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Genre: Espionage

Friday, July 8, 2016

Audio Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Audio Review: Six of Crows by Leigh BardugoSix of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Narrator: Brandon Rubin, David LeDoux, Elizabeth Evans, Jay Snyder, Lauren Fortgang, Roger Clark, Tristan Morris
Series: Six of Crows,
Published by Brilliance Audio on 29 Sept 2015
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Assassins, Death & Dying, Diseases, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Espionage, Friendship, Health & Daily Living, Illnesses & Injuries, Mystery & Detective, People of Color, Politics & Intrigue, Road Trip, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Suspense, Witches & Wizards, Young Adult
Length: 15 hrs and 9 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Shadow & Bone, Summer Days and Summer Nights

Place(s) Traveled To: Ketterdam, Kerch // Dierholm, Fjerda

First Line(s): Joost had two problems: the moon and his mustache.

Narrators: Jay Snyder (Matthias), David LeDoux (Kaz), Brandon Rubin (Jesper), Lauren Fortgang (Inej), Roger Clark (Pekka), Elizabeth Evans (Nina), and Tristan Morris (Joost)

Confession time, although this won’t come as a surprise to some, but I did not like SHADOW & BONE (my review). It was such a struggle to get through and I just couldn’t be bothered with the other books in that series. So when I heard that Leigh Bardugo’s next series was also set in the Grisha universe I wasn’t sure if I would read SIX OF CROWS. But I was curious and so I kept sussing out what people thought about it and then when I was looking for a new audiobook it just up and stumbled into my basket. The SIX OF CROWS audio is a full cast recording and uses different narrators for each POV. I was intrigued by this and it wasn’t long before the story grabbed a hold of me in a way that SHADOW & BONE never did.

Curiosity

I’ll admit SIX OF CROWS did start a little slow but it wasn’t long before I was engrossed in the story. I loved how all the different narrators approached this story and the life that they gave to these characters. Each narrator really helped bring out the personality of the characters, not just the one of the POV they were acting out but all the characters that they voiced. It was interesting to see how the narrators saw the others in this motley crew and I never had any issues figuring out who was who. I also found it  very help to listen to the audio as I’m sure I’d have stumbled over many of the names and words used in this book.

Six of Crows Quote

At its heart SIX OF CROWS is a heist story and if you like a good heist story then you will like this book. There is intrigue and betrayal and a whole lot of shenanigans. But its also a story of friendship, of family, and of finding oneself despite all of the odds. Its a coming of age story and its even a love story on some levels. There really is something for everyone in SIX OF CROWS and its fast paced enough to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. I know that I spent every free moment I could listening to this audio because once I became invested in this story I couldn’t stop listening. I just wanted to know more and when I hit the end I was bereft because it was over.

Another thing I like about SIX OF CROWS is that it has an ending. Oh there are still things that are left to be done and even a wee cliff hanger but you know were most of the players stand and you see the set up for things that will happen in CROOKED KINGDOM. But best of all, its not predictable. I have no idea where this story is going I just have my hopes and my fears on what Bardugo is going to go. SIX OF CROWS is an intricately woven story and I h ave no doubts that CROOKED KINGDOM is going to be the same. There are twists and turns around every corner and a whole lot of heartache and shenanigans ahead.

I did not expect to like SIX OF CROWS as much as I did. I wasn’t even sure that I would read it. But I am so very very glad that I did because I was so engrossed in this story. For me, its a whole different style and delivery than SHADOW & BONE. The characters have more depth and they are smart and feisty and while flawed they aren’t broken. Bardugo weaves in the history of the Grisha world and the backstorys of this crews expertly in the story that there are no slow info dump moments. SIX OF CROWS is definitely a story that can be read independently of SHADOW & BONE. So if you haven’t gotten around to reading that one yet, or if you are like me and you didn’t like it all that much I would say that you can easily pick this one up and know what is going on with the world and not be lost.

thumbs up

irishdarkblue

IR - Six of Crows

Add The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Heist Society by Ally Carter to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Audio Review: Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Grey

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Audio Review: Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia GreyTen Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray
Narrator: Tavia Gilbert
Series: Firebird, Book 2
Also in this series: A Thousand Pieces of You
Published by Harper Audio on 03 November 2015
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Emotions & Feelings, Espionage, Friendship, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Parallel World, People & Places, Road Trip, Romance, Social Issues, Suspense, War & Military, Young Adult
Length: 10 hrs and 51 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: A Thousand Pieces of You

Place(s) Traveled To:
Rome, Italy (Medieval-verse)
San Francisco, California (Triad-Verse // War-Verse)
Berkeley, California (Our Universe // War-Verse)
Paris, France (Russia-Verse)
New York, New York (Mob Verse)
Unnamed (Home Office Verse)

First Line(s): The first time I traveled to another dimension, I intended to take a life. Now I’m trying to save one.

Second books in a trilogy can be a mixed bag. Sometimes they are really really good and sometimes you wonder why the series wasn’t a duology instead. THE THOUSAND SKIES ABOVE YOU by Claudia Gray falls somewhere in the middle of these two reactions. On one hand, there is a lot of new information and a series of events that keep you on the edge of your seat. On the other it felt a little drawn out and there was no real explaination for why things started as they did. While A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU (my review) can be considered a stand alone, TEN THOUSAND SKIES ABOVE YOU is not. It ends in a crazy cliff hanger and while I want to know what happens I’m also on the fence about it.

Which is a shame because A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU was such a surprise that had me eagerly anticipating this book. Perhaps I was looking forward to it too much and so I fell victim to my own hype. It didn’t help that TEN THOUSAND SKIES ABOVE YOU was very repetitive and it even seemed to contradict itself at times. One moment they are saying that their alters don’t remember what happens when they are “possessed” (for lack of a better term) and then they next they do retain memories of the experience. You can’t have it both ways, either they remember or they don’t. Pick one and run with it.

Ten Thousand Skies Above You Quote

It also didn’t help that Marguerite was way more annoying in this book than she was in the first one. She seemed to regress a lot and I was glad for Theo as he saved many a scene. But then at the same time I was conflicted because of the events that happened in the first book and with some that happened in this one. Things came close to becoming love triangly and that just didn’t sit well with me. Fortunately though, Marguerite stays true to Paul throughout though it makes me sad that we didn’t get to see much of this character in Triad-verse self. But I do like how Marguerite learns to accept all the possibilities of Paul and to me that is a very big and important step.

Tavia Gilbert returns to narrate the story and as with A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU I was very pleased with the narration. She is great with all the various accents and her voice really helps make the story compelling. I’m glad that I continued this one via audio because I may have tossed the book across the room a time or two if it wasn’t on my phone. I do have plans to read the final book, A MILLION WORLDS WITH YOU (Goodreads) but as of now its not one that I plan on rushing out to read, even with the crazy cliffhanger. I want to know what happens buy I’m not crazy bouncy with excitement for it as I was with TEN THOUSAND SKIES ABOVE YOU. Altough I do know I’ll be buying a finished copy of book 3 as these covers are absolutely stunning!!

irishdarkblue

IR - Thousand Pieces of You

 

Add Hourglass by Myra McEntire to Goodreads.

Add Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier (Click here for my review)

three-stars
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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae CarsonThe Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Narrator: Jennifer Ikeda
Series: Fire and Thorns,
Published by Harper Audio on 24 July 2012
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Assassins, Death & Dying, Espionage, Friendship, Love & Romance, People of Color, Romance, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, War & Military, Young Adult
Length: 12 hrs and 9 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
two-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Amalur, Orovalle // Brisadulce, Joya D’Arena // Basajuan, Joya D’Arena // Rebel Camp, Joya D’Arena // Great Desert, Joya D’Arena // Oasis, Joya D’Arena

First Line(s): Prayer candles flicker in my bedroom.

THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson first came to my attention back in 2011 when I received an ARC of it. At the time it sounded interesting but I wasn’t sure it was for me so I put it on my shelf as a maybe someday read. Time passed and I never really forgot about the book as so many people kept recommending it to me. Telling me I had to read THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS as it was so so good and as a lover of fantasy I needed to experience the story. So after many attempts I finally did. And I wish I hadn’t. I just had so very many issues with this book that I’m not entirely sure I’ll be able to capture them fully here.

First, my biggest issues with THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS was all the body shamming that occurred. Elisa was contantly told she was fat and as a result wasn’t pretty and would be useless if she didn’t carry the godstone. Not only were the outside comments terrible but her own internal ones were worse. She was so self-depreciating that it made me cringe. Then, she gets kidnapped and loses all her excess weight and all of a sudden is smart and beautiful and everyone flocks to her. She has value and is fierce and no….just no!!! Before she lost weight she’s considered to be naive and after she is this smart warlord who is a great leader. And I just hated how all of Elisa’s character growth came because she lost the weight not not because of who she was. And even though she does become skinny, Elisa maintains a very low self-esteem and low body image of herself and she never really grows or changes in that perspective.

Girl of Fire and Thorns Quote

The other part of THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS that drove me batty was all the talk about food and religion. If Elisa wasn’t thinking about food then she was either eating food or yearning for food. And if none of those were happening than she or others were talking about food. The few times when food wasn’t the main topic things moved to religion. So much religious talk. I get that religion was a big deal in this world but it was forced down a readers throat at every turn of the page. There are ways to be a religious and spiritual story with out forcing it and this would have been a grand lesson for THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS to learn.

The whole plot was pretty non-existant and the writing tended to make my eye twitch. I swear the word grin was horribly overused along with smile and every variation that you can think of of those words. They would be used several times on the page and even a time or two in the same sentence. For a kidnapped naive princess turn warlord general trying to stop an invasion there was an awful lot of grinning. You’d think there would be more suspense involved but there never was. But in the end there wasn’t a whole ton that happened and what did occurred mostly off the page.

And finally, I was promised a great romance. But there really was none. Elisa was married at the start of the book and then her marriage was kept secret from her husband who kept a mistress. Elisa then started to fall for one of the rebels but that didn’t progress far and ended badly. When I started to read THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS I had lots of people make comments to me about a character named Hector and how swoon worthy he was. But he was barely in the book at all. THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS is a book that I felt I wasted my time reading. It just annoyed me from start to finish and I’m going to have to think long and hard before I decide if I should continue on with this series or not.

Read my Goodreads updates here.

 

irishdarkblue

People who liked this book better than I did

Two Chicks on Books – “I really loved the characters she created Elisa is weak at first but she learns quickly and finds her inner strength. The king is likable enough and I absolutely loved his guard Hector (more of him in book 2 please Rae). The rest of the characters each have strong personalities and I can tell you some you will fall in love with and some you will detest from the moment you meet them.”

Book Smugglers – [Elisa]’s not a perfect heroine or a Mary Sue, for all that she’s God’s Chosen, but she finds a way to take on the innumerable challenges thrown in her path with a kind of calm grace and growing sense of confidence and self-respect.

Tripping Over Books – “I have to also take a minute to say that THINGS happen in THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS that almost never happen in YA books. I’ll tell you this: as an avid reader of ADULT fantasy, I wasn’t unfamiliar with the twists. They still hurt like burning, but in a devastatingly good way, and I give Rae Carson incredible props for going there. TWICE.”

 

IR - Girl of Fire and Thorns

Special thanks to Jaime of Two Chicks on Books for today’s recommendation suggestions!!

Add Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder to Goodreads. (Click here for Jaime’s thoughts / Click here for my review)

Add Defy by Sara B. Larson to Goodreads. (Click here for Jaime’s review)

two-stars
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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Review: The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: The Book of Ivy by Amy EngelThe Book of Ivy by Amy Engel
Series: The Book of Ivy,
Also in this series: The Revolution of Ivy
Published by Entangled Teen on 04 Nov 2014
Genres: Adolescence, Dating & Sex, Dystopian, Emotions & Feelings, Espionage, Family, Friendship, Futuristic Romance, Love & Romance, Politics & Intrigue, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 282
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Also by this author: The Revolution of Ivy

Place(s) Traveled To: Westfall, Unknown

First Line(s): No one wears white wedding dresses anymore.

THE BOOK OF IVY by Amy Engel is one of those books that I hadn’t heard much about until I recieved an ARC of its sequel THE REVOLUTION OF IVY (goodreads). It was also around that time that talk about BOOK OF IVY started to appear in my social media streams and while I haven’t been much into dystopian reads of late I decided to give this one a chance. Like most YA dystopians THE BOOK OF IVY is very thin on details. There isn’t a whole lot of world building or history given to why the world is how it is. As a reader you are immediately thrust into the every life of this society that has formed in the bones of the former United States and its up to the reader to figure out what’s going on.

At first, I thought THE BOOK OF IVY was going to be a standard ‘girls are only good for making babies’ sort of story which is all too common a theme in YA dystopia and so I was hesitant on the story. But then there was just something about this one that really lulled me into its pages. Amy Engel’s writing is seductive even as it doesn’t have a ton of substance behind the words. I found myself engrossed in Ivy’s story and found this book really hard to put down. I liked her struggle between what she had been raised to do and what she wanted to do. And most of all I liked Bishop.

Book of Ivy Quote

Bishop is one of those book boyfriends that I’m surprised I don’t hear much about. He’s smart and funny and he appreciates Ivy for who she is. He doesn’t have lofty expectations of her nor does he expect her to be a simpering housewife with him the general of the household. He’s sweet and caring and the sort of character that you really wish you could meet in real life. He’s the bright light in an otherwise cliched and fairly typical YA dystopian novel.

THE BOOK OF IVY is what I’d call a brain candy read and would be perfect for a day at the beach. It doesn’t take a lot of thought and makes for a good distraction. Its a really fast read with a likable main character even though it does lack for a bit of a plot. As I said the writing is seductive so while you are reading the story its easy to forgive its flaws and just get lost in the nuances and flow of the words. THE BOOK OF IVY is one that I think would be great on audio with the right narrator as it really is a lyrical story. I was invested enough in Ivy’s story to read the sequel but its not a series that will win any awards. If you like YA dystopian then you’ll probably enjoy THE BOOK OF IVY. I also think those new to dystopia will enjoy it as well.

irishdarkblue

IR - Book of Ivy

 

Add Matched by Ally Condie to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-half-stars
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Friday, April 8, 2016

Audio Review: The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Audiobook, Review0 Comments

Audio Review: The Spirit Thief by Rachel AaronThe Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron
Narrator: Luke Daniels
Series: The Legend of Eli Monpress,
on 28 September 2010
Genres: Abduction, Adult, Epic Fantasy, Espionage, Politics & Intrigue, Royalty, Social Issues, Witches & Wizards
Length: 8 hrs and 19 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Mellinor

First Line(s): In the prison under the castle Allaze, in the dark, moldy cells where the greatest criminals in Mellinor spent the remainder of their lives counting rocks to stave off madness, Eli Monpress was trying to wake up a door.

A long time ago I received an ARC of THE SPIRIT THIEF by Rachel Aaron and I remember that it sounded good but for whatever reason I never got around to reading it. Life and other book commitments got in the way until it dropped off my radar. Then not too long ago, I started to see a lot of chatter in my social media about THE SPIRIT THIEF and I remembered how I wanted to read the book and when I saw that Luke Daniels was the narrator I knew that listening to this one was the only way to go. As always, Daniels is phenomenal at the narration and even though I’ve grown really used to him reading the Iron Druid books I never once though that Eli was Atticus or that this world was the realm of the Iron Druid books. It was Luke Daniels’s narration style that kept me listening to this one until the end because sadly, for me, THE SPIRIT THIEF didn’t live up to all my expectations.

First off, there wasn’t much in the way of world building to THE SPIRIT THIEF. I couldn’t easily picture that world that Eli Monpress and his gang inhabited and wish that more time had been spent setting it all up. As a reader, we are just thrown into the waters of this world and we weren’t given a life preserver in order to help us swim. Also, for such a short read/listen (the paperback clocks in at 300 pages) there was so much information that was repeated. These were all wasted words because I understood the 1st dozen times that Eli is a special magical case and what he does is impossible or that he’s the most wanted criminal in all the land and how Miranda will make him see justice, blah blah blah. Those words could have been better put to use by building up this world and these characters and giving them all those little details that make them seem real.

Spirit Thief Quote

Because they never did seem real. All the characters seemed flat and wooden and while Eli’s snark did make me laugh a few times I just never got why I should care about him or his companions. The overall plot of THE SPIRIT THIEF was also a bit juvenile and again I never really cared about the outcome of the story. I didn’t care if Eli was captured or if he got away and I didn’t care why he was in Mellinor in the first place. The only really strong reaction that I had in THE SPIRIT THIEF was an intense dislike for Miranda. And I kept hoping that someone would burn her to ashes. ***SPOILER*** No one does.

THE SPIRIT THIEF is an adult book but its one that reads young and while I didn’t finish the story I don’t know if this is a series that I’ll keep reading. There were more things in this book that annoyed me than I liked. The only really draw to other books in the series is that they too are narrated by Luke Daniels but is a good narrator enough when there isn’t a whole lot of substance to the story? I’ll admit that there is potential to this series but I don’t know if there is enough of it for me to spend time on it.

irishdarkblue

IR - Spirit Thief

Add The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

Add Plain Kate by Erin Bow to Goodreads.

three-stars
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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Mini Review: The Glowing Knight by Jodi Meadows

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Mini Review: The Glowing Knight by Jodi MeadowsThe Glowing Knight by Jodi Meadows
Series: The Orphan Queen,
Also in this series: The Orphan Queen, The Hidden Prince, The Mirror King
Published by Epic Reads on 01 September 2015
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Assassins, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Espionage, Friendship, Mystery & Detective, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Short Story / Novella, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 58
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Also by this author: The Orphan Queen, The Hidden Prince, The Mirror King

Place(s) Traveled To: Skyvale, The Indigo Kingdom

First Line(s): James was down there fighting. I was not. And this was what jealousy felt like.

THE GLOWING KNIGHT is the second prequel novella in Jodi Meadow’s Orphan Queen universe. It is the continuring adventures of Tobiah and James as Tobiah becomes the Black Knife. I loved this early look at James and Tobiah and I totally ship the bromance that is between them. I also love how James and Meredith interact and I would love to see a romance between them but alas fates and kings have different plans for those two. In THE GLOWING KNIGHT we also get a little glimpse at the start of the glowmen and of Wil and her Ospreys. It was a fun look at how things were before the paths of all these characters started to cross years later.

THE GLOWING KNIGHT is a fast read and includes some more preview chapters of THE MIRROR KING (Goodreads), which are totally killer! Its a great little snippet to help tide one over after the crazy ending of THE ORPHAN QUEEN (my review) although its still not enough. It is never enough. I love this world that Meadows has created and I hate it each and every time when I have to say goodbye. This world is so rich and detailed that it almost leaps off the page. I also love these characters and I like these little glimpses into their lives. I love to see the world through Tobiah’s eyes and reading these makes me wish that the main books were dual POV stories as I’d love to know more about his thinking.

 

irishdarkblue

Glowing Knight Quote
three-half-stars
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Monday, February 1, 2016

Audio Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Posted by Irish in 1 Star, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult3 Comments

Audio Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. MaasHeir of Fire by Sarah J Maas
Narrator: Elizabeth Evans
Series: Throne of Glass,
Also in this series: The Assassin's Blade, Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight
Published by Bloomsbury on 02 September 2014
Genres: Action & Adventure, Epic Fantasy, Espionage, Politics & Intrigue, Romance, Royalty, Social Issues, Young Adult
Length: 20 hrs and 18 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
one-star
Also by this author: The Assassin's Blade, Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, A Court of Thorns and Roses

Place(s) Traveled To: Mistward, Wendlyn // Rifthold, Adarlan // Ferian Gap, White Fang Mountains (World: Erilea)

First Line(s): Gods, it was boiling in this useless excuse for a kingdom.

Dear Reader,

A very important lesson for you to learn don’t drink beers with Andi from AndiABCs. Oh sure you’ll have fun discussing books and other things but if you’ve both had more than just a pint or two then you may just find yourself making a drunken book deal. Such is the case that got me to read HEIR OF FIRE by Sarah J Maas because, if you are a regular visitor then you know, I am not really a fan of the Throne of Glass series. Now, this isn’t the first drunken bargain that Andi and I have engaged in and it probably won’t be the last but it is definitely one that I regret.

This time around I decided to give the audiobook a try in the hopes of maybe liking the story better alas I found that it only highlighted the issues that I had with the story. HEIR OF FIRE is a long ass book and it is so damn repetitive it isn’t funny. There were times when the same info was given several times in a single chapter! It was too much and that coupled with the overly flowery prose had my eye twitching! Elizabeth Evans also made for a terrible narrator. She paused overly long in the oddest of places but when it came to scene/POV transitions she’d just barrel right in. It was enough to give a listener whiplash at times and made it hard to follow along. Though it doesn’t help that the whole story is a bit convoluted and could have done with better editing. Evans was also pretty bad with the male voices. They were pretty much indistinguishable from one another and I think that the audiobook would have been better with a male narrator for the male POVs.

For me, I really think this series would be better without Celaena. I swear that girl is way too stupid to live much of the time. She is constantly finding herself in near death situations and having to be rescued. But at the same token its really really hard to believe that she’s in mortal peril when there are still a dozen or so books (yes I am exaggerating) left in the series. Its also hard to believe that she’s capable of bad assery when she does something super dumb one moment and then in the next she’s pretty much killing everything in sight even though she was literally almost killed just be looking at the one bad guy.

The only character I really liked this time around was Rowan because he was the only one who called Celaena out on her bratty behaviour. He’d try to teach her the ways of the fae (badly but whatevs) and she’d just pout and say no. Though it didn’t help that you had pages upon pages of Rowan shouting at Celaena to change and Celaena shouting back no. But alas, even dear Rowan failed me in the end by falling under the nit-wits spell just like every other male character that breaths in her presence. I think even the gay fae fell for her though not romantically.

I just….I just don’t get the appeal of this series. For me its terribly written, horribly plotted, and the world building is barely held together with duct tape. I tired….I really did…I know people think that I didn’t but I did. I gave this series 4 books of my life and I just can’t do it anymore. I am done. So so done and no amount of beer induced bargaining shall get me to read any more books in this series. Especially since the page count on QUEEN OF SHADOWS blows this one away so I can only imagine just how angsty and repetitive that one is! To the fans of this series I’m sorry its just not for me please don’t hate me! I did try.

See my Goodreads reactions here.

irishdarkblue

 

People who liked this more than me:

Pretty much everyone. No really….just look at Goodreads.

heiroffire-1280x720

Image found via google, created by Icey Books

one-star
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Friday, October 16, 2015

Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay KristoffIlluminae by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files,
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on 20 October 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Death & Dying, Diseases, Dystopian, Emotions & Feelings, Espionage, Sci-Fi, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Suspense, Young Adult
Pages: 608
Format: ARC
Source: Book Expo (BEA-ALA-et al)
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Kerenzie IV and Deep Space via the Alexander and Hypatia  (Year: 2575)

First Line(s): “So here’s the file that almost killed me, Director.”

When I first picked up ILLUMINAE by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff I wasn’t sure what to expect but I do adore a good sci-fi and I was intrigued by the mixed media concept. So I crossed my fingers that I wouldn’t be disappointed by another poorly done sci-fi story and I dove in expecting to read this one slowly over the course of the month.

Fingers Crossed

Well the joke was on me because it wasn’t long before I found myself unable to put this book down. I was totally immersed in ILLUMINAE and this series of gives pretty much sums up how I felt once I was fully invested in the story:

can't stop reading

why are you doing this

ten in the rain

not ok

Star-Trek crying

lots of feelings

a river of tears

Seriously. I was a puddle of emotion and even now I find it really hard to put all my thoughts into words. This book just took me by surprise and even now long after I’ve finished it I am still locked in its grip. There is action and mystery and horror and romance and suspense and just so much more. The books formatting makes for a quick read and while there are times when mixed media can feel cold and impersonal in a book it really works well with this story. Despite the entire story being told in “found documents” (emails, video transcripts, IMs, etc) you really get to know all of these characters. Oh how I felt for Kady and Ezra and OH MY STARS how terrified I became of Aidan!

Illuminae Quote

scared

ILLUMINAE is a book that took me totally by surprise and literally made me gasp aloud. I can’t tell you the last time that happened with a book. It also brought me to tears and made my heart ache so very much. It was filled with everything that I love in a story and was also so much more. The story…the characters…the setting…it was just all so right and even though this book is 600 pages in length I devoured this book in just 2 days. And let me tell you the ending…oh that ending…it was the worst part. Cliffhanger.

no

Which I hate because I have the patience of gnat but at the same time it was just so fitting for the story. ILLUMINAE is filled with lots of delightful twists and turns and I can not wait to see where things will go in the next book. This is one of those books that you really need to read to understand just how amazing it was and if you trust my reviews at all then trust when I tell you that you need to read this book. It was just that good.

fainting

irishdarkblue

IR - Illuminae

Add Across the Universe by Beth Revis to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Rowan by Anne McCaffrey to Goodreads.

 

Illuminae Collage

 

Ten-Rose-badwolf-tenth-rose-21263420-500-278
five-stars
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Monday, August 10, 2015

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review1 Comment

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. SchwabA Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Series: A Darker Shade of Magic,
Published by Tor Books on 24 February 2015
Genres: Abduction, Adult, Death & Dying, Dystopian, Epic Fantasy, Espionage, Friendship, Historical, Mystery & Detective, Parallel World, Politics & Intrigue, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Witches & Wizards
Pages: 400
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To:
Red London: Arnes
Grey London // Windsor // Eton: England
White London: Makt

First Line(s): Kell wore a very peculiar coat.

Not long ago my Twitter was all a buzz with VE Schwab’s A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC and even now, months after its release, there is still a lot of chatter about it. Since I love a good fantasy I decided to give this one a shot and was immediately intrigued by the blend of magic and parallel worlds. On its surface, A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC, seems like the perfect book for me but I found it incredibly easy to put down and difficult to pick back up again. When I was reading it I was absorbed but it was fleeting and when I had time to think about it something about the story just fell flat for me.

While I get that this world is new(ish) and so there is a lot of set up to be done I found it to be very repetitive with its content. There was no reason for all to be resaid over and over and over it again. It got old and frustrating and I would find myself skipping some paragraphs just to get things moving along in the hopes that new facts would appear. Only not much happened for most of this book. Again I know that there is a lot of set up to be had to set the rules of these worlds that Kell finds himself traveling through but it was slow and boring and suffered from too many POVs. That’s right, there was that dreaded headjumping that I really can’t stand in a book. I don’t mind when perspective shifts in a book but I do take exception when its for a paragraph or two and into random heads on a one off basis just to make it easier to move the story along. This just frustrates me to know end and I know it made me roll my eyes and sigh with every new instance.

Darker Shade of Magic Quote

There was also a mystery element to A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC that I found to be really predictable and while I don’t always dislike a story for its predictableness it does make things more interesting when things aren’t so in your face obvious. Especially when the characters seem to actively turn a blind eye to things that are crystal clear to the reader. The characters themselves were all a bit two-dimenstional. There was noting super special about any of them and I often found myself wondering why I should care about what they were doing or the trouble they were getting themselves in. Not to mention the forced love interest between Kell and Lila and what could be a potential love triangle forming for the next book. #blergh

Despite all of this though I really didn’t dislike A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC but I didn’t love it either. I’m in no rush to see what happens next and am on the fence on if I’ll read that book or not. For me, this story is forgettable and there is nothing that really sets it apart from other stories. Though I do think that with a little fine tuning it could be a story with a most excellent premise. I think that maybe this read was just another instance where I let myself get pulled into the hype and as such had higher expectations for it than I should have. As such, I found A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC to be more of a mediocre read and didn’t quite live up to my expectations.

irishdarkblue

 

 

IR - Darker Shade of Magic

 

Add A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris to Goodreads.

three-stars
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Friday, May 1, 2015

Review: Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. PearsonThe Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles, Book 2
Also in this series: The Kiss of Deception
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) on 07 July 2015
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Espionage, Friendship, Romance, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 470
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: The Kiss of Deception

Place(s) Traveled To: Venda

First Line(s): One swift act. I had thought that was all it would take. A knife to the gut. A firm twist for good measure.

 

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson (my review) wasn’t my most favorite book and it certainly didn’t live up to the hype of those that I know read it before me. I found it to be a little predictable and slow. Oh so very slow. But by the end of that story I did like it. So when I received a copy of Heart of Betrayal for review I picked it up eagerly since I head that it was better than the first and to try and beat any hype that might get built up around the story. Whenever possible I like to walk into a new story with little expectations so I can enjoy it (or not) based on its own merits. One thing that I do really enjoy with the second book in a series is that the world and characters are already established which means that more time can be spent on the plot and further fleshing out the other details. That was the case with Heart of Betrayal and it started off strong with lots of tension and mystery. Though Lia and her snobbery did still annoy. She doesn’t always make the best choices throughout Heart of Betrayal but overall I did like her better in this story than in Kiss of Deception.

Unlike with Kiss of Deception there isn’t much mystery in this book just some political intrigue and tension from not know what will happen to Lia and the Prince. Will they escape? Will they be killed at the whim of the Komisar? Which side will Kaden land on if there is a fight between Lia and his leader? I liked how Heart of Betrayal kept me on the edge of my seat for most of the book, eagerly flipping the pages to see how things would end. I liked the new details that were revealed and I just loved the barbarian lands of Venda which were so much more interesting than the wastelands where Lia and Kaden spent much of book 1. But Heart of Betrayal wasn’t all action packed and I did find that it dragged a bit in the middle. There events that were a bit slow to develop and I feel as though some parts could have been edited out to make things flow a little better.

Heart of Betrayal Quote

But the middle of Heart of Betrayal wasn’t as painful for me as the middle of Kiss of Deception and the rewards for making my way through it were far better in this book than with the first. Because that ending!! What a crazy action fueled thing that was! This one has a bit of a cliff hanger, much like the first book did, but many of the threads in this story were closed. Lives are still in balance and the fate of Lia’s world is unknown but the characters all end in a decent place and aren’t left dangling from a cliff by their fingernails. I liked the ending and know that if I can get my hands on a copy of the final book in the series that I will jump on it wanting to know how it all ends. Because I have my theories and I want to see if they will come true.

If you were on the fence when you finished Kiss of Deception then I encourage you to try Heart of Betrayal as I think that you’ll like it more. And fans of the first book will also be really pleased with how things go with this one. The stakes are higher and the tension is real. Even with its flaws this one was a fun read and I want to know what will happen next.

 

irishdarkblue

 IR - Kiss of Deception

Add Death Sworn by Leah Cypess to Goodreads! (Click here for my review)

Add Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch to Goodreads! (Click here for my review)

four-stars
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