Friday, October 30, 2015

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Genre:  YA Fantasy
Six of Crows Series, Book 1

Description (taken from Goodreads):
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

In the slums of Ketterdam, Kaz is known as Dirtyhands, and he is well-known in the city.  This story starts off with him and his crew meeting another gang to discuss terms.  When this deal turns sour, we get a chance to see other members of his crew: Jesper the sharpshotter and Inej the Wraith.  Inej is the silent right-hand whose currency is information.  She knows everyone's dirty secrets because no one hears her coming.  And Jesper is always looking for a fight and action.  But when a job offer is brought to Kaz' attention, he finds it too good to refuse.

Kaz must pick his crew carefully to make sure no one backstabs him.  He turns to a Grisha who has connections to a convict that can help.  And the Grisha has a vested interest in this mission.  But these alliances are barely forged in trust and mainly rely on debts owed.  As the crew sets sail to break into an unbreakable city, we see how much this crew is willing to go through to finish the job and survive.

This was a good start to a new series set in the World of Grisha.  I enjoyed all of the characters and learning their backstories.  These little stories helped further the main story along.  And each chapter was from a different character's perspective and still fairly easy to follow.  We see a couple of love interests and coming-of-age things within the story.  And then it sets up for a cliffhanger to make you dying to read the next one.  Unfortunately, I have a while to wait.

For those who have never read Leigh Bardugo's books, I definitely recommend they start with Shadow and Bone.  I feel like this series is going to be a fun one, but I don't know if it'll live up to the other series.

Thanks goes to Around the World ARC Tours for providing me a review copy.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Hungry by HA Swain

Genre:  YA Dystopian

Description (taken from HA Swain's website):
In Thalia’s world, there is no more food and no need for food, as everyone takes medication to ward off hunger. Her parents both work for the company that developed the drugs society consumes to quell any food cravings, and they live a life of privilege as a result. When Thalia meets a boy who is part of an underground movement to bring food back, she realizes that there is an entire world outside her own. She also starts to feel hunger, and so does the boy. Are the meds no longer working?

Together, they set out to find the only thing that will quell their hunger: real food. It’s a journey that will change everything Thalia thought she knew. But can a “privy” like her ever truly be part of a revolution?

Thalia Apple lives in a world where there are no more animals nor plants.  One World has created a nutritional drink called Synthamil that everyone takes for nutrition.  The leading scientists have modified our genes so no one is ever hungry.  And Synthamil is free for everyone to have.  But when Thalia wakes up with her stomach growling, she begins to understand hunger.

Thalia has always been the oddball looking for relics and not always enjoying the linked-in technology that everyone else has.  When she meets a boy who helps her smell food from the past, she finds there's a resistance against One World and how they distribute Synthamil.  What she thought was a truly perfect society really has a dark secret that keeps them in business.  And when she becomes hungry, she finds Synthamil isn't enough to sate her curiosity and hunger.

This book was absolutely not what I was expecting.  I mean the first half and learning about the world she lives in was expected.  When Thalia discovers the truth and begins to revolt: all expected.  Even the boy that drove me absolutely bonkers was expected.  But about half way through the book when it could have ended or have been continued with another novel, everything slammed the brakes and took a different turn.  One I really didn't care for.  And as much as I tried to like this novel, I felt like it had way too much stuff going on which made it kind of chaotic and long.

This has a very good story going, but I didn't think highly of the execution of it.  I'd suggest readers check out other reviews before deciding whether or not to read this one.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Hotel Ruby by Suzanne Young

Genre:  YA Mystery/Contemporary/Horror
Expected publication date:  November 3, 2015

Description (taken from Suzanne Young's website):
"Stay tonight. Stay forever."

When Audrey Casella arrives for an unplanned stay at the grand Hotel Ruby, she's grateful for the detour. Just months after their mother's death, Audrey and her brother, Daniel, are on their way to live with their grandmother, dumped on the doorstep of a DNA-matched stranger because their father is drowning in his grief.

Audrey and her family only plan to stay the night, but life in the Ruby can be intoxicating, extending their stay as it provides endless distractions--including handsome guest Elias Lange, who sends Audrey's pulse racing. However, the hotel proves to be as strange as it is beautiful. Nightly fancy affairs in the ballroom are invitation only, and Audrey seems to be the one guest who doesn't have an invite. Instead, she joins the hotel staff on the rooftop, catching whispers about the hotel's dark past.

The more Audrey learns about the new people she's met, the more her curiosity grows. She's torn in different directions--the pull of her past with its overwhelming loss, the promise of a future that holds little joy, and an in-between in a place that is so much more than it seems...

Welcome to the Ruby.

Audrey's father is taking her and her brother across state lines to live with their grandmother.  It seems no one is able to deal with the grief from losing a loved one in this family.  And in the middle of the road trip, Audrey's father takes them to the Hotel Ruby.  An intoxicating and inviting hotel smack-dab in the middle of nowhere.  But once they check in, will they ever want to leave?

Before going to her room, Audrey decides to explore the amenities of the hotel.  She meets a guest named Elias who offers to show her around.  But when night turns to day, she realizes something is a little off in this place.  And as more guests talk about the invitation-only event that happens every night, Audrey begins to wonder why she's the only one who's not invited.  And as her father continues to extend their stay, she wonders if they'll ever be able to leave the Ruby.

I had this pegged from the beginning.  And this one's a tough one to describe because I don't want to give it all away even though it's at the tip of my tongue.  This story just builds off of a web of lies and dreams, and it all captivates you.  The only thing that kind of haunts me is the ending.  I'm not sure I liked that.  It's definitely one I'm going to be thinking about for a while.

This book is a definite for Suzanne Young fans.  And if you haven't picked up her books yet, this would be a good mystery for you.

Thanks goes to Around the World ARC Tours for providing me a review copy.
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