I’ve been wanting to read this book ever since I laid eyes on it. That cover? So awesome. I was also promised the possibility of assassins. Assassins. “Assassins” is basically a automatic sign me up word. I went in expecting some really epic fantasy murder-mystery-eque kick-butt awesome fest with a heavy dose of assassins.
This was nothing like I expected. I adored it.
Okay, so I didn’t get the epic fantasy adventure book I was expecting, but I did get a book with an amazingly determined young heroine who makes mistakes, but always works to correct them. I got a beautifully intriguing, if somewhat sad world with “whodunit” murder mystery in which I had no idea who the culprit was. And I got an incredibly adorable, loyal, and simply amazing new cat friend in Jerrit. Seriously though: JERRIT!
The world: The world was beautifully inspired by Asian culture. In a world with a limit on children, The City of a Thousand Dolls was built for unwanted girls. Within this city are multiple “houses” to teach the girls apprenticeships so that they can be bought in the future for their skills. The houses include music, pleasure, healing, nobility, combat, and beauty. Add in a history of magic, spells, and shape-shifting and you have a harsh and beautiful world.
Nisha is simply a heroine you can root for. She would make some rash, emotional decisions, but ultimately worked hard to right her wrongs. She is incredibly determined, curious, and loyal. She’s just got such a good heart! And Jerrit. How I adore him. He’s a talking cat. A talking cat! I’m not a cat person (#DogsRule) but I love books with talking cats. And he is just incredibly sweet and loyal and brave. I adore him.
At its core, this book is a murder mystery. I have to say that it was incredibly well done. I had no idea who the culprit was. This is what kept me glued to my seat because I had to know! Ultimately, while I was somewhat disappointed by the actual murderer (I wanted it to be magic-y – crazy psycho villain anyone?), it was also incredibly believable, albeit petty.
Standalone or no? Technically. There is another book, but it is more of a prequel. It’s about Nisha’s parents so it will include information relevant to this book, but this book does work well as a standalone (if you don’t mind not having all the answers). So far as I know there is no direct sequel in the works.
Though I adored it, 2 things bothered me:
I loved it. I really did. But it is more like a light fantasy murder mystery. I adored the characters (read: JERRIT) and was intrigued by the world she created. It’s also lush and simply beautifully written. However, my biggest issue is the lack of depth. Especially considering the fact that the potential is there. Lots of pieces are given, but never developed. If there was a sequel, I’d most likely be okay with this. Since there is not, it leaves me wanting. However, this book does easily work as a standalone. You get enough information to at least feel closure about Nisha’s past. Any holes in her story will most likely be filled in during the second companion/prequel novel. The world, though, is another story because my interest is in its future, not its past.
Despite these misgivings, I’m so glad I read it. It really was a captivating and beautifully written book with wonderful characters and talking cats.
Originally found on my blog Oh, For the Love of Books!
Lady Thief (Scarlet #2)
by A. C. Gaughen
Release Date: Available Now
Spoilers for book 1! Ye have been warned!
Review for 1st book here: Scarlet
Scarlet’s true identity has been revealed, but her future is uncertain. Her forced marriage to Lord Gisbourne threatens Robin and Scarlet’s love, and as the royal court descends upon Nottingham for the appointment of a new Sheriff, the people of Nottingham hope that Prince John will appoint their beloved Robin Hood. But Prince John has different plans for Nottingham that revolve around a fateful secret from Scarlet’s past even she isn’t yet aware of. Forced to participate at court alongside her ruthless husband, Scarlet must bide her time and act the part of a noblewoman—a worthy sacrifice if it means helping Robin’s cause and a chance at a future with the man she loves. With a fresh line of intrigue and as much passion as ever, the next chapter in Scarlet’s tale will have readers talking once again.
Heck no. Because summer days are all nice and pretty and evoke lots of happy feelings of puppies frolicking in the summer grass. I want the puppies. This book does not have the puppies.
Let's get this straight - this book isn't all cupcakes and roses. Things don't just conveniently appear to make the situation a little less sucky. No timely tunnel appears to give an easy way out for the characters. There is no prince charming that swoops in and saves the day. This book is real. Crappy things happen (lots of crappy things) to Scarlet and our boys and they take it in stride like the bosses they are.
Scarlet is just trying to make it in this dog-eat-dog world. She's got such a heart and is loyal to a "t". Her tenacity and fierce can-do attitude, even when she's afraid, is something to be admired. But what never ceases to amaze me is her underlying belief in hope and faith. She may not be perfect, something which she readily admits (and yet another inspiring trait), but she continues to strive to be the best she can be. She is selfless and even when incredible hardships come, she retains hope in the belief that one day, it will be better.
And Rob. Oh, how I feel for you. Rob is suffering from PTSD (something close to my heart and a reason for me studying psychology), and it's taking it's toll. He's having a hard time being the hero everyone wants/needs him to be, and it doesn't help any that his lady love can't be there to help him. And yet, though he is suffering, he never waivers in his determination to help the people of Nottingham. It is this selfless attitude and utter loyalty that makes Scarlet (and me) swoon.
John and Much are as awesome as ever. Though I wanted to punch John in the face, the choice he made was totally understandable and even incredibly admirable. Still wanted to punch him though. And Much! So adorable and wise well beyond his years and always there with a helping hand (HA! see what I did there? I'm funny.).
And the stakes are as high as ever in this sequel. This book focuses more on Scarlet in a court setting. Gisbourne is holding bait in front of her: he'll annul the marriage if she acts as his wife while the (annoyingly childish) Prince is there.Sound all kinds of sketchy to me, and Scarlet too, but she's willing to try if it means she ends up with Robin (which, believe me, we all want).
And the ending?! GAH! As soon as the "secret" was hinted at, I knew. But I didn't know for sure so I waited with baited breath. SERIOUSLY!? And then the ending? WHAT?! You can't do that!!!!! And, no offense, that was an idiotic move on Scarlet's part. What did she think would happen? Normally she's relatively smart and always has a plan, but I was definitely questioning her plan on that one.
But, I don't want to say too much more because I'll give things away but here's the rundown:
Scarlet: Knife-weilding, smart-talking girl determined to save the day.
Rob: A PTSD suffering fella who's determined to make it through anyways.
John: Big brother, big annoyance, big heart.
Much: Always there with a few wise words and a helping hand (ha! Seriously, I'm incredibly funny. Punny?).
Gisbourne: Ahhhh, I see that you try to make us feel some empathy for him Gaughen. Failed! Well, maybe not completely.
Prince John: I'd like to kick him so hard where it hurts that he'll be singing soprano for a month.
Eleanor of Aquitaine: Awesomeness. She wields people like they're part of a chess game.
Ending: SERIOUSLY!!!!!!!!! CLIFFHANGER! THE FEELS!
Overall: This book sucker punches you in the throat then gives you a big ol’ hug while saying everything is going to be okay. Hopefully.
Review from the archives of my blog Oh, For the Love of Books!
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A magician's assistant, a lab assistant and a samurai become friends. What could go possibly go wrong? If you're looking for a book with steampunk, explosions, guns, explosions, costumes, and more explosions, then you've come to the right place!
Cora, Lab Assistant:
Intelligent, proactive and practical, Cora just wants to invent. If it's got gears, lasers, triggers or all three, then Cora's your girl! And when dangers got you down, this is the right girl for a pick-me-up!
Nellie, Magician's Assistant:
Lover of all things make-up, glitter and sparkles, Nellie's the girly-girl of the group. But don't let her feministic personality fool you. Oh, no. This girl's got fire in her soul and tricks up her sleeves. And her ability to get out of tight situations is a great aid to this group.
She's got a katana. Automatic awesomeness points for that! Sure, she may not speak English, but this girls got a great heart. Her determination mixed with her deadly skill makes her a force to be reckoned with!
Honestly, plot-wise, the plot had it's ups and downs. Was it perfect? No. It definitely had some imperfections (the modern language being one). And I didn't care (nor really understand) the villains and their motivations. But there is no denying that this is an entertaining read.
Is this book a work of literary genius? No. But it sure is chock full of fun, exciting adventures! Three seemingly different girls come together to solve a mystery in this adventure-packed murder mystery explosion of steampunk awesomeness.
A word of warning: Don't go in expecting this to be some fantastic work of historical/steampunk fiction with an awesome murder mystery. Because, quite frankly, it's not. I didn't really care for the mystery once I actually found out about the villain, but that doesn't take away from how much fun this book is! Honestly, if you just read this book for what it is, a fun, easy adventure with girl-power, then you'll really enjoy it.
Originally found on my blog Oh, For the Love of Books!
As with most sequels, I went into this book quite nervous. Sure, tons of people said it was just as great (if not better!) than Cinder. But honestly, how could that happen? It's the dreaded "filler" book. There was absolutely no way it could live up to Cinder.
Well...it did. And I freaking love Marissa Meyer for it!
Enter Scarlet. Fiesty and fiery Scarlet. Oh, how I love her. And she's stubborn to boot! While Cinder's story took place in New Beijing, the story of Scarlet is chronicled in the beautiful countryside of France. Although Scarlet is inspired by Little Red Riding Hood, don't mistake her for being easily fooled. Maybe she didn't always make the best decisions, but she's got heart and wanted to do whatever she could to protect her grandmother. That's loyalty.
And Wolf! I really came to adore him! Don't let his shy and secretive nature fool you (completely at odds with his looks by the way). No, this guy can kick butt like no other. He's called "Wolf" for a reason. And even though I kind of guessed his "secret" early on, I still looked forward to learning more about it and him.
But, by far, my favorite new addition was Captain Thorne. Oh, you scoundrel, you. Thorne added a bout of comedic relief and was a welcome addition to the cast. Who doesn't love a sarcastic, arrogant thief?
I think that one reason this book turned away from the stereotypical second book was because this book had a completely new plot and set of characters. It was a complex new story that tied together with the first book, yet it was still uniquely its own. I loved going on this journey with Scarlet and Wolf and it became even better when Cinder entered the picture. This book was an absolute non-stop thrill ride of action, surprises and tension! Can't wait for book 3! No, seriously guys, I need book 3 now. Wanna hook me up Meyers? ;)
Go pick it up. Now. You don't have to worry about it being a filler book, because it's not. Now breathe a sigh of relief and head to the bookstore. You won't regret it.
Original review on my blog Oh, For the Love of Books!
This is actually a re-read for me. And there are two reasons for this. For one, the movie is coming out in August and I wanted to brush up on my CoB knowledge. And two, I just finished her prequel series and loved it and wanted to go back to see if I could find the same spark in this series. Unfortunately, my feelings haven't changed much.
The first time I read this book, I gave it 3 stars. I liked it, but didn't fall in love with it. Well, that's not changing. I originally picked this up because of all the hype surrounding it and was expecting it to be some utterly fantastic book. Maybe all the hype was why my feelings for it were less than excellent because we all know that exceptional hype can end up ruining a book.
Whenever it comes to "meh" books, it's alway hard to write a review because many things I feel torn on. I neither loved it nor hated it. However, there was one thing I loved:
I loved the world-building. I truly did. I thought it was utterly fascinating and exciting. It was a world ripe with mythology and adventure. It was rich and beautiful and incredibly intriguing. I caught myself consistently wondering about this world Clare had built. I was so incredibly interested in all things Shadowhunters. Not to mention Shadowhunters are just all around bad-ass. The Shadowhunter world this takes place in is what kept me rooted to this book.
Unfortunately for me, an amazing world isn't enough to make me fall in love with a book. I need to like the characters too, especially the main characters. And, quite frankly, that didn't happen.
Jace: Don't get me wrong, I love a good snarky, arrogant, tough guy. But when it's done right. For some reason, Jace just irked me. Not to the point of me hating him and wanting to punch him in the face (well, at least not all the time), but I just couldn't fall in love with him the way some others have. I can't quite pin-point what made me not like him. I think it was the fact that while he was arrogant and cocky, he didn't really have any redeeming qualities to counteract those characteristics. He was simply cocky. Plain and simple. But he was sarcastic and I love sarcasm so brownie points there.
Clary: Eh. You were sometimes a rather strong girl and I personally felt bad for you, but you also really got on my nerves. Clary isn't a Shadowhunter so she's not exactly "bad-ass", but she is tough. I like that she didn't just believethem, but believed it over time. I liked her curiosity and her fierce protection of her mother, even though they didn't get along. But she was also a very annoying teenage girl. She got petty and jealous and angry. And annoying. Can't forget annoying. She'd vie for Jace yet get mad and extremely mean when Simon looked at Izzy. Oh, boohoo. You can't have both honey. Besides, you ignored that poor boy until someone else came along. Sucks to suck.
Isabelle: Tall, thin and gorgeous. Pretty much a model. Hate her already. That aside, I liked that she is a tough girl who kicks-butt. But I don't find her incredibly memorable. Again, she's like Clary. Stereotypical whiny, jealous teenage girl.
Alec: Not much to say. He was a jerk. I don't like him. But he also wasn't really in the book enough for me to really say whether or not he redeems himself.
Simon: I actually liked Simon! Yes, I'm rooting for the friendzoned boy here. He's funny, sarcastic, and geeky. Totally adorable! And he knows how to use a bow and arrows. Cool points!
Magnus: Okay, I can't deny that I do love Magnus. His "I'm awesome and I know it" attitude coupled with his careless and sarcastic demeanor made me adore him. He was cocky sarcasm done right. And, he's a warlock. He's just all around cool.
Oh yeah, on a final note - I hated the ending. It sucked and was stupid and awkward. Me no likey. I know what is actually going on from me reading the rest of the books, but the first time I read this, it just disturbed me. Not to mention it totally made the relationship beyond awkward in the next book.
This book has potential. While I didn't really love the main characters because they were all typical annoying teenagers, I did love the world Clare created alongside all the action-packed adventure. If plot and world-building are the most important to you, definitely check out CoB! Although I didn't love it, it's definitely a series worth reading on a rainy day.
Originally found on my blog Oh, For the Love of Books!
This, this, is high fantasy. Words cannot describe my love for this book!! I feel like how the cookie monster would if he just found out he won a GIGANTIC COOKIE!
*hug* You, are a what strong character should be. Alina's growth throughout this book is just phenomenal! She's not a strong character instantly. In fact, she's very lonely and quiet and an outcast. She's very reserved, but attentive. She's never been the prettiest girl or the toughest girl or the funniest girl. She was an orphan and never really felt loved. The only friend she had was Mal *refrains from fainting*. But you know what? She's brave and selfless and I couldn't help but respect her for that. In order to save the life of a friend, she is willing to risk her own, in the process learning about a dormant power. And here's where I really come to love her. She's not like other YA heroines who start to think they are "all that" because they have special powers, nor does she deny them vehemently from start to finish. Nope. She accepts it and wants to be the best she can be.
Original post found on my blog Oh, For the Love of Books!
I've been on a roll with sequels lately. This almost never happens. Too often I'm disappointed by the lack of plot or characterization. Or the romance gets to, dare I say, angsty. No one likes angsty. Well, except angst-y teenage girls, of which I am not (angsty, still teenage). And what's even better? When the second book is just as great, if not better, than its predecessor.
Enter The Eternity Cure.
Lots of zombie(?) butt whooping? Check. Awesomely fantastic characters (including, but not limited to, a katana-wielding vamp)? Check. Psycho bad guy? Check. Refreshing comedic relief? Check. Forward moving plot? Check. Emotional thrill-ride? Double check.
1. Lots of zombie butt whooping?
So, I'm actually not sure if the Rabids are "zombies" or not, but they eat people and are sorta dead so that's what I'm gonna go with. And if action and zombie killing is what you're looking for, you've come to the right place. Within the first few pages, Allison has fights under her belt. Cool.
2. Awesomely fantastic characters?
Let's break this down:
Allison - Oh, how I admire you Ally. I really do. With the constant battle between her vampire instincts and her human nature, you'd think it'd be a bit melodramatic. I mean, I'm not a vampire who is battling her natural instincts so I shouldn't understand. But I do. All thanks to Kagawa. I totally understand Ally and what she is going through and my heart breaks for her. There is no denying that she is fierce, but the battle she fighters to keep her human side is undeniably both harsh and admirable. She knows who she is, but also knows who she wants to be. She doesn’t deny her animalistic instincts when it comes to her loyalty and protectiveness, but she doesn’t want to become blinded to the good in humanity, even though her vampire side is superior in many ways. This constant battle to better herself made me root for her and understand to her hard life. I wanted to give this girl a hug so badly! But, considering she's fictional, that's a bit hard...so a mental hug with suffice. And I can't forget to mention the Katana! That sword's got a special place in my heart.
Kanin - Personally, I always loved Kanin. Sure, he pretty much started Rabidism, but it was an accident and he had good intentions. Maybe I'm just a sucker, but I totally feel bad for him. Sure, I understand why people hate him, but I also understand why characters, like Allison, love him. He made mistakes, but he's never stopped trying to right the wrong. I admire his determination and his heart.
Jackal - However, the best part of this book had to be Jackal. Jackal was a great comic relief that was much needed in this emotionally wrought book. His snarky jibes and sarcastic wit always showed their face at the perfect times, allowing a bit of light to come to their otherwise dark situation. And the relationship between he and Allison was an interesting back and forth with a bit of restrained companionship popping up between them. Honestly, without him, I think I would have liked the book a little less. Even though he is an arrogant jerk and definitely doesn’t mind the predatory side of being a vampire, he’s got goodness to him. It just takes a little digging to find it.
Psycho bad guy?
Forward moving plot?
YESSSSSS! This isn't a filler book!!! Everyone, JUMP FOR JOYYYYY!!! Okay, outta the system. So yeah. You learn a lot. Can't give it away. Read the book. And, pretty much just a lot happens (new virus?). Including new stuff. Crazy stuff. Stuff that's centered on Psycho bad vamp. Read it.
Emotional Thrill Ride?
Double check. My heart was filled with joy one second and thrown under a bus the next. I was laughing, gasping, shaking my head, yelling (inside my head. Not out loud. I don't want people to think I'm crazy), gaping like a fish, sayingnononononono, all the while wanting to give everyone hugs. Yeah. Lots of emotions. And the ending.....I just....I don't know...what?! I....ughhhhhh I hate waiting.
Romance - don't want to give anything away.... ;)