Friday, March 27, 2015

Prudence

Prudence by Gail Carriger

....I'm pretty much in love with Gail Carriger's writing. No further comments.

I've previously read & blogged about these books by Carriger:
THE PARASOL PROTECTORATE
CURTSIES & CONSPIRACIES
ETIQUETTE & ESPIONAGE
WAISTCOATS & WEAPONRY

This is the first book of The Custard Protocol series, which is the spin off series of The Parasol Protectorate series.

This is a book geared towards adults, I usually read young adult books....so the heads up feels justified.

 so here's an amazon summary, "When Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama ("Rue" to her friends) is bequeathed an unexpected dirigible, she does what any sensible female under similar circumstances would do -- she christens it the Spotted Custard and floats off to India.

Soon, she stumbles upon a plot involving local dissidents, a kidnapped brigadier's wife, and some awfully familiar Scottish werewolves. Faced with a dire crisis (and an embarrassing lack of bloomers), Rue must rely on her good breeding -- and her metanatural abilities -- to get to the bottom of it all..." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE 

Prudence has grown up and is ready for her own adventures. Raised in Lord Akeldama's lovely household with all of his dandies.

She's been slightly trained in art of espionage and she's bored at high society events. Prudence is ready to take on something a little more challenging...

With an assignment from Dama (Lord Akeldama), Prudence is off in a dirigible named The Spotted Custard that also looks like a giant lady bug.

This book is full of the same great humor, penchant for particular fashion, and interesting supernatural instances.

Pretty fantastic.

Happy reading!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Fourth of July

Today's news title is brought to you by Fall Out Boy: FOURTH OF JULY. ENJOY!

Where did you go?!

...I've been around. I'm still reading, I just haven't had much patience to sit at my computer and blog.

What does that mean?!

I'll start posting short & sweet blog posts of the 11 or so books I've read but have been silent about. They're going to be back posts but new to the blog? You're news updates/feeds/whatevers might get a little crazy. Heads up - not an apology. ;)

....I guess this is good.

Yes. Yes it is good.

Are you going to leave us again?!

Maybe? Who knows!?

I enjoy blogging, especially because it helps me keep track of books I'm on the look out for sequels to....although I still derp out about that sometimes. Hmm. Meh.

I'll probably be around, but I'm probably going to stick with shorter blog posts for a bit.

If I get less exhausted by the process....I'll probably write more blog posts.....am I write?! Hehehe.

...will you stop making puns? :|

Nope. :D

Anything else?

You betcha! I'm going to updating THE COMIC BOOK CHRONICLES section because I've also been reading a ton of stellar graphic novels lately and should share.

That's it.

Happy reading!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Steelheart

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Super powers? Villains? A world cast into crime and desperation with a weary band trying to eliminate the villains...or should I say, Epics?

Seems like it should be right up my alley....right?

:|

An amazon summary, "Brandon Sanderson, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Words of Radiance, coauthor of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, and creator of the internationally bestselling Mistborn Trilogy, presents Steelheart, the first book in the Reckoners series, an action-packed thrill ride that will leave readers breathless.
   Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary people extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics.   Epics are no friends of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man, you must crush his will.   Now, in what was once Chicago, an astonishingly powerful Epic named Steelheart has installed himself as emperor. Steelheart possesses the strength of ten men and can control the elements. It is said that no bullet can harm him, no sword can split his skin, and no fire can burn him. He is invincible. Nobody fights back . . . nobody but the Reckoners.   A shadowy group of ordinary humans, the Reckoners spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them. And David wants in.   When Steelheart came to Chicago, he killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David has been studying, and planning, and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.   He has seen Steelheart bleed.   And he wants revenge." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

Okay, three minute summary of the first part of the book, GO!

When David was 8, his Dad was trying to get a loan at the bank. An Epic came in when Epics were relatively unknown and started murdering a hella lot of people.

Another Epic by the name of Steelheart came in, and wrecked more havoc. David's father shot the first Epic, but managed to make Steelheart bleed in the process.

Steelheart freaked out, turned the whole place into steel, while David hid in the vault. David was later rescued but faked death before escaping once he was outside the bank. Steelheart made sure everyone remotely involved with that bank incident DIED.

Ten years later, the Epics have run rampant, ruined Earth and it's established societies, and now David is hell bent on killing Steelheart.

He's trying to become part of the Reckoners crew, humans who hunt down Epics and destroy them.

He meets Meg from the Reckoners and instantly goes ga ga over her. Helps her out to kill an Epic. Meets up with other Reckoners.

AND THEN THE BOOK BECOMES REALLY LONG AND DRAWN OUT ABOUT SPECULATING THE BEST WAY TO TAKE DOWN STEELHEART AND WHAT HIS WEAKNESS IS.

AUGH.

It was 400ish pages of David being all, "Man the Reckoners are SO COOL", "Dude, Earth is pretty screwed up...but that's the way it is! We should kill Steelheart!", "Hey guys! We should kill Steelheart! Let's figure out how!" "Oooo, cool piece of future technology!" "LOL, I can't drive! WHEEE!!! *crash*" "Man, Meg is so hot." "I wonder why Meg hates me!?" "I know completely random and slightly useful facts about most Epics!" "Epics are my life!" "I HATE EPICS" "Man, guys, we have to kill Steelheart" "Meg is totes Mcgoats hot as hell" "I bet I can figure out every other Epic's weakness besides Steelheart's."

:|

So unimpressed.

There was a lot of neat world building that was going on but the book was seriously so long. IT WAS SO LONG.

UGH.

Very unnecessarily long. WHYYYYYYYYYY.

400ish pages? Pfft, that's like an afternoon's worth of reading for me?

REALLY DRAWN OUT SCENES WHERE THE NARRATOR IS OBSESSED OVER THE PRETTY GIRL AT ALL MOMENTS?

About a week and a half for me to read. Because it's sooooo boring for most of the time.

UGH.

Also, don't forget that 'Newcago' is cased in steel because Steelheart is an Epic that NEEDS to be killed!

..... :|

Many unimpressed noises. So many.

Happy reading!

....but probably something else.

Monday, March 9, 2015

I'll Give You The Sun

I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

Admittedly, this one took me a little bit to get into. I had to struggle through the first few chapters, but the overall book was well worth the effort!

An amazon summary, "Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE


Not only does this book strive to portray the infinitely curious relationship that exists between twins, but it also depicts family dynamics in unique ways.

It did very well on both fronts.

While trying to conquer different problems and issues that arise within Jude and Noah's lives, they often are discovering more about themselves and what they want out of life.

For both twins, art is their life. For Noah, it's an intense passion to draw whenever possible. For Jude, it's an escape.

This story is super complicated so it's challenging to summarize and speak in broader terms of normal book concepts as this book is irregularly awesome.

How about this.

It's a dynamic depiction of twins growing up as they overcome loss, discover truths, and understand each other.

There was a lot of art within the story that some of the finer references were lost on me, but I was able to understand enough to appreciate the depth and severity of the works.

The occasional grandma ghost intervention helped too.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Blue Lily, Lily Blue

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Despite the giant lettering of the author's name on the cover, this isn't a romantic novel. Hehehe.

That being said, this is the third book in the Raven Cycle series.
I reviewed the first book, The Raven Boys, HERE.
I reviewed the second book, The Dream Thieves, HERE.

This is the third book in the series; undoubtedly this review will contain spoilers about the first two books. If you would like those to remain unspoiled, then do not read this review. You have been warned.

Also, if you've read the previous posts or are familiar with the books, I'm severely annoyed with myself. I never wondered before, "Why does Glendower want to be awakened after sleeping for so long?" I don't know if that'll play into plot at all...but I hope it does.

An amazon summary because damn I'm getting long winded, "Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.
 The trick with found things, though, is how easily they can be lost. Friends can betray. Mothers can disappear. Visions can mislead. Certainties can unravel. In a starred review, THE BULLETIN called THE DREAM THIEVES, the previous book in The Raven Cycle, "a complex web of magical intrigue and heart-stopping action." Now, with BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE, the web becomes even more complex, snaring readers at every turn." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

...so...my previous reviews of these books are kind of long winded and crazy. I love them dearly, but this one is going to be a lot shorter because dear book adventurists, WE'RE GETTING ANSWERS!!! ...and avoiding spoilers. Avoiding so many spoilers.

Blue's mother goes off in search of Glendower and is essentially absent for the book. Just to get that out of the way because some characters get a bit mixed up about it.

The boys are finding some answers at long last; the professor Gansey has kept contact with has come stateside to help them find the ley line.

This book is filled with so much of just discovering truths about the ley line, resolving personal issues (such as Adam getting crap done about his Dad), and finding out more about the sleeper who shouldn't be woken.

The Gray Man also has a tangle with Mr. Greenmantle; his employer who personally comes to see what's going on with Glendower and the ley line in general.

There's more back story happening, but as the story is so complicated at this point, I just want to sit on my heels and wait for book four. I suspect that everything is going to be wrapped up super spectacularly and book three definitely made up for so much GARBAGE that was thrown around in books 1 & 2 that I'm overwhelmingly excited for book four to happen. LIKE WHOA.

GUYS, LIKE WHOA.

Super spoiler alert....Neeve is back. WIKKITY-WHAT!

This is definitely book that you're just going to have to read to understand; there's no amount of overtly long freaking out that I could do to have any of it make sense at this point without regurgitating the entire thing at you.

I will say, I'm glad that some of my hunches are coming to light. I'm glad we're finding out more about the town and local superstitions, and how the characters are developing in ways that make sense (aka getting over their teenage angst).

Flipping fantastic....although very questionable if reading the confusion of the first two books is worth things beginning to resolve in the third book....especially because we only have a fraction of the answers....but presumably book four will wrap everything up?

Time will tell.

Happy reading!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Eddie Red, Undercover: Mystery in Mayan Mexico

Eddie Red, Undercover: Mystery in Mayan Mexico by Marcia Wells

Disclaimer: I read the advanced reader's copy, undoubtedly there will be some minor differences between the version I read and the edition that will be published on April 7, 2015.

This is the second book in a series, I reviewed the first one, Eddie Red, Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile, HERE.

An amazon summary because that was a lot of intro text, "Now that he has become the NYPD’s youngest crime-solving hero, Eddie Red and his best friend Jonah are ready to relax on a family vacation to Mexico. But when Eddie’s father is falsely accused of stealing, what they find is another complex mystery. Can Eddie – with his artistic talent and photographic memory – and Jonah uncover clues and catch the real crook in time? "Fast-paced, funny, and a sure pleaser for Cam Jansen Grads" (Kirkus), the Eddie Red series stars a hero worth rooting for." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

Eddie is back! He's on an adventure to Mexico with his family as his mom is attending a work conference. He's able to bring Jonah along and all of Jonah's quirks; of course he winds up in the midst of mystery!

They arrive at the hotel and marvel at a really cool ancient relic in the lobby before checking into their rooms. Jonah is bound and determined to not miss out on any adventures this time around...so he's already looking for a mystery that needs solving.

Eddie just wants to have a nice vacation.

The family takes a tour and Eddie & Jonah make fast friends with the tour guide's daughter, Julia.

The next day, it's discovered that the cool ancient relic is stolen from the lobby and Eddie's father is one of the prime suspects.

The relic also happens to belong to Julia's family so she's pretty on finding the thief, Jonah is ecstatic to have a mystery to solve, and Eddie is up for another adventure.

If you liked the first book, the second book definitely winds itself through another fantastic Eddie Red adventure. Same great quality as the first book with some more humor sprinkled in.

I won't say anymore as I don't want to ruin the mystery....(see what I did there?! Hahaha)

Happy reading!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Talker 25

Talker 25 by Joshua McCune

ANOTHER DRAGON BOOK?!?!

I know, I just get a little hyped up when I find one that seems remotely promising....

....whoops.

An amazon summary, "It's a high-school prank gone horribly wrong—sneaking onto the rez to pose next to a sleeping dragon—and now senior Melissa Callahan has become an unsuspecting pawn in a war between Man and Monster, between family and friends and the dragons she has despised her whole life. Chilling, epic, and wholly original, this debut novel imagines a North America where dragons are kept on reservations, where strict blackout rules are obeyed no matter the cost, where the highly weaponized military operates in secret, and where a gruesome television show called Kissing Dragons unites the population. Joshua McCune's debut novel offers action, adventure, fantasy, and a reimagining of popular dragon lore. "The story packs significant punch."—Publishers Weekly" AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

This story starts in the middle of a bad prank that throws everything out of whack for Melissa (the narrator) as she takes a photo on top of a sleeping dragon that's on a dragon reservation.

....huh?

Back story on the world that the book doesn't really care to tell you until you've pretty much figured it out for yourself and just have to accept the weird facts revealed at odd plot times.

Dragons mysteriously appeared one day; they come in three colors, blue, red, and green. People have been at odds with how to treat the dragons, but everyone agrees that red and green dragons are nightmares while the blue ones just seem to sleep all the time.

Melissa's Mom was killed by a dragon, but she was secretly a supporter of dragons being free and trying to coexist with them.

Melissa's Dad works on the reservation that is full of blue dragons and studies them.

Both her parents were members of the military.

Oh, everyone lives in houses that are painted black, because the dragons can't see black....and they live in the 'normal' post apocalyptic world where everything sucks and no one bothers to explain the mechanics of their society.

.....so.....there's a dragon attack on the town Melissa is in, she's rescued by some 'good' dragons. It turns out she has the mental prowess to speak with dragons (as do quite a few other people turns out), kind of joins people who are anti-military/government because they treat dragons cruelly (turns out their cool too or people or something? Unclear) and she's spirited away to a compound where she can maybe help?

Oh and the dragons are starting to make babies which is something they haven't done in the 10+ years they've already been on Earth.

....did I mention no one knows where they came from...including the dragons?

Essentially, the story spins into a horrible government crazy time, everyone is tortured and turned into slaves that can speak to dragons (or killed), and the whole world seems to revolve around Melissa....like any convoluted fantasy story.

Just hard pass on this book guys. Just hard pass.

The plot is so twisted in on itself, the writing doesn't allow for any concepts to be fully developed, and Melissa doesn't even have a consistent personality to relate to...ever.

I think I finished it without realizing I was at the end. Like what!? Then the regrets happened. I could have been reading something else.

Oy. Such is life.

Happy reading!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Jinx

Jinx by Sage Blackwood

Ehhhhhhh......

An amazon summary because needs, "The highly acclaimed first book of a fantasy adventure series set in a mysterious forest, starring a daring new hero.
"Readers will thrill to journey with Jinx" (SLJ, starred review), a wizard's apprentice, as he sets off on a quest through the dangerous Urwald, a magical forest full of wizards and were-creatures, and discovers that it is more complex than he could imagine, and that it needs him more than he could ever guess.
This humorous and smart tween fantasy adventure is perfect for fans of Septimus Heap, The Sisters Grimm, and Fablehaven." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE
This is my normal cup of tea as far as book genres go, but there's something about this story that doesn't sit well with me.
Let's talk plot.
Jinx lives in the Urwald; a dangerous magical place that seems to be a giant country filled with woods. In the woods there are different clearings that different people and creatures come from. There's also a path through the Urwald that restricts harm being done to travelers of said path.
One day, due to a lack of food and general kindness, Jinx's stepfather leads him into the woods to abandon him...but Jinx is found by Simon Magnus; a wizard of the Urwald.
Simon takes Jinx home and Jinx spends a few years of life just cleaning the house, watching over things that aren't of magical concern. Simon takes care of Jinx to an extent; he's really a father to Jinx, but more of a friendly caretaker ish....
Jinx discovers he can hear the trees of the Urwald when he buries his naked feet in the dirt. He also starts learning more about Simon and his magic as his curiosity begins to peak...sprawling into an adventure into the Urwald.
So, my main hold up with this story is it wasn't very gripping.
There were a lot of parts of the book that were supposed to be kind of action filled and more attention gripping while also revealing mysteries that will probably be puzzled out in future books. There was scattered character development, world building, etc....which normally would have a nice cohesion to it....but it all just seemed to be the same.
Kind of like going down the river in a canoe and seeing a wide variety of things on shore - good, bad, or other - but never stopping the canoe to see them. The river stays a steady pace and there aren't any barriers, you just keep going at the same pace regardless of what's happening around you.
While that works for some books, I don't think it quite works for Jinx.
Overall, it was a kind of fun read, but I don't have an urge to read any further books in the series.
Happy reading!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

This Star Won't Go Out

This Star Won't Go Out by Esther, Lori, and Wayne Earl

This was a tough one.

An amazon summary, "In full color and illustrated with art and photographs, this is a collection of the journals, fiction, letters, and sketches of the late Esther Grace Earl, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 16. Essays by family and friends help to tell Esther’s story along with an introduction by award-winning author John Green who dedicated his #1 bestselling novel The Fault in Our Stars to her." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

I honestly couldn't finish reading this one because it was so sad. It kept getting me choked up and I really couldn't push through it.

It felt a lot like a mix of a Chicken Soup for the Soul book while also having the pivotal children/teenager point of view/voice.

Not being able to read this was probably more of a failing of my person rather than the book itself.

The book was well put together, had a lot of interesting graphics, and probably not a lot of editing to keep everything with a true ring to it from Esther herself (may she rest in peace).

Hopefully, this book is inspirational for a lot of people, and they can take all of her meaningful words to heart.

I just couldn't handle the emotions it invoked.

Happy reading!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Jackaby

Jackaby by William Ritter

Everyone, you can groan with me, another Sherlock Holmes super sleuth book? GAHH!!!!!

....but it was actually pretty funny, charming, and I definitely want to read the second one.

An amazon summary, "Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job,Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary--including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police--with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane--deny.

Doctor Who meets Sherlock in a debut novel, the first in a series, brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE


This was definitely a fun jaunt into the supernatural as the main character, Abigail is at a slight disadvantage.

Her employer, Jackaby, can see all manner of paranormal/magical creatures and knows where to look for any signs of them.

Abigail is decidedly normal and doesn't have any sudden moments where because of whatever incident, she can also see the paranormal/irregular. She has a resolute stubbornness about her, a sense of adventure, and doing things, unlike many females of the age. She also has a bit of 'no nonsense' attitude and begins to get a bigger backbone as the story progresses; a female protagonist of worth for sure.

So.

The story unfolds in a murder mystery as the sleuths try to figure out who done it; man or creature? And then, which creature?

The world building was top notch, and the characters had a natural sense about them.

Truly wonderful.

Happy reading!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Crossover

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

This is a powerful story told through poetry.

It's also about basketball....which I normally would find very off-putting, but this was pretty awesome.

An amazon summary, ""With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I’m delivering," announces dread-locked, 12-year old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he's got mad beats, too, that tell his family's story in verse, in this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood from Kwame Alexander (He Said, She Said 2013).

   Josh and Jordan must come to grips with growing up on and off the court to realize breaking the rules comes at a terrible price, as their story's heart-stopping climax proves a game-changer for the entire family." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

This story was fantastic.

The stage seemed to be set by basketball, but really conquered a lot of hard issues that people grapple with as they grow up.

The twins do everything together; play basketball, walk to school, etc. Thick as thieves.

But then a twin gets a crush and everything starts becoming a little lopsided and out of sync; their mom worries about their dad's health and the book really portrays what feels like a real family.

The poetry lent itself to concise language, but read just like a regular novel would. It really helped to accelerate the pacing without losing anything important.

Great, quick read even though the book is a solid 237 pages.

Happy reading!

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Last Wild

The Last Wild by Piers Torday

This had a fantastically interesting premise, some specks of humor sprinkled through it, but I couldn't finish it.

An amazon summary, "In a world where animals are slowly fading into extinction, twelve-year-old Kester Jaynes feels as if he hardly exists either. He’s been locked away in a home for troubled children and is unable to speak a word. Then one night, a flock of talking pigeons and a bossy cockroach come to help him escape, and he discovers that he can speak—to them. And the animals need him. Only Kester, with the aid of a stubborn, curious girl named Polly, can help them survive.
 The animals saved Kester. But can he save them?" AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

Kester doesn't speak.

He's locked up in a home for troubled kids and mentally speaks with cockroaches.

The world suffers from a disease that has been killed off all the animals except for cockroaches.

....except, it turns out there is a last wild that has survived with a few species of animals. Kester is busted out of the troubled home and the animals carry him off to the last wild in hopes that he can find the cure to the disease that's killing all of them.

The reason I gave up is the pacing of the story didn't let anything really happen all that quickly and one character was relied on to have all the humor for the book. I got to page 180 and gave up a bit exasperated.

There was also a lot of lecturing on how to be a better person and a lot of reminiscing on how things used to be.

It was neat to see the different animals 'talk' to each other...but it wasn't enough to hold my attention to the finish.

I've heard a lot of good things about this book, but they were hard to find for me.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Rose and the Lost Princess

Rose and the Lost Princess by Holly Webb

I didn't realize this was a sequel until I looked it up on Amazon.

Whoops.

Regardless, I gave up on it for style of writing reasons, so here's an amazon summary, "Holly Webb's hit middle-grade fantasy series are the perfect books for 11 and 12 year-old girls beginning to realize their own power and potential-and who might just still believe in magic...

In this second volume, the spunky young magician Rose returns to battle the forces of darkness and save the country's beloved Princess. Set in 19th century England, this magical adventure offers a rich sense of history and a strong, independent heroine young readers can really root for. Rose is perfect for "fans of princesses, magic, fantasy, and mystery" (School Library Journal). 


Not all magic is used for good... Rose's whole life has changed in a matter of weeks. Once a lonely orphan, now she's an apprentice to the King's chief magician! But as Rose's magical abilities blossom, she's still uneasy about her new powers-and learns the hard way that power often comes at a price.  


When the Princess vanishes, rumors of dark magic fly through the city, casting doubt and suspicion on everyone with magical powers. Even Rose's friends don't seem to trust her anymore.
Now Rose must find the missing girl. Can she shatter the power of an evil magician before all is lost?" AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE


I made it to page 54 of this book before I called it quits.

Rose is a terrible character to be a narrator.

She's constantly thinking badly about herself and I significantly could not deal with another female narrator being so acutely flawed.

The characters' dialogue also seemed very stilted and robotic as if they weren't sure how to form a sentence.

Many of the descriptions were much more concerned about the details of what a character looked like rather than world building elements.

I saw all the signs, took it as a lost cause, and gave up.

Maybe if I had read the first book, all of the world building would have been in there.....but it seems unlikely.

Eh.

Happy reading!

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Children of the King

The Children of the King by Sonya Hartnett

A World War II novel. Hmmm....

An amazon summary, "Cecily and Jeremy have been sent to live with their uncle Peregrine in the English countryside, safe from the war, along with a young refugee named May. But when Cecily and May find two mysterious boys hiding in the ruins of a nearby castle, an extraordinary adventure begins." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

Honestly, after reading this book, it put me off of blogging for a bit. I really hesitated to dislike this book as someone I know well adores this book. But alas, I just cannot agree with them.

As the story unfolds about Cecily and Jeremy, it grapples with the situation with integrity for realism. It wholeheartedly captured a lot of the natural, childish innocence that slowly becomes obliterated by the war.

However, when May is introduced, there's an element of unknown mystery and almost magical realism added.

Then Peregrine starts revealing more about his back story as well as tells a story about a kingdom from old.

The story becomes warped with magic in what was once a starkly realistic setting.

The book did a great job of capturing the war of emotions within children as they're faced with a world-changing situation that they have no direct influence over.....

But it pretty much threw it all away when magic was introduced.

The book didn't really accomplish anything that hasn't been said before and almost belittles the gems of inescapable truths woven throughout the story.

I really struggled to finish the book as I wanted to know how it ended, but the text was hard to get through as the pace of the story horrendously dragged a lot before having bursts of vivid activity.

All in all, I'm really just kind of going 'booooooooooooo' at this book.

Happy reading!

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights

The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheikin

Another adventure into nonfiction books! I snuck this one out of my 'highly recommended books' stash, I agree with the recommendation.

An amazon summary, "An astonishing civil rights story from Newbery Honor winner and National Book Award finalist Steve Sheinkin.
On July 17, 1944, a massive explosion rocked the segregated Navy base at Port Chicago, California, killing more than 300 sailors who were at the docks, critically injuring off-duty men in their bunks, and shattering windows up to a mile away. On August 9th, 244 men refused to go back to work until unsafe and unfair conditions at the docks were addressed. When the dust settled, fifty were charged with mutiny, facing decades in jail and even execution.

This is a fascinating story of the prejudice that faced black men and women in America's armed forces during World War II, and a nuanced look at those who gave their lives in service of a country where they lacked the most basic rights." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

In San Francisco Bay during World War II, there were black men who had signed up for the navy to help fight in the war. There ambitions were to become sailors, to fight for their country, and to make a difference.

What they did was load live bombs into the cargo holds on ships without any formal training.

Say it with me, "Whatttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt *censored noises*".

Not so long ago, the United States of America was still a segregated country and the civil rights movement was really getting started.

This book follows the early exploits of black men being in the navy and what trials they started to go through to stop segregation, to be treated fairly. It just scratches the surface of the struggle, but concentrates a lot on the court battle the Port Chicago 50 faced while being accused of mutiny.

The writing in this book read like a fiction book (which is always a super plus) and the book had different historic photos and documents throughout the text to enhance the story.

I had never heard about the Port Chicago 50 before and I hope that more stories like this begin to surface.

Happy reading!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Fangirl

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

This is another book that I snuck out of my 'strongly recommended' pile to intersperse some of the questionable ones I've read lately.

FANTASTIC.

I wish I had read this book my senior year of high school. It tackles so much about the awkward freshman year of college while also having a copious amount of nerd dome. Freaking fantastic.

An amazon summary, "In Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life--and she's really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it's what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.


Cath's sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can't let go. She doesn't want to.Now that they're going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn't want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She's got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can't stop worrying about her dad, who's loving and fragile and has never really been alone.


For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?


Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?


And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?" AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

Cath is obsessed with Simon Snow (their world's version of Harry Potter essentially, but with more vampires). She writes really good fanfiction about Simon Snow, has a very intense following (thousands and thousands of people), and she's writing her own version of how the last book should play out.....all while embarking on the scary adventure of college.

She has a twin sister Wren, who is striving to embrace the college life and kind of shuck her old high school way of life. Cath is pretty upset by this as they used to do everything together (even write fanfiction) but she's putting her best foot forward if not reluctantly.

They were raised by a single father after their mom left when they were in third grade. All three family members went quietly crazy in their own ways and went through some therapy to deal with it. Their Dad is a creative genius and works in marketing....but also has a tendency to get too caught up in his ideas and forget about the rest of life. While Cath and Wren were around, they were able to help out and kind of manage him when he gets a bit manic; bring him back to reality so he doesn't get too caught up in his ideas. With both daughters going off to college, the concern is a bit high.

So at college, Cath has a dysfunctionally awesome roommate, Reagan, who kind of pries Cath out of their shared room and into the more social aspects of college life. Reagan also has a friend (and maybe boyfriend) Levi who is just as charming and funny as Reagan.

This is really a coming of age story of sorts. There is a bit of debate about whether or not fanfiction is its' own entity of writing, but I really think it was geared more towards showing how Cath started getting out of her comfort zone, and all the super confusing things that come with it.

I absolutely adored this book; the writing was beautiful, the story was gripping so I never wanted to put the book down, and the character development felt so real. I didn't want to leave the book. If there was a sequel, I'd be all over it. I'd be content with how the story came to a close though, it seems to have finished gracefully.

Madly in love with this book a bit.

Fantastic. Simply Fantastic.

Happy reading!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Inventor's Secret

The Inventor's Secret by Andrea Cremer

I don't know what I was expecting.

Andrea Cremer wrote a book with David Levithan once and I love David Levithan, so why not read this book, right?

She's apparently an international bestseller for some other stuff she's written too.

.....I don't think this book lives up those precedents.

An amazon summary, "New from Andrea Cremer, the New York Times bestselling author of the Nightshade novels, comes an action-packed alternate-history steampunk adventure.

In this world, sixteen-year-old Charlotte and her fellow refugees have scraped out an existence on the edge of Britain’s industrial empire. Though they live by the skin of their teeth, they have their health (at least when they can find enough food and avoid the Imperial Labor Gatherers) and each other. When a new exile with no memory of his escape  or even his own name seeks shelter in their camp he brings new dangers with him and secrets about the terrible future that awaits all those who have struggled has to live free of the bonds of the empire’s Machineworks.

The Inventor’s Secret is the first book of a YA steampunk series set in an alternate nineteenth-century North America where the Revolutionary War never took place and the British Empire has expanded into a global juggernaut propelled by marvelous and horrible machinery. Perfect for fans of Libba Bray's The Diviners, Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel, Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan and Phillip Reeve's Mortal Engines.AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE THAT DOESN'T INCLUDE THE PRAISE BECAUSE IT RUINED ALL MY FORMATTING THINGS

Okay, so first off, this book tries to play itself as this wonderful resistance book with all sorts of neat gadgets and steampunk oddities.

.....it kind of did that. But what the book really concentrated on was Charlotte suddenly going through weird spouts of character development, coupled by inconsistent feelings, and appearing to be an unstable pretty girl that likes a particular weapon. 

So, ignoring Charlotte, the freaking narrator, the book asks the question, "What if the American revolution didn't succeed? What would North America look like? What would have happened to that area of the world?"

Which it answered pretty sweetly but in convoluted fashions that don't really give a clear timeline of how old some events are in correlation to others. ....I think I paid more attention to the details than the book wanted me to.

Anywho.

So the story starts out with Charlotte living in the catacombs (an underground network of caves) with her brother and other children of the rebellion. They go on raids for supplies, constantly irk each other, and something bigger seems to be a foot as her brother and Jack take private messages. Charlotte is determined to find out what. Charlotte finds out by following them, and it turns out they're going to infiltrate high society on a floating city and make contact with rebel forces there.

The point of them entering the floating city is soon lost on me as everything is suddenly swept into Charlotte being a lady of high society, finding all the society protocols as useless, and in general having a hard time with life as she suddenly has developed emotions higher than an 8 year old....but she's only at about an 11 year old (don't get your hopes up).

I found a lot of the plot and action didn't mesh well together, there were things about the high society that were overexplained or underexplained and other things that started to happen that didn't make sense.

ALSO. There was this dude named ghost who had a magnet stick to his chest, he had amnesia and it took to the end of the book for them to figure out SPOILER ALERT that he's basically a metallic Frankenstein. ARGH.

I really didn't like this book. I finished it because it started out well enough and I got a little inane with the hope that it'd redeem itself in the end....but it didn't. It just fell into one bad plot trap after the next.

Happy reading!

Friday, January 30, 2015

A Snicker of Magic

A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

I've been treating myself a little bit this month. I broke into the stack of books that have been highly recommended to me and busted out a couple books.

Amazing.

....so no disclaimers on this one.

An amazon summary, "Introducing an extraordinary new voice---a magical debut that will make your skin tingle, your eyes glisten . . .and your heart sing.

Midnight Gulch used to be a magical place, a town where people could sing up thunderstorms and dance up sunflowers. But that was long ago, before a curse drove the magic away. Twelve-year-old Felicity knows all about things like that; her nomadic mother is cursed with a wandering heart.


But when she arrives in Midnight Gulch, Felicity thinks her luck's about to change. A "word collector," Felicity sees words everywhere---shining above strangers, tucked into church eves, and tangled up her dog's floppy ears---but Midnight Gulch is the first place she's ever seen the word "home." And then there's Jonah, a mysterious, spiky-haired do-gooder who shimmers with words Felicity's never seen before, words that make Felicity's heart beat a little faster.


Felicity wants to stay in Midnight Gulch more than anything, but first, she'll need to figure out how to bring back the magic, breaking the spell that's been cast over the town . . . and her mother's broken heart." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE


Felicity has been roaming the country with her mother, little sister, and dog. Her mom works where she can but can never seem to stay in one place for too long.

Then one day they wind up in Midnight Gulch to see her Aunt and to stay for a little bit.

Midnight Gulch used to be a town bursting with magic...until a duel between two brothers split them apart and the town was never the same again.

When Felicity arrives, she starts to unearth the town's history with the help of her first real friend, Jonah. A wide variety of characters is introduced and each one explores the magic surrounding their own family lineage.

I found this story to be a bit mesmerizing. It had the ice berg affect for me, meaning, I saw a bit of it to begin with, but the further I get into it, the more there is revealed about the story. It keeps developing, growing bigger, and encompassing more and more aspects to reveal the big picture.

Absolutely fantastic.

Fast read.

Much magic.

And a lot of ice cream.....

BUT there was also this beautiful friendship between Felicity and Jonah.

Now, Jonah is this awesome dude who senses what people need or when something good will happen to them. He carries on the legacy of the Beedle. He seeks out Felicity as he knows something amazing is going to happen if she sticks around for the 'duel' (a talent show their teacher is putting on playing on the town's history). Now the neat thing about Jonah is that he's in a wheelchair, but the book absolutely refuses to make a big deal out of it. Jonah is treated just like everyone else. It was such a fantastic little aside that really added to the characterization of the story.

Plus, I loved how Felicity collected words and how she saw words. Felicity is filled with her own magic and there's great character build up that plays into Felicity's magic and the outcome of the book.

Seriously, fantastic.

Happy reading!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Brown Girl Dreaming

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

This book is written in verse; meaning it's a compilation of different poems. Together, they form a wonderful story about Jacqueline Woodson's life growing up during the movement for equal rights in the United States.

It was one of the most moving, thought-provoking, and compelling books I've ever read about what happened in the 1960s/1970s. I couldn't put it down even as it rendered me speechless.

An amazon summary so we can make this journey together, "Jacqueline Woodson, one of today's finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse. 
 Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become. Praise for Jacqueline Woodson:Ms. Woodson writes with a sure understanding of the thoughts of young people, offering a poetic, eloquent narrative that is not simply a story . . . but a mature exploration of grown-up issues and self-discovery.”—The New York Times Book Review" AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE, FOR REAL

Disclaimer: I will not cover the history of the civil war, civil rights movement, or current issues that impact today. I'm going to talk about what the story portrays. There is no way that I would ever be able to accurately summarize, portray, or encapsulate the entire movement. I strongly suggest a few google searches about the civil war and civil rights movement in the United States of America if you have no idea what's going on.

Anyways.

I'm struggling for words about this book.

On the one hand, it's essentially an autobiography written in verse about the 1960s/1970s. Usually I see that pretense and go, "EHHHHHH, not for me most likely because historical noises." But then, I had my librarian friends recommend this book to me, and it won the National Book Award, and I kind of shrugged and started reading it. (Plus I've been getting better about reading semi-realistic fiction and straight up non-fiction books. Like whoa.)

Oh. My. Batman.

I've never felt like I could empathize with a narrator so well and see the cultural differences as well as understand the reasoning behind different decisions. Children seem to act as the best watchers; they observe many actions without understanding the cultural/political implications behind those actions. But Jacqueline did; she showed the terrors and violence of the time with breaking innocence.

Plus there were so many touching moments throughout the story that kind of ignored the political trials of the time and concentrated more on the home life, really kind of proving that Jacqueline is a person, same as anybody else. I read how she was raised, what values were instilled in her, and what choices she made because of her environment and upbringing.

It was truly fantastic. Strongly recommended. This book will probably haunt me in the good way for a while.

As with all books I fall madly in love with, I do struggle for words. It was really freaking fantastic.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Spiritglass Charade

The Spiritglass Charade by Colleen Gleason

This is the second book in a series, I reviewed the first book, The Clockwork Scarab, HERE. If you don't want the first book to be spoiled, then don't read this review.

....I again, have no disclaimers going into this book. ....I DON'T KNOW. I'M READING PUBLISHED BOOKS, BACK UP OFF IT.

An amazon summary, "After the Affair of the Clockwork Scarab, Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes are eager to help Princess Alix with a new case. Seventeen-year-old Willa Aston is obsessed with spiritual mediums, convinced she is speaking with her mother from beyond the grave. What seems like a case of spiritualist fraud quickly devolves into something far more menacing: someone is trying to make Willa "appear lunatic," using an innocent-looking spiritglass to control her. The list of clues piles up: an unexpected murder, a gang of pickpockets, and the return of vampires to London. But are these events connected? As Uncle Sherlock would say, "there are no coincidences." It will take all of Mina's wit and Evaline's muscle to keep London's sinister underground at bay." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

So, spoiler alert, they kind of solved the mystery in The Clockwork Scarab, but really just uncovered a grander mystery in the scheme of plot. Yep.

Irene Adler summons Mina & Evaline to the library once more and they're off to visit the Princess herself. Dylan tags along and saves the Queen's life (more on that in the book). The Princess asks the girls to get to the bottom of Willa Aston's obsession with spiritual mediums. Willa is spending a ludicrous amount of money on the spiritual mediums; the Princess suspects foul play.

The girls embark on discovering the truth and get twisted up into some pretty gnarly scenes.

Oh... and Evaline encounters a vampire. Evaline also has a bout of questionable behavior trying to locate Pix.

The boys are back; Dylan is working on advancing medical sciences, Pix is mixed in with vampires (and other questionable characters), and Inspector Grayling has bouts of frustratingly dashing moments (to Mina).

Back to Willa; her brother has gone missing (presumed dead), her parents are gone, and she's surrounded by people who are probably just after her fortune. There are a few options for her situation: Willa is cray cray, the spirit seances are working and she is speaking with her mother, the seances are lying cheats, or ghosts exist and are communicating with her. It's a bit of a gamble which could be the truth in this setting/book.

There are a lot of little moments that build the entire story. The narrator voices between Mina and Evaline have grown more distinct (except when one of them swoons over a man) and their mild obsession with fashion has grown a bit more pronounced.

If you liked the first one, you're going to like the second one. The overall mystery of the books start to thicken throughout the story as more and more is revealed about London.

Personally, I think the books are starting to get a little too busy. There's a lot between the settings, the characters, the fashion, the supernatural, the time travel, and the romance for it to be a fully coherent story. There is so much shrouded in mystery that I wonder if the author can be bothered to explain all of it.

However, the second book ended with a cliff hanger that I was expecting.....but I'm a bit excited to see how it plays out in the third book. I shall embark on that endeavor when the book becomes available. BWAHAHAHAHA. Maybe. I don't know, only time will tell.

Happy reading!

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Clockwork Scarab

The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason

....I don't have a disclaimer for this one. .....STOP LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT.

This was kind of a fun little jaunt that got a little broken with story mechanics, but it might be okay depending on what happens in later books. IDK MY BFF JILL, THINGS MAY GET REAL.

An amazon summary, "Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes never meant to get into the family business. But when you're the sister of Bram and the niece of Sherlock, vampire hunting and mystery solving are in your blood, so to speak. And when two young society girls disappear—one dead, one missing—there's no one more qualified to investigate. Now fierce Evaline and logical Mina must resolve their rivalry, navigate the advances of not just one but three mysterious gentlemen, and solve a murder with only one clue: a strange Egyptian scarab. The pressure is on and the stakes are high—if Stoker and Holmes don't figure out why London's finest sixteen-year-old women are in danger, they'll become the next victims." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

So, basic premise of the story: Sherlock & Mycroft Holmes are real, vampires are real, Dracula is currently being written by Bram Stoker, and the mysteries are running rampant! It's also basic steampunk....

.....

Alright, I'll just do a real break down.

The story begins with Mina Holmes going to the museum on a summons. She is met by Irene Adler and Evaline Stoker while there's also a break-in at the museum in process. Mina and Evaline are partnered up to serve the Princess under Irene's direction. In the next few chapters, they run into three blokes: Pix, Dylan, and Inspector Grayling.

Pix is an underground thug (sort of) who Evaline takes a sort of smarmy shine to. Pix is a crafty little bugger.

Dylan is...well, the reader should figure this out immediately from the museum scene, but Dylan is from the FUTUREEEEE (2016....or 2015? Pretty much present day) and it just trying to get home but also learn more about their time period.

Inspector Grayling is with the police force and he has a battle of the wits against Mina almost all the time. I swear, the two of them couldn't get within five feet of each other before Mina devolves into a flustered, trying to be logical, young woman. Struggles.

SO. THAT STORY.

Mina and Evaline were summoned to investigate the disappearances (and death) of young society girls. As women, they tend to be underestimated. As a Holmes and a Stoker, they tend to be crafty as all get out. Mina begins to investigate the clues of the scene and uses Evaline's resources to slowly infiltrate high society to uncover clues. Evaline kind of accidentally wanders into information/happenings and they have a horrendous time trying to work together as they don't really respect each other.

The plot goes on to figure out the mysterious disappearances.....but there is other stuff I want to talk about.

Mina's mother left her about a year ago and Mina is understandably upset about it, and her father, Mycroft, is hardly ever home. Mina has melancholy for this (seriously, understandably) and it plays into her character. The character construction is deftly worked in as Mina tends to have sharper emotional reactions to other people yet she's also very logical. It was freaking brilliant.

Evaline's parents are gone; she lives with Bram as he knows what's going on with her inheriting vampire hunter abilities and she has a doting family in her life. She's constantly trying to prove herself and live up to her namesake, which also plays nicely into the plot.

So, I was impressed with the story development, but I was a bit lost amongst the setting.

It's supposed to be London, but it's also very steam punk-esque (Mina carries a steam gun, literally; it emits blasts of steam). They were always describing three different floors to London and having to ride a lift to get to the higher levels, but I had such a bitterly hard time imagining this. I eventually settled on weird mall that may or may not have light on the bottom two levels. I disliked the setting because I couldn't really get my mind around the outdoors, but the indoors were well described.

THEN THERE IS DYLAN. WHY IS DYLAN THERE. ALL OF THE WHY. Dylan is a character that is most likely from our present time period (he has a cell phone), who knows about Sherlock Holmes and Bram Stoker, but then wouldn't it be an alternate timeline OR he's stuck in a story or something? I definitely don't know and I really can't see the Dylan aspect going anywhere that makes sense.

All in all, it was fun to read. I just had to brow beat myself a bit to ignore the gaping DYLAN DOESN'T MAKE SENSE and WTF IS THIS SETTING. I'm planning on reading the second one....we'll see how well that goes if I continue on to the rest of the series.

Happy reading!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Shadow Scale

Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

Disclaimer: I read the advanced reader's copy of this book; it won't be released until March 10, 2015 for the general public. Undoubtedly, there will be minor differences between the version I read and the published version. That being said, I totally have it on pre-order. Like what.

This is the second book in a series(?), duo-logy (?), something? It's the second book. I read the first book, Seraphina, and reviewed it HERE. This post will undoubtedly reveal spoilers about the first book, Seraphina. If you wish for Seraphina to remain unspoiled, read no further. For serious.

...so, if you read my post on Seraphina, you know that I'm mildly obsessed with this book.

...I might have 'secretly' reread Seraphina every few months (especially after a few particularly awful books, YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE).

As with the last book, this story is incredibly complicated and many elements are very interwoven with each other. I'll do my best to catch it all (without spoilers), but here's the amazon summary with all the bits of how awesome Serphina is removed to save some space, "The kingdom of Goredd: a world where humans and dragons share life with an uneasy balance, and those few who are both human and dragon must hide the truth. Seraphina is one of these, part girl, part dragon, who is reluctantly drawn into the politics of her world. When war breaks out between the dragons and humans, she must travel the lands to find those like herself—for she has an inexplicable connection to all of them, and together they will be able to fight the dragons in powerful, magical ways. 
 As Seraphina gathers this motley crew, she is pursued by humans who want to stop her. But the most terrifying is another half dragon, who can creep into people’s minds and take them over. Until now, Seraphina has kept her mind safe from intruders, but that also means she’s held back her own gift. It is time to make a choice: Cling to the safety of her old life, or embrace a powerful new destiny?" AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

So the thing that annoys me about the amazon summary, is that there is a GIANT war going on. HUGE.

The dragons are locked in a civil war, some dragons want peace with humans while others want to destroy all the humans. The humans are in the same boat except without a civil war. The Queen of Goredd, Glisselda, is trying to coordinate efforts to end the war before massive casualties happen.

Enter Seraphina. Seraphina is a half dragon who has started to band together the other half dragons who live in her 'mind's garden'. She found out that two half dragons together can create an invisible barrier that can stop a dragon in the sky or protect a city. Queen Glisselda is like YES, YES WE NEED ALL OF THAT and sends Seraphina with Abdo (another half dragon who cannot speak because of the dragon scales coating his mouth in general, he does a telepathic communication to people instead) off to find the other half dragons to make barriers and save Goredd or assist the war or whatever.

OFF THEY GO. Seraphina and Abdo start traveling across the land and happen across half human half dragons like themselves and start recruiting.

However, Jannoula is a half human half dragon and has plans of her own. Jannoula has the ability to take control and manipulate other half human/dragons. She's started to manipulate the half dragon/humans for her own means. Seraphina races to find a way to stop her while also getting more half human/half dragons together in Goredd.

On her quest to find others like her, Seraphina finds a group of beings who have all been dragon touched in different ways. They all come with their quirks, abilities, and personalities; they're very distinctive and it's fascinating to keep meeting more of them.

While also on Seraphina's quest, we get to see more and more of the land. We get to meet different cultures, see more of the quigtul's influence in the world, and watch the curious relationship between Glisselda, Lucian, and Seraphina. Due to events of Seraphina, Lucian and Glisselda have a closer bond as their marriage draws closer since the Queen fell into ill health in the last book.

Now, dragons are present all throughout the book and there is also the mystery of what happened to Seraphina's uncle Orma. The dragons continue to have some cultural/societal hiccups that are hilarious while also showing logic can coexist with compassion.

As they came across so many different cultures, it was funny to see the language barriers that cropped up, the customs of different cultures, and the tourist 'stories' (you'll understand when you read the book). It was also simply fascinating to see how different cultures interacted with the dragons and how they reacted to the presence of half dragon half humans. So intense.

There was also a lot to deal with religion, spirituality, and the 'soul-fire'. Soul-fire is how they referred to a person's soul presence (kind of), like the half human half dragons extra energy that they could channel to do things. Pure blooded dragons and humans were not depicted to have it. It was interesting to watch it unfold, but at the same time there were times that I kind of felt like a small child stumbling to grasp the larger concept. Seraphina and several other characters were faithful to their saints/patrons, but I think my haste to get to the politics/interpersonal struggles left me rushing through the parts where it explained it. But I have time to reread it. MWAHAHAHAHA. I imagine the content is there, I'm just a derp.

BOOK LOVERS. IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL. There were a few times where I had to stop reading to dance/walk a lap around my house to get some eager enthusiastic energy out. Like what.

HOWEVER. SPOILER ALERT. The end of the book ended with an epilogue. I don't know if it's the end signaling that this is a duo-logy, or if it's just something stuck at the end of the book and the series will go on. As much as a I love the story, everything wraps up pretty well in the end. On the one hand, I'd be super upset if the Rachel Hartman wrote more because the story is wrapped up, but I still crave more about Seraphina's world, adventures, etc. I am a book brat.

Happy reading!