Thursday, April 19, 2018

Review: Wolf by Wolf Duology

 Wolf by Wolf 
Author: Ryan Graudin
Series: Wolf by Wolf, Book 1
Release date: October 20, 2015
Published by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
My rating: 4 stars 

It starts with Yael riding on a train. She's standing up and packed in tightly with many, many other women for many hours. Yael's listening to the train say her name, "Ya-el, Ya-el, Ya-el..." 

Yael is on her way to a death camp where she ends up being selected from a line of women just as after they are taken from the trains to be a part of an experiment to create the perfect Aryan "potion". The results? - Yael does become different from the experiments, and feared among the other prisoners because of her extreme physical changes. Except she also acquires an ability that she keeps carefully hidden from the Nazis. Yael can now become any female at any time just by picturing them in her mind. 

After escaping the camps and the Allies losing the war, Yael goes into hiding. In 1956 she has one goal - to kill Hitler. She will train and become the 1st female winner of the Axis Tour, Adele Wolfe. She will win and dance with Hitler at the ball where she will kill him once and for all in front of millions. 

Author: Ryan Graudin
Series: Wolf by Wolf, Book 2
Release date: November 1, 2016
Published by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
My Rating: 4 stars

Yael is on the run after what happened at the Victor's Ball. She and members of the resistance are now deep in enemy territory. 

Will they be able to make people realize they have power and can resist the Third Reich? Will the tides of war finally turn in their favor? And then there's an epic shock from the past that she never saw coming.

My thoughts on the Wolf by Wolf Duology: This set was a roller coaster ride that grabbed me from the beginning and had me hanging on every turn of the race and beyond. Yael was a great cold-hearted and tough character. She was resilient beyond any imagining.

The things that Yael has to go through herself and the things that she is a witness to are horrific at the hands of the Nazis. Just the fact that she is able to live long enough to get away from them is unbelievable to begin with. The reason she becomes a force to be reckoned with is directly because of the horrific things she has seen and done throughout the war and then afterwards. The big question is, Will she be able to stay cold and distant with a singular goal of winning the Axis Tour while taking on someone else's persona? What about when Adele's brother shows up in the race? Will she be able to keep her head in the game when there's someone dogging her heels that "knows" Adele? In my opinion, she does but she also cracks a bit showing a part of herself she doesn't mean to. Is this a mistake though? Does she know Adele enough to show parts of herself? I'll leave that to the reader to decide.

Book 1: This was filled with characters that were mostly in the race, the camp, or the resistance. They were all fierce in their ideals and reasons for being where they were. I liked how Graudin created these characters with more depth then just "they were there". I think this gave the whole book a deeper emotional hook. Even though it was slightly predictable there were still some shockers here and there which were fantastic. 

Book 2: This book takes us beyond the big goal of killing Hitler, and into the wild yonder of the world. You get a better sense of the "big picture" world-wide and how the resistance functions. There are characters that you meet for the first time who are, again, written deep enough that you get a nice sense of all the big players. Yael also gets a HUGE shocker that blows your mind, her mind and ultimately shifts everything in a big way. 

Last thoughts: I really liked the idea of this set and how it all played out seamlessly form book to book. What I wasn't a huge fan of, was the lovey-dovey bits because they were very "love triangle for teens" which I personally struggled to connect with in this one. Should you read it? YES! Am I going to read more by her? YES - I cannot wait to read Invictus by her! I hear it's great for Firefly fans = AWESOME! If you don't know what Firefly is, I cannot even talk to you. LOL! 
What did you think of this one? 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Review: The Cruel Prince

The Cruel Prince 
Author: Holly Black
Series: The Folk of the Air, Book 1
Release date: January 2, 2018
Published by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars!!! 

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan the youngest and wickedest son of the High King. 

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him - and face the consequences. 

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself. (Summary from Goodreads. 

My thoughts: I feel as though I have waited far too long to write this because all I could think when I was done was..."WOW!" "I must have more!", and "I'm SO excited to have a new fey series to read that's amazing!" Those feelings still haven't changed so I guess I'm going to move on and gush about it...

This book was gripping. Absolutely gripping and I swallowed it whole one day over winter break. I then of course went instantly into withdrawals so to pull myself out I finally tried HBO's Game of Thrones and binged the whole thing. The dark violence of this book alongside the dangerously beautiful world of the fey was perfection. I liked Jude from the blood-soaked beginning but grew to love her as a tough, kick-butt character who wasn't afraid to push the limits that everyone was putting on her for years. 

Jude has two sisters, so this was also a sister story in my opinion. One sister is half-faerie and loves the human world while her other sister, like her, is human and seeks desperately to belong in the world of faerie court. Jude wants to belong too, but in a way that assures that she is in charge of herself and possibly even others. She does not want to be at the mercy of the faeries around her anymore. She is a warrior. Maybe that's why I liked her so much. Daenerys Targaryen reminded me of Jude at times. Proud, but fierce and feminine at the same time. 

Holly Black writes faeries so darn well in my opinion. They are dangerous, beautiful, horrifying, and immortal. These characteristics bring with them a deep well of possibilities which she manipulates deliciously. The twists and turns along with the court intrigues were fantastic. I still love her Modern Faerie Tale series, and recommend it all the time to kids in the library. This one is going to the top of the fantasy and faerie recommendation list too along with Melissa Marr and Sarah Maas. I cannot wait for more, more, more from this series. 

Final thoughts: If you haven't tried this one yet and you are interested in court intrigue, faeries, or maybe even darkness and blood then THIS is for you. Give it a try today! This one lived up to every bit of the hype in my opinion. 

What did you think about this one? 

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Review: Unearthed

Authors: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Series: Unearthed, Book 1
Release date: January 9 , 2018
Published by: Disney-Hyperion
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Earth isn't doing the greatest with overpopulation and all of its environmental damages. This is why they decide to band together and try to send a group to Gaia when they decipher a message from a long gone group of aliens, the Undying. They do find amazing technology to send back that saves in the West coast of what we know as the United States, but not without huge consequences for the team who goes there. 

Jump forward and Mia is smuggled onto the planet Gaia to try to find more technology to sell to buy her sister back from some very bad people. Jules is part of a scientific team trying to discover more about the Undying that will help unlock Earth's future...but when the two slam into each other everything changes. When they team up built on lies they both tell each other, will they be able to ever really trust each other? What if their lives depend on it? 

My thoughts: This was full of action, mystery and that interactive turmoil between 2 people who need either but do not trust each other. I didn't know a lot about this one before I read it except that it was science fiction and had been optioned as a movie. As far as the movie goes, still only has it listed as "in development" which means a whole lot of nothing for the general public. Who knows....anyway...

The relationship between the two main characters, Jules and Mia, is both frustrating and addictive throughout the book. At times I was tempted to just be done with them and then I felt so addicted to them and knowing what happened next that I couldn't possibly set it down. It felt rather like a psychological thriller then a science fiction book to be honest. The real drama came at the end, which you will have to find out when you read it! 

The premise was a cool one for the science fiction genre I thought. A planet far, far away that was inhabited by beings similar to us with a habitat similar to us thousands of years ago who also had incredible technology that could potentially help save Earth from its destructive self. There was a mysterious message intercepted from the far away planet which only a few figured out how to interpret and that's how the entire race to get to the loot begins. 

The looters and scientific teams were fascinating and very believable as far as their needs, wants, and actions. I can't wait to see what happens in the next book because this was an EPIC ending! 

What did YOU think of this one? 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

2017 In Review...Now What?

Confession time: I was thinking about last year and was really getting hard on myself about how little I read and blogged. Life seemed so sad from the inauguration, to getting used to my new dog after losing mine, to the girls being busier with things like plays, musicals, 4-H, dance, etc. and helping more and more at the family farm now that my folks are older. Summer was really busy with work, 4-H, and then we bought a camper at the last second before our annual camping adventure. When we got to the fall life just seemed to explode into action and that momentum never slowed down. My aunt was diagnosed and pass away from an incredibly aggressive lung cancer in less then 2 months, my little Reaghan had an emergency appendectomy, and on and on it went. 

I decided to take a look at what Goodreads had to tell me about my data from books in 2017:

So not too terrible really. My reading challenge didn't go so well that's for sure. I did read books though which is good. I really didn't blog much at all and that needs a serious kick in the butt! Reaghan and I have been talking about ways to get back in the flow of things but then we just get distracted by a very addictive puzzle app, or busy, or sleepy :P These all sound like sad excuses now that I'm writing them. Ugh! 

Ok, 2018...
My reading is already going better this year having just started my 4th book already of 2018. 
I seem to be more excited about writing reviews again and just need to get into the habit of it again. I also think I will let Reaghan start doing video reviews if she wants. She has been asking to do other videos, and I am just not that confident about being on screen. As a mom I want her to be confident though so I guess I need to put my actions where my mouth is and just do it! 

How was 2017 for you? Do have goals for 2018, or things you'd like to better this year? 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

REVIEW: The Battlemage

The Battlemage 
Author: Taran Matharu
Series: Summoner, Book 3
Published by: Feiwel & Friends/MacKids 
Date published: May 2, 2017 

Holy crap this was good! I loved this series SO MUCH. I can't wait to read the prequel about Arcturus coming next. 

This series that started with a broken boy who had nothing has ended with a strong, accomplished young man who has so much. This is exactly the type of series I love to read. It had everything: magic, magical creatures, a main character who was at the bottom and rises to the top, a group of friends who have each other's back no matter what, and epic good vs. evil encounters and battles throughout. LOVED IT! 

What got me the most is that there have only been two new series that have come anywhere near how I felt reading the Harry Potter books as they came out. This was the 1st one, and the 2nd one is the Magisterium series by Black and Clare. Both of them have that great hard luck group of kids who come together to form an unbreakable bond of friendship that sees them through anything and everything that comes their way. 

VERDICT: If you like any of the things I mentioned above, then you have GOT to try this series! 

Check out my reviews of...
Book 1 - The Novice  
Book 2 - The Inquisitor 

Have you tried these? What did you think? 

Saturday, September 9, 2017

SERIES REVIEW: Women of the Otherworld

Author: Kelley Armstrong 

It all started when Clay bit Elena...

I had gotten a few of these free years ago, put them  on the shelf and there they sat. I watched the first season of Bitten on the Syfy channel in 2014 and thought it was fantastic. This summer I was looking for something fun that was lighter then some of the heavy stuff I'd been reading but also about something supernatural because that's what I love. This series was perfect for that! 

The series begins with Bitten and Elena Michaels. She is the only female werewolf in existence. The person closet to her in her life is the one who turned her which means that she has some SERIOUS baggage. She's trying to keep herself separated from the pack, but they keep pulling her back in. As you move through the books you meet other supernatural women who then each have their own books. Then the women show up in the other books here and there. It's so darn fun to see the development of the characters throughout the books along with their friendships. 

Verdict: If you are looking for something a bit different and fun, then this series is for you. (Keep in mind that technically these are Adult books so they do have some sexy, sexy from time to time throughout them.) 

Have you read these? What did you think?