Friday, August 18, 2017

The #FridayReads Review (8/18/17)



Welcome to The #FridayReads Review, a regular Friday segment where I share what I've been reading the past week, and what I'm planning to read next! Want to join the Friday fun? Post your own #FridayReads Review and leave the link in the Comments below, or just Comment with what you've been reading!


>> CURRENTLY READING <<
A Poison Dark and Drowning (Kingdom on Fire, #2)
A Poison Dark & Drowning by Jessica Cluess (ARC)
About 40% in. While not quite as good as the first book (which is apparently the general sentiment), so far it's still proved an engaging and even more enchanting read with the addition of more Magician's warped dazzle and Henrietta's hybrid powers. This book delves deeper into the mystery of the Ancients as the young Sorcerers scramble to find a way to defeat them, and travels to some interesting places in search of answers (typically only to find more questions). Definitely think re-reading the first book right before was the way to go - not surprisingly I'd forgotten more than I'd thought, and having that knowledge fresh makes the second book read so much smoother. 


>> JUST FINISHED <<
A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire, #1)
A Shadow Bright & Burning by Jessica Cluess (ARC)
4 Stars. 2nd read; an engrossing and enchanting (and not as frustrating as the first read) alternate historical horror fantasy with vivid characters and engaging prose. You can check out my first read review here.


>> [POSSIBLY] READING NEXT <<
(subject to change with my ever-shifting reading whims)
A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares
A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland (ARC)
I have a contemporary itch so I think I'm going to scratch it with this! Looks like serious fun (aka fun with a light serious streak), which is generally how I like my contemporaries.


So what are you reading this week?

Monday, August 14, 2017

Review: The Crown's Game (Evelyn Skye)

The Crown's Game (The Crown's Game, #1)
Title: The Crown's Game
Series: The Crown's Game duology, Book 1
Author: Evelyn Skye
Publisher: Balzer & Bray (HarperCollins)
Release Date: May 17, 2016
Genre: Young Adult Alternate Fantasy
Told: Third Person Omniscient, Past Tense
Content Rating: Teen (some violence and minor sensuality)
Format Read: ARC (trade)
Find OnGoodreads
Purchase OnAmazon | B&N | Book Depository
Summary:

Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip-smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love…or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear—the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.


*          *          *

In a Sentence: An amazing alternate historical fantasy with a rich world, solid writing, vivid characters, awesome magic, and an engrossing story (despite an unfortunate love triangle).

Confession: I didn't expect to like this book. More often than not I dislike much-loved bestsellers with very few exceptions, and while Crown Game's magic, setting and concept sounded intriguing, the summary spoke too much of the romance - a negative trait for me. But while the romance did end up proving the weakness I'd expected, it did not play as large a part as I'd feared, leaving the rest of the book to completely dazzle me.

Contrary to the summary, there were three main characters. The two enchanters, who were very interesting and unconventional contrasts to each other, almost swapping gender roles as Vika was a strong, powerful, wild female to Nikolai's crafty, scholarly dandy male. But then there was also Pasha: heir to the throne and third in their unfortunate love triangle, he was an adventurous and inquisitive boy who would rather be free but is forced to do his duty for his country. Together they, along with the rest of the cast, made an engaging group to follow as the omniscient point of view focused not only on the main characters but over half a dozen others. Despite so many points of view though, for the most part I had little difficulty keeping everyone straight - the characters were all very unique and different from each other, including their names, so it was pretty easy to tell them apart despite the chapters being unmarked and occasionally following more than one person.

The setting was just the right balance of foreign and familiar woven through with secret enchantments. The Russian culture and history were never heavy or confusing, with just enough to be fascinating and exotic. The description was perfectly done, not too much and not too little; very vivid and easy to picture. The pacing was slower in the beginning so the reader could enjoy discovering the world and characters, became a bit choppy in the middle to move the game along, then slowed again at the end to savor the struggle as new twists came to light and the game concluded. The end itself was a bit abrupt for me, but simply because I wanted more and there wasn't any.

From the description I expected an actual fight-to-the-death duel, but it turned out to be more of a tournament, each taking turns to one-up the other in magical feats (although they did occasionally try to eliminate the other while they were at it). Despite less violence it made for a very engaging cat-and-cat interaction, especially as the story started offering just the magical feats and little of the preparation, so the reader became more spectator than confidante. This was occasionally a little disappointing but ultimately rather dazzling as the surprise and imagination of the magic blew me away. As the characters grew closer and the end of the game nearer things became more tense as loyalties severed and evolved, and with the revelation of a few twists I did not see coming the result was an exciting and uncertain one. Needless to say upon turning the last page and discovering no more I wished I'd had the sequel on hand for immediate consumption.

The romance was the book's only real weakness for me. The main characters' relationships formed a relatively complicated diagram involving several contradicting arrows and a definite love triangle (or possibly even love square). It wasn't hard to follow though, and while my very first actual "ship" didn't quite sail (*sigh*) I'm not averse to how things concluded and will be interested to see how it all ends up in the final book.

Conclusion: A solidly enjoyable, enchanting and engrossing read with vivid characters, dazzling magic, and a fantastic worldI did have some small issues with the love triangle and omniscient point of view, but by the end I was leaning more towards 5 than 4 Scribbles, especially after the climatic twists I did not see coming. Can't wait to lay eyes on the sequel!

For Fans Of: Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke


Scribble Rating
4.5 of 5 Scribbles


Friday, August 4, 2017

The #FridayReads Review (8/4/17)



Welcome to The #FridayReads Review, a regular Friday segment where I share what I've been reading the past week, and what I'm planning to read next! Want to join the Friday fun? Post your own #FridayReads Review and leave the link in the Comments below, or just Comment with what you've been reading!


>> CURRENTLY READING <<
A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire, #1)
A Shadow Bright & Burning by Jessica Cluess (ARC)
Slow novel reading week so I haven't made much progress on this re-read, but I plan to buckle down and power through a lot of it this weekend!


>> JUST FINISHED <<
The Seven Deadly Sins 20 (Seven Deadly Sins, The)
The Seven Deadly Sins vols. 18-20 by Nakaba Suzuki (PBK)
3 Stars. Caught up several volumes and despite the now dozens of regular characters (some of which I struggle to remember) I'm still engaged enough to continue the series until further notice. What can I say, there are a few main characters that are just that good.


>> [POSSIBLY] READING NEXT <<
(subject to change with my ever-shifting reading whims)
A Poison Dark and Drowning (Kingdom on Fire, #2)
A Poison Dark & Drowning by Jessica Cluess (ARC)
I'm really looking forward to continuing this magical series next week!


So what are you reading this week?

Friday, July 28, 2017

The #FridayReads Review (7/28/17)



Welcome to The #FridayReads Review, a regular Friday segment where I share what I've been reading the past week, and what I'm planning to read next! Want to join the Friday fun? Post your own #FridayReads Review and leave the link in the Comments below, or just Comment with what you've been reading!


>> CURRENTLY READING <<
A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire, #1)
A Shadow Bright & Burning by Jessica Cluess (ARC)
The publisher contacted me this week about participating in the blog tour (so stoked!) so I'm re-reading the first book while I wait impatiently for the second to arrive for review! So far so just as good as I remember.


>> JUST FINISHED <<
Defy the Stars (Constellation, #1)Brave (Awkward, #2)

Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray (ARC)
4 Stars. A teen galactic travel adventure with a predictable plot and occasionally disorienting writing style but soulful characters, surprise subplots, and a generally entertaining story. Review to come.

Brave by Svetlana Chmakova (PBK)
4 Stars. An excellent story for kids about bullying and what you can do about it! Svetlana continues to impress with another great story, relatable characters, and fun and expressive artwork.


>> [POSSIBLY] READING NEXT <<
(subject to change with my ever-shifting reading whims)
The Seven Deadly Sins, Vol. 18
The Seven Deadly Sins vol. 18 by Nakaba Suzuki (PBK)
Time to catch up on this series! Have three volumes to binge.


So what are you reading this week?

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Release Spotlight: Lucky in Love (Kasie West)


Today I spotlight the second 2017 Kasie West release: LUCKY IN LOVE from Scholastic! I myself was lucky enough to receive an advance copy from the publisher (thanks again, Scholastic! <3) and can recommend it as a sweet light romance about family, friends, future, and the troubles of money (you can check out my full review here!). If you haven't yet looked into Kasie's latest, do so below!


--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lucky in Love

Title: Lucky in Love
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: 7/25/17

In this new contemporary from YA star Kasie West, a girl who wins the lottery learns that money can cause more problems than it solves, especially when love comes into the picture. 

Maddie doesn't believe in luck. She's all about hard work and planning ahead. But one night, on a whim, she buys a lottery ticket. And then, to her astonishment --

She wins!

In a flash, Maddie's life is unrecognizable. No more stressing about college scholarships. Suddenly, she's talking about renting a yacht. And being in the spotlight at school is fun... until rumors start flying, and random people ask her for loans. Now, Maddie isn't sure who she can trust.

Except for Seth Nguyen, her funny, charming coworker at the local zoo. Seth doesn't seem aware of Maddie's big news. And, for some reason, she doesn't want to tell him. But what will happen if he learns her secret?

With tons of humor and heart, Kasie West delivers a million-dollar tale of winning, losing, and falling in love.


Add to Goodreads

PURCHASE:
Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | Book Depository


And check out Kasie West's other Scholastic title!

P.S. I Like You
P.S. I Like You

Monday, July 24, 2017

Review: Lucky in Love (Kasie West)

Lucky in Love
Title: Lucky in Love
Series: standalone
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: July 25, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Told: First Person (Maddie), Past Tense
Content Rating: Teen (kissing)
Format Read: ARC (publisher)
Find OnGoodreads
Purchase OnAmazon | B&N | Book Depository
Summary:

In this new contemporary from YA star Kasie West, a girl who wins the lottery learns that money can cause more problems than it solves, especially when love comes into the picture. 

Maddie doesn't believe in luck. She's all about hard work and planning ahead. But one night, on a whim, she buys a lottery ticket. And then, to her astonishment --

She wins!

In a flash, Maddie's life is unrecognizable. No more stressing about college scholarships. Suddenly, she's talking about renting a yacht. And being in the spotlight at school is fun... until rumors start flying, and random people ask her for loans. Now, Maddie isn't sure who she can trust.

Except for Seth Nguyen, her funny, charming coworker at the local zoo. Seth doesn't seem aware of Maddie's big news. And, for some reason, she doesn't want to tell him. But what will happen if he learns her secret?

With tons of humor and heart, Kasie West delivers a million-dollar tale of winning, losing, and falling in love.


*          *          *

Review copy provided by publisher for an honest review. Thank you, Scholastic!


In a Sentence: A sweet if predictable contemporary romance about family, friends, future, and the uncertainty of money.

While Kasie West is and will always be one of my favorite authors, Lucky in Love was kind of a mixed bag for me. On the one hand it was a Kasie West novel, which meant a light writing style with great banter, relatable characters, and a sweet romance. But on the other hand, the predictable "naive young girl wins lottery" plot gave me an uneasy sense of dread through most of the book, which wasn't the greatest reading companion for a contemporary romance.

The story began a little dispiriting as Maddie's family struggled with money problems and the tension it can cause. When she won the lottery the mood lightened, but with Maddie's naivete it was obvious the disasters that would unfold and so I read in a constant state of cringe. I'm not one who enjoys watching a train wreck, so I spent most of the book dreading when everything would inevitably fall apart. Luckily Seth was there with his innocence and banter to lighten the tense mood, but even he could not fully buffer what was to come. To my relief the conclusion was not as bad as I'd expected, although given it was a Kasie West story I really should've anticipated a lighter touch. There was some inevitable sadness, but ultimately a lot of happiness as Maddie finally started making some smart decisions about the money and her future.

Conclusion: While not my favorite Kasie West story, I did enjoy the read despite some dread at the predictable young lottery winner disasters. Overall with its fun premise, relatable characters, and sweet romance, I recommend Lucky In Love as a great summer read and any time you need a light romance with heart.


Scribble Rating
3.5 of 5 Scribbles


Friday, July 21, 2017

The #FridayReads Review (7/21/17)



Welcome to The #FridayReads Review, a regular Friday segment where I share what I've been reading the past week, and what I'm planning to read next! Want to join the Friday fun? Post your own #FridayReads Review and leave the link in the Comments below, or just Comment with what you've been reading!


>> CURRENTLY READING <<
Defy the Stars (Constellation, #1)
Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray (ARC)
Was seriously craving sci-fi so I finally picked this up! About 70% through - really enjoying Noemi and Abel's interaction, and exploring the different worlds. Their decisions don't always seem quite logical enough for Abel's intelligence, but otherwise it's an entertaining read.


>> READING NEXT <<
The Last Magician
The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell (ARC)
Set this aside to indulge in my sci-fi craving so I'll be returning to it afterwards.


So what are you reading this week?

Friday, July 14, 2017

The #FridayReads Review (7/14/17)



Welcome to The #FridayReads Review, a regular Friday segment where I share what I've been reading the past week, and what I'm planning to read next! Want to join the Friday fun? Post your own #FridayReads Review and leave the link in the Comments below, or just Comment with what you've been reading!


>> CURRENTLY READING <<
The Last Magician
The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell (ARC)
Unfortunately rather disappointed so far - too much description and info-dumping ruins the tension, and all the time-jumping to focus on different characters is very confusing. I'm only a few short chapters in so far though, so I'll give it bit longer.


>> JUST FINISHED <<
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5)The Girl from the Other Side: Siúil, a Rún Vol. 1

Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (PBK)
3 Stars. 2017 Re-Read: Angry Harry was rather too angry and broody for me most of the time, and there were several conversations that felt like they would never end, but otherwise this was the entertaining read that I know and enjoy occasionally re-reading.

The Girl from the Other Side: Siúil, a Rún Vol. 1 by NAGABE (PBK)
3 Stars. A quick read with an intriguing story and heavily shadowed art that was thankfully not the horror I expected but more a curious post-apoc fantasy. After the cliffhanger I'll definitely be reading the next volume.


>> [POSSIBLY] READING NEXT <<
(subject to change with my ever-shifting reading whims)
Horimiya, Vol. 8
Horimiya vol. 8 by Hero X Daisuke Hagiwara (PBK)
It's on its way!! *flails*

So what are you reading this week?

Monday, July 10, 2017

Review: Roar (Cora Carmack)

Roar (Stormheart, #1)
Title: Roar
Series: Stormheart, Book 1
Author: Cora Carmack
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Told: Third Person Multiple, Past Tense
Content Rating: Older Teen (light sexuality, violence)
Format Read: ARC (BookHype)
Find OnGoodreads
Purchase OnAmazon | B&N | Book Depository
Summary:

In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage. 

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough. 

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.


*          *          *

Review copy provided by publisher for an honest review. Thank you, Tor Teen!


In a Sentence: An engaging fantasy with an unfortunate love triangle and heavy sensuality but solid writing and unique magic.

I'm not much of a Romance fan, so when I heard Romance author Cora Carmack was foraying into fantasy I was a little wary. The premise was really intriguing though, and when the gorgeous cover released I was excited to give the beauty a try. As anticipated there was some heavy and rather detailed sensuality, but also solid writing, an interesting story, and unique (if a little convoluted) magic that made Roar an engaging read and left me impatiently awaiting the next book.

The Story & Setting: While it admittedly began somewhat coincidental and predictable and a bit of belief had to be suspended, the strong writing and good pacing kept me reading and the story was an exciting journey of magic and discovery. Without a map in the ARC the setting could be a little confusing at times, but for the most part it was a fun world to explore and a good backdrop for the story.

The Magic: Storm magic isn't uncommon in fantasies, so it can be difficult to come up with a unique twist. This book manages it though with stormhearts: physical manifestations of conquered storms that allow the conqueror to conjure the storm at will. But that's not all: siphoned bits of storm a la stormhunters are harnessed into energy, and the mystery behind the storms themselves proves an important part of the story's essence. With all the different categories of storms and the mystery itself the magic could be a little complicated at times, but overall it was different and very interesting.

The Characters & Romances: I found Rora (Aurora? Roar??) a bit hard to get a handle on - one minute she was strong and fierce, the next minute weak and sappy. But since she couldn't seem to get a handle on herself, I guess her personality confusion was simply part of her personality. At the least she made an interesting main character to follow, and I look forward to continuing her story in the next book. I also look forward to the expansion of servant girl Nova, whose personal story was left on a serious cliffhanger long before the book ended causing quite a lot of frustration for me as she was probably my favorite character. The rest of the eclectic hunter team made a merry band with great personalities that relieved some of the tension by adding sparks of humor, and it will be interesting to see what roles they take in the next book.

There are unfortunately two love interests (i.e. love triangle) for Rora in this story, and while I could've accepted one or the other, for two men to immediately and intensely be drawn to and become obsessively protective of the same girl within the first 80 pages was rather more than I could swallow. As for the men themselves, although they came from very different backgrounds, I found them to be similar in regrettable ways. Locke was WAY too overprotective, rough, and instalovey for my tastes, but at least he could be sweet to Rora and was there for her when she needed it. Cassius, the second in the triangle, was similarly protective, possessive, and even rougher, but he really didn't get enough book time for me to form much of an opinion other than that so I (warily) look forward to getting to know him better in the sequel.

The End: Unlike the rest of the well-paced book, the end was a rather rushed for me: a week or two of travel and major character growth was crammed into the last chapter, and it felt like we missed a lot - I wouldn't have minded that one chapter expanded into a whole second book. Then the story cut off not exactly on a cliffhanger but an "End of Part 1" kind of way, making it feel more as if I'm missing half the book than "To be continued." Unbalanced end aside though, I'm definitely interested in continuing the adventures of Rora and the entire cast, and eagerly await the next book.

Conclusion: An engaging read with strong writing and interesting magic that fantasy fans should not miss. Definitely recommend for older teens though who don't mind love triangles and rough, overprotective love interests. Can't wait to get my hands on the sequel!

Re-read?: Definitely

Scribble Rating
4 of 5 Scribbles


Friday, July 7, 2017

The #FridayReads Review (7/7/17)



Welcome to The #FridayReads Review, a regular Friday segment where I share what I've been reading the past week, and what I'm planning to read next! Want to join the Friday fun? Post your own #FridayReads Review and leave the link in the Comments below, or just Comment with what you've been reading!


>> CURRENTLY READING <<
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5)R.O.D. Read or Dream 1 (R.O.D. Read or Dream, #1)

Now over 70% through and very surprised to rediscover just how different the movie is - several lesser subplots in the book were played up in the movie, and Umbridge isn't nearly as skin-crawling in the book (Imelda Staunton did an amazing job). While I'm of course enjoying the magical re-read (despite Angry Harry), I'm definitely looking forward to returning to shorter books soon.

R.O.D.: Read or Dream Series by Kurata & Ayanaga (PBK)
Another 4-volume series on the maybe pile of my purge. The anime is one of my all-time favorites - paper magic is just so me! While definitely not as good as the anime, it has some great original plots so currently on the fence.


>> [POSSIBLY] READING NEXT <<
(subject to change with my ever-shifting reading whims)
Daughter of the Burning City
Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody (ARC)
I'm not quite sure if this is going to be my kind of read, but it sounds very imaginative and I won an ARC so I'll give it a try.


So what are you reading this week?

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

WoW: Black Light Express (Philip Reeve)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly blogging event in which one spotlights an upcoming release they are eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:


Black Light Express
Title: Black Light Express
Author: Philip Reeve
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Publisher: Switch Press
Summary:

With superb world building, gripping action, and ruthless political intrigue, Black Light Express delivers a breathtaking adventure into the darkest depths of space and is sure to please sci-fi fans and foes alike. 

At the edge of the Great Network, a small-time thief and an android girl ride aboard a sentient train. They hurtle toward the unknown, ready to see what lies beyond the end of the universe. But Zen Starling and Nova leave behind worlds on the brink of chaos. Old rulers are dead, and now young Threnody Noon sits precariously on the throne. Unrest spreads like a virus, a rival corporate family grows hungry for power, and the once tranquil Empire seems bound for railwar and ruin. Watching everything are the Guardians--the mysterious god-like AIs to whom people of the Network offer their prayers and praises. But even gods have secrets. Secrets the so-called benevolent deities would do anything to keep hidden deep within the farthest reaches of existence. 

Return to the exciting sci-fi world of Philip Reeve in this sequel to Railhead, which received three starred reviews and was praised by Publishers Weekly as a thrilling and imaginative escapade.


Why I'm Looking Forward To It: I prayed for a sequel, and here it is! Railhead blew me away with its imaginative universe and effortless diversity (see my review here), so I look forward to more of the same in this continuation of Zen, Nova, & Threnody's adventures!


So what book are you waiting on?

Friday, June 30, 2017

The #FridayReads Review (6/30/17)



Welcome to The #FridayReads Review, a regular Friday segment where I share what I've been reading the past week, and what I'm planning to read next! Want to join the Friday fun? Post your own #FridayReads Review and leave the link in the Comments below, or just Comment with what you've been reading!


>> CURRENTLY READING <<
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5)Hana-Kimi, Vol. 1 (Hana-Kimi, #1)
Currently about 230 pages in. I'd forgotten how rather annoyingly angry Harry is in this one, and how long and somewhat dull the beginning can be before we get to school. Either a little of the sparkle has finally worn off, or I'm just not as in the mood for it as I thought. Still, overall a solid read as always.

Hana-Kimi Series by Hisaya Nakajo (PBK)
Still slowly purging my manga and hit on this 23-volume series. It's a solid and overall pretty fun story, but after diligently reading the first three volumes I've resorted to skimming the rest which can be a Sell Pile indicator - my interest in manga has finally waned some so I may have outgrown this series. Who knows though, I'm still enjoying it despite the skimming - I'll give it the whole series before I decide.


>> [POSSIBLY] READING NEXT <<
(subject to change with my ever-shifting reading whims)
Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands, #1)
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton (ARC)
Book Group is speedily sneaking up on me again and this is one the titles up for discussion.


So what are you reading this week?

Thursday, June 29, 2017

DNF Review: Starfall (Melissa Landers)

Starfall (Starflight, #2)
Title: Starfall
Series: Starflight #2
Author: Melissa Landers
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: February 7, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Told: Third Person (Cassia, Kane), Past Tense
Content Rating: Older Teen (Up to Page 64: violence, kissing, mistreatment)
Format Read: Hardcover (library)
Find OnGoodreads
Purchase OnAmazon | B&N | Book Depository
Summary:

When Princess Cassia Rose fled her home world of Eturia to escape an arranged marriage, she had no idea her sudden departure would spark a war. Now after two years hiding as a ship hand, she is finally returning to her beloved home, but not in the way she imagined. Shackled by bounty hunters, she is violently dragged back to account for her crimes. Her only solace is that the Banshee crew managed to evade capture, including Kane Arric, her best friend...with occasional benefits.

Meanwhile, Kane and the rest of the crew of the Banshee plan a desperate rescue mission. But when they arrive on Eturia, Cassia isn't exactly in need of heroics—she's claimed her birthright as Eturia's queen, but has inherited a war-torn planet simmering with rebellion. Cassia must make alliances, and Kane, the bastard son of a merchant, isn't a choice that will earn her any friends. Kane knows he will never find someone to replace Cassia—and is certain she returns his feelings—but how can he throw away his own promising future waiting on a queen?

When the outer realm is threatened by the dangerous Zhang mafia, Cassia, Kane and the rest of the Banshee crew uncover a horrifying conspiracy that endangers the entire universe. In the face of unspeakable evil, Cassia must confront her own family's complicated legacy on Eturia and decide once and for all who her real family is.


*          *          *

I did not finish this book. I stopped at Chapter 8 (Page 64).

This companion novel picks up about a year after Starflight, this time focusing on Banshee crewmates Cassia and Kane. Although I really wasn't looking forward to their trademark bickering at the forefront, the book opens with them barely speaking to each other and without the bickering I found the dialogue seriously lacking. They are also separated almost immediately, and since the two of them together was what made either of them shine, apart they were rather dull. Especially Kane, although he didn't get much page time in the beginning as he was ignored for quite a few chapters to allow Cassia's story to make rapid progress (that unfortunately skipped over the interesting bits).

I expected Starfall to be a continuance of their Starflight story of adventure on the run, but was sorely disappointed when the run ended several short chapters in and the story instead turned to an overused one of political upheaval and rebellion. (I guess since I loved the first book so much I never really read the summary.) Cassia's common "royal rebel struggling with love of a servant" story just didn't offer anything particularly unique to engage me, and although Kane and the rest of the crew were finally returning to the scene in Chapter 8, and the summary promised a threatening mafia, by then I had lost all interest and couldn't muster enough curiosity to press on, let alone finish.

I will continue to love and highly recommend Starflight (you can read my raving review here), but will sadly be suggesting a pass on this sequel.