Title: Red Queen
Series: Book 1 of Red Queen series
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Source: Public Library
I am still not sure how I like the writing in this book. When I first started I thought, "Wow, this is so lush and vivid and wonderful and I WANT MORE!". But as I read more, the novelty wore off. That isn't to say that the writing worsened or became lackluster in any way. I just got past the honeymoon phase. However, the writing was definitely solid throughout the entire book. Pace was well done as were the twists and turns. Character development was there, but I could have done with more about the main characters and not so many side charactes.
Mare- She is brutal and bad ass, even before she learns of her ability and I love her for that. She remains true to herself throughout and never veers from what she believes. She does play the game that the Queen has set for her, but she does it for her own reasons as well. She has one awesome ability (but I won't spoil that for you :))
Maven- I could say so much, but that would end in one big spoiler. However, I will say that he is wonderful at playing people and I am eager to see how his character develops through the series. P.S. I was so hoping for a romance here!
Cal- Okay, I wanted a romance here as well. Guilty. But I do enjoy my love triangles. Again, he is a character, much like Mare, who stayed true to his beliefs, and I admire him for that, even if I disagree with his views. I like his balance of warrior/soldier and prince and vulnerable young adult. Very well done.
Queen Elara- I imagine her much like Cecilia (I believe is her name, but feel free to correct me) from Game of Thrones. In fact, it was her face that I imagined while reading this book. Their characters are nearly identical. She's sneaky and can come off as completely heartless were in not for the love she obviously has for Maven. That is her saving grace.
Evangeline- Oh, this girl. Couldn't stand her. She had no redeeming qualities, however, I attribute this to her upbring.
This is a tricky one. There are so many YA tropes throughout this book. It reads like a combination of The Selection and Hunger Games with some Darkling (Siege and Storm) and Game of Thrones tossed in for fun. Despite that, the story was well-crafted even if they reminded me of other books and shows (I've yet to read GoT, I know, I know. I'll get to it). There were up and downs and I couldn't wait to read what would happen next. I do believe the story will deviate from the formula in the next installment, and began to in the last couple of chapters.
Solid again. While I would have liked to have known more about the world they are in (they refer to the past but not often), there is pretty good detail about the environment as it pertains to people. But what I want to know is, is this taking place some place comparable to our world? Like was there a war, a la The Selection/Divergent that left the world this way? Is it completely original? How did the people get their powers? Were they bestowed on them? Perhaps that was in there somewhere and I missed it.
Thoroughly enjoyed the book. Writing was great. Detail, which I love. Likable characters. Tropes just held it back from being a 5 Star for me.
Title: Tangled Tides
Author: Karen Amanda Hooper
Series: Sea Monsters Saga
- Really didn't feel any chemistry between any of the characters (esp Treygan and Yara). It felt rushed and I don't get why she really liked him. Not even liked, she was ready to jump in and dash her existence to pieces for him. It just wasn't there for me. There was no growth.
- Too many tropes for me. Girls find out she is something special after being average. One "good" guy and one "bad" guy. Everyone fawning over her. Everyone wanting to protect her. No. Just no.
- Yara really just wasn't that likable. I didn't feel a darn thing for her.
- The coloring coding came off a bit juvenile.
- She did care about her uncle Lloyd and took care of him as best she could.
- She sacrificed a lot (but got quite a bit out of the deal as well).
- The overall plot of their world being shut off to them was pretty unique.
Honestly don't even know what to say about this. I get that the MC is in some sort of in-between state and could die and is learning/evaluating/whatever about her life and choices. But I couldn't get into it. I can appreciate the message that Cash was sending out there, but it was just too random for me. It read like something I middle school student would write. Just didn't like the book.
*I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
Writing was pretty simple in this one, even more than the original trilogy. There was no great detail in any of it, as the story was mostly plot-driven. There were no wasted words. If it didn't advance the story, it wasn't there. I can appreciate that. The dialogue wasn't the most original but it was okay.
I have to admit that I was not expecting the end. I thought for sure it would end with the Circle facing off with the Hunters, but that didn't happen. Also that whole last bit was Scarlett was a surprise for sure. This was a fairly quick read, so the plot advanced at a fast pace, which was good since there wasn't a whole lot of extra in there.
Okay, first of all, let me say, I thought this was going to be a continuation of the first book. So... it wasn't and that's okay. Kind of wish it had been, but oh well. That said, this story was totally different than the first. It was much darker, even the writing itself. There were quite a few very deep subjects: drug abuse, rape, abuse. The writing flowed well and I enjoyed it.
Plot is tricky just because ink Exchange isn't what I thought it would be, and honestly, what I was looking forward to. So, I'm already bias. Still, this was a strong stand alone story. I didn't like it as much as Wicked Lovely, but that's okay. There were a lot of places where this story dragged for me. It was like Marr was caught up in flowery language or too many descriptions. Maybe I'm just being picky lately, but it's not my favorite.
Leslie is an easy character to feel sorry for. She's been abused, raped, abandoned. Yeah, it is pretty sad for her. But she's resilient, or at least tough, but that's only the exterior. She is pretty desperate on the inside for someone else to take care of her for once. She's pretty understandable. Irial was a pretty complicated character. For so much of this book and through nearly everyone's perspective, he's absolutely horrible, but there are rare occasions where he is actually pretty decent in his own way.
Title: Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy
Author: Ally Carter
Better than the first one for me. It may have been more action or possibly just that this is the second book in the series so we don't have to go through introductions with each character, but this one definitely had more to it than the first book.
Most the same characters with the addition of some boys from Blackthorne, mostly Zach. I think he was a great addition. I like him way more than Josh, and hope he pops up further in the series. He's funnier and more confident, plus he is a spy, which makes a completely different dynamic for Cammie because they have something in common that is obviously very important to them.
A great deal more action in this one, which I really appreciate. There are definitely more secrets, both revealed and brought up to investigate further. Cammie seems to do more actual spy work in this one instead of focusing so much on boys, mostly Josh, like she did in the first book. So grateful for that. We actually get to see what she is working so hard toward rather than her boyfriend.
Writing was pretty simple through this book. Maybe because it was so short, but there wasn't a whole lot of detail. I would have liked to have known more about the Shade and the characters. I don't like fluff but it did need more filler.
Obviously, Lucas is the bad guy here. I did sort of pity him when he asked Vivienne why Derek was always her favorite. He did seem to get the short end of the stick with nearly everything. But I have to wonder why he is the way that he is. I hope through the rest of the series there is some back story there. I can't believe he's just evil. Derek was, well, pretty bland for being one of the main characters. Also, was 'Derek' even a name 500 years ago? That's one of the things that made this story unbelievable. Like the author didn't want to put in the effort. Sofia seemed to take the whole being a slave thing pretty easily. So did the other girls. They didn't put up much fight at all. At least Ben did, but that was towards the end and I still didn't care for him.
Didn't much care for the setting here. There wasn't much description, so I'm not really sure about it. It gave off this castle vibe, so had modern technology and those two things just don't mesh in my mind. Also, how did they get TV if they can't get any other reception? Is it all DVDs? These little details just bothered me about the place.
Author: Andrea Cremier
So much dialogue! Seriously. I didn't think I could take any more of it. It was nonstop talking. Virtually nothing was done for 9/10 of the book because all they wanted to do was stand around and talk. Talk. Talk. This is not an exaggeration. Every word was either people talking or description of how people were talking. It was too much. And the back story, if it can be called back story. They explained all the wrong things. There was so much to be done but all anyone would do is stand around and talk.
I have to admit, none of the characters at the institute really did anything for me. None of them were too memorable. In fact the only character that I cared about through this whole book, Ren, was barely in it. They were all just annoying. Honestly, the only tolerable character was Silas and that was only because his flaws were constantly being brought up, though he seemed the most useful person with all the knowledge.
Seriously. There wasn't one. Monroe went on and on about how important it was to get the pack back for the alliance, but did it ever happen? Not until so far into the book that it really didn't make much difference. Only the last 50 pages or so really advanced the story whatsoever. I don't even know what Cremier was trying to do. There was just so much dialogue through every single page that the plot became a second thought.
Title: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Author: C.S. Lewis
The style was just laid back, even for a children's book. There wasn't much to think about on the surface, but so much symbolism.
White Witch: Obviously by the end of the book, the White Witch was sin/the devil, temptation, in particular, if I'm reading this right. She represented everything that was bad.
Aslan: Here, the lion is Jesus, willing to sacrifice himself to save Edmund in particular. He is forgiving and good and willing to give whatever he can to save others, even his life to make amends for their shortcomings and failings (sins).
Edmund: As much as a person can represent another person, Edmund is Judas. He is the sneaky one that betrays his own family, but ultimately, Aslan is still willing to die to save from the grasp of the White Witch.
Pillar of Stone: This is the cross that we are familiar with Jesus being crucified on just as Aslan is sacrificed in Edmund's place on the pillar.
For people looking for a Christian message within a fantasy book, this is really great. If you are not a Christian, but still looking for a good fantasy story that isn't too complicated, this can be great for you too. Perfect for children of any age and adults as well.
Title: The Hobbit
Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
Format: Kindle Text-to-Speech
I wasn't as impressed as I thought I would be. I've heard so any wonderful things about this book and I just expected me. I feel like the story jumped too much. There were no connecting chapters between parts of the adventure. That said, the story was just descriptive, and also very unique. Many elements, Hobbits themselves for example, are totally unique to this story.
Okay, this book lost me in several places. Perhaps it's because each chapter was sort of a mini-story in itself. There were several different portions of the plot that could have been their own book. It would lend itself well to novellas, I think. It wasn't that the book itself was that complicated. If anything, it was very simple. But it jumps around quite a bit from one plot to another. Also, I think there should have been more to each "section". For example, I would have loved to read more about the trolls. Or the spiders, gruesome as I think spiders are. The eagles. I just felt there wasn't enough of anything.
Every character throughout this story was entirely different. Except for the dwarves. I'll admit, I found it difficult to differentiate at times. But really, that didn't make much difference in the story whether you could tell them apart or not. Bilbo was a very fun, if stuffy character, which he was meant to be. He definitely evolved as the story went on from a scared little hobbit that never wanted to leave his little hole in the mountain to such a brave character, even if it was completely self-serving and in a desire to get back home rather than for sake of the adventure itself. I was hoping for more about Smaug, the dragon. So much build up about the dragon and he was barely in the book at all, which was disappointing.
Stars for creativity and uniqueness, but not caring for the jumping from plot line to plot line.
Author: Suzanne Collins
I can't be the only person who thought the characters just didn't seem themselves in this last installment. At lease Peeta had an excuse. The fight seemed to have left Katniss, and I can't really fault the character for that. She'd been through Hell. I'd just hoped she'd get a little bit of spunk. Or at least, personality. I was disappointed with the portrayals of both Haymitch and Gale. I just lost all sympathy that I'd mustered up for him, and I'm pretty sure his back story was supposed to do the complete opposite. The end killed Gale's story for me. I hated that he never went through the Games. Only set out for revenge, yet got a pretty decent happily ever after. I think my favorite character was Joanna. She felt the most real to me. I love that she was weak at all the right places, but never gave up. I think she would have been a better Mockingjay. Honestly, I found myself liking Snow by the end. At least he was honest with Katniss, which is something that hardly anyone else achieved. Also, he was more honest about his intentions. He wanted to rule. Coin was too sneaky. I just didn't appreciate her. She just didn't have much purpose. Plutarch could have easily taken his character and hers combined.
Another mixed review here. The ending (with regards to Panem in general) was fairly satisfying. Both Coin and Snow got what they deserved, I felt. Still, it felt choppy to me. The first half was rather tedious, and the second half was all action. I would have liked it to be a little more balanced. That said, I think the action sequences were very well done and detailed.
Most the themes remain from the first two books. Survival and Governmental Control, etc.
Honesty: There was more lying, hiding, and backstabbing in this one, I think. Katniss was surrounded by it. Peeta was, of course, the most abused on this front. Even at the end, decades later, he wasn't sure what was and wasn't true.
Hope: Probably the single biggest factor here. It's what kept everyone going. Katniss. Gale. Coin. Everyone. It wasn't always the most pure form of hope, but it was all they had for a chunk of the book.
I have a lot of complaints about the way this trilogy ended. However, I gave it four stars for the writing. I think Katniss showed more emotion here (mostly due to the state of Peeta) than the first two books combined. Also, when there was action, it was very well done.