Friday, March 30, 2018

Spirits and Thieves series by Morgan Rhodes

I might have been living under a bit of a rock when it comes to YA books because until I stumbled across the second book in this series I had never seen or heard of Morgan Rhodes books before.

In fact, when I realized how seriously much I loved this series, I was more than happy to learn there was a whole much longer series written by her (in the same universe I think?) that I needed in my life! Those beauties are part of the Falling Kingdoms series and they are living on my shelf as we speak.

Anyway, as to these books. They are perfect. I loved them so much. I got sucked in immediately and taken for a ride that I was more than happy to go on. The endings were on the cliff-hanger side (which means that there better be another one coming out in this series), but still, so good.

This book has sisters from modern day Toronto, a boy from a different world called Mytica, and a book that caused one sister to fall into a coma and appear in this other world as a spirit only the boy from Mytica can see or hear. Of course, there's another boy. One back in modern day Toronto who's part of a secret society that just might have everything to do with the girl in the coma and that other world.

I was also seriously happy to learn that the author is in fact from the same province that I am, so many of the books in the two series I picked up came signed!

I loved her writing style. It was totally a series that picked you up and carried you away as if you were in a dream. It was effortless to follow along and fall in love with these books. I didn't want to put them down and I didn't want them to end!

I haven't started the longer series yet because I know that she ends things on a cliffhanger and the newest book *just* came out so I'm not in a hurry to rush to wait for the next one (since I'm collecting paperbacks).

Recommendations: If you've thought about reading these, or any of her works, just go do it. You won't be disappointed and you'll be seriously missing out if you don't! Fantasy lovers, these are for you!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro

This is the second book in a pretty cool series that follows Charlotte Holmes and Jaime Watson. They are the teenage Holmes and Watson who find themselves embroiled in exploits much like their original ancestors, and this time Holmes is a girl!

You can find out what I thought about the first book A Study in Charlotte here.

In The Last of August, we follow them trying to spend a relaxing break from the boarding school with Charlotte's family. Of course there's no rest for Holmes and Watson.

This one talks about the Moriarty family, the disappearance of Charlotte's beloved uncle Leander, and bringing back the past into stark reality. It seems Charlotte Holmes got along with the young August Moriarty at one time a lot better than past Holmeses and Moriarties have. 

By the half way point I still felt like we were very much still at the beginning of the mystery, and after 2/3's of the book I found myself becoming confused. I read this as a hardcopy book, but I felt like I was reading an ebook. 

Has anyone else ever felt that when you read an ebook, you don't actually have a clear and visual handle on how much of a book is left? Like because you aren't holding it in your hand as a real book, sometimes the endings can really sneak up on you and it can leave you disoriented? That's how I felt about this book.

It felt like we were still setting up so much of the beginning bits of the mystery that to realize that I had less than 20 pages left all of a sudden was weird for me. I read the end of the book really quickly because I was so surprised. I had to read the end more than once and I think I'm still missing so much. 

I'm just at a loss with this one. Like I love the characters, I love the stories, I love the idea, but this book on its own just missed the mark for me. 

I am going to be picking up the third book, which I do believe is out now, because I need to know what happens next. It's just weird for me to love so much about a series and have one of the books fall kind of flat for me. 

Recommendation: Read the first one. Don't skip it. If you love the first one, then go ahead with this one. You might love it so much more than me. Still a series worth a read for Holmes and Watson lovers. 

Monday, March 26, 2018

The Immortal Empire series by Kate Locke

So I came across this trilogy in the adult fantasy section at the bookstore by accident one day. I had a coupon to spend and the bright colours of the books caught my eye. I don't think I've ever seen these mentioned anywhere else before either which is always a plus for me.

These books take place in a present day steampunk version of London. In this version of the world, the plague didn't wipe out people, instead it caused some people to become vampires, werewolves, and goblins. It seems that those of noble blood handled the virus much better and became full blooded creatures and those of poorer and not so noble circumstances either did not get infected at all, or were partially infected.

Of course you can imagine the acrimony this caused for the future of all the races. Everything is hanging in a delicate balance. It all starts when Royal Guard Xandra Vardan's sister goes missing, things start to crumble down around everyone's ears. Oh, and did I mention that Queen Victoria still rules (as an undead Vampire, naturally).

I loved the idea behind this series. It totally grabbed me right from the beginning and I was on board for whatever the series was going to throw at me, and I was not disappointed in the least.

I did find the beginning of the first book a little shaky. There was so much world building and information that the author needed us to get a grip on rather quickly (which I totally understand) but... I felt the delivery method, the internal monologue type of thing, felt more like a repetitive info dump at times, and less like we were fully going along for the ride.

It totally go better though, but it was something that made it a little hard going at first. I didn't have any of those problems after I got into the series and even though there was a bit of referral in each book back to the one before it, it didn't have that same info dump feel at all.

There was romance, intrigue, mystery, and action. Everything a good series needs. The characters were interesting, and it felt like such a different story than some others I've read that follow the same idea (I'm thinking The Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger that I totally adore.) It was along the same lines but still well worth the read!

Recommendation: This is a great series for those loving steampunk, vampires, werewolves, and goblins. It's quite an adventure and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Let me just start by saying I love Sabaa. I follow her on Instagram and she is hilarious and awesome and I totally adore her little veggie tales stories she does. She rocks.

That being said until recently, I had not read any of her work. That seems to be the thing with me lately. I've found so many really cool authors on bookstagram but I have yet to read a lot of their work. Might be doing this whole thing backwards.

Anyway, on to this book. It was great!

I hope no one shoots me for saying this but it reminded of Divergent and The Hunger Games but in no way do I mean that as a bad thing! This book obviously had awesome elements which, of course, made it so much more than anything else I've read. It's really darn cool.

This book is about Laia and Elias. Laia is one of those living on the outside of the Empire, staying alive simply by not bothering the Empire enough to take notice. When her brother is arrested for treason against the Empire, she finds herself needing to work with the rebels who promise to help her rescue her brother, if only she will spy on the Empire too.

Elias is a soldier in the Empire's military academy. He's the best there is but he hates it. He just wants to be free from everything and live his own life. He looks like he's on the right side of everything, as he and his family are in favour of the Empire but he's stuck just the same.

Both of their fates become intertwined in this book and the fate of the Empire hangs in the balance.

I really enjoyed this book. It's interesting, different, and it kept me glued to the page. There was a bit of a cliffhanger at the end but not so much that it killed me like some of them do. I found myself panicking a bit about a certain character at the end but obviously I shouldn't have worried.

I haven't picked up the second book in the series yet, but I hope to get it soon to carry on with the story. I think this series is well worth the read.

Recommendation: For the lovers of YA fantasy, for the lover of a good story, for the readers who like a good fight with intrigue and suspense.