Fantasy · Fiction · Romance · Young Adult

The Queen’s Assassin

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Title: The Queen’s Assassin

Author: Melissa De La Cruz

Page Count: 384

Series: Queen’s Secret, Book 1

Publishing Date/Publisher: February 4, 2020

Format: eBook

Review: I see this author’s name on our book shelves quite frequently at the library, but I have never before read any of her books.  When I saw this ARC being offered up by NetGalley, I decided to give her a try.  To summarize my thoughts on this story: it was utterly predictable.   In general this story went from plot point A to plot point B with little fanfare or complexity.  For a book that is advertised as “perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas,” this was rather disappointing.  The only thing I thought unique about it was that the author wrote one POV in first person, and the other in third person.  I can’t recall ever seeing this done before, and I could not decide whether or not I liked it.  It is unclear to me why the author made this stylistic choice, because it didn’t seem to add anything special to the narrative.

In short, it certainly wasn’t the worst YA fantasy fiction book I have ever read, but it didn’t interest me enough to want to continue onto the next book.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_Goldhalf star

Fantasy · Fiction · Young Adult

Children of Vengeance and Virtue

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Title: Children of Virtue and Vengeance

Author: Tomi Adeyemi

Page Count: 448

Series: Legacy of Orisha, Book 2

Publishing Date/Publisher: December 3, 2019 by Henry Holt and Co.

Format: Hardcover

Review: It pains me to write this review because I had such high hopes for this book.  I LOVED Children of Blood and Bone and checked this book out the day it was available at our libraries.  I immediately dove into it and then….stalled.  No matter how many times I picked it back up, I just couldn’t get into it.  It quickly became apparent that the characters I loved from the first book were gone.  In their place were characters I didn’t even recognize or like.  The relationships that I had hoped would be fleshed out more in this book still felt forced and lacked substance.  The action was sporadic and when I should have felt devastated, I felt nothing.  There was no character development that made me feel invested in the story, so the betrayals and atrocities made very little impact on me.  There had been great potential for character growth after such an epic conclusion to the first book, which leads me to believe that the author rushed this book to meet some deadline.  I read in one of Adeyemi’s interviews that she did not have a break between completing the first book and writing this one, but I had hoped that this would not effect the quality of her story development.  Though these hopes were quickly dashed, I am clinging to my sense of optimism for the next book, which is why I could not bring myself to give this book a lower rating.  Hopefully she takes her time with it because despite it all, I still believe in this story.  The way the book ended, I highly suspect she will be taking a page from history and incorporating elements of the slave trade and African diaspora.  Only time will tell where she decides to go from here.  Until then, my fingers are crossed!

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fantasy · Fiction · Paranormal · Romance · Science Fiction · Young Adult

Obsidian

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Title: Obsidian

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Page Count: 335

Series: Lux, Book 1

Publishing Date/Publisher: May 8, 2012 by Entangled Teen

Format: eBook

Review: I can’t say I didn’t know what I was getting into with this.  It was a light paranormal read that didn’t make me think too much.  It follows a very standard formula.  New girl who doesn’t know she is beautiful moves into small town and meets mysterious and attractive boy.  There is instant attraction and they immediately start a love/hate relationship.  The boy, who also happens to be an alien, runs hot and cold, but eventually succumbs to his feelings for human girl.  Throw in some bad guys, a happy-go-lucky sister, a jealous ex and you’ve got a pretty predictable plot for this book.  Admittedly, this is sometimes the type of book I want to read, especially after I have read books with heavier content, but it was nothing new or original.  I will likely not be moving on with the series.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_Goldhalf star

Fantasy · Fiction · Romance · Young Adult

Heir of Fire

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Title: Heir of Fire

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Page Count: 565

Series: Throne of Glass, Book 3

Publishing Date/Publisher: September 2, 2014 by Bloomsbury USA Children

Format: eBook

Review: I personally found this to be the most exciting installment in the series so far.  We see entirely new settings, meet new characters, and get a deeper glimpse into Celaena’s past.  All these additions add more depth to Celaena’s character and make her a more inspiring heroine.

This book also introduced an entirely new character point of view, that of the witch Manon.  I LOVED her storyline, even though at this point it is hard to see how it will play into the larger plot.  Her chapters literally had my heart pounding and there were some scenes that literally gave me goosebumps.  I would finish the chapters feeling exhilarated and utterly disappointed to be moving back to another character perspective.  I had to strongly resist the urge to skip ahead to her next chapter.  I took a bit of a pause between reading books 2 and 3 in this series, but as soon as I turned the final page of this book I snapped up book 4 because I cannot wait to pick up her story again.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Goldhalf star

Fantasy · Fiction · Paranormal · Romance · Young Adult

A Violet Fire

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Title: A Violet Fire

Author: Kelsey Quick

Page Count: Unknown

Series: Vampire in Avignon

Publishing Date/Publisher: December 9, 2019 by Kelsey Quick

Format: eBook

Review: I typically do not have high expectations for self-published books, but this one surprised me.  I found it to be an easy read, and I enjoyed the concept of living vampires.  I also enjoyed that humans could not be simply be turned into vampires.  They could in theory make offspring with vampires, but they were genetically different enough that a human could not become one.

In some ways this book follows the typical tropes of paranormal romances, but it was different enough that the story kept me engaged.  I felt that the weakest aspect of the story was the development of the central romance.  It’s not insta-love, but not a lot of dialogue is shown between the two characters to help the reader understand the relationship.  The reader is aware that time is passing, but aside from a first interaction and a final interaction, there isn’t much substance in between to make the relationship feel real.  In fact, when the final twist is revealed, I was not at all affected because I was not made to be invested in the relationship in the first place.

I will say, however, that I liked the direction the story was moving in, and I would most certainly continue reading the series if it were to become available to me.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fantasy · Fiction · Historical · Magical Realism · Young Adult

Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All

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Title: Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All

Author: Laura Ruby

Performer: Lisa Flanagan

Length: 9 hr

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: 2019 by Balzar + Bray

Format: eAudiobook

Review: I had great expectations for this book, because I really loved Bone Gap.  Ruby does a great job with magical realism, and this book is no exception; however, I found this book to be a bit too meandering for my liking.  It follows two characters, one alive and one deceased, and oftentimes there really doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to the plot.  It jumps from one story to another, with the reader occasionally getting a glimpse of the past.  The deceased character, Pearl, is fascinated by Frankie’s life although it isn’t really clear to me why.  Pearl isn’t sure why she hasn’t ascended, and there isn’t any real resolution to this (in my opinion).  Secrets are revealed, but they didn’t blow my mind because there was no anticipation built up around them.  I wasn’t bored listening to this audiobook, but I also wasn’t chomping at the bit to get back to it.  It was a nice snapshot of the time period, but overall a very average read for me.

On an entirely different note, I loved the title of this book, loved the cover, and I thought the reader did a great job.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fantasy · Fiction · Historical

Circe

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Title: Circe

Author: Madeline Miller

Page Count: 393

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: April 10, 2018 by Little, Brown and Company

Format: Hardcover

Review: Lyrical and enchanting, this book had me enthralled from the very first page.  Very little attention is given to the witch Circe in most mythological tales, but Miller creates a backstory that is humanizing and utterly unforgettable.  In this rendering, Circe is not a predatory monster, but rather a woman driven by her passions and yearnings.  She refuses to be a victim and takes ownership of her own trauma and pain, weaving it into a tapestry of strength and love.  She and she alone controls her destiny.

When I finally turned the last page and closed this book, I was filled with such a feeling of completeness.  Although the year is not quite at an end, I can say with confidence that this is by far my favorite read of 2019.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold