Give the Dark My Love by Beth Revis

91inuitvnvlTitle: Give the Dark My Love
Author: Beth Revis
Date Started: November 8
Date Finished: November 14
Format: Hardcover from a book subscription box

When seventeen-year-old Nedra Brysstain leaves her home in the rural, northern territories of Lunar Island to attend the prestigious Yugen Academy, she has only one goal in mind: learn the trade of medicinal alchemy. A scholarship student matriculating with the children of Lunar Island’s wealthiest and most powerful families, Nedra doesn’t quite fit in with the other kids at Yugen, who all look down on her.

All, except for Greggori “Grey” Astor. Grey is immediately taken by the brilliant and stubborn Nedra, who he notices is especially invested in her studies. And that’s for a good reason: a deadly plague has been sweeping through the North, and it’s making its way toward the cities. With her family’s life–and the lives of all of Lunar Island’s citizens–on the line, Nedra is determined to find a cure for the plague.

Grey and Nedra continue to grow closer, but as the sickness spreads and the body count rises, Nedra becomes desperate to find a cure. Soon, she finds herself diving into alchemy’s most dangerous corners–and when she turns to the most forbidden practice of all, necromancy, even Grey might not be able to pull her from the darkness.

Okay, Beth Revis. Why do you insist on writing books that end up giving me nightmares? I read the Across the Universe trilogy many years ago, and that series gave me nightmares, and now this book has given me nightmares. The only book that hasn’t yet given me nightmares that I’ve read by her is A World Without You, that one just made my head explode.

Anyway, you would think by now I would know better than to read books with plague in them. The whole seeing it first hand through the narrator’s eyes when the body count starts to get too high is what always does me in, and with Give the Dark My Love it was when Nedra was in quarantine for a week with a couple of dead bodies. *shudder* I’m going to have nightmares for week because of that one. Hopefully my next read is slightly more upbeat.

Moving on…Give the Dark My Love wasn’t quite what I was expecting. The story was very well executed though, I love how the true villain of the story wasn’t revealed until many twists later. I loved the slow burn between Grey and Nedra, and I am so very curious to know what happens to them now. I also really liked Nedra’s turn to the dark side it kind of reminded me of Anakin Skywalker’s turn in the Star Wars prequels, I’m just hoping that Nedra has a better fate than he does.

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. The only reason this book is losing a star is because of how gross the plague was. Blackened and twisted limbs. If it was caught early enough amputation. *shudder* I could have done without all that, thanks. But still this story was very, very good. I can’t wait to see what Nedra and Grey do next.

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Seafire by Natalie C. Parker

A12TR5JTefLTitle: Seafire
Author: Natalie C. Parker
Series: Seafire Trilogy
Date Started: October 31
Date Finished: November 8
Format: Hardcover from a book subscription box

After her family is killed by corrupt warlord Aric Athair and his bloodthirsty army of Bullets, Caledonia Styx is left to chart her own course on the dangerous and deadly seas. She captains her ship, the Mors Navis, with a crew of girls and women just like her, who have lost their families and homes because of Aric and his men. The crew has one mission: stay alive, and take down Aric’s armed and armored fleet.

But when Caledonia’s best friend and second-in-command barely survives an attack thanks to help from a Bullet looking to defect, Caledonia finds herself questioning whether to let him join their crew. Is this boy the key to taking down Aric Athair once and for all . . . or will he threaten everything the women of the Mors Navis have worked for?

So whatever I review this book please take it with a grain of salt. I’m currently doing NaNoWriMo and for some reason the words are just flowing from me this year – I guess that sacrifice I made to the writing gods is finally paying off – so anything that is distracting me from writing is actually annoying to me. Unfortunately for me I started reading Seafire right before November started, and at first when I was reading back at the end of October, I found this book interesting. It was a novel that dealt with the seas and the story of revenge was cool. I actually couldn’t wait for Caledonia to meet up with Lir again. I thought for sure this was going to be a hate/revenge to love story.

But it wasn’t. The dynamics of Caledonia’s ship were fun to read about, but when she picks up the Bullet – Oran – and keeps him alive things get a little tense and the dynamics shift. Caledonia starts doubting her every decision, her friendships with Pisces and Redtooth and Amina changes and becomes strained, and she focuses on things that she shouldn’t be. For someone who looks and acted like such a badass at the beginning of the book, she changed by the half way point. She became severely flawed and someone that I didn’t want to see win.

Then there was the actual run in with Lir. She let her emotions get the best of her again, and he almost killed her. That doesn’t show me character growth, that shows me character regression. Not to mention I didn’t actually like her ‘love interest,’ I feel like it was oddly placed. They didn’t have much chemistry.

Final Rating: 3 out of 5 stars. I might have liked this better if I wasn’t so distracted by my writing. The characters were well written, with some minor regression. I’m hoping that because this is a first book of trilogy the characters and the overall plot would become clearer.

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What if it’s Us by Becky Albertalli

y648Title: What if it’s Us
Authors: Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera
Date Started: November 1
Date Finished: November 6
Format: ebook from the digital library

Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it. Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them? Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated. Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited. But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third? What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough? What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play? But what if it is?

Okay, so What if it’s Us was another one of my anticipated reads for the year and it was mostly because of Becky Albertalli – I hadn’t yet read a Adam Silvera book, but now that I’ve read this one I’m intrigued to read his other novels – and the overall summary of the book. It sounded like it was going to be a disaster and I like reading about romantic disasters in YA. It’s a nice break from my fantasy/paranormal binge that I usually am on this time of year. Add in the fact that this book became available just as I was starting NaNoWriMo – where I’m writing a rom-com for the first time in 7 years – and I thought it was meant to be.

And look in 95% of the time it was. Ben and Arthur are extremely cute narrators. The pacing of the book flowed really nicely. The dialogue and inner monologues were relatively hilarious at times and deeply emotional at others. And I’m giving major points to Arthur who has my birthday too very rare to come across that birthday in fiction and in the real world, let me tell you. But the other 5% of the time, I found Arthur to be very emotional with barely any filter and very clingy. The whole thing with Hudson was just way too dramatic for my tastes, but I guess some sort of turning point had to be thrown in since it is a contemporary after all. And Ben…that guy. I really hated how insecure he was about his life and his brain. Especially after Arthur reassured him that he was perfect just the way he is. Although I have to admit that the being constantly late thing would drive me absolutely nuts. As a stickler for punctuality, that is definitely one of my pet peeves.

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Compared to the other book that I was reading at the same time as this one, I loved this one so much. I actually looked forward to switching back to this one. And the characters did have their faults, but it didn’t really take away from the overall story. Although I am a little bit miffed at the ending, after all that….really? Hmph.

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Stars Above by Marissa Meyer

81z8zjeyxtlTitle: Stars Above
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles
Previous Books in the Series:
1. Cinder
2. Scarlet
3. Cress
3.5. Fairest
4. Winter
Date Started: January 21, 2017
Date Finished: October 31
Format: Hardcover from my shelf

The universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories—and secrets—that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies?

With nine stories—five of which have never before been published—and an exclusive never-before-seen excerpt from Marissa Meyer’s upcoming novel, Heartless, about the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Stars Above is essential for fans of the bestselling and beloved Lunar Chronicles.

The Little Android: A retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” set in the world of The Lunar Chronicles.
Glitches: In this prequel to Cinder, we see the results of the plague play out, and the emotional toll it takes on Cinder. Something that may, or may not, be a glitch….
The Queen’s Army: In this prequel to Scarlet, we’re introduced to the army Queen Levana is building, and one soldier in particular who will do anything to keep from becoming the monster they want him to be.
Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky: Thirteen-year-old Carswell Thorne has big plans involving a Rampion spaceship and a no-return trip out of Los Angeles.
The Keeper: A prequel to the Lunar Chronicles, showing a young Scarlet and how Princess Selene came into the care of Michelle Benoit.
After Sunshine Passes By: In this prequel to Cress, we see how a nine-year-old Cress ended up alone on a satellite, spying on Earth for Luna.
The Princess and the Guard: In this prequel to Winter, we see a game called The Princess
The Mechanic: In this prequel to Cinder, we see Kai and Cinder’s first meeting from Kai’s perspective.
Something Old, Something New: In this epilogue to Winter, friends gather for the wedding of the century…

As a rule I usually don’t like novellas, because they are usually these 20-100 page short stories that publishers like to release individually and make a lot of money off readers. However, in Stars Above’s case, I am making an exception because it’s all of the novellas that Meyer has written for The Lunar Chronicles series all in one book. Since I was new to The Lunar Chronicles world – I read Cinder in 2012 and have bought all sequels and let them sit on my shelf since their release – I’m going through this series based on Marissa Meyer’s way of reading them.

So, after Cinder, her recommendation was to read Glitches. I have to admit this one was really emotional. Cute in some respects because we get to see Cinder’s arrival to her stepmother’s family and how quickly things turned from somewhat good to bad. If it hadn’t been for the plague, I wondered what would have happened when the family realized that Cinder could fix things…

Next up, after Scarlet, her recommendation was to read The Queen’s Army and The Little Android. I liked The Queen’s Army a lot because you got to see how Wolfe came to become what he is and just how evil Queen Levanna truly is. The Little Android on the other hand was really sad. I get that it was supposed to be Meyer’s take on The Little Mermaid, but still…I’m slightly disappointed that Star didn’t get her happy ending.

After Cress, Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky. I have to admit this one was funny. It was actually pretty cool to see Carswell as a teenager before he got into the flight academy. And man, he was such a charlatan even back then.

After Fairest, The Princess and Her Guard. This one really hurt a lot to read. Not only because you get to see Winter go from this happy kid who had so much potential with her powers to well…what you get a glimpse of in Cress. Levanna is a horrible, horrible woman. I mean, honestly. You’re going to torture your step-daughter to make her use her powers? That’s just wrong on so many different levels.

After Winter, I’m just reading all the ones that I hadn’t yet read. The Keeper, to me, should have been read before Scarlet. It’s about Scarlet’s grandmother Michelle and how she accepted keeping Cinder safe while she was in the stasis chamber. I actually really liked this one because you get to see what happened before Cinder was adopted by the Linh family and I kind of wish that the order had been The Keeper, then Glitches, then Cinder.

After Sunshine Passes By should have been read before Cress because it shows how exactly Cress ended up on that satellite. Now, because it’s been a while since I’ve read the Lunar Chronicles, I forgot how much of a bitch Sybil was, but damn it. There was no need to be so freaking cruel to Cress. I just wanted to reach into the pages and give the girl a hug after Sybil left.

The Mechanic is another short story that should have been read while reading Cinder, because it’s Cinder and Kai’s first meeting only from Kai’s POV. I actually really loved this one, it was fun to see inside Kai’s head for their first meeting and what he was thinking. I especially loved the last line… “That mechanic was going to change everything.” Talk about foreshadowing!

Something Old, Something New was just… I have too many emotions. A. I’m glad it wasn’t Cinder and Kai’s wedding. B. I liked that two years have passed since the events in Winter. C. I really loved how close everyone now is. D. I loved that I got to see Kai propose to Cinder. That makes me happier than you know.

Final Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. After taking me more than a year to read – on and off – I am finally done with the final Lunar Chronicles stories and I’m actually really sad to see this story go. Maybe another novella will come out dealing with Kai and Cinder’s wedding or at least what they’re up to now?

Bookshelf worthy? They’re so pretty.


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Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

41c28whhx5l-_sx326_bo1204203200_Title: Muse of Nightmares
Author: Laini Taylor
Sequel to: Strange the Dreamer
Date Started: October 25
Date Finished: October 30
Format: Hardcover from local library

Sarai has lived and breathed nightmares since she was six years old. She believed she knew every horror and was beyond surprise. She was wrong. In the wake of tragedy, neither Lazlo nor Sarai are who they were before. One a god, the other a ghost, they struggle to grasp the new boundaries of their selves as dark-minded Minya holds them hostage, intent on vengeance against Weep.

Lazlo faces an unthinkable choice—save the woman he loves, or everyone else?—while Sarai feels more helpless than ever. But is she? Sometimes, only the direst need can teach us our own depths, and Sarai, the Muse of Nightmares, has not yet discovered what she’s capable of. As humans and godspawn reel in the aftermath of the citadel’s near fall, a new foe shatters their fragile hopes, and the mysteries of the Mesarthim are resurrected: Where did the gods come from, and why? What was done with thousands of children born in the citadel nursery? And most important of all, as forgotten doors are opened and new worlds revealed: Must heroes always slay monsters, or is it possible to save them instead? Continue reading

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These Vengeful Souls by Tarun Shanker

91iyba-2bgrlTitle: These Vengeful Souls
Authors: Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas
Sequel to:
1. These Vicious Masks
2. These Ruthless Deeds
Date Started: October 24
Date Finished: October 25
Format: Paperback from local library

England, 1883. On the run with the grieving Sebastian Braddock, Evelyn wants two things: to be reunited with her friends, and to get revenge on the evil Captain Goode. Not only has he misused his and Sebastian’s powers to rack up a terrible death toll, but he’s also completely destroyed any hope of Evelyn or her friends regaining the life they once knew. Evelyn is determined to make Captain Goode pay for what he’s done, but is her revenge worth risking the lives of Sebastian and her friends? Or is it better to flee the city and focus on staying alive? And with the Captain spreading lies about Sebastian in an attempt to flush them out of hiding and turn the populace against them, does she even have a choice at all? Continue reading

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Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

a1ldhptgiylTitle: Ash Princess
Author: Laura Sebastian
Date Started: October 22
Date Finished: October 24
Format: Hardcover from local library

Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia’s family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess–a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner. For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She’s endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.

Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn’t always won on the battlefield. For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here. Continue reading

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