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Book Review: Broken Crowns (The Internment Chronicles, #3) by Lauren DeStefano-4 Stars

What do you do when both kings love their country, to the point of taking drastic measures such as MURDER to keep their home the way it’s always been? “Broken Crowns” picks up where “Burning Kingdoms” left off- Morgan and her friends who escaped to the ground are realizing the horrors of two combating kingdoms and everyone is trying to plan how to remedy the situation. I really didn’t care for the second book, and I didn’t think I would ever finish this one-it was SO slow moving but the turning point happened when Basil and Morgan finally  make it back to Interment from the ground and find Celeste…(no spoilers!) I thought Celeste’s plan to unite the two kingdoms was very brave and seemed exactly the kind of decision she would make!

The character’s were very well thought out, as they have been from book one. No one is boring or flat, and every character offers something to the point of the novel, they aren’t just fillers. Pen was my least favorite character in book two, but I absolutely loved her in “Broken Crowns.” She is brilliant, stubborn, loyal, and thinks for herself. While on the ground, Pen calculates that Internment is sinking slightly each time the jet from Havalais travels back and forth, which could eventually cause serious problems for Internment. My favorite quote in the book came from her: ” A girl should never stop thinking…otherwise we’ll become what our world thinks of us….dull, simple creatures that must belong to someone lest we hurt ourselves” (p. 224)

Although it took me some time to get really in to it, “Broken Crowns” is full of shockers and twists you don’t see coming. DeStefano created such imaginative worlds with impressive characters that really draw you in to the story. I felt it was the perfect wrap up to this trilogy.

Book Review

Book Review: Creeping Shadow (The Rise of Isaac, #1) by Caroline Peckham-4 Stars

creeping shadow

A man waits in Vale, a world void of humanity.

A mother vanishes, her disappearance concealed by the police.

A girl collapses, black magic invading her blood.

And a boy linked to them all must fight to save his family.

Earth is just one of seven worlds. Gateways divide the realms and those who pass through must earn keys, participating in challenges that will separate the fearful from the brave, the weak from the strong, and the witless from the cunning.

Sixteen year old Oliver Knight knows nothing of the other worlds or his family’s dark past. But when his adopted sister succumbs to a deadly curse the truth is revealed and he is plunged into an unknown land in a desperate bid to save her. However, a sinister enemy is on the rise and the danger they face at every turn throws those around them under suspicion. In order to survive, Oliver must figure out who to trust, who to believe and, ultimately, who to fear…

 

Creeping Shadow is The Hunger Games meets Divergent meets Harry Potter! There’s magi, challenges, keys to other worlds to obtain, and secrets…

From the first page I was hooked. It was not one of those action packed fantasies that can take a while to get built up, but rather you are captivated from the start! A young Oliver and his mom are driving one night when something in the road catches their eye. They find a girl about Oliver’s age with no memory but her name, May. Flash forward 10 years, Oliver’s mom has adopted May, and the teens come home to find their mother’s room torn apart and she is nowhere to be found. A detective arrives, and not long after, comes another, claiming to be the first one on the scene. Oliver and May take them upstairs to find the first “detective” gone, and their mom’s room in order. It seems like nothing ever happened. Since they are minors, they can’t be alone, and are shortly shipped off to their grandfather’s house, whom they’ve never even met. He lives in a magical looking mansion with a huge tree coming out of the center, and things just don’t seem normal here. One night, Oliver wakes up to the sound of May screaming, with black veins slithering under her skin. Ely, their grandfather, realizes he can’t hide anymore about who he is-a mage, and is a gatekeeper for Aleva, one of 7 worlds beside Earth.

Oliver and May have to compete in a race in order to earn keys to the other worlds where they will receive more answers about all of the secrets that just keep coming to life. Oliver learns what really happened to his father, and we keep catching glimpses through flashbacks of Isaac, who has been in Vale, one of the worlds desolate, occupied by Varks-some scary creatures! The author has also created, aside from seven unique worlds, some freaky and unique creatures-hogtrouts, bats that burst into flames, just to name a few!

The reason for a 4 star rating, while I thouroughly enjoyed the unique storyline, thrill, and fantasy, I felt the world building and descriptions were extremely overwhelming. I also hated the cliffhanger ending!  But the characters were dimensional, enjoyable, and the plot was exhilarating, and I can’t wait to continue the series.

Creeping Shadows releases December 10, 2015. I was provided an ARC from the author in exchange for my honest review. Thank you, Ms. Peckham!

 

Book Review

Book Review: Branded by Abi Ketner & Missy Kalicicki-4 Stars

I received this book via NetGalley for review.

branded

Summary on Goodreads.

Branded tells the story of Lexi, who has been branded with a blue band of lust, a sin she knows is false, but hasn’t the courage to say otherwise. The story is set some 50 years after World War V, in a world where those who have committed one of the Seven Deadly Sins (Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, and Pride) are condemned to a life in the Hole. The Commander decided having these hardened criminals out in society was a horrible thing, so he brands them all on their neck with corresponding colors of their sins and they wait out the remainder of their days in the working “city” known as the hole. Sinners are expected to work, obey the guards, and pretty much fend for themselves. What’s crazy is, we are all sinners. The Commander is committing the sin of pride and wrath by condemning who he wants to submit to his authority. Who gives one MAN the power to determine who is worse than another? I may be reading too much into it, but I sensed some biblical undertones, of someone wanting to be a “savior” to the sinners, but in his own twisted way.

This novel was really gruesome, but I felt that the story had to have the gory parts because it really transported me to the life in the Hole. The authors did an amazing job with detail and explaining the history of the Hole. Lexi’s father, before he died, was a well-known advocate for sinners, trying to put an end to the Commander’s reign. Lexi is constantly thinking of him, and even though she suffers in the Hole daily, her father’s motto “You can survive anything, short of death” keeps her going.  This book has drama, suspense, romance, and action all packed into one exciting read! Oh, and there is also a super-precious puppy dog, Zeus. 😉 I loved the development between Lexi and Cole-a forbidden romance ooh ohhhhh!  Lexi was an incredibly strong woman, and I really enjoyed her character. I seriously loved Cole! I thought several supporting characters, like Bruno and Sutton. The ending of this book was WILD!

I can’t wait for the sequel! Have you read Branded? Do you want to? Let me know!

 

Book Review

Book Review: The Passage (Beyond Two Worlds #1) by Nabille De La Luz

*I received an uncorrected Beta version of the book The Passage by the author in exchange for an honest review.*

 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22398187-the-passage

I’d had this book on my Goodreads TBR for several months before Nabille asked if I would like to review it…so of course I was super excited because it sounded so good! The book is about a virtual world called Lumen, and a world called Zero where it’s citizens must deal with radiation in the air while they try to survive. In order to be lucky enough to live in Lumen, participants must complete 4 zones in The Passage. You can either complete all 4 tests successfully and live in Lumen, go to university, etc., females can be purchased by a man before having a chance to fail in The Passage, or, die. Kino, the main character, has trained for this moment her entire life. She doesn’t really want to be bought by a man, but sometimes, that’s the only means of surviving. While reading this I felt it reminded me of The Hunger Games and I book I recently finished called Elusion. It reminded me of THG because everyone is fighting to be the winner, and Elusion because that novel focuses on a virtual reality as well. I felt the way Nabille portrayed Kino’s teammates was excellent. I got a sense of connection and understanding with each of her friends as a whole, and individuals. I would like to see more of Axel’s background fleshed out in the following book. I really liked Neal’s character, and the interactions between Neal and Kino!

This novel of course had errors and repetitive passages, but I know since it’s a Beta version that will be corrected, so that did not affect my rating or enjoyment of this book at all. The reason for only 4 stars instead of 5 is because I felt the ending was very rushed and there wasn’t much build up to a certain shocker (which I am leaving out to avoid spoilers) but overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and can’t wait for the next book in the series! If you’re looking for a dystopian with romance, fantasy, and surprise all rolled into one, I recommend The Passage!

Book Review

Book Review: The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O’Brien-4 Stars

Thank you to NetGalley and Roaring Book Press/Macmillian Children’s Publishing Group for the ARC of The Vault of Dreamers! This book is due out September 16. I will not be divulging any spoilers! 🙂

 

The Vault of Dreamers

I really enjoyed this book. It is a dystopian, which I have been loving lately! It has elements of shock, romance, and fear all bundled into one. Basically, there is this exclusive arts school called The Forge School. The school is filmed and broadcast for the whole country to watch, with the option of focusing on certain students to give them more “blip ratings.” First year students have to go through a cut of 50 students, with the losers going back home. Most of the students come from lives that they don’t really want to return to. Rosie, the MC, lives in a boxcar with her mom, good-for-nothing stepdad, and little sister. She gets in trouble at school, which is actually a school/prison, and gets on the fast track to the penitentiary, with no options for college. Luckily for her, she is able to get her blip ratings up and has the opportunity to stay at The Forge School. But Rosie begins to realize not everything is as it seems. Students go to bed every night at 6 by way of a forced sleeping pill, on the terms that the sleeping enhancing their creativity. But once Rosie skips her pill she starts seeing weird things happening to her peers while they’re sleeping. At some points in the book I also began to question Rosie’s sanity. I began to think she was schizophrenic!  O’Brien did an excellent job with making me feel right there at the school, or watching on the surface like on the show.   I did have some issues with the book though. While it was captivating and the premise was very interesting, it fell short of 5 stars for me because I didn’t know when or where it was taking place until like more than halfway through! I like to have the tone set at the beginning. I could tell it was futuristic, but the specifics weren’t mentioned until much later on in the novel. Also, while it was set in the future, I felt like there were still things that dated the time period to now. They had normal cell phones and computers, for example. I figured you could have like, an implant in your arm for all that technology…or something more advanced…IMHO. Lastly, the ending was completely rushed and a HUGE cliffhanger….there better be a sequel! 🙂 I definitely recommend you check this novel out if you enjoy sci-fi, fantasy, or dystopian.

 

 

Book Review

Book Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth-3 Stars

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17383918-allegiant

First I want to start off by saying I will try my hardest to not have any spoilers in this review…

Ok. So. I was extremely excited to read this. In the beginning anyway.  I borrowed the first 2 from a friend and for this last one, I was on the library hold waiting list for EVER! Once I finally got it, my hopes and dreams for all this book could be were crushed. Now, don’t get me wrong, it had it’s good moments. But there were so many things I felt were wrong about this book that I have to say…I just really didn’t like it. I hate to say that, but it’s true. It’s ironic that the preface states “Every question that can be answered must be answered or at least engaged. Illogical thought processes must be challenged when they arise. Wrong answers must be corrected. Correct answers must be affirmed.” (From the Erudite faction manifesto.) Is that a joke? This whole book was an illogical thought process!

I felt there was so much action packed into the book only to fall apart and crumble into shards of nothing-ness and confusion. The build up didn’t build up to anything. I felt the terms of the future of Chicago weren’t believable after all that has happened! I just felt the majority of the book was unrealistic. There was also so much information thrown around concerning the Bureau and all that, but my eyes were glazing over because it was so confusing and too much to grasp all at once. Overall, I’m glad I finished the book, resulting in the 3 stars, because I did want to know the ending of the trilogy, and I honestly loved the first two books, but I didn’t get the resolution from Allegiant that  I felt should have happened.