Review: Written in Red and Murder of Crows

writteninred murderofcrows
Author:
Anne Bishop | Pages: 433 & 354 | Series: The Others, #1 & #2 | Rating: 5 stars

As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut—a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg’s Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard—a business district operated by the Others.

Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she’s keeping a secret, and second, she doesn’t smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she’s wanted by the government, he’ll have to decide if she’s worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.

I originally started the first book in this series, Written in Red, for the 2015 Reading Challenge as ‘A book with a color in the title.’ Beyond the synopsis on the back, I really had no idea what the book was about going into it and as such, I really had no idea what to expect. It had been on my TBR for a while but it was kind of at the bottom of the list. But as I discovered when I drew that specific challenge, I apparently have few books with a color in the title, and even fewer that wouldn’t require me to read an entire series to get to it. So, I started in on Anne Bishop’s novel.

As it stands, I’m very glad I did. Written in Red exceeded my admittedly few expectations by a tenfold. This series reads much more as an urban fantasy than I was expecting originally, and it worked out very well in the world Bishop crafted. Although nothing much in the plot really shocked me, it kept me hooked and I really enjoyed learning about the characters and their backstories. And oh, the characters were great. I loved all of them, from Simon to Jenni to Meg.

In the first story especially, the characters were what really made the book. Meg is definitely not your typical heroine; having been kept in isolation (this isn’t a spoiler, it gets mentioned in the first chapter or so) for her entire life, she doesn’t know much of the outside world. She isn’t physically strong, and few would consider her dangerous. But she’s brave (if not against mice) and intelligent, and watching her learn and grow and find herself as well as her place among the Others was a lot of fun.

And then there were the Others, who were all lovable in their own unique ways. The Others are shapeshifters, and I greatly enjoyed Ms. Bishop’s take on a seemingly common thing. They are almost all predators, more animalistic creatures who can take on human forms than actual humans that turn into animals, and it shows in their manners and ways of thinking. Watching Meg slowly engrave herself into their society was great, especially with Simon. The poor gruff Wolf just couldn’t understand why she smelled like Not Prey, or why he cared.

“’It was easier when all we wanted to do was eat them and take their stuff,’ he grumbled. And it had been easier when he hadn’t cared if he made any of them cry.”

From Jester the Coyote to Jenni Crowgard, all of the characters felt real and fleshed-out. I especially loved Sam, Simon’s nephew.

Murder of Crows was just as good, if not a different pace. Where the first book was a bit more character-centric with action thrown in, the second book fleshed out some of the story lines that Written in Red had just sort of hinted at.

All in all, I really loved the first two books and am excited to see where the next book takes us when it comes out in March.

Five

December 2014 | WRAP UP

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and a great New Years!

For those of you who may have been wondering where my monthly wrap ups have disappeared to since my last one in July, you haven’t missed much. I read a little in the beginning of August, but I fell into a rather long book slump towards the middle where I just couldn’t find the motivation to actually finish anything. Combining that with computer troubles (hence the incredibly sporadic blog updates) and life in general, I haven’t really read much since then.

Thankfully, the end of November seemed to find me pulling out of that slump, and I managed to get through 9 books in December.

172H

1. 172 Hours on the Moon, by Johan Harstad

The first thing I picked up in December was 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad. I’ve heard a lot of good things about it, and since I’ve been in a pretty considerable reading slump since August, I decided to pick it up.

I think the most relatable review I’ve read is this: “I don’t know how I feel about this book.” Honestly, neither do I. I did a slightly more in-depth review earlier in the month, which can be found by clicking on the book’s picture above.

I generally lean towards 3 stars when I think about this book, but due to the ending I gave it 3.5.

seraphina

1. Seraphina, by Rachel Hartman

I really enjoyed this book! I definitely had a few problems with it, but for the most part they were minor and overall it was a fun and enjoyable read.

I gave this book a solid 4 stars.

Graceling

3. Graceling, by Kristin Cashore

Graceling was my re-read for the month. I absolutely love Cashore’s characters, especially Katsa and Po, and the relationships between them. This story was just as wonderful the second time.

4.5 – 5 stars.

revolver

4. Revolver, by Marcus Sedgwick

I debated doing a full review on this book, but then decided that I just didn’t have enough to say. While it was an enjoyable enough read, the writing was nice, and it was the type of book I found easy to fly through (I read it in two hours), nothing particularly grabbed me.

I gave this book 3 stars.

teo

5. The Eternal Ones, by Kirsten Miller

Most of what I have to say about this book I mentioned in my full review, which can be found by clicking the picture above.

This book received a 2 star rating on Goodreads.

Brightly-Woven

6. Brightly Woven, by Alexandra Bracken

After having read Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds trilogy and loving it, I knew I also had to pick up her earlier novel.

Overall, I enjoyed it. You could definitely tell that it was her debut novel, and I think that in her defense trying to make your novel an epic fantasy in 350 pages is incredibly difficult to do anyway.  The story was slow at times, and jumpy at others. There were scenes I wish we had been able to see, and not just heard about second-hand after the fact (fighting a dragon? Sign me up!). However, for what it was I think that Brightly Woven did a decent job. Although there were some questions I definitely wanted answered at the end, for the most part it left me satisfied.

I gave this book 3 stars.

reboot

7. Reboot, by Amy Tintera

This book was a lot of fun! I know it has some mixed reviews, but personally I enjoyed it. There were a couple of times when the writing seemed a little rushed and the whole ‘girl works for organization until boy comes along and shows her another way’ trope is a little overdone, but overall I really liked the characters and the idea behind the world. I liked that although this is a duology, Tintera still wrapped it up nicely at the end, so it could be read as a standalone if you wished.

4 stars. (You go, Glenn Coco)

rebel

8. Rebel, by Amy Tintera

I liked the way this duology was wrapped up, and I thought Tintera did a good job with keeping in with the true spirit of what a sequel should be: something that adds to the story in a way that doesn’t feel forced or unnecessary. I liked the character development, and thought it was interesting to see the differences between Wren and Callum when faced with more “moral” situations than the first book.

This book also received 4 stars.

Fire

9. Fire, by Kristin Cashore

After re-reading Graceling earlier in the month, I found myself in the mood to continue my reread of the series and picked up Fire. As with the first time I read it I had a couple of issues with it, but for the most part it was an enjoyable enough read.

I gave this book 3.5 – 4 stars.

So that’s my December Wrap-Up! Overall I enjoyed most of the books I read this month, and I’m excited to see how my reading in 2015 progresses.

What books did you read this month? Let me know in the comments below!

Top 15 Most Highly Anticipated Releases of 2015

A Darker Shade final for IreneArmadaCourtOfThronesAndRosesGirlOfMidnightInstinctShadowScaletherubycircle

With 2014 swiftly coming to a close and 2015 right around the corner (are you kidding me? It was only 2012 like two months ago!), I figured I would go ahead and type up a list of my personal most highly anticipated new-releases of the new year (in no particular order).

Clicking each book’s title/link will take you to the Goodreads page for that book.

Note: Some of you may be screaming, “But where is the next book in such-and-such series?!” I would like to take this time to mention that unless I am completely caught up on a series (meaning I have read every book in the series that has currently been published), I decided not to put the next one on this list. If I had, this list would have easily doubled in length.

  1. The Ruby Circle, by Richelle Mead (Bloodlines #6)
  2. Winter, by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles #4)
  3. Lady Midnight, by Cassandra Clare (The Dark Artifices #1)
  4. Shadow Scale, by Rachel Hartman (Seraphina #2)
  5. A Darker Shade of Magic, by V.E. Schwab (Darker Shade of Magic #1)
  6. The Gift of Power, by Tamora Pierce (Exile #1)
  7. Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell
  8. Instinct, by Sherrilyn Kenyon (Chronicles of Nick #6)
  9. A Court of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah J. Maas (Court of Thorns and Roses #1)
  10. The Sword of Summer, by Rick Riordan (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1)
  11. Confess, by Colleen Hoover
  12. The Girl at Midnight, by Melissa Grey (The Girl at Midnight #1)
  13. Armada, by Ernest Cline
  14. Passenger, by Alexandra Bracken (Untitled duology #1)
  15. Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo (The Dregs #1)

What are your most anticipated releases of 2015? Let me know in the comments below !

Review: The Eternal Ones

teo

Author: Kirsten Miller | Pages: 411 | Series: Eternal Ones Duology, #1 | Rating: 2 stars

Haven Moore can’t control her visions of a past with a boy called Ethan, and a life in New York that ended in fiery tragedy. In our present, she designs beautiful dresses for her classmates with her best friend Beau. Dressmaking keeps her sane, since she lives with her widowed and heartbroken mother in her tyrannical grandmother’s house in Snope City, a tiny town in Tennessee. Then, an impossible group of coincidences conspire to force her to flee to New York, to discover who she is and who she was. In New York, Haven meets Iain Morrow and is swept into an epic love affair that feels both deeply fated and terribly dangerous. Iain is suspected of murdering a rock star and Haven wonders, could he have murdered her in a past life? She visits the Ouroboros Society and discovers a murky world of reincarnation that stretches across millennia. Haven must discover the secrets hidden in her past lives, and loves¸ before all is lost and the cycle begins again.

I really, really wanted to like this book. The idea of reincarnation is one that intrigues me, and despite the mixed reviews it’s gotten I decided to give it a try. Form my own opinions.

I would like to take this time to state that I do believe this is a book that certain people might enjoy, depending on their tastes. Unfortunately, there were just too many things that bothered me personally to make it a book for me.

Mild spoilers ahead, but nothing that will give away anything important.

The Romance: I’m pretty sure that Miller wrote this under the impression that Iain Morrow was some spectacularly romantic love interest, but the romance fell very flat for me. Despite the fact that the reincarnation factor meant that it wasn’t technically insta-love, it felt very much like it. These two had supposedly been finding each other over and over again in different lifetimes, but we never got any indication of why they kept falling in love. We really didn’t get to know Iain at all.

The Characters: This is where I really had the most of my issues with this book. I found it incredibly hard to connect to either of the main characters, and the majority of the book I either wanted to strangle them or punch them in the face. Haven I found to be a weak-willed heroine who changed her mind every time she spoke to someone else, and never really seemed to form any opinions of her own. One minute she was convinced Iain was a horrible murderer, and the next she was all apologetic and believed he truly loved her and was innocent. Make up your mind, girl!

And then there was Iain himself. He was the very stereotypical tall, dark, and handsome boy who was super rich and had secrets the heroine couldn’t know about in order to protect her. I really just wanted to punch him in the face for most of the book. What I believe the reader was supposed to find romantic, I found controlling. And despite the fact that Haven would occasionally pretend like she wasn’t going to put up with it, she always went along with him in the end.

Another thing that really bothered me is that it felt as if the author believed that the girl should give in to sex because the boy can’t wait. While Iain technically stopped when asked, it still felt like there was some pressure there. Haven actually mentioned once that “She could tell from the way Iain stared at her that he wasn’t going to wait much longer.” Excuse me? What exactly is he going to do about it? If he forces you into it, it’s rape, and you send his ass to jail. If he leaves and or pouts about it, he’s not worth sticking with in the first place. If he is not saying no, he doesn’t get a say in when it happens. The boy is not going to die if he doesn’t get sex, no matter what he says. It’s not your responsibility to have sex if you’re not comfortable with it just to satisfy him.

The Plot: The plot I found to be the book’s strongest point. While there were still a number of plot points that I guessed chapters before the characters, there was enough mystery and intrigue to keep me reading, mostly interested, and wondering what would happen next. As I mentioned before, the idea of reincarnation is one that I find interesting and for the most part I enjoyed the roles it played in the story.

Overall Impression: I found this book interesting enough for the plot and a few other minor elements, but as I am very much a character-driven reader the story itself just didn’t really come together for me.

Two

Review: 172 Hours on the Moon

172H

Author: Johan Harstad | Pages: 355 | Series: Standalone/NA | Rating: 3 – 4 stars

Synopsis: It’s been decades since anyone set foot on the moon. Now three ordinary teenagers, the winners of NASA’s unprecedented, worldwide lottery, are about to become the first young people in space–and change their lives forever. Mia, from Norway, hopes this will be her punk band’s ticket to fame and fortune. Midori believes it’s her way out of her restrained life in Japan. Antoine, from France, just wants to get as far away from his ex-girlfriend as possible.
It’s the opportunity of a lifetime, but little do the teenagers know that something sinister is waiting for them on the desolate surface of the moon. And in the black vacuum of space… no one is coming to save them.
In this chilling adventure set in the most brutal landscape known to man, highly acclaimed Norwegian novelist Johan Harstad creates a vivid and frightening world of possibilities we can only hope never come true.

This book threw me for a loop, and I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about it. For the first two-thirds or so, this was a 3-star read for me, sometimes even 2.5. A good bit of the book was spent getting to know the characters, which I guess I can understand, but the flip side was that in the first half of the book or so nothing much happened. I had a hard time connecting to the characters, as well, which made it difficult to want to continue. I did appreciate the cultural diversity in his three teenage characters, though.

Things got a little better once they finally got to the moon. The plot picked up a little, and things actually started to happen. And boy, once things started happening, they never stopped. I was still a little frustrated, though, because it felt like Harstad just kept throwing mentions of crazy things happening without ever actually giving any answers.

It was the ending that made me so conflicted about the rating I wanted to give this book. I really don’t know how much I can say without giving anything away, but I was somehow both expecting it and totally not expecting it.

My main problem after the ending is that it really just added onto my already long list of unanswered questions, some of which can be found below under ‘SPOILERS’.

All in all, I’d give this book somewhere around 3.5 stars. Parts were “HOLY CRAP, did that just happen?” and parts were just “Bleh”.

Three_and_half

SPOILERS BENEATH THE CUT

Continue reading Review: 172 Hours on the Moon

Liebster Award Nomination

liebsterawardHi, guys! I know it’s been a really, really long time since I’ve posted anything on here, and that’s entirely my fault. Life got in the way, and I know that’s really no excuse, but it’s true. And I’ve been in a pretty big reading slump for most of the last month, so that doesn’t help. But I’m going to try to post at least one thing a week for a while, hopefully more than once a week.

So here we go!

I got nominated for this award by the amazing, wonderful, beautiful Odelia over at The Random Book Blogger, so go check her out if you don’t follow her already! Thank you so much for the nomination Odelia!

The Liebster Award is targeted towards bloggers with less than 200 followers, in order for us to learn about each other and our wonderful community.

Here are the rules!

  1. Link & thank the blogger who nominated you
  2. Answer the 11 questions your nominator gives you
  3. Tag 11 other bloggers who have 200 or less followers
  4. Ask the 11 bloggers you nominated 11 questions and let them know you nominated them!

Odelia’s Questions:

What are the books that made you cry?
Oh, god. So many books have made me cry, all for different reasons. Some were sad, some were beautiful. Off of the top of my head, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, Marley and Me by John Grogan, and Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare stand out.

What book sparked your love for reading?
My mom is very much an avid reader as well, so I kind of grew up loving books, you know? But I would have to say Harry Potter. I started reading the series in 2005, and haven’t looked back since.

If you could kill a character, who would you kill?
I rarely hate, hate characters, so this one’s a little difficult. It tends to depend on what I’m reading at that point. Most of the characters I would vote for are already dead. I guess I would have to say Umbridge, but she was almost too much fun to hate.

Hard-cover or paperback?
Hard-cover for the looks, paperbacks for the price. I tend to get hard-backs when I can, because I like how they look and their durability, but I have nothing against paperbacks and their much cheaper prices either.

What are the books you wanted to throw and burn? (Books you hated)
This is another difficult one, as if I don’t like a book I tend to just not finish it. Do books we haven’t read count? I haven’t read the 50 Shades of Gray series but from everything I’ve heard they deserve to be burned.

Do you have a reading challenge? If so, what are they?
No real challenge at the moment, as I’ve been in a pretty huge reading slump for all of September. So I guess my reading challenge would be to start reading regularly again.

What book would you read if you were feeling sad?
There’s not really one book in particular that I would pick when I’m feeling sad (I kind of suck at this kind of questionnaire, huh?), but it’s almost always going to be a reread. When I’m feeling sad I enjoy delving back into familiar worlds that aren’t my own.

What book made you laugh your butt off?
The couple of Sophie Kinsella books I’ve read are pretty funny, but I do have to be in the right mood for them. The Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan are hilarious, while still having plenty of plot.

Do you read classics? Why? Why not?
Occasionally, although not as much as I probably should. The hardest part for me is getting into them, as the writing and dialect tends to be so much different than today. But when I do read them I usually enjoy them.

What book would you want everyone to read?
We’re not going to go with one book so much, and instead go with an author: Tamora Pierce. I don’t really hear a lot of people talk about her books on the blogosphere, but her books are fantastic and everyone else I know who’s read them as really enjoyed them, too.

If you could swap lives with an author, who would that author be?
Do I get to swap brains with them, too? If so, we’re going to go with Cassandra Clare. That way I can write as many stories about Magnus and Alec and Tessa and Will and Jem and all of her other amazing characters and they would all be completely canon.

godfreygao

Thank you again, Odelia!

I tag:

Hannah Loves To Read
Library of Cats
Sarah in Zombieland
Poignant Paperbacks

If you don’t already know these wonderful bloggers, check them out! I also tag everyone else with less than 200 followers, as I had a hard time thinking of a full 11. So if you want to answer the questions – answer the questions! And please feel free to message me and let me know you participated : )

Questions:

  1. Do you have a certain place where you prefer to read?
  2. Are you known to break the spine or do you prefer to keep your books looking new?
  3. Bookstores or libraries?
  4. Do you have any “guilty pleasure” books?
  5. What’s your favorite genre?
  6. Can you stop reading whenever, or do you have to stop at a set point (end of chapter, paragraph, etc.)?
  7. Do you read one book at a time, or several at once?
  8. Do you regularly reread books?
  9. How many books do you have on your TBR list?
  10. Bookmarks, random pieces of paper, or dog-eared pages?
  11. If you could choose one fictional world to live in, which would it be?

Thanks for reading! : )

Summer Madness Book Tag!

I was recently tagged by the awesome Bookishrebels. This tag was created by JackEatsBooks, so let’s get started!

scs

1. Show a book with a summery cover!

Well my first thought is My Life Next Door, but for this one, we’ll go with Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson.

va

2. Pick one fictional place that would be the perfect destination for a summer vacation!

I read a lot of fantasy and paranormal books, which doesn’t really lend itself well to this question (would you really want to go to Eretz or the Seven Kingdoms for summer vacation? Not really. And Hogwarts would be awesome, but everyone would be gone in the summer!) I guess maybe the Court from the Vampire Academy novels. It seems like a strange choice, but I could always spend the time with Adrian and Rose and Dimitri such.

 

TBC_covertab

3. You’re about to go on a flight to your summer vacation. But you want to read a book that lasts for the whole flight,
what novella do you choose?

Hmm… do the Bane Chronicles count as novellas, or just short stories? Barring that, I guess I would have to say The Assassin’s Blade, which contains all five novellas for the Throne of Glass series.

cykas

4. You have a case of summertime sadness what happy book do you pick up to shine a smile on your face?

Oh man. Probably something pretty lighthearted, such as a Sophie Kinsella book or Howl’s Moving Castle. I’m currently reading Can You Keep A Secret? by Sophie Kinsella, so I guess we’ll go with that one. Her writing is hilarious.

Magnus_by_aegisdea

5. You’re sitting at the beach all alone…which fictional character would be your beach babe?

Magnus Bane, honey. Magnus Bane. Ragnor and Alec can come if they want. And Will. Will is definitely invited. Screw it – all of the TMI/TID boys are invited.

(Art (c) the magnificent Aegisdea)

7. Share the summertime happiness! Who do you tag?

I tag everyone reading this! If you’d like to do the tag, do the tag!