Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

Daughter of immortals.

Princess Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mortal. Diana will soon learn that she has rescued no ordinary girl, and that with this single brave act, she may have doomed the world.

Daughter of death.

Alia Keralis just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted by people who think her very existence could spark a world war. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together.

Two girls will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. Tested beyond the bounds of their abilities, Diana and Alia must find a way to unleash hidden strengths and forge an unlikely alliance. Because if they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war. – Goodreads

If you’re expecting the book to be like the movie, let me spoil it for you: it’s nothing like the movie.

I was pretty excited to read this because I enjoy Leigh Bardugo’s work and was curious as to how a comic book series would translate into a narrative.

I’ll be honest, this book took me forever to finish. Yes, I’m in a slump; but also…this book was incredibly boring. How can you have a superpowered beautiful (because we were constantly reminded while reading) Amazon princess who kicks ass and takes names but be boring? I’m not sure. Much of the book was a drag, with a few exciting parts thrown in.

The plot was also insanely easy to predict. The twist could be seen from the beginning of the story.

On the pros side, I liked having two strong female leads and a strong female supporting character who was also a lesbian. The book was not focused on romance, but instead at the mission at hand: take the Warbringer to the magical spring.

Overall, I enjoyed the new spin on an old classic. I still liked the book more than I liked the movie, however, I won’t be rushing to recommend either to anyone. I rated the book a 2/5 on Goodreads.

 

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Blood Oath by Raye Wagner & Kelly St. Clare

More than anything, I crave adventure. But in the disease ridden land of Verald, life is mapped out much like the well-established rings of our kingdom.

At the very heart reigns our vicious king and Lord Irrik, an invincible dragon shifter, at his side. Their power poisons the land and the people, leading to a steadily mounting number of enemies.

But change is coming.

When the rebellion surges, the king strikes back. Captured by Lord Irrik, I’m suddenly embroiled in a deadly game. One where I’m desperate to understand the rules.

Because I’m not only fighting for my life… but also a love that could be the very key to my freedom. – Goodreads

I’m 50/50 on this one.

It was quick, easy read that kept me entertained and engaged, but much of it fell short in the plot and character building department. It was also quite predictable.

Let’s hit the pros first: the plot moved quickly, which made it difficult to put the book down. There was never a good lull to power down my Kindle and go to bed. I appreciated the lack of instalove, and instead, a slow burning romance that kept my interest.

However, the main character, Ryn, was young and impulsive. If I didn’t know her age in the book, I’d have guessed she was 14 or 15. At times, she was so impulsive and stupid; literally, if any other character in the book had pulled the stunts she did, they’d have been killed. She also faced a lot of tragedy and hardship, but didn’t seem to grow from it.

Overall, the book was enjoyable and addicting to read. If you enjoy young adult fantasy, definitely give it a shot. I rated the book 3/5 on Goodreads.

A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas

Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever. – Goodreads

Apparently, I read the first book back in May 2015. I don’t remember reading it. I ordered a sample on Amazon and seriously, did not remember a damn thing. So I purchased the book, read it, and still didn’t remember anything. Usually when I’ve read a book already and reread it, I at least have a spark or a vague idea. Nope.

Anyway, I enjoyed it much more the second time around, if my current review vs. my old one is anything to go by. I enjoyed the character building, and really didn’t mind Feyre. The book is reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast, with a few darker elements woven in.

Now, this is a review of the series. I also read Court of Mist and Fury (#2) and Court of Wings and Ruin (#3). Rather than write standalone reviews for them, I’m going to review the entire series here.

I devoured the first book. I sped through the second book. But the third book? I’m a little sick of it, and I’m drudging through it. The primary element that kept me reading was the romance. Maas is fantastic at it and the tension in book one and two kept me interested. Once the tension petered out, I lost interest in book three. According to Goodreads, there are three more books slated to be published — I’ll be honest, I probably won’t read them.

They were easy reads. I enjoyed them. I was hooked and had a hard time putting them down, most of the time. If you enjoyed the Throne of Glass series, give these a shot. Maas is a great writer and does a fantastic job at weaving a story, constructing a magical world and building her characters. However, I’m ready for a new Maas series — I’m burnt out on this one.

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

LLTTDLove Letters so the Dead by Ava Dellaira is about a high school student named Laurel. On her first day of school, she receives an assignment to write a letter to someone that is dead and the entire book is just letters she continues to write to Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Amelia Earhart, and way more. The entire story is written through those letters.

Laurel’s sister May died right in front of Laurel, so there is definitely a tragedy there. Their parents had been split up for awhile and their mom constantly questioned Laurel about what exactly happened before “running away” to California. The entire story, you can tell there is something bigger that happened between May and Laurel, and Laurel knows why May died but refuses to talk about it. There is a lot, A LOT, of crying and a lot of juvenile naivete from Laurel as well as from her friends.

To me it felt like Laurel was desperate for someone to love her. She felt abandoned by everyone around her – her sister died, her mom fled to California because she couldn’t deal, her dad is a hollow shell because of everything that’s happened, etc. and she grasps at any attention she receives. She’s obviously dealing with a lot and not thinking clearly. There is an abundance of under-age drinking and skipping school, parties and drugs as well.

About 3/4 of the way through the book, you finally find out exactly what happened leading up to May’s death and it completely broke my heart. I was literally sitting in bed with snot and tears running down my face, my husband looking at me like I was crazy (he just doesn’t understand book-love). After that, I completely understood all of Laurel’s behavior, her lashing out, the sneaking out, the drinking, everything. If you put yourself back into a teenager’s shoes, and imagine a teenager going through everything she went through, then the book is absolutely amazing. If you go into it thinking that the topic will be dealt with on a mature level, then you shouldn’t read this book. Laurel is a TEENAGER and she deals with trauma the way only teenagers do – by rebelling. She’s trying to find herself and figure out how to keep living.

I rated Love Letters to the Dead 4/5 on Goodreads. It’s not my favorite, but I did really like it and I really related to Laurel.

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The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

11235712About a year ago, I bought Cinder for a $1.99 and tried to read it. I didn’t get halfway through the first chapter before putting it down. The whole cyborg concept really threw me off and I just wasn’t into it.

If only I’d given it until Chapter Two—I would have been hooked. I gave Cinder a second chance last week and have since blown through Scarlet (book two) and Cress (book three). I cannot wait for the fourth book, Winter, to come out this year (can you believe this year is 2015?!).

The entire series is incredibly well-written and original. I’m not usually a science fiction fan, but this was superb. Told in multiple points-of-view, the storyline focuses on Cinder, a cyborg mechanic who discovers her mysterious past after a series of run-ins with Prince Kai, the plague, and an elderly royal doctor.

I love retold fairy tales, and this was no different. Meyer took classic fairy tales—Cinderella, Little Red13206760 Riding Hood, and Rapunzel—and spun them into science fiction. Cinder’s story is based off of Cinderella, if her name didn’t imply that already—she’s an adopted cyborg, complete with two stepsisters, a nasty stepmom, and a dirty job. She doesn’t need mice helpers—she has Iko, a little robot with a personality flaw that makes her more human than android.

Book two is named after a new character, Scarlet, who’s story falls along the lines of Little Red Riding Hood. Her grandmother is kidnapped, which leads her to Wolf, a streetfighter with an uncanny lupine resemblance.

Book three is named after Cress, who, with her long golden hair and satellite prison, is the story of Rapunzel.

13206828Each chapter switches between characters—Cinder, Prince Kai, Queen Levana (the evil queen), Cress, Scarlet, Wolf, Captain Thorne. This style usually annoys me and leaves me overwhelmed, but Meyer did it flawlessly, in a way that made the story mesh and flow, while enabling the reader to truly get to know each character. In fact, there wasn’t a single character that annoyed me—I loved that. All three girls are very independent and strong in their own respective ways, and though there was some instalove, it wasn’t that bad.

I highly recommend this series! 5/5 on Goodreads.

lauren copy 3

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

7747374In the beginning they were a group of nine. Nine aliens who left their home planet of Lorien when it fell under attack by the evil Mogadorian. Nine aliens who scattered on Earth. Nine aliens who look like ordinary teenagers living ordinary lives, but who have extraordinary, paranormal skills. Nine aliens who might be sitting next to you now. The Nine had to separate and go into hiding.

 

I kind of have a love-meh relationship with this book. I suspect this stems from watching the movie prior to reading the book, which kind of eliminates any sense of surprise.

Despite knowing what happened, I continued to read the book. It was definitely an enjoyable read, albeit I found the main character, Number Four or John Smith, extremely boring and tedious to handle. Perhaps this is because I was never a teenage boy grappling with hormones, girls, and developing powers. Perhaps it’s simply because the character was dull. In fact, I found most of the characters pretty flat—Sarah, the girlfriend, was way too perfect. Sam, the best friend, was the stereotypical weirdo who is obsessed with aliens and gets beat up. Really, my favorite people were Henri (Four’s guardian) who cannot use swear words to save his life (“It’s shit good to see you”) and Bernie Kosar, the dog.

The dog had more personality than John Smith/Number Four.

I truly enjoyed the world building in the book—though we never actually visited the planet of Lorien, Lore does a great job of painting what it looked like through a series of dreams and flashbacks. His description of the enemy alien race is crazy good, too.

The magical concepts were great, as was the timeline, history, and background behind why the nine Lorien children were sent to Earth. Lore definitely has a gift with telling a story, and I can see why the series became so popular. It was a quick, easy read, and I can think of a few people who would definitely enjoy this series.

Before reading the excerpt for the second book, I wasn’t sure I was going to continue reading the series. I wasn’t wowed by the first book. However, after reading the first chapter of The Power of Six, my interest has been piqued. Instead of being told from the point-of-view of Number Four, it’s told by Number Six. She sounds way more interesting than I found John Smith, so I’ll give it a shot.

I gave this book a 4/5 on Goodreads.

Lauren11

The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson

18634726The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson was one of the books on my fall to-read list, and I was super excited to get into it – the description alone was enough to get me hooked. Cue the disappointment…

I hate rating books badly, but this book just did not do it for me. Maybe I had too high of expectations or maybe I thought it was going to be something much different… in fact, I definitely thought it was going to be something much different. You know me, I’m into crime thrillers and mysteries – this was FAR from that. Part of the Goodreads summary describes The Vanishing Season as a friendship story bound in snow and starlight, a haunting mystery of love, betrayal, redemption, and the moments that we leave behind. While it’s definitely a story of friendship and betrayal, I wouldn’t call it haunting or a mystery of any sorts. It’s beautifully written, and has absolutely amazing descriptions, but unfortunately it fell flat for me. My favorite books are the ones that suck you in and make you completely part of their world, so much so that it sticks in your mind and doesn’t let you forget. This story though? It just wasn’t enough for me. I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re not looking for a mystery/thriller and want an easy, slow read. I rated it 2/5 on Goodreads.

Kiesha