Monday 30 April 2018

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - Book Review

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
by Robert Louis Stevenson

What is it about:
In this harrowing tale of good and evil, the mild-mannered Dr. Jekyll develops a potion that unleashes his secret, inner persona—the loathsome, twisted Mr. Hyde.

What did I think of it:
This is one of those stories that has become ingrained in our collective memory, much like Dracula, Frankenstein, and Jane Eyre to name a few. It has been used, re-imagined, turned into movies, and more. So when I came across this lovely little volume containing this story and others by Stevenson I realized I couldn't remember if I had read it before, or thought I'd read it before because it is so widely known.

I decided that even if I had read it before, it was ages ago, so I picked this book up (this being a wonderful edition with gold sprayed pages, and a gorgeous cover under the already beautiful dust jacket might have had something to do with it as well).

And this is a great story.

I wonder how much more suspenseful this must have been for the people reading this without knowing what the story is about. For even knowing the outcome of this story, I was hooked. The story is told from the viewpoint of Mr Utterson, a lawyer who is friends with Dr Jekyll. As the story unfolds Utterson is totally unaware of what is going on. He only knows something is up with the Doctor and his disturbing acquaintance Mr Hyde.

I loved seeing things through Utterson's eyes. This way the suspense of what is going on is drawn out. I was eager for Utterson to uncover Hyde's secrets, and was frustrated when he backed away from his investigations in fear of ruining the name of his friend Jekyll. I caught myself looking for the clues that would reveal the truth to Utterson.

It surprised me how short this story actually is. There is so much there, and the writing is so vivid it painted a clear picture of everything that happens. Even with the many re-tellings and re-imaginings this is still a powerful piece of suspenseful writing. I will most definitely read the other stories in this book as well.

Why should you read it:
It's a beautiful written and suspenseful story.

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Friday 27 April 2018

Under Different Stars - Book Review

Under Different Stars (Kricket #1)
by Amy A. Bartol

What is it about:
Kricket Hollowell is normally not one to wish upon stars; she believes they’re rarely in her favor. Well versed at dodging caseworkers from Chicago’s foster care system, the past few years on her own have made Kricket an expert at the art of survival and blending in. With her 18th birthday fast approaching, she dreams of the day when she can stop running and find what her heart needs most: a home.

Trey Allairis hates Earth and doubts that anyone from his world can thrive here. What he’s learning of Kricket and her existence away from her true home only confirms his theory. But, when he and Kricket lie together under the stars of Ethar, counting them all may be easier than letting her go.

Kyon Ensin’s secrets number the stars; he knows more about Kricket's gifts than anyone and plans to possess her because of them. He also knows she’s more valuable than any fire in the night sky. He’ll move the heavens and align them all in order to make her his own.

When everything in their world can be broken, will Kricket rely upon love to save her under different stars?

What did I think about it:
This was an entertaining read, but not what I hoped for when I picked it up.

Kricket is abducted from earth by a couple of soldiers from another planet. Of course the soldiers totally fall for Kricket because she's so feisty, beautiful, and special. And of course Kricket falls in love with one of them, even though he abducted her, orders her around, and is an all round asshole for the first part of the book. But at least he's honest! Barf...

So yeah, I wasn't buying the whole sugary sweet getting to know her abductors part of the story. Still it was entertaining enough to keep reading to see where things were going.

Then they get to their destination and more men join the Kricket fan club, fawning over her like she's the best thing since sliced bread. Some of them do seem to have more sinister plans, but keep forgetting about them as soon as Kricket says something naive and sassy. I must say I was annoyed by the lack of other women in this book, and I'm really not going to count Kricket's personal assistant who was only there to make Kricket look even more caring and perfect.

Things get a bit more violent near the end of the book, and there are some hints for more suspense and action in the next book, but I'll not be picking it up. Entertaining as it was to read about the amazing Kricket and her trained lapdogs, I'm not really interested in finding out what's next for them.

Why should you read it:
It's an entertaining YA SF read.

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Thursday 26 April 2018

On McPig's Wishlist - Bright Smoke, Cold Fire

Bright Smoke, Cold Fire (Bright Smoke, Cold Fire #1)
by Rosamund Hodge

When the mysterious fog of the Ruining crept over the world, the living died and the dead rose. Only the walled city of Viyara was left untouched.

The heirs of the city’s most powerful—and warring—families, Mahyanai Romeo and Juliet Catresou share a love deeper than duty, honor, even life itself. But the magic laid on Juliet at birth compels her to punish the enemies of her clan—and Romeo has just killed her cousin Tybalt. Which means he must die.

Paris Catresou has always wanted to serve his family by guarding Juliet. But when his ward tries to escape her fate, magic goes terribly wrong—killing her and leaving Paris bound to Romeo. If he wants to discover the truth of what happened, Paris must delve deep into the city, ally with his worst enemy . . . and perhaps turn against his own clan.

Mahyanai Runajo just wants to protect her city—but she’s the only one who believes it’s in peril. In her desperate hunt for information, she accidentally pulls Juliet from the mouth of death—and finds herself bound to the bitter, angry girl. Runajo quickly discovers Juliet might be the one person who can help her recover the secret to saving Viyara.

Both pairs will find friendship where they least expect it. Both will find that Viyara holds more secrets and dangers than anyone ever expected. And outside the walls, death is waiting. . .

Wednesday 25 April 2018

Warcross - Book Review

Warcross (Warcross #1)
by Marie Lu

What is it about:
For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

What did I think of it:
I will confess I was wary when I started on this book. I have tried two other books by Lu. The first I finished, but it didn't impress me, the second I DNFed. The blurb of this book did sound good though, and when it was picked as this month's read at an online book club I'm part of, I decided to give it a try.

And to my surprise I loved it!

Emika is of course a bit of a Wunderkind, good at everything she tries, but not in an annoying way. I was interested in her life from the start, and when she meets Hideko I was hooked.

The whole Warcross game was intriguing and it's clear Lu is a gamer herself, she makes Warcross and everything connected to it feel real and exciting. I actually chuckled when I encountered a reference to Leeroy Jenkins. I was as invested in Emika finding out what's going on as I was in seeing her team win the games. The scenes where they are in Warcross are creative and full of action.

I liked seeing Emika grow over the course of this book. She is closed off and stubborn at first, thinking she can handle everything on her own. It was nice to see how she warms up to others and starts trusting. Her investigation into the security problems of Warcross is dangerous and I rooted for her to stay on top of things and survive.

And then there's Hideko. If there's one thing I can say against this book it's that there's not enough Hideko. I loved him. He's a very complex character, and got more interesting and intriguing with every scene he's in.

And then there's the ending! I can tell you that the ending made me love this book even more! You bet I'll be getting my trotters on the next book, because I want more!

Why should you read it:

It's a cool futuristic YA read full of action.

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Tuesday 24 April 2018

Teaser Tuesdays - My Lady Jane

Tea, he was going to offer. Because he was English and that's what the English do under stress: they drink tea.

(page 55, My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows)

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday 23 April 2018

The Plagued Spy - Book Review

The Plagued Spy (The Immortal Spy, Book 2)
by K.A. Krantz

What is it about:
It’s all fun and games until someone breaks out the needles.

It was supposed to be a simple retrieval mission. Go in, grab the bespelled package of evidence against some very corrupt superpowers, and get out. The mission turns sideways when a vengeful spy Bix blackballed during her time in Dark Ops crashes the job and injects Bix’s teammates with an unknown toxin. Succumbing to a horrific mutation, the dying spook whispers the Mayday protocol for a compromised covert operation involving a biological weapon.

With her friends infected and sequestered in quarantine, a mole inside the spy guild exposing its undercover agents, and the brightest minds in the Mid Worlds unable to identify the biologic, Bix picks up the mission to find the creators and the cure. She’ll square off against Fates, dragons, angels, and even the god of plagues to save her friends; yet the greatest threat might well be the darkness growing within Bix and the evil on which it feeds.

Beware the plagued spy, for wrath and ruin are sure to follow…

What did I think of it:
I loved the first book in this series and was stalking Amazon for the release of book 2 when I was offered an ARC. You bet I jumped on that chance.

And this is yet another great read!

Bix is in for a lot of trouble. Two of her friends get injected with a very nasty toxin, and she is on a race against the clock to find out what is going on and to find a cure. If that's not enough, she has to deal with her rediscovered powers, her past, and Gods who might be just a bit too interested in her.

I was totally invested and was just as eager as Bix to find out what was going on and what secrets lurk in her past. I couldn't put this book down until I finished it. There is lots of action, intrigue, and conspiracies. As Bix uncovers some secrets, more pop up and hint at things that happened and things to come.

Bix is a great heroine. She is powerful, but her amnesia makes her vulnerable. She has people she trusts and who she relies on, but at times it's unclear if her trust is justified. There are a lot of other characters in this book, still it's easy to keep track of them. I had a couple of favorites and hope to see more of them in future books.

All in all this book was everything I hoped for and you bet I'll get my trotters on a print copy of this book, and the next once it releases.

Why should you read it:
It's an awesome UF read.

Buy from Amazon

Friday 20 April 2018

The Darkest Minds - Book Review

The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1)
by Alexandra Bracken

What is it about:
Ruby is sixteen. She is dangerous. And she is alive. For now.

A mysterious disease has killed most of America's children. Ruby might have survived, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse than a virus: frightening abilities they cannot control. Pressured by the government, Ruby's parents sent her to Thurmond, a brutal state 'rehabilitation camp', where she has learned to fear and suppress her new power. But what if mastering it is a whole generation's only chance for survival?

What did I think of it:
This is an entertaining read.

I had to step over the fact that apparently almost all adults just went along with putting their children in camps. It seemed highly unlikely to me, but it wasn't the weirdest set up I've encountered in Dystopian fiction.

I had hoped to learn a little bit more about the camp and Ruby's life there. As it is she gets out before I got a clear picture how bad she had it there. My guess is that it was really bad, but Ruby's priorities after she escapes made me reconsider.

Because if there's one thing that annoyed me about this book it was Ruby. She escapes and has a backpack given to her by people who might be dodgy if not dangerous. Does Ruby immediately ditch it, or at least looks inside: of course not! What she does do the first chance she got: shave her legs! Because when you're on the run from multiple parties it is the perfect time for your first shave! o_0

That I kept reading was because I liked two of the kids Ruby teams up with: Chubs and Zu. I soon found myself rooting for these two characters instead for Ruby. They were both interesting and cool imo, unlike Ruby and her bland love interest. (Yes: this story would have been so much better if Chubs had been the love interest!)

There are some entertaining scenes while they're on the run, some further developments that made me want to kick Ruby for being extremely gullible, and finally a climax that gave me the feeling this whole story was a bit pointless.

Still I enjoyed the book for the most part, so I just might pick up the next book if I see it on sale. (Maybe Ruby perfects her shaving technique in book two.)

Why should you read it:
It's an entertaining YA Dystopian read.

Buy from bookdepository

Thursday 19 April 2018

On McPig's Radar - Heroine's Journey

I loved the first two books, so you bet I pre-ordered this one.

Heroine's Journey (Heroine Complex #3)
by Sarah Kuhn

The final book in the smart, snarky, and action-packed Heroine series completes the "Heroic Trio" as Bea Tanaka joins her sister, Evie, and diva Aveda Jupiter in their quest to free San Francisco from its demon portal problem

If there's one thing Beatrice Tanaka never wanted to be, it's normal. But somehow, her life has unfolded as a series of "should haves." Her powers of emotional projection should have made her one of the most formidable superheroes of all time. And she should have been allowed to join her older sister Evie as a full-fledged protector of San Francisco, pulverizing the city's plethora of demon threats.

But Evie and her superheroing partner, Aveda Jupiter, insist on seeing Bea as the impulsive, tempestuous teenager she used to be--even though she's now a responsible adult. And that means Bea is currently living a thoroughly normal life. She works as a bookstore lackey, hangs out with best friends Sam Fujikawa and Leah Kim, and calms her workplace's more difficult customers. Sure, she's not technically supposed to be playing with people's mental states. But given the mundanity of her existence, who can blame her?

When a mysterious being starts communicating with Bea, hinting at an evil that's about to overtake the city, she seizes the opportunity, hoping to turn her "should haves" into the fabulous heroic life she's always wanted. But gaining that life may mean sacrificing everything--and everyone--she holds dear...

Expected publication: July 3rd 2018
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Wednesday 18 April 2018

Reign of the Fallen - Book Review

Reign of the Fallen (Reign of the Fallen #1)
by Sarah Glenn Marsh

What is it about:
Odessa is one of Karthia's master necromancers, catering to the kingdom's ruling Dead. Whenever a noble dies, it's Odessa's job to raise them by retrieving their souls from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised--the Dead must remain shrouded, or risk transforming into zombie-like monsters known as Shades. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, the grotesque transformation will begin.

A dramatic uptick in Shade attacks raises suspicions and fears among Odessa's necromancer community. Soon a crushing loss of one of their own reveals a disturbing conspiracy: someone is intentionally creating Shades by tearing shrouds from the Dead--and training them to attack. Odessa is faced with a terrifying question: What if her necromancer's magic is the weapon that brings Karthia to its knees?

What did I think of it:
This is a very cool read.

I loved the idea of a world where the dead are resurrected and keep on interfering with the living, and keep ruling the country. I could easily picture this world where the dead cling to their unchanging ways, stifling the living.

Odessa is a great heroine. She is able to see the problems the dead cause, but is also painfully aware she would be nothing if she didn't have her necromancy skills. Her struggles, her grief when she loses someone she cares about, her doubts, they felt all too real and kept me reading. I loved both the emotions and the worldbuilding in this book.

Even though I sniffed out the one behind the conspiracy right away I very much enjoyed the story. There were some suspenseful scenes, and it was fun trying to see if there were clues that would confirm my suspicions.

What didn't work for me was the romance. I know this not the fault of how it was written, but because I just couldn't picture it.
Odessa's love interests are siblings.
I myself have been hopelessly in love with one half of identical twins, and never did I even feel attracted to the other half. So that the romance didn't work for me, is all on me. I will admit that one particular scene in hindsight felt really creepy/icky to me btw.

The book has a satisfying ending that makes it work as a standalone, but there will be a sequel, so you bet I'll get hold of it.

Why should you read it:
Two words: Necromancer heroine!

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Tuesday 17 April 2018

Teaser Tuesdays - Warcross

Hideo gives me a skeptical look. "And would you admit it?"
"I would've appreciated your directness, instead of this roundabout game you're playing with me."

(page 95, Warcross by Marie Lu)

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday 16 April 2018

Ruins - Book Review

Ruins (Partials Sequence #3)
by Dan Wells

What is it about:
Kira, Samm, and Marcus fight to prevent a final war between Partials and humans in the gripping final installment in the Partials Sequence, a series that combines the thrilling action of The Hunger Games with the provocative themes of Blade Runner and The Stand.

There is no avoiding it—the war to decide the fate of both humans and Partials is at hand. Both sides hold in their possession a weapon that could destroy the other, and Kira Walker has precious little time to prevent that from happening. She has one chance to save both species and the world with them, but it will only come at great personal cost.

What did I think of it:
It had been awhile since I read the first two books in this series, so I had some trouble remembering who some of the characters were, but after a shaky start I was soon back into the story and world.

And this is overall a really cool read. There were several viewpoint characters, but not in an annoying way. It was easy to keep track of everyone. Kira and Samm were my favorites.

I will say there were two storylines that for me felt a bit unbelievable and unnecessary. I had trouble suspending disbelieve where it came to these storylines, but apparently they were necessary to get the ending Wells was going for.

Those two storylines aside, I very much enjoyed this book. It's suspenseful, and full of action and difficult decisions. I rooted for my favorite characters, while hoping others would fail.

All in all a cool conclusion to this trilogy. I might get hold of other books by Wells.

Why should you read it:

It's a cool Dystopian/Post Apocalyptic YA read.

Buy from bookdepository

Friday 13 April 2018

The Hazel Wood - Book Review

The Hazel Wood (The Hazel Wood #1)
by Melissa Albert

What is it about:
Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother's stories are set. Alice's only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother's tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

What did I think of it:
Let me tell you that I disliked Alice!

She has a false sense of superiority, looking down at people who don't know the same books and authors as she does, who like fan stuff, etc. If the story hadn't been as good and compelling as it was, I'd have DNFed this book because of Alice.

That being said: this is a great story. Even while really disliking Alice I was drawn into the story. Strange things are happening and I wanted to find out why, and I wanted to find out more about the Hinterland and Hazel Wood.

As Alice travels closer to the Hazel Wood things get spookier and stranger. I was totally engrossed and loved the sense of strangeness and otherness that weaves through this story.

Once at Hazel Wood Alice discovers some shocking things that force her to make some difficult decisions. I loved how this story played out. The ending is satisfying and this book works well as a standalone. There will be a sequel it seems though, so I will keep my eye out for it for sure.

Why should you read it:
It's a wonderfully weird YA read.

Buy from bookdepository

Thursday 12 April 2018

On McPig's Wishlist - Hard in Hightown

Hard in Hightown
by Varric Tethras and Mary Kirby

Illustrated by: Stefano Martino, Álvaro Sarraseca, Andrés Ponce, Ricardo German Ponce Torres, E.M. Gist

Twenty years of patrols have chiseled each and every stone of the Kirkwall streets into city guardsmen Donnen Brennokovic. Weary and weathered, Donnen is paired with a recruit so green he might as well have leaves growing out of his armor. When the mismatched pair discover a dead magistrate bleeding out on the flagstones, they're caught up in a clash between a shadowy organization known only as the Executors and a secretive group of Chantry agents--all over some ancient artifact.

This is a prose novel featuring 24 black and white full page images.

Expected publication: July 31st 2018
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Wednesday 11 April 2018

State of Sorrow - Book Review

State of Sorrow (Sorrow #1)
by Melinda Salisbury

What is it about:
Sorrow - for that is all she brings us.

A people laid low by grief and darkness.
A cut-throat race for power and victory.
A girl with everything and nothing to lose…

By day, Sorrow governs the Court of Tears, covering for her grief-maddened father, who has turned their once celebrated land into a living monument for the brother who died before she was born.

By night, she seeks solace in the arms of the boy she's loved since childhood. But one ghost won't stop haunting her, and when enemies old and new close ranks against her, Sorrow must decide how far she's willing to go to win...

What did I think of it:
This is a beautiful read.

The story starts with the events that lead up to Sorrow's birth, including the horrible accident that caused the death of her brother Mael. It then skips almost eighteen years: Sorrow grew up in a court dedicated to mourning her brother. There's no music, art (besides portraits to remember the lost heir), games. It's one big mausoleum for her brother. While the ruler of the country is wallowing in his grief the land is at a standstill.

I loved the worldbuilding. I could easily picture the depressing palace Sorrow grew up in and the effects her father's grief and rules have on the land. The mood and atmosphere that is set at the start of the story felt real.

Then close to the eighteenth remembrance day of the death of Mael things get set in motion when Sorrow and the council decide that enough is enough. They plan to dethrone Sorrow's father so the country can start to live again.

The story that then unfolds is full of intrigue, betrayal and danger. Sorrow has to fight for her country and her life. I was rooting for her from the start, and couldn't put the book down. There were some really cool developments and revelations along the way.

If there's one thing that I can say against the story it's that it looks like I'm liking the wrong love interest once again. I'm still holding hope, as there will be a sequel, but I'm afraid Sorrow will eventually end up with a character I didn't much care for.

Apart from that minor setback (for me at least) this is a wonderful story. The ending left me hungry for more, so I'll be keeping an eye out for the next book.

Why should you read it:
It's a beautiful Fantasy read.

Buy from bookdepository

Tuesday 10 April 2018

Teaser Tuesdays - The Darkest Minds

They had burned so bright, and fought so hard to get free. But none of them had made it to sixteen.

(page 80, The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken)

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday 9 April 2018

Dread Nation - Book Review

Dread Nation (Dread Nation #1)
by Justina Ireland

What is it about:
Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.

What did I think of it:
I confess: the cover is totally what put this book on my radar. Then I read there were zombies in it and I knew I had to get my trotters on this book. I even broke my rule that I shouldn't buy books over 10 Euro. I didn't want to wait for the paperback.

And this book is worth it!

I was hooked from the start. Jane is a really cool heroine. She learned to use all the tricks in her book to survive. Often she manages to get out of trouble by lying, acting, and more, but in a way that you admire her for her cleverness and survival instincts. Then there's Katherine, her class rival. I loved Katherine as well. She learned other ways to keep going in a world that's against them. When they're forced to work together sparks fly.

There are tons of other really interesting characters as well, and I had some favorites I rooted for.

The worldbuilding is excellent. Yes, there are walking dead - or deathless as they're called here by some - but the way it is written I could believe this could have happened. The setting and atmosphere felt realistic (and totally infuriating at times). Ireland manages to weave fiction and historic facts into a really cool story.

As for the story: it has it all! Intrigue, action, betrayal, zombies, friendship, heartache. There are some serious issues tackled as well: slavery, discrimination, racism. These themes are part of the story and as I mentioned before, some of the things that happened and were said were infuriating and made my blood boil.

When I started on this book, I expected it to be an entertaining read, but let me tell you: it exceeded expectations and had me totally engrossed. This is an awesome read! The ending left me both satisfied and hungry for more. You bet I'll get my greedy trotters on the next book once it releases.

Why should you read it:
It's a totally awesome Historical Zombie read.

Buy from bookdepository

Friday 6 April 2018

Shattered Souls - Book Review

Shattered Souls (Souls #1)
by Mary Lindsey

What is it about:
Lenzi hears voices and has visions - gravestones, floods, a boy with steel gray eyes. Her boyfriend, Zak, can't help, and everything keeps getting louder and more intense. Then Lenzi meets Alden, the boy from her dreams, who reveals that she's a reincarnated Speaker - someone who can talk to and help lost souls - and that he has been her Protector for centuries.

Now Lenzi must choose between her life with Zak and the life she is destined to lead with Alden. But time is running out: a malevolent spirit is out to destroy Lenzi, and he will kill her if she doesn't make a decision soon.

What did I think of it:
This was an entertaining read.

I will confess I was glad that Zak was the starting boyfriend (and we all know what happens to relationships that are already established at the start of a YA book: they're doomed!), because let me tell you: Zak is a really unfortunate name when you speak Dutch. Let me say that it's an insult, and unfortunately enough for Zak, the name suited him. He totally was one!

Lenzi herself really should get her priorities straight. She finds out she's some sort of Ghost-whisperer, but is too busy with pining after Zak and thinking how hot Alden is, to actually try to deal with the ghosts. Still I had a good time with this story. When I started the book I had wanted a bit more ghost-whispering and less angsty hot boy drama, but once I figured out what the focus of the story was, I just sat back and enjoyed the drama.

There were some storylines that tried to make the story more suspenseful, but felt forced to me. Still I was entertained enough to finish the book. I won't pick up the next one though.

Why should you read it:
It's an entertaining Paranormal YA read.

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Thursday 5 April 2018

On McPig's Wishlist - Girls of Paper and Fire

Girls of Paper and Fire
by Natasha Ngan

Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It's the highest honor they could hope for...and the most cruel.

But this year, there's a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she's made of fire.

In this lush fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards still haunts her. Now, the guards are back, and this time it's Lei they're after--the girl whose golden eyes have piqued the king's interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king's consort. But Lei isn't content to watch her fate consume her. Instead, she does the unthinkable--she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens the very foundation of Ikhara, and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she's willing to go for justice and revenge.

Expected publication: October 23rd 2018

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Wednesday 4 April 2018

Crescendo - Book Review

Crescendo (Hush, Hush #2)
by Becca Fitzpatrick

What is it about:
Nora Grey's life is still far from perfect. Surviving an attempt on her life wasn't pleasant, but at least she got a guardian angel out of it. A mysterious, magnetic, gorgeous guardian angel. But despite his role in her life, Patch has been acting anything but angelic. He's more elusive than ever (if that's possible) and what's worse, he seems to be spending time with Nora's archenemy, Marcie Millar.

Nora would have hardly noticed Scott Parnell, an old family friend who has moved back to town, if Patch hadn't been acting so distant. Even with Scott's totally infuriating attitude, Nora finds herself drawn to him - despite her lingering feelings that he is hiding something.

If that weren't enough, Nora is haunted by images of her murdered father, and comes to question whether her Nephilim bloodline has anything to do with his death. Desperate to figure out what happened, she puts herself in increasingly dangerous situations to get the answer. But maybe some things are better left buried, because the truth could destroy everything - and everyone - she trusts.

What did I think of it:
It has been awhile since I read the first book, but I remembered it as a nice read where the heroine is sensible, even though she has a bratty best friend.

Nora and Vee seemed to have switched roles in this book however...

Nora pushes Patch away to keep him safe from repercussions of the angels, but then starts angsting and acting totally whiny and irrational. Patch isn't helping things by staying silent and acting broody. If it wasn't for the fact that I have the complete series on my shelves, I would have DNFed after the first 25%.

To my surprise I started to get into the story despite Nora's behavior though. I was curious to find out what Patch was up to, how Scott fit into the whole mess, and what happened to Nora's father. I even wanted to know more about Marcie. As annoying as people were acting, the writing and storytelling were pleasant.

So in the end this turned out to be a nice read. It won't end up a keeper, but I will most probably finish the series.

Why should you read it:
It's a nice Paranormal YA read.

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Tuesday 3 April 2018

TBR Orphans Update - March

I read two Orphans in March.
I even started a third, but DNFed it at 25%, so I didn't count that one.

Crescendo has been in my TBR pile since June 2014.
Shattered Souls since July 2016.

Reviews for both will come soon.

How did your challenges go?

Monday 2 April 2018

Red Rising - Book Review

Red Rising (Red Rising Saga #1)
by Pierce Brown

What is it about:
Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity's overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society's ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies... even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

What did I think of it:
I will confess I had some trouble getting into this book, but after the first few chapters I connected and was hooked.

I loved the worldbuilding and must say that as devious as the lies are that have been told to the Reds, I thought it was a really smart ploy. So often in Dystopian books the oppressors aren't very smart about it. Here I could at least understand why the ruling class hasn't have to deal with a revolt or worse.

And the Institute!

I was expecting a boarding school situation, but instead it's a dog eat dog world. Teens having to battle it out to prove who's worthy of being a Gold. I loved how Darrow and the people he befriends try to stay on top of things. Hunger, betrayal, shifting alliances... There is a lot going on and Darrow has to keep his wits if he wants to survive, let alone win.

I liked Darrow, but I fell in love with some of the other characters. At one point I was rooting more for one of them than for Darrow I will confess. Luckily that character made it to the end of the book, something that can't be said about everyone. If things continue like this, it might be best not to get too attached to anyone.

That said, this is an action-packed and thrilling read. I will get my trotters on the next book for sure.

Why should you read it:
It's a cool Dystopian YA read.

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