Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Genre:  YA Dystopian
The Maze Runner Series, Book 1

Description (taken from James Dashner's website):
If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.

Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Everything is going to change.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Remember. Survive. Run.

In the world Thomas enters, no one remembers the past and there's walls that protect them from monsters.  But when the walls are open, he finds an endless maze surrounds them.  If only he could remember his life before he entered the Glade because he somehow thinks he knows the answer.  He's going to find his way out of the Maze.

I'm not going to do a typical book review here because I need to be honest.  I saw the movie before reading the book.  And while my husband stated the book was very different from the book, I kind of disagree.  Sure, there's a major plot line that's missing in the movie, but the movie is about visual effects while the book is more about being inside the mind.  It's explainable.  But I don't really feel like I got anything different from the book.  And Thomas' character kind of bothered me.

I'm a little ho-hum about this one.  But I'm planning to pick up the second one soon.  And hopefully I'll read the third before the third movie comes out.  Then it might be an untainted review...

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

Genre:  YA Historical Paranormal
Lady Helen Series, Book 1

Description (taken from Alison Goodman's website):
London, April 1812. Lady Helen Wrexhall is set to make her curtsy to Queen Charlotte and step into polite Regency Society and the marriage mart. Little does Helen know, that step will take her from the glittering ballroom of Almacks and the bright lights of Vauxhall Gardens into a shadowy world of demonic creatures, missing housemaids and deadly power.

Standing between those two worlds is Lord Carlston, a man of dubious reputation and infuriating manners. He believes Helen is destined to protect humanity from an unearthly truth, but all he can offer is danger, savagery and the possibility of madness. Not the kind of destiny suitable for a young lady in her first London Season.

Against a backdrop of whispered secrets in St. James’s Palace, soirees with Lord Byron and morning calls from Beau Brummell, The Dark Days Club is a delightfully dangerous adventure of self- discovery and the dark choices of new found adulthood.

Lady Helen is barely debuting as a young and proper adult in old London society.  She is going to do her duty of securing a good match in a man and stay away from the gossip of her mother's betrayal.  However when powerful people point to her mother's past and a man takes an interest in her abilities, she finds nothing is as easy as being right and wrong or good and evil.  And life becomes a little more complicated.

When Helen is introduced to the Dark Days Club, she must decide on whether or not she wants to join.  Will she put herself and her potential betrothed in harm's way to keep the world safe from demons?  Or will she turn her back from it all and be the proper young lady that her society demands? And why is Lord Carlston so vexing?  So many choices at the start of her season...

It took a very long time for me to get settled into this story.  And I find I was quite bored with Lady Helen and the strict life she lives.  I will admit that once the paranormal was finally introduced, I became a little intrigued.  But how the demons worked and the Dark Days Club combatted it was just way too confusing for me.  And nothing of importance was explained!  I wasn't happy with the setting, and I wasn't really invested in the paranormal.  I felt like this big book should have given me more.

There are going to be those who enjoy this book.  And then there's me who's onto another book.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Killer in Me by Margot Harrison

Genre:  YA Detective

Description (taken from Margot Harrison's website):
Hasn’t he lived long enough? Why not? I could take him like a thief in the night.

This is how the Thief thinks. He serves death, the vacuum, the unknown. He’s always waiting. Always there.

Seventeen-year-old Nina Barrows knows all about the Thief. She’s intimately familiar with his hunting methods: how he stalks and kills at random, how he disposes of his victims’ bodies in an abandoned mine in the deepest, most desolate part of a desert.

Now, for the first time, Nina has the chance to do something about the serial killer that no one else knows exists. With the help of her former best friend, Warren, she tracks the Thief two thousand miles, to his home turf—the deserts of New Mexico.

But the man she meets there seems nothing like the brutal sociopath with whom she’s had a disturbing connection her whole life. To anyone else, Dylan Shadwell is exactly what he appears to be: a young veteran committed to his girlfriend and her young daughter. As Nina spends more time with him, she begins to doubt the truth she once held as certain: Dylan Shadwell is the Thief. She even starts to wonder . . . what if there is no Thief?

Nina has been plagued with the life of someone else in her dreams.  A boy she learned to get used to until he began to do the unthinkable.  He became the Thief and killed people.  All Nina has to do is close her eyes and sleep in order to see the unthinkable happen.  And she's determined to get the victims justice.

Nina travels with her friend, Warren, across the country in search of this killer.  She's going to out him once and for all.  But when she gets to New Mexico and comes face-to-face with him, suddenly she's not so sure anymore.  Could this ordinary family-man really be that vicious killer at night?  Before she outs him, she's determined to test him to figure out if he really is the reason for her night terrors.  But what is finally revealed in this story is so much more than just a serial killer.

Starting out with this story, I was super creeped out.  It didn't help that I read this at night.  However, once the story developed and the paranormal aspects came out (with the serial killer-ness), I was so engrossed.  And the closer I got to the end, the more worried I became.  I mean how do you create a perfect ending for this story?  I'm not sure you can.

Honestly, this one's a thriller.  I think you should give it a try.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

Genre: YA Fantasy Fairy Tale

Description (taken from Jessica Khoury's website):
When Aladdin discovers Zahra's jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn't seen in hundreds of years -- a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra's very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes.

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

Aladdin, the thief, has entered a city of diamonds in search of something.  He doesn't know it until he sees it, but it calls to him.  And Zahra, the jinni in the lamp, can hear his arrival.  When he finds the lamp, he knows he has found something important.  He doesn't realize what it is until he rubs the lamp.

Zahra has been tied to her lamp for thousands of years.  But when she's offered the chance for freedom, all she must do is trick Aladdin into helping her.  And Aladdin does exactly that all in the name of revenge.  But the closer Zahra gets to getting what she wants, the further Aladdin is from what he wants.  In the end, can Aladdin's wish be enough for happiness?  And will Zahra's power be enough to satisfy the thief and herself?

This is a beautiful fairy tale retelling.  And the romance starts very small until it releases at the right moment.  So it's not as annoying to read.  And the past that Zahra kept running away from?  I was so curious to know what happened until I finally knew.  But it still goes full circle to explain everything beautifully.

This is such a sweet standalone novel.  If you're a fan of Aladdin or fantasy novels, give this a try.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

Genre:  New Adult Historical Romance
His Fair Assassin Series, Book 3

Note:  This is the third in the series, and while each book is from someone else's point of view, I'm warning you now that the plot builds from the previous books.  Although I do think this is a series that you could read out of order and still follow easily.

Description (taken from Robin LaFevers' website):
Because Love is stronger than Death…

Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.

But across Brittany, the tides of war are drawing ever nearer, with France pressuring the beleaguered duchess from all sides. Annith’s search for answers threatens to rip open an intricate web of lies and deceit that sit at the heart of the convent she serves. Yet to expose them threatens the very fabric of her existence and risks an unforeseen chance at love, one that she can no longer deny. Annith must carefully pick a path and, gods willing, effect a miracle that will see her country—and her heart—to safety.

It's been quite a while since I've touched this series.  But I've been wanting to dive back into this story.  We are at the end of the 1400s where Brittany is struggling against an invasion by the French.  And Annith is a follower of Mortain, the god of death.  But she's never left the convent until one day she takes matters into her own hands.  She's lost faith in the Abbess of the convent, but she refuses to lose faith in Mortain.

As Annith works her way across France to confront the Abbess, she runs into quite a few characters.  We've got the minions of death who chase bad souls as well as lost souls in order to bring them to the Underworld.  We've also got another group of girls who follow another god.  And as Annith works her way to the Abbess, she finds the Duchess in quite a political battle that is threatening to become an all out war.  Needless to say, a lot happens...

Although I find these stories a little long-worded and slow in the beginning, I quickly fall into them and am engrossed by the story.  While I did find some bits and pieces quite predictable, I enjoyed learning the history of Brittany.  A lot of historical characters are thrown around.  I just wish I got to see more intertwined into the main story.  But at least there's going to be more books to this series coming.

I like this series.  It's like a breath of fresh air compared to what I normally read.

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