Reviews, YA Fantasy

Book Review: Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell

Unhooked

GoodReads Summary:

For as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home—all because her mother believes that monsters are hunting them. Now these delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to build for herself. The only saving grace is her best friend, Olivia, who’s coming with them for the summer.

But when Gwen and Olivia are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and taken to a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey, Gwen realizes her mom might have been sane all along.

The world Gwen finds herself in is called Neverland, yet it’s nothing like the stories. Here, good and evil lose their meaning and memories slip like water through her fingers. As Gwen struggles to remember where she came from and find a way home, she must choose between trusting the charming fairy-tale hero who says all the right things and the roguish young pirate who promises to keep her safe.

With time running out and her enemies closing in, Gwen is forced to face the truths she’s been hiding from all along. But will she be able to save Neverland without losing herself?

My Review:

Listen to Lost Boy by Ruth B while you read this. I couldn’t get it out of my head while I read Unhooked.

Recently I have been in a pirate mood. I finished The Girl From Everywhere and Blackhearts. Let me tell you, when searching for good YA pirate books, there aren’t many out there… unless you want Fabio on the cover and then that is NOT a YA book. So in my searchings, I came across Unhooked. I am not usually one for Peter Pan and Neverland stories, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to give it a try.

I finished Unhooked in 24 hours.

Lisa Maxwell really draws you into the story through her narrative. And what’s great, there is more than one narrative being told.

Unhooked is not your traditional Peter Pan/ Captain Hook story. It literally unhooks the classic stories you’ve heard before and spins them on their head. Maxwell shows that not all “heroes” are good and that not all “villains” are bad. It is a deeper look at the decisions a person makes and how those decisions change the course of a person’s life. The simple act of turning off a light, or signing a paper.

“Since being brought to this world, I’ve come to understand that everything I’ve ever learned about good and evil, about choices we make and the choices we must live with, have been nothing more than convenient fictions invented by those who have never been confronted by the darkness and actually forced to choose.”

At the beginning, the relationships between Gwen, the Captain, and Pan are very convoluted. You don’t know who is telling the truth and who is lying. And as the story unfolds, truths become complicated, lies destroy. The tension between Gwen and the Captain is swoon worthy. I couldn’t get enough of him.

This is what I pictured every time.

When I started reading, about 100 pages in, I tweeted that I was sure my heart was going to break before the story ended, and I was right. There is a twist I didn’t see coming and it changes everything.

If you like retellings that go more in depth with the character development, that give characters their own backgrounds and their own internal struggles, definitely read Unhooked. If you like pirate stories, with heroes, villains, magic, and romance, also read this book.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Blog Signature

Advertisements
Reviews, YA Fantasy

Book Review: The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1)

GoodReads Summary:

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

Review:

The Wrath and The Dawn is a retelling of Scheherazade and One Thousand and One Nights. Renee Ahdeih’s story is colorful, imaginative, and full of magic. This is the first story I have ever read that has a back story belonging to anything Arabic. I wasn’t sure I was going to like it, given that retellings of fairy-tales I read are from Europe- Cinderella, Snow White, Little Mermaid, etc. And I am so glad I wasn’t sure of my response, it made the story even better than I could have imagined.

The relationship between Shazi and Khalid is one of mystery, of twists and turns. Shazi is a stubborn girl with her own thoughts and ideas, not afraid to voice them or of the consequences. Khalid is a stoic figure, presenting a different image to the audience than one purported to his kingdom. The feelings these two have is something people dream of. And they are a perfect combination when working together.

As my first adventure in Arabic stories, my heart thoroughly enjoyed the emotional roller coaster Ahdeih led me on. Go read this novel, you won’t regret it.

Blog Signature

After Contemporary Conversations I did not want to read anymore contemporary, and that is a big deal as you all know my grand love for YA Contemporary Fiction. I decided to read this much raved re-telling as a way to distance myself from my much loved genre just enough so I could read it again. And now commences the unedited, not holding back, fangirling review that I hope you will identify with and laugh right along with me at my ridiculous outcry about my feels.

disgonbgud_zpsb8c3ade5

Oh My Gosh. I CANNOT BREATHE. WHAT THE HECK JUST HAPPENED.

*wheezes into paper bag*

My heart cannot take the ending. WHY DID IT HAVE TO END LIKE THAT. HIS HEART. ITS BROKEN. I CANNOT TAKE IT.

Before I get ahead of myself, let’s talk about the beginning. My gosh was that not dramatic and full of everything I wanted and more. We have Shazi’s hatred fueling her ill decision of avenging her best friend by killing THE CALIPH, or in other words, THE FREAKING KING. That alone has you on the edge of your seat as the first night unfolds, and low and behold she lives to breathe another day.

The Wrath and The Dawn is a story full of action that the majority of time is driven by powerful emotions. We get to see Love, Hatred, and Happiness at its shinning moment, where the emotions are so pure they drive the characters to new heights. I feel like I’m preaching for some reason, but let me tell you that you will not be disappointed by The Wrath and The Dawn if you haven’t already read it. It will play with the strings of your heart into the utmost haunting and heart wrenching melody that will have you in a puddle of feels for days.

Have I intrigued you enough? Go read it! I will not spoil thee!
Vero Signature copy

Rating: 5 out of 5

 

Reviews, YA Fantasy, ya romance

Book Review: Winter & The Lunar Chronicles By Marissa Meyer

Goodreads summary:

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

review:

Since this is a review of the last book in The Lunar Chronicles series. Short reviews for the first three books are first, followed by the review for Winter.

Cinder:

I liked the introduction to the main character Cinder. She does get on my nerves, but her family was so much worse. I love that she is a cyborg. Iko is so feisty. Oh Kai, what a dream boat! I love that she and Kai have a connection right away. Dr. Erland is mysterious. And I kept thinking Konn Torin worked for Queen Lavana.

3 OUT OF 5

SCARLET:

This is my favorite book of the series. I connected to Scarlet on a psychological level. She just wants to find her grand-mere and run her farm. And Wolf- ugh love him. Their chemistry is everything a relationship should be. We get a lot of Scarlet’s point of view, which is a nice break from Cinder. Captain Carswell Thorne- YUMMY! He can be my captain any day. Lots of character growth from all the characters- it was needed immensely. Except Cinder made alllllll the wrong decisions.

5 OUT OF 5

Cress:

I did enjoy Cress but not as much as I enjoyed Scarlet. I figured out who Cress was at the beginning and where she fit in with the group. She annoyed me a lot because all of her experiences were so “oh it’s so beautiful” or she was scared the whole time. I feel that some of the descriptions could’ve been taken out. I skipped some pages of Cress’ because it was too much. We got a lot of reading time with other characters which I loved! Also, how all the characters end up together is just too convenient. Cinder wasn’t as annoying as she was in Scarlet but her decisions, which have annoyed me from the beginning, don’t get any better.

4 OUT OF 5

WINTER:

It. Was. Too. Long. My ebook was 1,169 pages. Hard copy is about 800 pages. And the length wouldn’t bother me so much if there weren’t many scenes that felt unnecessary. I don’t need to be told that Winter is crazy. Over. And over. And over again. Yeah, I get that Levana wants to kill Cinder. How many times do we have to watch her try and fail? The constant dividing and bring back together of Scarlet, Kai, Iko, Wolf, Cinder, Cress, Thorne, Winter, and Jacin was just too much. Also the final scene between Cinder and Levana- it took too long. I was so excited to start this book but by the end I was just like “is this over yet?”. I will concede that there were moments where my heart hurt and I was worried about the love the author created- whether these couples would end up together or if someone would die.

It didn’t end how I pictured it. My ideal ending would have been Scarlet abdicating the throne, Winter getting an implant to help with her Lunar Gift and becoming Queen- the people loved her so much. Cinder would then have gone back to the Commonwealth and married Kai and become Empress. It. Just. Makes. Sense.

I liked Winter but it could have been better. Bright side- everyone get some kind of happy ending.

2.5 OUT OF 5

OVERALL:

It was a different take on Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White. I love the futuristic and sci-fi elements. I want to be a cyborg now. I want hover-pods. I want to live on the moon. I want to find an alpha mate like Wolf. Scarlet was my favorite character. She didn’t make stupid decisions like Cinder. She wasn’t afraid all the time like Cress. And she wasn’t crazy like Winter. She was independent and a great leader. She thought about her actions before taking action.

3.5 OUT OF 5

Blog Signature

Reviews, YA Fantasy

Book Review: Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Written by Liz Brooks 

GOODREADS SUMMARY:

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

Review:

Six of Crows is the latest installment in Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse. The first installment was her Grisha Trilogy: Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, and Ruin and Rising (all very good books).

“You don’t have to read the Grisha Trilogy to read Six of Crows. It was built for people new to the Grisha world. Yes, there are trilogy spoilers but there are also misdirects. (And if you’ve read the trilogy, lots of little Easter eggs.)”- Leigh Bardugo

Bardugo’s world building ability is probably one of my favorite things about this book (as well as the others). It’s full of thick descriptions of the different settings as well as each of the six main characters. Even the secondary characterizations are detailed. This is a pet peeve of mine. If authors are going to create a brand new world, I need details.

Six of Crows isn’t your typical single point of view narrative. The heist is told from six different POVs (Nina, Kaz, Inej, Wylan, Jesper, Matthias), which makes this book more intriguing. Bardugo shows us one situation in six different ways; each person showing the reader what they are feeling and thinking.

The characters themselves are very flawed and each goes through a transformation over the course of the book. There is also great POC and LGBTQ representation. You will learn their backgrounds. Why they came be apart of the heist group. Their relationship to one another. And what’s truly at stake. I will say that my favorite characters are Nina and Matthias. Their stories really stuck out for me. But that doesn’t mean that Kaz, Inej, Wylan, and Jesper aren’t fascinating themselves. Keep in mind those characters are not heroes.

My favorite place is the Ice Palace (when can I visit?). It’s so convoluted. It took a while to truly understand the intricacies that Bardugo was describing. And it’s not just the physical palace that is a labyrinthine but the inner-workings of the people of Fjerda (who we don’t get to know in the Grisha Trilogy).

If you like adventure, fantasy, and romance give this book a read.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Also keep an eye out for the follow-up post to this. I will be attending the Magic and Mayhem Tour for Leigh Bardugo/Six of Crows on November 17.

Blog Signature

Reviews, YA Fantasy

Book Review: The Assassin and the Dessert (Throne of Glass Novella) by Sarah J. Maas

13419891

Goodreads Summary:

The Silent Assassins of the Red Desert aren’t much for conversation, and Celaena Sardothien wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s not there to chatter, she’s there to hone her craft as the world’s most feared killer for hire. When the quiet is shattered by forces who want to destroy the Silent Assassins, Celaena must find a way to stop them, or she’ll be lucky to leave the desert alive.

Review:

I didn’t know if I wanted to read the Throne of Glass novellas. I asked Kayla to recommend me just one to see if I wanted to read them and she recommended this novella.

OMG. THIS NOVELLA WAS AMAZING. I was fangirling the entire time. I’ve also found a new book boyfriend. A new one. Yes, you read that right, a new one. His name is Ilias and he is the master’s son. I really really want him to show up somewhere in the ToG series. Is it horrible I want this love triangle or square or whatever to become more complicated? Probably, but I don’t care.

I really didn’t see Ansel’s betrayal coming at all. Towards the end I did get suspicious, but I couldn’t believe it. What I did believe was that the master knew. He seemed like the type of guy that would let things happen. Gosh I love him for giving Celaena the money to buy her freedom. Dang.

Overall, I absolutely freaking love it! I have a feeling I will be buying the complete novella bind up soon…

Rating: 5 out of 5

Reviews, YA Fantasy

Book Review: Trial By Fire by Josephine Angelini

18530258

Goodreads Summary:

This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying experiences that others in her hometown of Salem take for granted, which is why she is determined to enjoy her first high school party with her best friend and longtime crush, Tristan. But after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class, Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly, Lily is in a different Salem—one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruelest of them all is Lillian . . . Lily’s other self in this alternate universe.

What makes Lily weak at home is what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. In this confusing world, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can’t hope to shoulder alone and a love she never expected.

Review:

Seductive. That is the only word you can really use to describe this book. I had received an ARC in a gift box from another blogger and at first it didn’t seem like my type of book, but then Kayla raved so much about it I said heck I’ll try it.

Let’s start off with ROWAN. Dear Lord that man will be the death of me. Why the heck does he not exist?! Seriously. I absolutely loved that there weren’t any sexy time or heavy make out sessions because that just made the sexual/romantic tension between Lily and Rowan more intense and that is one of the many reasons why it is seductive. Gosh. It gives me chills.

Something I found really interesting was the concept that what makes you weak in one world, makes you the most powerful person in another. The message sent across to us the reader is that our weakness can also be our strength. The way we receive the message is rather ingenious by putting Lily into Lillian’s world.

I need to give Ms. Angelini a virtual *high five* because the world building was done very well. It wasn’t hard for me to understand what was going on and the way everything was described and explained just made the story a whole lot more enjoyable. I love it when we learn about a new world along with the main character. I feel like it gives us a fuller experience as opposed other ways authors use to do their world building.

For a first book in a series Trial by Fire is a great beginning to this thrilling ride that awaits us. The blurb on the cover describes it completely. Worlds Collide. Magic Reigns. Love Burns. 

Rating: 5 out of freaking 5