Review Archive

All my reviews are spoiler-free

Reviews are sorted alphabetically by author’s last name.

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The Wrath & the Dawn (The Wrath & the Dawn, #1)The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
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If this were high school, The Wrath & The Dawn would be the popular girl who wore all the right clothes and never got an answer wrong in class, that everybody liked except me, but deep down I suspected that maybe she wasn’t all that bad. Even after 100 pages, I was left wondering why everyone was crazy about this book. Shahrzad wasn’t a bad character, per se, but she didn’t seem all that, either. Combined with the execution of the plot and the writing style, The Wrath & The Dawn did not live up to its hype for me.

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Full review

Why is this familiar? Haven’t it seen this somewhere before? Oh, yeah! Everywhere. Here is another book that did not live up to the hype at all. I didn’t see anything particularly special about it, the thing that has apparently captured so many people’s intrigue and respect. I thought it was just another paper cutout of a story, a story that deviated little from others of its ilk. I wasn’t emotionally attached to the main character (or any of the characters), the writing did nothing for me, and the world didn’t pique my interest at all.

The Demon's Lexicon (The Demon's Lexicon, #1)The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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This is one of those stories that seems like it’s going to go one way, then it veers off road, over a ditch, through a tangle of brambles, and suddenly you’re somewhere entirely different. While I had issues with the merely competent writing style, some underdeveloped characters, and the presentation of the world, The Demon’s Lexicon was an enjoyable read, the beginning of a series I definitely feel compelled to continue reading.

Cry Wolf (Alpha & Omega, #1)Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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Patricia Briggs has long since been one of my all-time favorite authors, and after having read more than half of her published novels, I’ve come to know what to expect with her work: pure awesomeness.  With a perfect blend of writing talent, engrossing plot, cheer-worthy characters all bundled together with humor, Cry Wolf is a perfect follow up to the short story Alpha and Omega and a brilliant opening to the series.  Even the third time around, Patricia Briggs still delivers as if it were the first.

Ink and Bone (The Great Library, #1)Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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First of all, yes, finally. This is a book about books but it’s more than just a shiny idea. Rachel Caine brings the whole package: a dynamic group of characters, a beautifully imagined and well-thought out world, and a swift, electric plot that all wrapped seamlessly together. A great idea brilliantly executed.

RookRook by Sharon Cameron
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Full review

My main issue with Rook was the way in which the story hit every beat that has been hit a hundred times by hundreds of other stories. The idea was sound, I thought, but none of the elements of the story seemed to really come together. The characters came off as puppets, the plot was confusing since I had no idea where information was coming from, and the writing was pretty shy of the mark.

Once and for AllOnce and for All by Sarah Dessen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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Sarah Dessen has been one of those consistent presences in my life.  I started reading her books when I was twelve (perhaps a little young to be reading Just Listen, but I credit Sarah Dessen with getting me into writing, because as I read her books, I discovered the desire to want to do exactly what she did).  So I don’t think it’s possible for me to be disappointed with anything Sarah Dessen does, because I have such a long and tender history with her books.  Once and for All did have a snag for me because I wasn’t a huge fan of the romance, but I still really enjoyed it.

The LostThe Lost by Sarah Beth Durst
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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I feel a certain affection for Sarah Beth Durst because I’ve read so many of her books, and I’m a huge fan of her sense of humor. The tricky bit about reading multiple books from the same author is that you start to build up an expectation, a standard of excellence, and every book of theirs should reach that standard. It’s hard not to compare their books against each other. But I’d have to say that The Lost comes with Sarah Beth Durst’s signature humor, but lacks the certain je ne sais quoi that I’ve come to expect from her other books.

27883214Caraval by Stephanie Garber
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Full review

It’s books like this that make me suspicious of overnight successes that clog my bookstagram feed.  What a complete disappointment.  There was nothing clever about this book; it wasn’t “unique.”  It was a bore and a chore to get through.  The plot was laughable, the characters paper thin, and the writing style disengaging.  The world, which was supposed to be one of the major draws of the book, was meh.  For a book that haunts my social media, it’s just as insubstantial as a ghost.

Magonia (Magonia, #1)Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Full review

This book is more than just a pretty cover. Neil Gaiman wasn’t too far off in his blurb: “Maria Dahvana Headley is a firecracker: she’s whip smart with a heart, and she writes like a dream.” Magonia is something electric–a lightning strike with gold-edged feathers that leaves the echo of song in its wake. Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop, and I tore through it in a single day. There was so much to pull me in: great narrators, a fantastic new world, and writing that was so on-point, I was alternately green with jealousy and giddy with this new series.

The Paper Magician (The Paper Magician Trilogy, #1)The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Full review

I could have really enjoyed The Paper Magician, if only for the fascinating world with a form of magic I’ve never come across before: the manipulation of paper. You could animate stories by reading them aloud, see the future by using that paper fortune teller thing we played with as kids, and create entire gardens out of various sizes and colors of paper. But the nifty idea was not enough to carry this story for me. While some aspects were relatively solid, most of it was underdeveloped and fell flat, from the characters to the plot.

The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1)The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Full review

Thank the Lord for Erika Johansen. I’d been despairing slightly about the state of fantasies lately, until I stumbled upon this gem. As I understand it, this is her first novel, and good grief, am I not torn between admiration and envy. Erika Johansen accomplished so much within 500 pages. Everything about The Queen of the Tearling seemed effortless–except for the characters’ journeys, of course. The writing seemed to disappear as I read, and the characters came to life, all little 3D reliefs against the backdrop of this beautifully imagined world.

The Invasion of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #2)The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Full review

Sequels are notorious for their potential for falling short, but Erika Johansen, despite this being only the second book under her belt, is not a novice. She not only successfully maintained the brilliance of her first book without rehashing, but she went beyond the boundaries of her first book and explored different aspects of her characters and world, ultimately creating a beautiful second installment.

The Fate of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #3)The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Full review

Never thought I’d give a book in this series anything less than a 5/5 but good lord if that ending didn’t just ruin the whole thing. I loved everything right up until the last chapter. That last chapter made me question the existence of this entire series, this series I loved so much. I still love it, but I feel I’ll have to love it without that last chapter, like cutting out an ex-boyfriend from an old picture.

First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, #1)First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Full review

I didn’t know what to expect when I picked this up. I’d gone through a stint of murder mystery urban fantasies and they were mostly let-downs, but not this one. First Grave on the Right was an incredibly fun read. And while I wasn’t in it for the mystery (I’m not a huge fan of whodunits), I will definitely stick around for the character, Charley, who is quickly becoming one of my favorites.

Second Grave on the Left (Charley Davidson, #2)Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Full review

I wish this were a TV show because I would definitely marathon it.  As it is, it’s hard not to rush out and get the next book right this second.  Charley’s character is magnetic, her powers fascinating, her life thrilling.  Despite some of the issues starting to develop for me in this second installment, I very much enjoyed it and can’t wait to get a hold of book three.

Third Grave Dead Ahead (Charley Davidson, #3)Third Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Full review

Charlotte Davidson, grim reaper and private investigator with a penchant for trouble, returns.  Still hilarious, still exciting, but now that I’m three books in, the shine is starting to wear off.  Issues are arising for me, specifically with the relationship development between our mighty heroine and her boy toy Reyes Farrow.

Ghost TalkersGhost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Full review

What an enchanting read! I was very pleasantly surprised by the maturity and depth of Ghost Talkers. It’s a story about love and patriotism and letting go and standing tall. I loved the backdrop of WWI Europe and the vivid world of the Spirit Corps, but Ginger was what made it all come alive. She was a brilliant main character and I thoroughly enjoyed her story.

The Falconer (The Falconer, #1)The Falconer by Elizabeth May
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Full review

I don’t think I read the description before I started reading it. It’s a habit that I’ve gotten into that I’m grateful for, because more often than not, the jacket summary gives me a set of expectations before I go into it, and the story is typically different from the expectations that the jacket summary gave me, sometimes better, sometimes worse. In The Falconer‘s case, my expectation of a story borne of wish fulfillment would have been spot on.

23430471Riders by Veronica Rossi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Full review

I know I can always trust Veronica Rossi to bring me out of a reading slump.  I didn’t have a clue what this book was about before I launched into it; I just went with it and Veronica Rossi did not disappoint.  It was a fun, exciting story that kept me engaged, fired my imagination, and had me laughing out loud.  It was the perfect antidote to lift me out of my reading slump.

Seeker (Riders #2)Seeker by Veronica Rossi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Full review

I am so disappointed that this is just a duology!  I’ve really gotten attached to the characters and I want to see even more of the world.  While I think the story came to an end nicely, I could still go for more.  Really, though, I just can’t wait for what Veronica Rossi comes out with next.  She’s an author I can rely on to produce stories worth reading.

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1)A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Full review

So, like…it was fine.  It didn’t live up to the hype but it didn’t utterly fail me, either.  It was engaging, the characters were interesting, the world was cool, but I just didn’t find myself particularly engaged at any point.  Like an “okay” first date, there was nothing wrong that I could put my finger on, but there was no…spark.  For this reason, I probably won’t be continuing with the series.

Scythe (Arc of a Skythe, #1)Scythe by Neal Shusterman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Full review

I had no idea what this book was about before I started reading it. I picked it up because it’s a Printz Medal winner, so it had to be good, right? Yes. I went in totally blind but it paid off so well. I absolutely loved how Neal Shusterman took a no-holds-barred look at the role death plays in our lives and explored the problems of immortality. All of this packaged up with characters to cheer for and a fascinating world. I can’t wait to have this book for my shelves.

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