total knock-out, but I was entranced nonetheless.

☆☆☆☆☆

  • YAAAAAS. All the gold stars. All the feelings. All the things. I have a lot of things to say about this book. It was amazing and any flaw was too minor for me to pay much mind. I want the entire series and this author may turn into an auto-buy for me. I may get super southern and the review may get super whirly because I can’t keep my thoughts straight with the goodness I just devoured.

 

Happy reading.

— Cait

 

 

 

Book Review

Review: Where the Watermelons Grow by Cindy Baldwin

Watermelons

 

Rating: 5/5
Audience: Juvenile+, no language, no violence, focus on mental health (specifically schizophrenia)
Length: 245 pages
Author: Cindy Baldwin
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: July 3rd, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Twelve-year-old Della Kelly has lived her whole life in Maryville, North Carolina. She knows how to pick the softest butter beans and sweetest watermelons on her daddy’s farm. She knows ways to keep her spitfire baby sister out of trouble (most of the time). She knows everyone in Maryville, from her best friend Arden to kind newcomer Miss Lorena to the mysterious Bee Lady.

And Della knows what to do when the sickness that landed her mama in the hospital four years ago spirals out of control again, and Mama starts hearing people who aren’t there, scrubbing the kitchen floor until her hands are raw, and waking up at night to cut the black seeds from all the watermelons in the house. With Daddy struggling to save the farm from a record-breaking drought, Della decides it’s up to her to heal Mama for good. And she knows just how she’ll do it: with a jar of the Bee Lady’s magic honey, which has mended the wounds and woes of Maryville for generations.

She doesn’t want to hear the Bee Lady’s truth: that the solution might have less to do with fixing Mama’s brain than with healing Della’s own heart. But as the sweltering summer stretches on, Della must learn—with the help of her family and friends, plus a fingerful of watermelon honey—that love means accepting her mama just as she is.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

A SWEET, TOUGH READ.

This is a quick-read of a realistic fiction of mental health. At moments it was a bit hard to get through because I personally don’t know how that situation would feel. My heart was in continual pain for the entire Kelly family.

The book is simple in its nature but highlights a struggle that can be found in varying degrees in the world. I thought it was poignant, and that it’s important for books like this to be available for a younger audience.

Everyone has their own degree of mental health triumphs and fears. Della voicing those fears shredded my heart strings. A 12-year old facing so much in loving her Mom, and needing her Mom, but having to act as a Mom herself too often for her age.

A book that is full of topics that need to, and should be discussed. No language and no violence.

 

Book Review

The Queen and the Cure (The Bird and the Sword Chronicles #2) by Amy Harmon

Queen and Cure

 

Rating: 5/5
Audience: YA, no language, a love scene, kisses, violence
Length: 342 pages
Author: Amy Harmon
Publisher: Independently published
Release Date: May 1st, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Kjell of Jeru had always known who he was. He’d never envied his brother or wanted to be king. He was the bastard son of the late King Zoltev and a servant girl, and the ignominy of his birth had never bothered him.

But there is more to a man than his parentage. More to a man than his blade, his size, or his skills, and all that Kjell once knew has shifted and changed. He is no longer simply Kjell of Jeru, a warrior defending the crown. Now he is a healer, one of the Gifted, and a man completely at odds with his power.

Called upon to rid the country of the last vestiges of the Volgar, Kjell stumbles upon a woman who has troubling glimpses of the future and no memory of the past. Armed with his unwanted gift and haunted by regret, Kjell becomes a reluctant savior, beset by old enemies and new expectations. With the woman by his side, Kjell embarks upon a journey where the greatest test may be finding the man she believes him to be. 

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

ALL GOOD THINGS.

I forgot how much I LOVE AMY HARMON BOOKS. She’s not super well known, so hopefully this review will convince you to read her books. Emotional torture is her strong suit and she does great fantasies and contemporaries.

This particular book is a fantasy romance. YAAAAAS. Sometimes that’s what kind of book you need in your life. There was angst, tears, love, guilt, and courage.

I couldn’t put it down and it had me from the first chapter, especially since this was book two. I already knew and loved these characters.

Kjell is a cinnamon roll who melts my soul every time he talks. A fierce warrior who is more tender than he knows what to do with. Watching him with Sasha will make you swoon.

While you can see the twist coming, you don’t see the fullness of it. Even I was stunned for a second trying to figure out where we were going. The ending was blissfully what you need.

A YA+ book with no language. Light descriptions of naked people (when Changers shift they have no clothes). A soft, tastefully scripted love scene. Some kissing and make-out scenes. Occasional violence.

 

Book Review

Review: Ruby Red (Precious Stones Trilogy #1) by Kerstin Gier

Ruby Red

 

Rating: 3.5/5
Audience: YA, no language, a kiss scene or two, a little violence
Length: 324 pages
Author: Kerstin Gier
Publisher: Henry Holt
Release Date: January 6th, 2009
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Gwyneth Shepherd’s sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon–the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

A TAD NAIVE.

I had multiple people recommend this to me, but it also had the unfortunate luck of following after reading my favorite series, so it lacked a bit. It’s an interesting story line enough that I will be reading the second book.

Gwyneth, while almost 17, acts closer to 14 most of the time. All of the time travel must truly be scattering her brain because she could definitely be more intelligent in some scenes. Her character does get better though. Towards the end as she understood what was happening she acted more mature about it all. I don’t love this narrative style where she comments on her own thoughts too often.

Since I personally haven’t figured out the ending, I’m going to keep reading them. I think the second book has the chance to build upon a unique world. As Gideon and Gwyneth have the chance to explore their friendship, I hope we get more of them.

There are A LOT of side characters with the time travel. It’s a bit to keep up with, but luckily there is a glossary of names at the back if you occasionally forgot who was who (whoops!).

The evil hasn’t fully presented itself either. There’s hints as to who the bad group is, yet have no way of knowing if that’s true or not. I hope I’m wrong, because I’m always down for a good plot twist.

The action picks up about half-way through and is a super quick read. There is no language, and only a kiss scene. Some violence (rather unexpected, go team for throwing me a little!).