Book Chick's Reads

Reviews of Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Paranormal, Dystopian YA and Adult novels.

Satisfying Ending

Sentinel - Jennifer L. Armentrout

Not entirely sure the point of reviewing the final book of a long series. I mean you've read all the other books so chances are you are going to read it anyway. This was not a bad book. Let's face it, Jennifer Armentrout knows how to write books that are captivating. I've always been kinda meh about this series. I'm sure some of it is due to the similarities between other series that I've read. However despite my lack of glowing remarks I liked the book. The ending will make people happy. Also, did I read correctly that there is a spin-off of this series coming next year? I could be wrong. Anyway, if you are a fan of this series then I think you will enjoy the last installment. Alex still grated on my nerves. Aiden was still perfect. There were a lot of emotions in the book. I thought it was well rounded. I just couldn't help thinking that it reminded me of other books I have read.

It's not you, it's me.

The Iron Traitor  - Julie Kagawa

It really was all me.  This review will be short.  It wasn't that the book wasn't good.  It was.  It should be a book that gets 4 stars easily from readers.  Julie Kagawa is such a skilled storyteller and world builder.  But I just felt bored and disconnected (I kept looking online to see what I would read next).  Also, the big cliffhanger at the end, I didn't even think twice about it.  I just wasn't into this book.  However like the title of this review says, it was not the book, it was me.  I think that I there are just certain type of YA novels that just no longer appeal to me.  There are several series that I have recently left unfinished because the books just no longer appeal to me (Hush Hush is one).  I also do not think that my disinterest was due to series fatigue (like The Mortal Instrucments), I just think that I wanted to read something else right now.  Something that just had...more.  More of what I don't know, just more.

 

So in summary, if you are a fan of Julie's work definitely pick it up.  Like I said, most people will love this and they should.  The fault here is mainly mine.  Will I read the next one?  I don't know. 

Ahhhh-mazing!

Never Fade - Alexandra Bracken

Now this is how a second book in a series should be!  Well done Ms. Bracken.  Well done.

 

Never Fade takes place about six months (if I am remember correctly) after Darkest Minds.  There is apparently a novella coming out that will tell the story of those six months.  Anyway,  Ruby is now working for The Children's League very reluctantly.  She has an interesting mix of fellow Psi kids on her team.  I really don't know how to proceed summarizing the book without giving away what happens and I don't know want to give away the suspense in the telling of the story which is part of the awesomness of this book.

 

When I started the book I was dreading the ending.  I read some early reviews and the ending was mentioned over and over again. I was afraid there would be some horrible cliff hanger than would make me want to drown myself in chocolate.  Or that something would once again happen to Liam and Ruby.  But I am happy to say the ending was fan-freakin-tastic!  Those last couple of paragraphs were gold!

 

The book is a very fast paced and action packed.  I was worried it would be one of those books that something crappy would happen to our characters at every turn and there would be nonstop action.  While action packed, our characters had some lovely quiet moments with each other and with themselves.

 

I feel so bad for Ruby.  I mean she didn't asked for these abilities.  She didn't ask for all the awful things that have happened to her but yet she seems to persevere and not give up.  Ruby faces so many obstacles in the first book and this book is no different but she remained resilient.  I'm not saying that things didn't get to her at times and all she wanted to do was cry, stomp her feet and go home but yet in the end she always stayed true to her goal of helping the other Psi kids.  I really like Ruby as the MC.

 

I equally love the other characters in this book too.  Old characters are back, yes Liam, and while they are different at times and layers have to be peeled away to get to the heart of them, they are all easy characters to like.  We also meet several new characters who are a part of the Psi kids on Ruby's League team.  Vida, Jude and Nico.  We don't get to know Nico as well as we do the others, which proves to be a great plot point in the book.  I did not like Vida and Jude at first.  However in the end I really enjoyed Vida as a character.  I hope she gets a bigger role in the next book.  She is a great character to balance Ruby with.  They are both strong and capable but it is displayed in different ways.  Jude is a special character.  He wormed his way into my heart.

 

In all this book has it all.  Romance, action, depth, blood, gore, exciting reveals, mystery, etc.  I am truly looking forward to the next book, which scares me because I can't see how they can keep getting better and better.  If you have not read Alexandra Bracken's Darkest Minds series I suggest you start is ASAP!  I guarantee you will not be disappointed!

 

 

Allegiant...Sigh

Allegiant  - Veronica Roth

I so wanted to love this book. I mean I really really really wanted to love. However as the stars show it was a disappointment.

 

Where do I start? I won’t give away anything about the book spoiler wise because if you read the first two then I want you to read it and make your own mind up about how you feel about the book.

 

The story was an odd one. After thinking about my disappointment, which started early early on, I wonder if maybe I just misinterpreted the focus of the books. I assumed, wrongly, that book three would be about fixing Chicago and making it somewhere the factions and the factionless could live together in harmony…or close to it and introducing Chicago back with the outside world. While some of that happened, mostly it took place in a completely new universe with the above happening at the very end. The book took us somewhere completely different from the previous books with a whole new set of issues, plot lines, characters etc. This felt more like a book 2 of a series that sets up the dramatic conclusion. At one point Tris even says that she had kind of forgotten about Chicago and the people there. I think the author did too. Overall the book just fell disjointed from the other books.

 

I also found the book sorta actionless. I don’t want to say boring because I think Ms. Roth is an outstanding author and I just don’t think I connected with the book. I expected an action packed book and that is not what was delivered. This book was very much about character development. We learn a lot about the characters. How they tick, how they are broken and ultimately how they try to fix themselves. That part of the story had depth and kept me turning the pages.

 

The one part I did enjoy was Tobias’ voice. I have not read any of the Divergent novellas (I’m not a big fan of novellas) so I was not familiar with Tobias’ POV. I was not prepared for how tortured he was. Either I forgot how broken he was by his parents in the first two books or this was some new aspect of him we have not seen. Speaking of, I was also not prepared for Tris’ attitude. She was constantly thinking she was in the right and not only was everyone wrong but they should have known they were wrong to begin with. I don’t know. It just felt off to me and I found myself not liking her as much.

 

I need to address the ending. I will not give anything away because that is not why I review. While the ending attributed to my disappointment it was not the sole cause of it or even a large part of my disappointment. I was disappointed WELL before the end. I think the end was brave of the author. I think a lot of authors want to do what Ms. Roth did but few rarely actually do and do not pull it off as well as she did. I think the end showed that the author has balls. I applaud her for taking that direction. My favorite part of the book was the Epilogue and I will leave it at that.

 

Finally I want to address my disappointment. Like I said earlier, I wanted to LOVE this book. I wanted to give it 5+ stars and rave about its awesomeness. But I just can’t. I am disappointed with my disappointment. Having thought about it for a while I want to state that maybe the problem is that I did not understand the point of the series. My idea was that the first book was breaking the factions. The second was bringing everyone together and the third would be setting up a society that would work for everyone. However after letting the book settled for a bit, I realize that the book series is title Divergent. Maybe the story wasn’t about Chicago at all but the Divergent and that the story should follow the path the Divergent follow. I also wanted to compare the ending of Divergent with another series that I felt ended poorly. The Delirium series and specifically book three, Requiem. I was completely unhappy with the way Delirium ended. The readers were left with no conclusion to the story. It was left unfinished. I do not need a series to end with everything wrapped up in a nice bow but knowing the potential outcome for our beloved characters is critical to me. Ms. Roth delivered on that aspect of the book. Requiem was a bad book. Allegiant is not a bad book. I give it three stars because while I felt the story didn't flow with the other two books and didn't have the same overall vibe the other books had, Ms. Roth's writing is still superb and I did not want to give it less than three stars.

 

In the end I think that if you have read the other two books then you need to pick it up. For closure or curiosities sake at least. Hey, you never know, you may love it.

 

 

The Falconer

The Falconer - Elizabeth May

Personally I LOVED it.  I love steampunk, speculative fiction, fantasy, etc.  so this was right up my alley.

 

The Falconer is set in Scotland in 1844.  Lady Aileana is a recent debutante and grieving daughter.  She is currently stuck in the rage phase of her grieving process.  The night of her debut her mother was killed by Fae.  She has recently come out of mourning and back into society.  While dealing with societal demands, family drama and finding an appropriate husband, she also slays Fae in her spare time. 

 

This book is very action packed and fast paced.  The steampunk elements are subtle and not overwhelming.  The world building was done wonderfully as the setting is superb.  The Fae part of the story is not all about Fae Courts and Fae shenanigans.  It was a great mix of everything I love about a book. 

 

Another great aspect of the book are the characters.  There are so many to love!  Aileana is the grieving, kick butt main character.  Kiaran is the Fae teaching her how to be a kick butt kinda gal and is also kinda kick buttish himself.  He is also grieving something in his life and is seems cold but there are layers there.  Layers that Aileana wants to and tries to unravel.  Their relationship is multi-faceted.  There is depth there.  Much more than I think we see since they have known each other for a year at the time the story begins. 

 

There is the obligatory BFF who seems naïve to Aileana’s nighttime activities but will be there for Aileana when Aileana is ready to confide in her.  We also meet Aileana intended.  I don’t want to give away plot aspects but I liked him. I thought he was a tortured character but one that was trying to stand up and do the right thing and eventually does.  While at times I was worried about the dreaded love triangle it never really came to that and for that I am extremely grateful to Ms. May. 

 

One of the best secondary characters is Derrick.  Aileana’s pixie sidekick.  Really, no need to go into details.  He is awesome.  Enough said.

Criticisms.  I have one that I have seen a lot of other reviewers mention, and there is also one that I keep seeing mentioned that I disagree with.  I do not see a big Fever series influence here.  Most Fae series have the same aspects as the folklore has been around for such a long time.  I expect some overlap of ideas when reading this genre of fiction.  Yes there are some similarities but to me they are minor and I don’t think I necessarily would have noticed them had I not read reviews prior to reading The Falconer.

 

My one criticism.  The ending.  I do not mind cliff hangers however I felt like the book ended in the middle of a cliff hanger.  I was surprised when the book ended where it did. I felt like not only was it rushed and maybe not as detailed as it should be, I felt like there needed to be a few more pages to the book.  I am not sure I even understand what even happened in the end.  Which I guess just makes me that more excited for when book 2 comes out.

Not Happily Ever After but Charming

Charming - Elliott James

My review of Charming will mostly focus on two categories. What I liked and What I didn't like.

 

Let's start with the quick and dirty. John Charming is a knight in hiding. Running from the group that is supposed to be protecting the mere mortals from the supernatural. Early in the book he comes in the contact with a group of sups and mortals tracking down and dealing with bad supernaturals...vampires. Thus the story unfolds. I won't give away the plot but the story line falls into the "what I liked" category. So let's talk a bit more about that category.

 

What I liked.

I really liked the characters. John Charming and the monster hunters, especially Sig, are great characters. Why? Because they are flawed and they know it. They are characters who have not had and do not have perfect lives. They all have issues, acknowledge it and are working on putting themselves back together. The story is pretty action packed and that part alone kept me wanting to turn the pages. I liked the chemistry between Charming and Sig. I very much look forward to finding out what happens next with them.

 

What I didn't like.

Info dumping. The book contains MAJOR info dumping. I don't mine a bit of world building and info dumping at the beginning when starting a new series. However I can see how the amount of info dumping in this book, because it is throughout the whole book, can definitely turn off some readers. I'll admit I ended up skimming a lot of the descriptions of the fighting, weapons, etc. I cared more about the character developments and the actual plot than the factual information the author wanted us to have. Having said all of that, in the end you are told why there was so much info dumping but I still didn’t' care for it.

 

One aspect of the book that I didn't like at first but grew on me was John Charming's narrative. At first I found him silly and immature but he grew on me and I found him humorous and loveable. I think the more I learned about his character the more his "voice" grew on me.

 

The secondary characters are also loveable. Some more so than others.

 

The story is dark, gritty but highly entertaining. If you can handle, or deal with skimming, the amount of background information that is thrown at you, I think anyone that enjoys a good UF might like this. Give it a try at least.

A Satisfying Ending

The Wicked Within - Kelly Keaton

For starters if you plan to read The Wicked Within then you are aware that there was something like 19 months between book #2, Darkness Becomes Her, and the final Book. I was really worried I would not remember anything because of the huge time gap. However I found myself quickly delving right back into life in the New 2.

 

The story begins shortly after the triumph over Athena in the cemetery. Ari is still trying to find a way to break her curse with help from Sebastian and the kids. I don't want to give anything away since this is the conclusion of the story but I highly enjoyed the story. It was fast paced and everything was wrapped up nicely.

 

If I had any complaints it would be two things. Both of which are just personal preferences.

 

One. I thought the book was short. It was a quick read and nothing was drawn out. Things happened quickly in the book to end the story in a satisfying way. If I had it my way the book would have been longer and covered more details but I think I feel that way because this was the last book of the series and I have really enjoyed this world and don't want to leave it.

 

Which also brings me to my second complaint. While I enjoyed the ended and felt it was just right I wish there were just a couple more chapters so the reader could see fully how the future would be for our gang of characters and the New 2. But again I think this is just me not wanting to let go of this wonderful world Ms. Keaton has created.

 

I really love this series and if you haven't read any of the books now is the perfect time to pick up the first one, Beautiful Evil, because all of the books are now out and there is now waiting for future releases!

 

The Game Needed a Cheat Sheet!

Endless Knight  - Kresley Cole

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the whole of this book. Parts of it I loved and parts of it were iffy for me. For starters I highly enjoyed the first book, Poison Princess. That was my first Kresley Cole book. Due to my large TBR pile I have yet to read any of her adult books but would like to.

 

Endless Knight picked up right where Poison Princess ended. Evie had just finished off The Alchemist and come into her role as The Empress. This is where I first had issues with the book. I couldn't remember a lot of the minute details of Poison Princess to remember the much about the other Arcana characters and details about the game, etc. The more I read the more it came back to me but I did find myself looking online for reviews/summaries of book #1.

 

Once I was fully engrossed again in this post-apocalyptic world I was hooked. I wanted to see what happened as Evie, Jackson, Selena and Finn continue their journey to find Evie's grandmother.

 

Then we meet Death.

 

While I really enjoyed Death as a character and getting delve deeper into his flawed persona, I felt that the story slowed down a bunch. I won't give away details but when the story shifts from the gang traveling to just Evie and Death, the plot stalled a bit.  It wasn’t boring per say but it was more about the deeper characters of The Empress and Death.  It was a very intrinsic view of past games and the past relationships of The Empress and Death.  This part really connected you to Death and let you see why he is flawed.

 

Speaking of Death…and Evie…and Jackson, there is a dreaded love triangle.  I hate to give away that kind of detail but I guess I shouldn't have been a big surprise based on the cover alone.  I HATE love triangles! HATE THEM!  I felt you should be warned. The triangle doesn't completely deter me from reading future books but I also don't really care at this point which love interest she ends up with. I have no Team.  I will give a nod to the author on this point because I don’t necessarily blame my apathy on which love interest to my hatred of love triangles alone but that I like them both and have no sway one way or the other. 

 

Another part of the story that irked me a tad was Evie herself.  While I found some of her decisions irritate and immature, I had to remind myself this is a YA book (and I am most certainly not a YA) and she is only 16/17 in the book.  A little immaturity I guess is allowed, regardless of the adult situations she finds herself in.  Which brings up another point.  Evie find herself in several adult situations.  Just going to leave it at that and let your imagination do the rest.

 

The story ends on a cliff hanger. Not one that is dramatic and needs a bunch of GIFs to express my feelings on the matter but enough of a cliff that I am looking forward to seeing how the story continues in the next book.

In conclusion, I enjoyed the story and the characters despite all of my above whining.  If you enjoyed Poison Princess I do think you will enjoy this however you might want to reread PP first.

 

Quick Steamy Read

Unchained  - J. Lynn

I have read most of Jennifer Armentrout’s YA books however this is the first adult book of hers that I have read.   I liked this book.  It wasn’t AMAZING, but it was a very good, entertaining, quick read.  I had some issues with the characters and the overall plot but I will get to that. 

 

First, the quick summary.  Lily is a Nephilim, half human half angel.  Her job is to hunt down fallen angels, their minions and “deadheads”…possessed humans.  The story itself felt like a typical urban fantasy story.  Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but I can see if UF is “your thing” than this might be a boring or cookie cutter read.  However, I don’t read UF that much (for that reason…all the plots seem the same) so I enjoyed the story and plot.  Even if I did figure out part of the ending early on.  I found the mystery/action very compelling and was actually found myself wanting to keep reading to see what happened in the actual plot….not just what would happen next in the bedroom.

 

Speaking of sexytimes…I liked the romance.  I really liked the love interest.  I LOVED that there was no love triangle.  However I kept waiting for Lily’s main squeeze to fall into what I consider the UF trap and screw up somehow.  Luckily I was not disappointed.   I liked the way he was a rock for her when her world was coming apart. 

 

I haven’t said much about the characters because well they weren’t exactly the deepest characters ever written.  In fact I was more intrigued by the secondary characters than the MC herself.  I had to keep reminding myself that these people were supposed to be in their mid-20s.  The MC and some of the other Nephilim behaved in immature ways confusing my brain into thinking I was reading YA.  Lily is a typical female heroine.  Strong, feisty, goes her own way and head butts authority but she’is cute and kitten like so she gets away with it for the most part. I did not dislike her and her characteristics are not a turn off but I just found her to be a typical female heroine seen in UF.

 

Even though I had some qualms with the characters and the cookie cutterness (yes I made that word up) of the plot I really did enjoy this book.  I flew through it.  I am a sucker for a steamy paranormal romance.  And it is steamy, having a good amount of sexytimes so do take note of that before picking this one up. 

A Super Epic Read...see what I did there.

Steelheart (Reckoners, #1) - Brandon Sanderson

For starters this was my first Brandon Sanderson book.  I know!  I can’t believe it either.  It won’t be my last that’s for sure.

 

I am not going to give away too many details or give a detailed book narrative.  The book is set in a sort of apocalyptic/dystopian Chicago.    Superheroes rule the city and basically enslave normal citizens.  However there is one boy who wants to bring it all down.  I found the main character extremely likable.  He is a take charge kind of guy, strong, makes tough choices, etc. However he is also goofy, self-deprecating and questions the choices he is making, who he is and what he is doing.  I think it is great to have a MC who is flawed, goofy and questions himself.  He is not a weak person but thinks about his choices, make the decision, stands by it and  then lives with the consequences.  He made for a very entertaining character.  The other cast of characters that make up the Scooby Gang with the MC are all very likable and all different in each way.  The Reckoners all have layers to them which make them interesting parts of the story not just pieces in the background to futher the plot.  The world building was done very well.  It was not an info dump on the first few pages but gradually done as to not overwhelm the reader.  I also loved that the theme of the book is not Good vs. Evil but what is good and what is evil.

 

I highly enjoyed the first installment of this series and look forward to the next book.  While the book took me a while to read, about a week, I do not think it was because the book was slow or uninteresting.  I think I had a lot going on that week and couldn’t finish it as quickly as one that can be speed read in 2 days.  This is a book that you do not want to skim over any details.  While not nonstop action, I found myself wanting to know what happened next.  The slow parts were just as enjoyable as the action scenes.

 

While this is a “YA” book I do think it has cross genre appeal.  I recommend that anyone who is looking for a great read that has depth but is also entertaining pick this book up.

The Assassin's Curse

The Assassin's Curse - What an amazing find! Picked this up because I needed something to read waiting on another book to be released. I fell in love with this book! Can't wait for the sequel.
Wolfsbane - Andrea Cremer I enjoyed this book much more than I did the first installment. A must read!
Fire  - Kristin Cashore Wasn't sure I would like anything more than Graceling but I did. I wasn't sold on Fire eclipsing Graceling at first but before the 100 page marked I was hooked. Great read.
Demonglass - Rachel Hawkins Oh my goodness! I can't believe the final book doesn't come out until March 2012! What a great story.
Hereafter - Tara Hudson Sounds very interesting. Can't wait to read!!
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