Graffiti Moon

7863274Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

3_stars

Lucy is in love with Shadow through the art that he has sprayed all over town. Over the night of celebrating the last day of year 12, she and her friends embark on a mission to find him. When she does find Shadow he isn’t exactly who she had in mind, except that he is.

The Story– Okay, so despite this being a teenage romantic contemporary, it was far from the angsty stuff that we’re all used to. In fact, there are very few scenes were our characters were nervous about being near another, there insides getting all warm and tingly, or were there very few scenes where they boy has twinkling eyes of galaxies and smiles worth a million bucks.
Unfortunately, the story doesn’t have a lot going to drive the plot to the end aside from the ramblings of artsy kids, who thankfully I can just slightly relate to (being married to an artist and all). I think for someone who isn’t very artsy or appreciates poetry might find the book a little convoluted. With that being said, I still think it sets itself apart from the rest since it isn’t the same dumbed down angst we usually get from YA contemporary.

The Characters-What made this book particularly special were that all these kids were from broken/poor homes, but weren’t exactly gripping about it either. They accepted where they were at in the social level without pointing it out. We had these kids that didn’t have any silver spoons, but still saw the world through gilded frames. Look, this book has me writing all metaphorically. Let’s stop that, because I don’t like to come off having feelings and what have you.

The Soundtrack– Elliott Smith – Twilight

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Last Star Burning

28797211Last Star Burning by Caitlin Sangster

3_stars

“They say war is no dinner party. Not refined, graceful, courteous, or magnanimous. It’s complete devastation.” 
Years after the fact, Sev is still ostracized and paying for the crimes of her traitor mother. When an attack on the city is blamed on Sev, she is flung into an escape that puts her outside the safety of the city’s walls. In her escape, Sev learns who she can really trust and how deep deception goes.

The Story– I am not going to lie, and just say that I was initially drawn to the cover of this book. That pagoda with the human suspended in it is just chilling. Unfortunately, I was a little let down from this book.

The pacing was all sorts of wack. To clarify, despite the necessity of the information and character building that the first half provides, it had the plot moving at a sluggish pace. You really spend a lot of time getting from one place to another. Granted, there is development in Sev, she makes friendships, and we learn enough about what is happening to keep you going. At about 70% you finally start to get some answers to the questions that have been leading up to that point, 70% is a LONG time to get some information. It’s all ends up being, for the most part, worth it once you hit 80% and the book throws you in a tailspin of action and excitement. We aren’t exactly left with a cliffhanger, but still have the need to find out what happens next.

The World Building-I love the Chinese influence that played into this book. Even though it was kept pretty minimal, it really helped build a unique setting. Sangster did a good job of taking something real (sleep sickness) and warping it to fit this story. I am really curious to see a bit more about the monsters that roam the land, and even to see if there are more than just the one type.

The Characters
Sev-A character with morals that has fallen from grace not by her actions…What I love most about Sev is that she isn’t rebelling, she’s just trying to do what’s right in all the situations she finds herself in. Self-preservation meets a moral compass.

Tai-ge-Sorry, but this guy was sort of boring. I don’t remember anything interesting about him at all, which is just sad since he is Sev’s best friend.

Howl-The entire time I was reading this I hated on him just because his name was Howl. In my head I just kept thinking of Howl’s Moving Castle, and it just ruined it for me. I know that’s not fair to him, but what can I do? I do get the feeling there is more to him than we are really let on.

June-This girl was my favorite, she was the unexpected element that turned the tide for Sev and there is nothing but appreciation for this girl. Even though she had a fairly minor role in the book, as soon as she was brought in, she had a heavy presence in the story.

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An Enchantment of Ravens

30969741An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

3_stars

“When we finally reach the end, we are unloved and alone, and leave nothing behind, not even our name chiseled on a stone slab. And yet – mortals, through their works, their Craft, are remembered forever.” 

Isobel is a painter, a true master of her Craft, and is therefore sought after by many fae, of fair ones, for portraits. Fair ones can grant favors, they are immortal, beautiful beings, but cannot make any sort of craft – cooking, art, clothing, etc. Humans trade their crafts with the fair ones for favors, except the fair ones are sneaky, and if they are not careful their favors can be twisted. Isobel has spent so much time with the fair ones that she knows not to trust them, that they are soulless creatures obsessed with their own vanity. That is until she meets Rook and see something in her painting that she did not expect.

The Story– I can see some people having some instalove hate for this book. In its defense it doesn’t come from the main characters point of view. Isobel’s initial attachment is brushed off as she is given more time to adjust to her feelings.

My problem with the book is that it spent a good portion of it with Isobel basically sitting around painting the fair ones. It is expected for us to hold the same fear to the fair ones that she has, but I felt mostly bored or aloof about the scenarios. We are to take her word for their supposed short temperedness while she sits on edge in their presence. It just made the interactions feel stagnant with forced politeness.

This book takes all the classic fae traits and warps them into a fresh story. Their immortality is tested, their good looks are used against them, the cracks in their perfect façade revealed. There was one aspect for me that didn’t fully fit. I love the idea of the Wild Hunt being intertwined into this story, but then it gets lost. Somehow it isn’t really The Wild Hunt, and that isn’t even explained. It’s used as an obstacle of sorts, but is sort of lost in the shuffle in the end.

My favorite part, without giving anything away, was how Isobel viewed her situation. She wasn’t swept off her feet by the notion of living forever in beauty and magic with a prince. She truly loved her craft and her simple life, and though it was simple, she didn’t want for more than just protection and health for her family.

Overall, I am mostly indifferent to the book as a whole. So here I am sitting on the fence of a book that had a lot of potential but a plot that sort of dragged. Maybe it was the lack of a steamy romance? But I honestly relished in the fact that lust was a driving factor of the romance.

The World building-I know this book has being compared to ACOTAR, but I really think that it is unnecessary. That’s like saying all space operas are like Star Wars because they are set in space and have space ships. Sure, she get’s taken away from the human realm, but the story is completely different. Fae have been around for centuries – immortality/long life, beauty, seasonal courts, magical abilities, love between a mortal & immortal. None of that is new. I wish people would credit to the folklore that it actually derives from. The beauty of it is just how vast and differential it is and how it can be built upon. In this case, it took the idea of enchantments of crafts for its own story. I love that it focused more upon what the fae lacked rather than their abilities.

Because the book used such familiar aspects of fae culture, the world building was spent more describing the mannerisms of the fae with their lack of humanity and forced politeness (such as how they had to bow back when bowed to). There was a feeling of wanting as the imitated the lifestyles of human.

The Characters
Isobel-The first word that comes to mind when it comes to her is sensible. The only room for her passion is her craft and the wellbeing of her family. If I didn’t adore her adoration for the beauty in the human world I would have found her boring. I loved how much disdain she had towards the fairy while keeping civil interactions with them. She could see how foolish the humans were chasing after the glamorous life the fair ones lived.

Rook-I’m sorry, but Rook was sort of boring, there weren’t a lot of swoon worthy moments where I was swept off my feet as a reader. One of the only things I found really endearing about him was his paper heart. I liked that he still suffered by most of the same afflictions of the rest of his kind, such as his vanity. Okay, and maybe his awkwardness to human emotions was sort of endearing. There’s this scene where Isobel is crying and he sort of just pats her and is like “err…maybe I’ll just go…” That was pretty cute. I did love how his shape shifting was portrayed, not necessarily graphically, but as a gust of wind and swirl of leaves.

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Rosemarked

Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne

3 stars
Publish date: November 7, 2017

ARC received from Netgalley and Disney-Hyperion for an honest review

“And I can’t help but think how easy it is for a thing of this world to be destroyed, and how quickly something beautiful can disappear.”

Rosemarked is told from alternating views and tells the story of a young healer that catches a disease that she cannot cure and a man who has overcome the disease and must go on a mission with the healer to infiltrate the capital city as spies.

The Story-The pacing of this book was slow but steady. There weren’t many climactic points that had me at the edge of my seat, and when there was one, it was somewhat short lived. I had hoped with the espionage and a trained soldier there would have been a little bit more nail-biting time. Regardless, I was still entertained the entire time. The story was not very complicated which gave more time for character development.

The World Building-I liked the idea of a country that has been ravaged by an empire overtaking it. Either lay down and let them control you and occupy your land or rebel and be slaughtered. Our characters were found from both sides-the healer catching the plague from the men that have occupied her country and a soldier that has history from the empire that haunts him. Since the characters do travel throughout the book I was hoping there would be a little more time spent in some sweeping landscape. I also would have liked to read a little bit more on the culture of the people and what life was like in the country before the invasion maybe. I appreciated the inventiveness of the plague and the stages that go with it.

The Characters-Our two main characters were definitely the most complex things about this book. The fact that Zivah is a healer but has an incurable disease is something that she has to grow and accept. I feel like it helps her transform from her naïve self to someone with a little more purpose with her life. There is something about a person’s impeding death that has them questioning how they will spend their remaining time: Sit in a cottage and slowly dieor use my knowledge for something good, something meaningful.

Dineas on the other hand has a second chance at life and somehow finds himself on a mission back to where he managed to escape from. It was really interesting to see his personality bounce back and forth throughout his mission to the point where he finally becomes whole by the end, accepting all parts of himself.

Overall, it seemed like a decent start to a series, and I am curious to see how their mission affects their world and how the characters continue to grow. I really hope to see a little more action or suspense in the next installment. There is a lot at risk, and I really want to feel the anxiety that these characters must be feeling.

The New Dark

The New DarkThe New Dark by Lorraine Thomson

3_stars

I received an ARC from Netgalley for a fair review

In a post-modern society, Sorrel barely escapes after her village is raided by mutants. She finds that young brother Eli and beloved David were captured by the band of mutants and finds herself in a dangerous pursuit to get them back. As she progresses on her journey she learns more about the world outside of her village and the dangers that it holds. Everything she thinks she knows about the “before” could actually be real and she learns that not all mutants are as savage she those that had attacked her village.

The Story-While the book was really easy to read and flowed well enough, there wasn’t really much that made me excited to be reading it. I didn’t really like the alternating points of view between Sorrel and David. I thought it would have been better to just sum up what happened to the survivors as hearsay later – it would have been enough to get the idea of the brutality of the mutants and the overall story of their suffering.

Now while the book itself isn’t explicit, it might be beneficial to point out a slight trigger warning to those who may be affected by reading about a forced or abusive relationship.

The World Building-The setting wasn’t very thoroughly described, but is to be understood that it is in the future where modern day society has fallen, and mankind has regressed to live without technology and it’s advancements. Things such as plumbing and heat are unheard of just as much as a car or telephone. They are all parts of the “before” time.

There are also mutated creatures, plants & humans that are larger, stronger, and overall more dangerous than they would have been in the “before” time.

The Characters-I found the characters a little flat. However, I did appreciate the fact that Sorrel wasn’t some perfect angel with magnificent skills. She had skills yes, but was overtaken by more power people or made choices that showed her to be someone who could be considered selfish or mean because of her sense of self preservation.

I was really glad that the story wasn’t driven by some instalove between some characters that grinned and eyed each other every few pages as well. The fact that her resolve was fueled by family and comradery was definitely a reason why I stepped up from 2 stars to 3 stars.

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The Couple Next Door

28815474The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

3 stars

 

It’s OCTOBER! My sis and I are reading some scary books as a theme this month. This was in the Mystery & Thriller section so here goes…

The Story:

You go next door with your husband to a small dinner party and leave your baby at home because the babysitter canceled. You protest but your hubby insists and says it will all be okay since the monitor is on. Well guess what? The baby is taken and it’s your worst nightmare.  And not only because you are missing your angelic child, NO, because now you are being judged. And really, that’s a parent’s worst nightmare right?

The Characters:

Anne: She’s a married rich kid still living off of mom and (step)dad. She also has postpartum depression and other baggage that’s revealed later on. DID Anne kill her child and get rid of the body?

Marco: He came from nothing and married up. His business is on the fritz. DID Marco stage a kidnapping of his own child?

Cynthia : She’s the sexy next door neighbor who hates kids. DID she do it because the baby gets in the way of her friendship with Anne?

Read it and find out!

LOL, I might be a bit delirious with exhaustion right now and I think my review is showing that. Sorry guys!

Wrap-up:

I’m giving it 3 out of 5 stars. It was a quick read but I was hoping it would be more suspense and it really wasn’t. It’s basically a whodunnit story with some twists. And nobody is who you think they are. And it basically confirms my mother’s paranoia that your baby is never safe and never, ever, ever leave it alone even to go to the bathroom. And yes, mom, I will double check that the doors are locked and the kids are in their beds sleeping before I turn in.

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Spellslinger

25181955Spellslinger by Sebastien De Castell

3 stars

“There’s no amount of magic in the world that’s worth the price of a man’s conscience” 

Kellen is about to turn 16, the age when Jan’Tep prove their magical abilities or become a Sha’Tep for the remainder of their lives, serving those who are true mages. As each day gets closer to his birthday, he seems to be loosing more and more magic. It isn’t until Ferius Parfax shows up that Kellen starts to realize that a life of servitude isn’t the only option.

The Story-Spellslinger was unique enough to keep my interest. Here we have a story of a guy who sucks at magic, and despite the goodness of his heart, life really doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Everything Kellen does pretty much comes to the last ditch effort. He really does endure a lot despite the knowledge that no matter what, best case scenario he ends up as a servant for his uber powerful sister, worst case scenario..he’s dead and he drags his family’s name through shame.

The book ended at a point to where you could read it as a stand a lone or continue the series on. I for one, am curious to see where Kellen’s journey continues.

The World Building-How in the world did De Castell manage to make a hand working-magical-monk-esque world blend in with an outlaw-wild-west feel? When you think of both parts of this story separately you would not have guessed that combined they work. It wasn’t anything as epic as peanut butter & jelly (or whatever your favorite combo is) but, it still flowed well.

Basically were in a world where each family raises their kids to learn their magic. They’ve got these band tattoos on their arms so that when they are able to control a certain element the band “sparks”. These kids practice their magic standing around near the oasis, which is the source of their magic I guess. They move their hands in somatic formations, mumble a phrase, and blam magic.

Then you get this character, Ferius, who is like a card wielding Billy the Kid like character. Everyone is wearing of the outsider with her deck of cards. Suddenly, this magical story is a western. I know, odd right? But it somehow didn’t bother me!

There was a lot of thought that went into some of the details too. Such as, since they grow up having all these servants and really just standing around making magical spells, they are all rather out of shape, to the point that Kellen is a little weakling & hardly has any stamina.

The Characters
Kellen -Somehow by the end of the story you are rooting for this whiny kid. As an outsider, I just thought that I just wanted to punch him and yell and him to quit being such a selfish cry baby. Then there is this obsession with this girl. A girl he doesn’t seem to really interact with but is still crazy about. I had to remind myself that he’s 15, and well I mean his priorities are obviously all kinds of screwed up when he only cares about the fact that he hadn’t kissed a girl when his life is in imminent danger

Ferius Parfax -What a badass. I mean really, all she does throughout the book is speak obscurely in riddles, deal some cards and smoke her pipe. But somehow I idolize her as…well super cool. I think it’s the way she breaks the mold in such a mundane world.

Reichis -A squirrel cat with a serious attitude and an appetite for eyeballs. Let’s just say that I would want him on my side. Despite the fact that his attitude was a little annoying sometimes, he still made a compelling sidekick.

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Song of the Current

Song of the Current (Song of the Current #1)Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser

3 stars

In an attempt to keep her dad out of jail, Caro a wherry(wo)man, must transport a crate and deliver it to Valonikos. Unfortunately, it isn’t just any crate, and there are pirates searching the rivers for it. Caro must rely on her friends and her own skill to complete her task – all the while hoping the god of the river will finally call out to her like all the other good wherryman have been called.

The Story-I love me a pirate story. This is my second one this year, and while it wasn’t as good, it was still mostly enjoyable. I loved that instead of your typical high seas type of pirates, we had wherrymen – which are essentially on river barges. Unfortunately for me, there were a few elements that were sort of lacking. The only other thing I thought was odd about this story was that if there was this boat chasing after them on water…why didn’t they just travel by land? I am sure there could be a million reasons why…but not one was mentioned…like going by wherry boat was the only way to their destination.

The World Building-Even though a majority of this book is spent on a boat, there was a little bit extra going on. Since the story was mostly set on the waters of a river, there were marshes and other boats for the story to take place in. I loved the culture of the river that was different from people of the sea/ocean. There was definitely a lot of boat jargon that I had to keep up with, some went a little over my head, but a little knowledge and imagination goes a long way when it comes to inferring what the heck the people were doing on their boats.

There were some magical elements that was included in the book that wasn’t really explained – shadowmen, frogmen & gods that speak to whatever you were called to….but not everyone can speak to the gods (of the sea, river, mountain etc). It didn’t feel forced on the story, but I wish a little bit of the culture surrounding it all was better explained – alas, that’s what second books are for! I hope that not only do they explain these elements a little further, but also introduce more. More drakons please. Let’s face it, I am a sucker for dragons, put one in the water, still just as cool to me.

The Characters-Sometimes when I am reading a book I feel really connected with the characters. I felt that this book wasn’t one of those books. Maybe it’s just me. The characters themselves were still fun. Caro was a little feisty girl – both headstrong and loyal. She’s happy with her life and doesn’t want anything besides making her father happy and finally hearing the river god call her. She really doesn’t take any crap from anyone.

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Odd Thomas

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

3 stars

I read a Dean Koontz book back in high school called Intensity. I remember it being so scary suspense that I couldn’t put it down and finished in a few hours. It was scary and in a good way that puts the fear of Jesus in you. I think I checked the locks and doors in our house for weeks afterwards.

It’s been a decade (or so) since then and now horror books and movies don’t appeal to me as much. So when a friend raved about this series I was a little hesitant. But I’m glad I picked this up. Guys, it’s actually not that scary! I’d say it’s more The Sixth Sense level than The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. In fact, that’s the premise behind this whole story.

The Story:

Odd Thomas is a fry cook for a diner, he’s a little strange and known for being the town wierdo. He sees dead people.

And he uses this paranormal gift to prevent crime or to solve them. In this first novel, Odd comes across a stranger, gets serious bad vibes and tries to save his podunk California desert town from apocalyptic danger with the help of his girlfriend Stormy and the town sheriff.

The Characters:

Odd- I really like him. He has some baggage, which you learn of in length as Koontz does a lot of character building, but seems like a really nice guy who just wants to marry his sweetheart and to stay out of the spotlight. Which is odd (is it a pun when it’s his name?) for a 19 yo guy. How many guys want to settle down at that age? He does seem a bit reckless at times too, however, it seems like all characters in horror books/movies do things that have you shouting, “NO, don’t go in there!”

Stormy- She’s beautiful, alluring, and eclectic. Perfect sidekick to a crime preventing, dead-people-seeing humble hero.

Wrap-up:

I’m giving it 3 out of 5 stars. It was a little slow and the whole time I kept thinking it was a rip off of The Sixth Sense. But I’m going to read the next one and see if it gets better. I’ll keep you guys posted.

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Legend

Legend (Legend, #1)Legend by Marie Lu

3 Stars

In a world in the distant future the US has somehow disbanded and a new government has been put in place. Children are tested on their abilities at the age 10-if they fail they are sent to labor camps, if they pass they go on for further education /job assignments. Legend follows the story of Day, a rebel who wreaks havoc against the Republic and June a prodigy girl from the upper class. When June’s brother is murdered, Day is the prime suspect. June is then assigned to avenge her brother by finally bringing Day into custody. Once June is fully into her investigation, she starts to uncover truths about the Republic that she can hardly stand to believe.

The Story-As a whole the book was pretty entertaining. The reveals in the book are pretty predictable, but it was still a decent read. I probably would have enjoyed this a little bit more if I was younger as it seemed a little juvenile, even as a YA. The maturity level of the characters was a little low, which is to be expected from 15 year olds. However, in the society presented I would have expected the children to mature a little faster.

The World Building-Our book takes place in a futuristic LA that has been divided into sectors. The world building is decidedly minimal. There is obviously a history to the downfall of what is the current United States, unfortunately we don’t really get much on that. What we know is probably the only parts that are relevant to the book, but still, it would have added a lot more depth if we had the hypothetical background…but it’s only book one, so maybe it’s revealed in the later books. What we do get are little snippets like finding a quarter from 1995 (? I think that’s the year at least) and having it be incredibly significant that it stay hidden from the Republic, that it would be incriminating to have that token proving some sort of history. Thus showing us that the population is vastly lied and controlled by a totalitarian government. Gone are the days of a 2 term limit presidency as there is a man who keeps renewing his leadership of the country, and a son that aims to also take over when his father retires, promoting a monarchy-esque rule.

We are given little information about what the Republic stands for, and what their enemies the Patriots are after. But like I said before…maybe their motives will be a revealed later.

The Characters– I liked both Day & June’s characters. They both had their convictions and beliefs that drove them. Day is sort of an enigma since he isn’t really with the Patriots but still causes problems for the Republic, seemingly only to be a rebel. It’s never really quite clear what his end result expectations are to be-aside from being a futuristic Robin Hood.

My only real issue was that considering the circumstances, both June and Day spent an awful lot of time **Spoiler**thinking about kissing each other. I mean, they both have the weight of their personal missions on their shoulders, but they just can’t not think about each other’s lips and being in each other’s arms. I’m on the run from the government, trying to get a cure for my brother, and here I am completely self-absorbed. It seemed out of character for both of them since they both started out so focused. **End spoiler**However, it was a quick easy story that was entertaining from start to an exciting finish.

 

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