Saturday, December 3, 2016

Me on This Week's Book Week (235)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

Hi all!

The winter blahs have hit hard. Nothing's really keeping my interest when it comes to books. I'm hoping to get some reviews up this coming week and next, and then maybe take those next two weeks off for the holidays. I think I need the break, need the chance to read what I want to read for a little. I don't know what it is. Maybe they'll be some different reviews, like quick reviews for non-YA books, like some manga.

Reviews will be going up this week (hopefully!!), but right now I'm not sure which books. Come back on Tuesday and Friday for the surprises! :)
All The Feels by Danika Stone (borrowed from the library)
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard (borrowed from the library)

Friday, December 2, 2016

Me on A Shadow Burning and Bright

Title: A Shadow Bright and Burning
Author: Jessica Cluess
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (Random House imprint)

Forced to reveal her power to save a friend, Henrietta Howel is shocked when instead of being executed, she's invited to train as one of Her Majesty's royal sorcerers. Thrust into the glamour of Victorian London, Henrietta is declared the chosen one, the girl who will defeat the Ancients, bloodthirsty demons terrorizing humanity. She also meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, handsome young men eager to test her power and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her. As she plays a dangerous game of deception, she discovers that the sorcerers have their own secrets to protect. With battle looming, what does it mean to not be the one? And how much will she risk to save the city—and the one she loves?

A Shadow Bright and Burning is a dangerous magic, one of shadows and demons, one of sorcerers and magicians. It's the story of a young woman trying to become something many claim she is and her navigating that demand while the fire inside of her rages on.

Henrietta is a familiar sort of heroine: a meek young woman from a poor and humble upbringing, an orphan with only a loyal friend for support and hopes for the future. The book begins with her in a place she's not technically safe in but it's a roof over her head and her friend Rook by her side. It's a horrible place, but she's alive. Then the sorcerer comes, looking for a student at the school Henrietta teaches at. Then the Ancient and the Familiars come. Then her fire is revealed, and she's whisked off to London to learn the ways of being a sorcerer. But in a city like London, danger lurks around every corner.

I found the world-building intriguing. The inclusion of magic and the Ancients in a Victorian-esque London. The different kinds of magic, the disgust and feud between sorcerers and magicians. The Ancients and the Unclean. All different kinds of magic and impossibility live here in this world. Underneath the magic, there are a number of clear and familiar overarching themes and sensibilities here. Like class inequality, how the rich hold themselves above the poor. Like gender inequality, how a number of trainees and sorcerers find it foolish to teach a young woman the ways of magic like how they teach Henrietta. How it would be better for her to know her place, which would be under their overbearing and pompous male thumbs. Because how dare a woman think she be equal to a man.

I was rather surprised by this book, and rather surprised as to how much I enjoyed it. It was exciting and tense, the Ancients were wonderfully creepy and disturbing, and a number of the sorcerers were rather obvious and spiteful in their dated misogyny. Not all, which was helpful to Henrietta. Sometimes you really need to put aside your views on women in power if you want to live. I'm curious as to what will happen in the next book, as it looks like Henrietta will be in more and more battles to come, and which secrets will be uncovered. Because there are quite a few.

(I borrowed an e-book copy of this title from the library.)

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (307)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: Defy the Stars
Author: Claudia Gray
Release Date: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

From Goodreads:

In her most epic and ambitious work to date, bestselling author Claudia Gray takes readers on an interstellar journey exploring what it means to be human.

Noemi Vidal is a teen soldier from the planet Genesis, once a colony of Earth that's now at war for its independence. The humans of Genesis have fought Earth's robotic "mech" armies for decades with no end in sight. 

After a surprise attack, Noemi finds herself stranded in space on an abandoned ship where she meets Abel, the most sophisticated mech prototype ever made. One who should be her enemy. But Abel's programming forces him to obey Noemi as his commander, which means he has to help her save Genesis--even though her plan to win the war will kill him. 

Together they embark on a daring voyage through the galaxy. Before long, Noemi begins to realize Abel may be more than a machine, and, for his part, Abel's devotion to Noemi is no longer just a matter of programming.

Sci-fiiiiiii. Super epic sci-fi with robots and mechs and questions of morality and humanity and programming. Yessssssss.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Me on All In

Title: All In
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Release Date: November 3, 2015
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Three casinos. Three bodies. Three days. After a string of brutal murders in Las Vegas, Cassie Hobbes and the Naturals are called in to investigate. But even with the team's unique profiling talents, these murders seem baffling: unlike many serial killers, this one uses different methods every time. All of the victims were killed in public, yet the killer does not show up on any tape. And each victim has a string of numbers tattooed on their wrist. Hidden in the numbers is a code—and the closer the Naturals come to unraveling the mystery, the more perilous the case becomes. Meanwhile, Cassie is dealing with an equally dangerous and much more painful mystery. For the first time in years, there's been a break in her mother's case. As personal issues and tensions between the team mount, Cassie and the Naturals will be faced with impossible odds—and impossible choices.

All In continues the overall theme and mood from the first two books, continues the tension and the mystery, the intrigue and the danger. There's always a killer out there waiting to be caught, there are always clues left behind in the things they do, the people they kill, and there's always someone watching and piecing it all together.

It doesn't take long for Cassie to get slammed by painful memories again. The loss of her mother, the lack of knowledge as to what really happened to her, if she's really dead or just missing. But then she gets some news. They think they found her body. But Cassie doesn't have time for grieving all over again. Not when she and the other Naturals are on their way to Las Vegas in order to help with an ongoing case. No more cold cases.

Everyone's demons creep out a little here, reminding the reader that Cassie isn't the only one with skeletons in her closet. There's Michael's... relationship with his father, Sloane's issues stemming from her past before the Naturals program, Dean still coming to terms with his childhood and what his father made him do (but he is getting better with that, being supportive with Cassie). And as always, Lia being Lia. Cassie is the glue that holds them all together. She knows that. But can she keep it up after all this new information about her mother?

I regret that I didn't pick this up sooner because I couldn't stop reading it. Like Cassie and the others, I had to find out who the killer was. I had to know who did it and why, what their reasoning was, what the patterns meant. And the twist at the end? Fans of the previous two books will certainly enjoy this one and scramble to read the fourth once they finish.

(I borrowed an e-book of this title from the library.)

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Me on This Week's Book Week (234)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

Not much to talk about this week. Every day felt the same this past week. Maybe next week will feel different?

Reviews going up this week will feature All In by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Tuesday) and A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess (Friday). :)
The Reader by Traci Chee (borrowed from the library)
A New Hope: The Princess, The Scoundrel and the Farm Boy by Alexandra Bracken (borrowed from the library)