Search This Blog

Ungodly by Kendare Blake

Saturday, September 29, 2018

For the Goddess of Wisdom, what Athena didn’t know could fill a book. That’s what her opponents said.

So she was wrong about some things. So her carefully planned assault on Olympus left her team beaten and scattered and possibly dead. So they have to fight the Fates themselves, who, it turns out, are the source of the gods’ illness. And sure, Athena is stuck in the underworld, holding the body of the only hero she has ever loved.

But all is not lost. Hermes is still topside, trying to power up Andie and Henry before he runs out of time and submits to his death, or the Fates arrive to speed it along.

And Cassandra is up there somewhere, too, on a quest for death…with the god of death himself.

Just because things haven’t gone exactly according to plan, it doesn't mean they’ve lost. They’ve only mostly lost. And there’s a big difference.

Goodreads Summary

Athena and her group of rag tag survivors barely made it out of the mountain. Cassandra and Calypso, likewise, were not in good shape. I both liked this book because I read the first two and the characters and concept are fascinating and hated it because the author places so much emphasis on Cassandra and her so-called powers. Athena and Odysseus are in love and their relationship, though not the focal point of the novel, is sweet. Cassandra meets Thanatos, death himself, and cannot kill him...though she wishes she could kill her attraction to him. There are so many characters in this series that is is hard to get too attached to them or to keep track of them. The plot moved along fairly quickly (though it's more or less the same plot through all three books). Cassandra is hell-bent on killing the gods and goddesses for some inane reason and there are two factions of gods/goddesses fighting each other for another inane reason.

All the characters are fighting some moral failing in some way. The only ones that seemed honest and not full of themselves were Ares, Demeter, and Aphrodite. I also liked Hades and Persephone for their no-nonsense approach to the war. I could not stand Cassandra; her self-righteousness and ridiculous belief that she is supposed to murder all the gods/goddesses while still maintaining her high school innocence really bothered me.  The ending was not satisfying because a fair amount of loose ends are left flapping in the breeze. I really enjoyed the imagery and scenes described throughout the novel and how the gods/goddesses were portrayed.

3 Stars

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Return to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Ivy Jensen survived the Dark House once, but can she make it out a second time?

Two months have passed since Ivy narrowly escaped the Nightmare Elf’s grip, but the memories of Parker, Natalie, Shayla, Frankie, and Garth continue to haunt her. Their killer is still out there—somewhere. The police trail has gone cold, though, and it’s up to Ivy to piece together the clues to find him.

When a cryptic video arrives in her inbox, Ivy soon finds herself back in the spotlight, this time on a twisted scavenger hunt through the dark, ancient halls of a long-forgotten Gothic school building. Ivy’s not alone, either. Taylor Monroe has returned to the scene. But can Taylor be trusted? Or is she another pawn in the Nightmare Elf’s deadly game?

Laurie Faria Stolarz crafts a mesmerizing thriller that will leave readers looking over their shoulders.

Goodreads Summary

Ivy was lucky enough to have escaped (presumably) her parents' killer as well as the psychotic initiator of the Dark House. However, she escaped without her friends and her love interest, Parker. Against all reason, Ivy desires a return to the horror and mayhem she escaped to have a fighting chance of rescuing her friends. Along the way, she reaches out to Taylor, the girl who ran before the Dark House even got started. Initially, Taylor exhibits more brains than Ivy and strongly resists, but when the clues pour in and Ivy is determined to go, Taylor does not want to abandon her newfound friend.

The book is told from Ivy and Taylor's perspectives. I really liked Taylor's character more than Ivy's this time around. Taylor was funny and tried to inject enthusiasm and humor during the more trying moments of the book; Ivy had this weird single-minded focus that was both admirable and slightly mentally ill. I liked that both girls were brave, but I would have preferred one or both to take different approaches to what ultimately happens in the book. Natalie's perspective is also injected at random times. Her resilience is truly amazing. Her ability to survive despite being captured by the Nightmare Elf is incredible. I liked that the author added a fourth and more mysterious perspective that gave the reader clues into the Nightmare Elf's head. Although I had a good idea of what was going to happen in the end, I still found this an intriguing and fast-paced read.

4 Stars

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Kiss Cam by Kiara London

Thursday, September 20, 2018

In Kiss Cam, teen author Kiara London asks, what's a little harmless kissing between friends?

Juniper, Jasper, and Lenny have been friends forever and co-own a vlog channel called WereVloggingHere. Their fans are huge "shippers" who believe that Juniper and Jasper are perfect for each other, and, despite warnings from friends and family, a simple Truth-or-Dare inspired kiss soon spirals out of control into a whole new world of making out and surprise kisses.

Juniper and Jasper's relationship begins to shift. But as fan requests for different "Kiss Cam" segments keep pouring in, Juniper puts her worries aside and convinces herself that it doesn't mean anything. After all, it's just kissing… right?

Goodreads Summary

Whenever you try to convince yourself that kissing doesn't mean anything...well, it might work for some people (not for me) and I already knew where this story was going. Juniper, Jasper, and Lenny are vloggers; having a life in front of the camera means that people start to think that they can have many opinions. One of the opinions centralized around Juniper and Jasper. According to fans, they are meant to be. Indulging their fans means kissing each other and pretending that it doesn't mean anything in person, but will feelings get in the way?

Jasper is not the easiest person to resist. He is handsome, charismatic, and built (for many teens, this sounds like the jackpot). Juniper is a little hesitant. She doesn't want to take the chance of wrecking a very good friendship. Their friends Lenny and Allison offer good advice to them and they all provide comedic relief. I liked Juniper's character the most. The ending did not surprise me. It was a sweet young adult/teen read.

3 1/2 Stars

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Gemina by Aimee Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

The highly anticipated sequel to the instant New York Timesbestseller that critics are calling “out-of-this-world awesome.” 

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.

Goodreads Summary

I found Illuminae so much fun to read and was so excited for Gemina! It's really hard to review the plot because I feel like there are just too many things that might turn into accidental spoilers. The plot itself was well-written and had a lot of depth to it. It was very well-developed and intriguing; my only complaint is that the book must have been missing (in the arc form) some crucial diagrams. There were some parts I didn't fully understand at first or I wasn't sure where the authors were going to take the story.

The characters were interesting and fun to read about. I felt like I was viewing them through a I was an observer more than someone who truly cared for their well-being. I would not have minded if the characters were a little more developed to the point where I cared about them. I think that can help make the story more enjoyable. I love the imagination behind the story itself. I feel like I could not have come up with this level of elaborate intrigue. The format the book is in was fascinating; similar to the first book, there are many different little additions that help further the plot. I found this book hard to put down and recommend the novel to young adult/teen readers.

4 Stars

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

The Perks of Loving a Scoundrel by Jennifer McQuiston

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

New York Times bestselling author Jennifer McQuiston continues her enchanting Seduction Diaries series as a bookish spinster and an unrepentant rogue unite to unmask a traitor.

Every girl dreams of a hero . . .

No one loves books more than Miss Mary Channing. Perhaps that’s why she’s reached the ripe old age of six-and-twenty without ever being kissed. Her future may be as bland as milk toast, but Mary is content to simply dream about the heroes and adventures she reads about in her books. That way she won’t end up with a villain instead.

But sometimes only a scoundrel will do.

When she unexpectedly finds herself in the arms of Geoffrey Westmore, London’s most notorious scoundrel, it feels a bit like a plot from one of her favorite novels. Suddenly, Mary understands why even the smartest heroines can fall prey to a handsome face. And Westmore is more handsome than most. But far worse than the damage to her reputation, the moment’s indiscretion uncovers an assassination plot that reaches to the highest levels of society and threatens the course of the entire country.

When a tight-laced miss and a scoundrel of epic proportions put their minds together, nothing can stand in their way. But unless they put their hearts together as well, a happy ending is anything but assured.

Goodreads Summaries

I loved Mary's character and fully identified with her (I reached 21 never being kissed because I preferred books and literally avoided it!). She wants to end up with a hero, but doesn't want to take a chance at ending up with a villain. As a result, she has not been in any romantic relationships and she's 26 (an old maid by that century's standards). When Geoffrey comes along and they end up in a slightly compromising position, Mary isn't sure if she'll stick to her bookish ways that have kept her heart safe so far. However, she isn't ready to throw in the towel and must discern weather Geoffrey is a hero or a villain.

Mary's character was wonderful (I know I already said that). I loved her intellect, imagination, and sense of humor. Geoffrey fit the typical (though loved) romance trope of a charismatic, handsome, and impressive romance book love interest. Their chemistry was fun and entertaining. I liked how the author chose to develop their relationship and didn't indulge in "insta-love." Parts of their romance was sweet and comforting and other pages were filled with steamy scenes. I really enjoyed the ending and liked how the author tied up loose ends while still maintaining that thrilling feeling one gets after reading a great book.

4 Stars

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein

Thursday, September 13, 2018
When Harry Met Sally for YA romance readers. This opposites-attract love story is perfect for fans of Huntley Fitzpatrick, Stephanie Perkins, and Jenny Han.
June wants high school to end and real life to begin. Oliver is soaking up senior year’s glory days. They could have coasted through high school, knowing about—but not really knowing—each other.

Except that their moms have arranged for Oliver to drive June to school. Every. Single. Day.

Suddenly these two opposites are fighting about music, life . . . pretty much everything. But love is unpredictable. When promises—and hearts—get broken, Oliver and June must figure out what really matters. And then fight for it.

Goodreads Summary

I think I would be annoyed it my mom ordered a boy to drive me to school every day (even if it was nice of her and made it more convenient for me). As soon as I started this book I could see where it was going. Two very different and somewhat obnoxious people were going to be attracted to each other, but first they were going to undergo obstacles. Although Oliver wasn't dating June in the beginning, I knew they were going to end up together at some point. Oliver had a girlfriend, June had her own set of girls who were friends with her, and this whole set up sort of reminded me of Gilmore Girls plus some more mature parts. 

I actually preferred Oliver's character. He was quirky, funny, and wasn't afraid to tell June what he thought. June was a little bit harsher, though I think that was more due to the circumstances than her own character. Their high school romance was what I would want if I had actually wanted to date in high school. It was sweet, affectionate, and overall adorable. Their spats over music were hilarious and caused me to look up more than a few songs. I liked how June asked her girlfriends for advice and came to the realization that her mom was not just her mother, but a person with her own personality and life experiences. Overall, this book is highly recommended to young adult/teen readers.

4 Stars

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Karolina's Twins by Ronald H. Balson

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

From the author of Once We Were Brothers comes a saga inspired by true events of a Holocaust survivor’s quest to fulfill a promise, return to Poland and find two sisters lost during World War II.

Lena Woodward, an elderly woman, enlists the help of both lawyer Catherine Lockhart and private investigator Liam Taggart to appraise the story of her harrowing past in Nazi occupied Poland. At the same time, Lena’s son Arthur presents her with a hefty lawsuit under the pretense of garnering her estate—and independence—for his own purposes. Where these stories intersect is through Lena’s dubious account of her life in war-torn Poland, and her sisterhood with a childhood friend named Karolina. Lena and Karolina struggled to live through the atrocity of the Holocaust, and at the same time harbored a courageous, yet mysterious secret of maternity that has troubled Lena throughout her adult life. In telling her story to Catherine and Liam, Lena not only exposes the realities of overcoming the horrors of the Holocaust, she also comes to terms with her own connection to her dark past.

Karolina’s Twins is a tale of survival, love, and resilience in more ways than one. As Lena recounts her story, Catherine herself also recognizes the unwavering importance of family as she prepares herself for the arrival of her unborn child. Through this association and many more, both Lena and Catherine begin to cherish the dogged ties that bind not only families and children, but the entirety of mankind.

Goodreads Summary

Lena's story is fascinating. I love how the author dug into the mind of his character to produce a realistic account of the Holocaust from Lena Woodward's perspective. Her friend, Karolina, and her had a strong friendship and bond. Lena feels responsible for keeping a secret for decades. She must find her friend's twins. Nazi occupied Poland was a difficult and harsh regime to live under. I could tell the author had done a lot of research to the point of where I could picture it in my mind as I read along.

I enjoyed Lena's character. She was resilient, strong, and intelligent. I did, however, prefer Karolina. Catherine and Liam are a husband and wife team who are hired to track down Karolina's twins. Through their interactions with Lena we learn the true story behind what happened decades ago. I hate difficult choices or choices that are impossible to make and this story is rife with them. The author has a cadence to his writing that makes it easy to read for hours. This book is recommended to historical fiction (though parts of the story are true) readers.

4 Stars

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ