Legion by Julie Kagawa

28821387Title: Legion
Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: Talon Saga
Previous Books in the Series:
1. Talon
2. Rogue
3. Soldier
Date Started: June 6
Date Finished: June 20
Format: ebook from the digital library

Dragon hatchling Ember Hill was never prepared to find love at all—dragons do not suffer human emotions—let alone with a human, and a former dragonslayer at that. With ex-soldier of St. George Garret dying at her feet after sacrificing his freedom and his life to expose the deepest of betrayals, Ember knows only that nothing she was taught by dragon organization Talon is true. About humans, about rogue dragons, about herself and what she’s capable of doing and feeling.

In the face of great loss, Ember vows to stand with rogue dragon Riley against St. George and her own twin brother, Dante—the heir apparent to all of Talon, and the boy who will soon unleash the greatest threat and terror dragonkind has ever known. Talon is poised to take over the world, and the abominations they have created will soon take to the skies, darkening the world with the promise of blood and death to those who will not yield.

Now I kind of remember why I don’t like reading books in a series until the whole series is out. I completely forgot what happened in Soldier, and believe it or not my review was of no help which kind of sucks. Thankfully, though, Kagawa does spend a few seconds rehashing what happened in the last book, so I wasn’t completely lost. It also didn’t help that this was another novel that I was reading during the busiest time of year at work and then right before I went on vacation. Whoops.

Anyway, I keep forgetting how masterful of a storyteller Kagawa is. She takes something mythical and turns into, well, actually believable. There were a few times while reading Legion that I had to remind myself that, oh, yeah, this is a book about dragons and not human beings on the run from the CIA or something. And I guess in a way that should be a bad thing, but for these characters I don’t think so. It works for them, especially as Ember keeps realizing that everything that Talon ever told her wasn’t exactly the truth. Dragons can love. Dragons can feel human emotions. In fact, there is a scene in this novel where Ember and her dragon self have a conversation about her feelings towards Riley and Garrett and I have to admit that most of the time something like that I would find really trippy, but for this story it completely worked.

I also liked how Kagawa paced everything. She didn’t just drudge along and then wam, bam huge action sequence, to be continued. It was nicely timed out. I especially loved all the normal drama between the love triangle of Riley/Ember/Garrett that she threw in too. I have to admit that the fact that the love triangle is (kinda) resolved before the final book of the series shocks me. But at the same time I’m glad, because while it wasn’t a big part of the overall plot, I still felt it’s ramifications throughout each book.

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. The characters are developing quite nicely. Everything was nicely paced. I have a lot of questions still about Talon and what their ‘ultimate goal’ is, but I’m hoping that they will be answered in the final book.

Bookshelf worthy? Support your local library!

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Grit by Gillian French

31706530Title: Grit
Author: Gillian French
Date Started: May 30
Date Finished: June 10
Format: Hardcover from my shelf

It’s summer in rural Maine; when seventeen-year-old Darcy Prentiss isn’t raking berries with her sister, Mags, and cousin, Nell, during the day, she’s drinking and swimming with the boys in the quarry by night. She knows how to have a good time, just like anyone else, but when you’ve been designated the town slut, every move you make seems to further solidify your “trashy girl” reputation.

But the fun is what’s been keeping Darcy’s mind off the things she can’t forget: a disturbing secret she shares with Nell, the mysterious disappearance of her ex-best friend, and that hazy Fourth of July party that ended with Darcy drunk, on her back, wondering how she let it get this far.

Then someone in town anonymously nominates Darcy to be in the running for Bay Festival Princess—a cruel, almost laughable gesture that can only be the work of someone with a score to settle. Everything Darcy has been trying to keep down comes bubbling to the surface in ways she wasn’t prepared to handle…and isn’t sure if she can.

This was another book I received in a monthly subscription box – the theme of the month was Mean Girls – and at first I didn’t think I was going to like it. Only because I never heard/saw the book before. But when I picked it up and read the first chapter, there was something there and I kept reading. The family dynamic in Grit was intriguing to me. The way Darcy interacts with her sister Mags and her cousin Nell, at first, made me think that they were just really good friends, not family. I also kind of like that the mom was so handsoff with Mags and Darcy. Usually I don’t like parents in YA novels they are more whiny than the teens themselves. That only really applied to Darcy’s aunt Libby who was always sulking around and commenting about Darcy and her wild ways.

Then there seems to be the big three mysteries that underlay this novel. First, last Fourth of July and a party where Darcy got really drunk and somehow ended up sleeping with a guy who may or may not be ‘in love’ with her. From what is told about that night from Darcy’s perspective it may be more than just a drunk one night stand. It actually read more like rape to me. The second mystery, is there always seems to be a car hanging around the house late at night, but when Darcy notices, it takes off. It isn’t until near the end of the book that this mystery gets a little clearer. I won’t spoil it, but yikes. Poor Nell. The final mystery is the disappearance of Rhiannon – Darcy’s former best friend – last summer. The cops are still looking into it, because a body has never been found. They think Darcy had something to do with it, because she’s been real jumpy about answering their questions. All of this really plays together with mystery #2, but I really liked how Darcy figured it all out.

As for Darcy’s character, I kind of liked her and I kind of didn’t. I liked how close she was with her sister and cousin. I liked the fact that the reason she was so mysterious about what happened last summer was because she was trying to protect Nell. And sometimes I liked that she was driven to beat Shea – the guy she ‘drunkly hooked up with’ – just to wipe the smug look off his face. But I didn’t like how reckless she was. There were a lot of moments when she takes off and acts recklessly when things started getting really tough. And I get that she’s just a teenager, she’s bound to make mistakes, but did she really have to make so many of them?

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. This was actually a really interesting read. It sort of reminded me of a Sarah Dessen novel with a little bit of mystery thrown in. The characters were well fleshed out and the way the mysteries unfolded was quite entertaining to watch.

Bookshelf worthy? Support your local library!

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Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

81BrYdmUnMLTitle: Lord of Shadows
Author: Cassandra Clare
Series: The Dark Artifices
Previous Book in the Series:
1. Lady Midnight
Date Started: May 26
Date Finished: June 9
Format: Hardcover from my shelf

A Shadowhunter’s life is bound by duty. Constrained by honor. The word of a Shadowhunter is a solemn pledge, and no vow is more sacred than the vow that binds parabatai, warrior partners—sworn to fight together, die together, but never to fall in love. Emma Carstairs has learned that the love she shares with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, isn’t just forbidden—it could destroy them both. She knows she should run from Julian. But how can she when the Blackthorns are threatened by enemies on all sides?

Their only hope is the Black Volume of the Dead, a spell book of terrible power. Everyone wants it. Only the Blackthorns can find it. Spurred on by a dark bargain with the Seelie Queen, Emma; her best friend, Cristina; and Mark and Julian Blackthorn journey into the Courts of Faerie, where glittering revels hide bloody danger and no promise can be trusted. Meanwhile, rising tension between Shadowhunters and Downworlders has produced the Cohort, an extremist group of Shadowhunters dedicated to registering Downworlders and “unsuitable” Nephilim. They’ll do anything in their power to expose Julian’s secrets and take the Los Angeles Institute for their own.

When Downworlders turn against the Clave, a new threat rises in the form of the Lord of Shadows—the Unseelie King, who sends his greatest warriors to slaughter those with Blackthorn blood and seize the Black Volume. As dangers close in, Julian devises a risky scheme that depends on the cooperation of an unpredictable enemy. But success may come with a price he and Emma cannot even imagine, one that will bring with it a reckoning of blood that could have repercussions for everyone and everything they hold dear.

I chose the worst time to start reading this book, let me tell you. Usually a book like this will take me at most four days to read at work, especially if it is slow. But I started this book during the busiest time of year and there were days where I didn’t read anything. Because of that I’m hoping that’s why Lord of Shadows felt rather clunky. Otherwise, I loved this book to pieces. The drama was top notch. All the relationships that were formed (and broken) were beautifully well done and the story really progressed from book one.

I’m pretty sure Julian and Emma have replaced Jace and Clary in my top Shadowhunter ship, but that’s just because of how they love each other. Their constant back and forth was just drama inducing and kept me reading when I really should have been doing other things. Especially that one moment in Cornwall. *sigh* Speaking of, Jace and Clary though, I guess I kind of got an answer to that bonus scene that was in Lady Midnight. But I find that very curious. And of course, my favorite all time character in the Shadowhunter universe makes a sparkling appearance. Although, I’m not too sure I like where his story is going. Clare, please don’t hurt Magnus Bane. Pretty please?

Which leads me to that ending. HOLY SHIT. As I got closer to the end of Lord of Shadows I knew something had to go down, but I was not expecting that. I’m not even sure how Julian and the others are going to get over what happened at the end. But you know it’s going to be good, especially because the release of The Queen of Air and Darkness got pushed back to 2019. AGH.

Final Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. I think this book was a good chunk of the reason I was able to get through the last few weeks at work. The writing was wonderful, even if it was a little long-winded at times. The characters continue to surprise me with their friendships and relationships and their true identities. I cannot wait until 2019 to see how this series ends.

Bookshelf worthy? I wish I could Portal between two places. Imagine all the bookshelf space!

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A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

acowar_usTitle: A Court of Wings and Ruin
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Previous Books in the Series:
1. A Court of Thorns and Roses
2. A Court of Mist and Fury
Date Started: May 18
Date Finished: May 25
Format: Hardcover from my shelf

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit—and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well. As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords—and hunt for allies in unexpected places. Continue reading

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Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce

wild-magicTitle: Wild Magic
Author: Tamora Pierce
Series: The Immortals Quartet
Date Started: May 17
Date Finished: May 18
Format: Hardcover from local library

Young Daine’s knack with horses gets her a job helping the royal horsemistress drive a herd of ponies to Tortall. Soon it becomes clear that Daine’s talent, as much as she struggles to hide it, is downright magical. Horses and other animals not only obey, but listen to her words. Daine, though, will have to learn to trust humans before she can come to terms with her powers, her past, and herself. Continue reading

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Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

28686840Title: Holding Up the Universe
Author: Jennifer Niven
Date Started: May 15
Date Finished: May 17
Format: Hardcover from local library

Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for every possibility life has to offer. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything.  Continue reading

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The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

30038906Title: The Names They Gave Us
Author: Emery Lord
Date Started: May 16
Date Finished: May 17
Format: ebook from the digital library

Lucy Hansson was ready for a perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp on the lake. But when her mom’s cancer reappears, Lucy falters—in faith, in love, and in her ability to cope. When her boyfriend “pauses” their relationship and her summer job switches to a different camp—one for troubled kids—Lucy isn’t sure how much more she can handle. Attempting to accept a new normal, Lucy slowly regains footing among her vibrant, diverse coworkers, Sundays with her mom, and a crush on a fellow counselor. But when long-hidden family secrets emerge, can Lucy set aside her problems and discover what grace really means? Continue reading

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