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Review: Angelfall

angelfall

Author: Susan Ee | Pages: 283 | Series: Penryn & the End of Days, #1 | Rating: 4.5 stars

“Sometimes, as we’re stumbling along in the dark, we hit something good.”

Synopsis:

It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister, Penryn, will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco where Penryn will risk everything to rescue her sister, and Raffe will put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

Review:

I went into this book simultaneously excited and cautious. Countless people have urged me to start this series, and practically everyone I know who has read this book has raved about it. To make the daunting pressure even higher, I rarely like YA angel books. It isn’t for lack of interest – I love the concept, I just find that the majority of them are… lacking.

But this post isn’t about them; it’s about Angelfall. And I adored it.

There were so many things about this book that I loved. First of all, the characters. Not only is there a small collection of mental and physical challenges that I rarely find in YA (Penryn’s sister is in a wheelchair and her mother is a paranoid schizophrenic), they all felt real. It takes a special author to make their characters all feel as if they have a life, motivations, likes, and dislikes outside of the main story and/or conflict, but Ms. Ee pulls it off. And I really appreciated Penryn as a protagonist: she was kickass, yes, and more than capable of defending herself, but in the end she was still a seventeen-year-old girl, moreover one whose world had recently come crashing down around her, and who was just trying to keep it together for her family. I appreciated that.

Another thing I liked was the fact that the romance, while it existed, wasn’t insta-lovey and wasn’t the main focus for either Raffe or Penryn. They barely tolerated each other at first, but came together through shared experiences. Both of them had their own motivations, their own goals, and weren’t about to let the other distract them from that.

One thing I was also pleasantly surprised by was the atmosphere in Angelfall: It was dark and creepy and fast-paced and captivating. I liked the return to the more biblical angelic figures, the “harbingers of doom”, but some with very human desires and motivations, making for a somewhat chilling combination.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book and will be picking up the sequel, World After. I did dock a half star because there were a few little things here and there that bothered me a bit, but for the most part I’m hoping they’ll get explained in future books, so it’s nothing major. I would still highly recommend them, and I suppose I’m now in with the ravers.

Four_and_half

What about you? Have you read Angelfall and if you have, what were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!

January 2015 | WRAP UP

Well, guys, we’ve made it. Welcome to 2015, I hope you all have a great year and may you remember to put the correct date on your documents.

My goal this year is to read 75 books, and I managed to make a pretty decent dent in that this last month since in January I read a total of 11 books and most of them I really enjoyed. So over all I’d say I had a pretty successful month 🙂

athousandpieces

1.  A Thousand Pieces of You, by Claudia Gray

For my first read of the New Year, this book didn’t disappoint. Fast and fun. Some of the characters bothered me a bit, especially Theo, but a lot of that got explained so I don’t mind as much as I might have otherwise. And while some of the bigger plot ‘twists’ I suspected from early on, there were a number of smaller ones that I didn’t. Overall, I found Gray’s writing to be engaging and the world (or I guess the alternate dimensions) was/were fantastic.

4 stars.

attachments

2. Attachments, by Rainbow Rowell

I actually read this as ‘A book you started but never finished’ towards the 2015 Reading Challenge. I first tried to read Attachments when I first purchased it last year, but it had the misfortune of arriving at the same time as a lot of new releases, and as such it got cast aside.

Unfortunately, while I really wanted to love this book, it just didn’t live up to the hype. It was good, don’t get me wrong (Rainbow Rowell has yet to write anything I don’t like), but I guess I was just expecting more from it. I liked the characters, but didn’t love them, and it was pretty much like that for the rest of the book as well.

I gave this book 3 stars.

writteninred murderofcrows

3. & 4. Written in Red and Murder of Crows, by Anne Bishop

I have a full review which can be found, as always, by clicking on the picture of Written in Red, but just know I loved these books! Perhaps it was because they ended up being so much more than I was expecting, but whatever it was it was great.

5 stars.

neverfadeintheafterlight

5. & 6. Never Fade and In the Afterlight, by Alexandra Bracken

Alexandra Bracken strikes again. Never Fade was a re-read for me, and just as good the second time around. In the Afterlight was actually a new read, and in true Alexandra Bracken style did not disappoint. It was great seeing Ruby and Liam and the rest of the crew again.

Full reviews for each of these books can be found by clicking on their respective covers above.

4.5 stars each.

ultimatehitchhikersguide

7. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams

I went into this book knowing that I was going to love it, and in the end I think that’s what let me down the most. It was comedic and I understood the political and social commentary but something about the story just made it hard for me to connect to. Despite this, I still enjoyed it and will eventually pick up the next book in the series.

I gave this book 3 stars.

dorothymustdie

8. Dorothy Must Die, by Danielle Paige

Full review can be found by clicking on the cover.

3 stars.

unbecomingevolution

9. & 10. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and The Evolution of Mara Dyer, by Michelle Hodkin

I’m hoping to get up a full review for these soon so I won’t say too much, but I did enjoy them. I had my issues with Mara, but Noah more than made up for them.

The first book earned 4 stars, the second 4.5.

uglylove

11. Ugly Love, by Colleen Hoover

Ugly Love was my first Colleen Hoover book and I have to say, she’s one of the few authors that’s legitimately made me cry. Not to say I didn’t have any issues with the book, because I definitely did, but it was beautiful anyway.

4 stars.

So what books did you read in January?

Initial Thoughts: In the Afterlight

intheafterlight

Author: Alexandra Bracken | Pages: 535 | Series: Darkest Minds Trilogy, #3 | Rating: 5 stars

So with this being the last book in a series I don’t want to give a synopsis around this little bit here to risk spoiling anyone who hasn’t read the rest of the series yet, so I decided to try something different this time and just give you my notes I wrote when I finished In the Afterlight,rather than give a full review. I tend to type up or write a little after I’m finished with each book in order to give me something to look back on when I write up the review, so I thought I’d let you take a look at one just to give you an idea of how my mind works when I’m haven’t had time to compile my thoughts. Or compose them, even. Everything below the cut is literally copy-and-pasted from my notes. I figure this could be fun, or it could be a complete disaster. We’ll see!

Oh, and if you couldn’t already tell, there will be A LOT OF SPOILERS UNDER THE CUT. Please don’t read any further if you haven’t read the last book and/or don’t want to be spoiled on some of the events in the Darkest Minds series. Also, there will be a small bit of language so if you don’t like cursing, you might also not want to read it.

Okay, moving on!

EDIT: THIS IS THE CUT, BECAUSE THE READ-MORE TAG ISN’T WORKING RIGHT NOW, at least not on my screen. So, if you don’t want spoilers, please don’t read past here.

Continue reading Initial Thoughts: In the Afterlight

Review: Dorothy Must Die

dorothymustdie

Author: Danielle Paige | Pages: 452 | Series: Dorothy Must Die, #1 | Rating: 3.5 stars

I didn’t ask for any of this. I didn’t ask to be some kind of hero.

But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado – taking you with it – you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I’ve read the books. I’ve seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little bluebirds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can’t be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There’s still a yellow brick road – but even that’s crumbling.

What happened? Dorothy.

They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm – and I’m the other girl from Kansas.

I’ve been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.

I’ve been trained to fight.

And I have a mission.

I actually thought this book started off really nicely. It had an almost contemporary feel to the first couple of chapters, and I must say, if Danielle Paige ever decides to write a contemporary, I want to read it.

And, for the most part, I still enjoyed the rest of the book. The plot moved along nicely, the story kept me engaged, and I liked the characters okay. For a little bit I thought she might try to throw in an unnecessary love triangle and while that isn’t technically out of the question, it was made less likely by one of the reveals at the end of the book (but oh, would I have fun if Amy did choose the gardener at the end of the series… :))

Still, it felt like something was missing I guess. More than once I wondered why exactly Danielle Paige was introducing us to a character, because within a couple of pages or a couple of chapters, they’d disappear. Occasionally it felt as if she’d kill off characters just to say she had. And although I liked most of the characters, I didn’t really connect to or love any of them.

But overall it was an entertaining read, and a fun time.

Three_and_half

Books I Most Want to Read in 2015

While looking through my feed lately, I noticed that DiscoRF had posted a list of the books that they most wanted to get to this year, and it got me thinking. I have enough unread books on my shelves that even if there were no new books released this year and I didn’t purchase any other books, I’m still not sure I could get through all of them. Never mind that I also greatly love re-reading my favorites.

So I looked at my shelves and decided to follow in DiscoRF’s footsteps and compile a ‘2015 TBR’ of sorts, as seen below. There’s no guarantee I’ll get to all of these, or even most of them, but these are the books that I own that, at the moment, I most want to read.

Series (First 4 are continuing series, last 6 are starting series):outlander

  • Cress, by Marissa Meyer
  • Prodigy, by Marie Lu
  • The House of Hades, by Rick Riordan
  • Dreams of Gods and Monsters, by Laini Taylor
  • The Bronze Horseman, by Paullina Simons
  • The Raven Boys, by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas
  • Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon
  • Shadow & Bone, by Leigh Bardugo
  • Angelfall, by Susan Ee

Standalones:

  • Maybe Someday, by Colleen Hoover
  • Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell
  • The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Vicious, by V.E. Schwab
  • Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline
  • The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman
  • The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins
  • Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

Re-reads: rpo

  • The Harry Potter Series, by J.K. Rowling
  • Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell
  • The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, by Rick Riordan

Many of these I’m sure have some of you in disbelief at my not having read, and I’m really hoping I can get to a lot of them this year! (My goal is to read 75 books, so you’d think this would be do-able, but we all know what happens to the best-laid plans…)

Which of these do you think I should read first? What books are you really hoping to get to in 2015? Let me know in the comments!

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!