ARC Review: Fatal Throne: The Wives of Henry VIII Tell All by Various Authors

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ARC Review: The Atrocities by Jeremy C. Shipp

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*Spoiler Free* ARC Review: The Heart Forger (The Bone Witch #2) by Rin Chupeco

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Book Review: Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

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ARC Review: Honor Among Thieves (The Honors #1) by Rachel Caine & Ann Aguirre

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Petty criminal Zara Cole has a painful past that’s made her stronger than most, which is why she chose life in New Detroit instead moving with her family to Mars. In her eyes, living inside a dome isn’t much better than a prison cell.

Still, when Zara commits a crime that has her running scared, jail might be exactly where she’s headed. Instead Zara is recruited into the Honors, an elite team of humans selected by the Leviathan—a race of sentient alien ships—to explore the outer reaches of the universe as their passengers.

Zara seizes the chance to flee Earth’s dangers, but when she meets Nadim, the alien ship she’s assigned, Zara starts to feel at home for the first time. But nothing could have prepared her for the dark, ominous truths that lurk behind the alluring glitter of starlight.

review

**** Big thank you to HarperTeen for giving me an eARC in exchange for an honest review****

Trigger Warning: Parental Abuse

I have to say even though I liked this one I definitely didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. I went into this book thinking I’d be walking away with a 5 star rating if not a 4, but sadly it didn’t live up to those expectations. I feel like this will probably be more of an unpopular opinion and will I LIKED it I didn’t LOVE it, so it’s “meh” to me.

PLOT

I liked that we are thrown into action almost immediately and it’s pretty fast paced throughout the beginning. I did feel like the story really dragged in the middle and that’s where I got really bored with it but it did pick back up in the end. Overall I thought the pacing was kind of uneven though.

As for the plot itself, the premise was amazing but the execution fell short for me. I liked what little world building there was, the concept of sentient ships was really interesting but that’s as far as anything really went in this book. We hardly find out anything about the Leviathan and we really don’t learn anything about any other alien lifeforms out in the universe either. That was disappointing, however the ending seemed to promise future expansion on the world building in the sequel so I’m thinking I’ll read it just to learn more!

Other than the Leviathan (the sentient ships), the plot felt like it was really lacking any tension or action. Nothing about it compelled me to keep reading, since I felt nothing was really happening at all. This kind of carried throughout the entire story, the feeling that nothing was really happening. Which is a bummer because, come on, sci-fi should be filled with a lot more action than this! There really weren’t any big plot twists and when there were some, they were pretty anti-climatic or plain predictable.

There were some scenes where the action would pick up and things got a little interesting but it still felt…..flat and tedious. I don’t know, but the “action” scenes still felt lacking, which is a big reason I felt bored while reading.

However, the ending was pretty dang good. It’s a bit of a cliffhanger and it definitely piqued my interest enough to want to read the sequel.

characters

Since this book mainly focuses on a pair of Honors (people) traveling alone on a sentient ship through space, there really aren’t that many characters to keep track of.

Zara Cole is the main protagonist, she’s a thief/con artist that gets herself into more trouble she can handle just as she’s selected to travel with a Leviathan. I normally enjoy the “street rat/criminal” types of characters but it really didn’t work with Zara, in my opinion. I felt that the authors were trying way too hard to make her a “badass” and she just came off really flat and at times plain rude. Having an attitude problem towards every character doesn’t make you “tough and badass”, which is exactly how I felt with Zara.

On top of that, Zara makes stupid decisions. Granted, she didn’t make stupid decisions the entire time but there were a couple incidents where I cringed and wanted to teleport myself into the book just to make her stop. For example, when meeting an alien life form that doesn’t immediately attack you maybe DON’T shoot it. Just saying. Use some common sense here, shooting first and asking questions later isn’t going to make ANY life form fond of you.

So, I guess it’s safe to say I didn’t really like Zara.

As for Beatriz, Zara’s co-Honor, I actually did really like her. She’s quieter but she’s extremely smart and very sweet, I liked her a lot more than Zara anyways. Plus what Beatriz did to their medical bot was HILARIOUS!

Zara and Beatriz actually build up a really great friendship by the end of the story, and I LIVED for it. We need more great female friendships like this in YA!

The last important character is Nadim, the Leviathan/sentient ship. Honestly, Nadim was so innocent and adorable, I wanted to protect him because he is too precious for this world! There really wasn’t anything bad about Nadim, he is very kind and adores Zara and Beatriz and will do anything to protect them. Although as sweet as Nadim is, he is a bit naive which puts them in potential danger at times.

Also there is diversity! Zara is black, Beatriz is Brazilian, and there is a side character who is Chinese.

romance

Is there a romance in “Honor Among Thieves”? Kind of? I don’t really know myself as it was hard to tell. There was definitely SOMETHING between Zara and Nadim and while normally I would feel it was just a strong bond of friendship, I got some romantic feeling vibes. It was…….really weird. I hope it’s just a friendship thing and not romantic because that would feel really awkward in my opinion.

in conclusion

As I already mentioned I thought the premise for the story was fantastic but the overall execution fell short. I am interested in reading the sequel though, that ending left me feeling that the series may get better.

What I Loved:

  • The world building (even though it wasn’t much)
  • Beatriz and Nadim
  • Strong female friendship

What I Didn’t Love:

  • Uneven pacing
  • Overall plot was lacking tension and excitement
  • Zara’s character felt like she was trying too hard and she made some dumb decisions
  • The potential “romance” between Zara and Nadim was just plain weird

RECOMMEND

I can’t really say this will be a book I’ll go around recommending but it isn’t a BAD book by any means. I did enjoy it for the most part, it just wasn’t something that blew me away. I would say if it sounds like something you’d enjoy, go for it!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

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The Sassy

Book Review: Want (Want #1) by Cindy Pon

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Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits that protect them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother, who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost.

With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary.

Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is or destroying his own heart?

review

After all of the hype “Want” started receiving I immediately picked it up and my expectations were a little high since I’ve seen nothing but glowing 4-5 star reviews for it! A diverse, sci-fi read set in Taiwan sounds awesome! However, I really just don’t get it? Was it bad? No. Was it mind blowingly awesome? Definitely not. So unfortunately I won’t really be adding more to the hype or really be recommending it too much which is disappointing.

PLOT

My biggest problem with this book and why I didn’t enjoy it more is because of the pacing. It was unbearably slow and it took up until 65% of the way through for anything actually exciting to happen! I almost DNF’d this book several times because it was taking forever to get good and it also took 2 weeks to finish it which is a little ridiculous for me personally since that’s half a month spent on one book!

The beginning half of the book is setting Jason up to infiltrate Jin Corp and him fawning over Jin’s daughter who is technically “the enemy”. This trope works sometimes and other times it can get pretty damn boring which I thought was the case here with “Want” since it was also utterly predictable as well. As for the second half of the book that’s where things get far more exciting, faster paced, and action packed! Where was all that action at the beginning of the story?

I felt the world building had a lot of potential and it was also one of the better aspects of the book. It’s set in a futuristic Taipei where the environment is extremely polluted and most people don’t live past 40 due to viruses and lowered immune systems. I thought this was really interesting but would have liked a little more development.

I also didn’t really like that everything that occurred throughout the story felt too convenient, there were never really any obstacles at all because there was a friend or piece of technology there for every situation. Was it still cool? Yes. Just a little annoying sometimes since it felt too easy.

I also loved the setting, futuristic Taiwan, it’s really awesome to see a YA sci-fi (or any book really) set and inspired by the eastern world! And the topics Pon handles such as global warming, pollution, and the wage gap were also handled very well in my opinion and it was great to see some big, important, and serious topics such as these represented in YA.

characters

I think the characters were one of my favorite parts of “Want”! First of all they’re ALL diverse, we see Taiwanese, Chinese, Indian, and Filipino characters which is amazing. I thought all of Zhou and his friends were really down to Earth, loyal, and just generally likable. However I didn’t feel that any of them developed at all or had any deeper level of complexity, besides Zhou they were all kind of just simple and there.

There weren’t really any other characters besides Jin and his daughter, Daiyu. Jin is your typical, cardboard cut out villain and really isn’t anything special and Daiyu is a bit of a Mary Sue. The instant Zhou meets her he’s all about how “unique” she is and “how she isn’t like any other girls” and that was a little bit annoying seeing how she is represented as being perfect the entire time as well.

romance

While I generally enjoyed the romance and I thought Zhou and Daiyu were really cute together I did not like how Insta-Lovey they were. That was my only problem with it though was the insta-love which was pretty heavy.

in conclusion

My overall thoughts are that this book had both good spots and weak spots in it which is the magic combination for a “meh” book for me. I really wanted to enjoy this one more but it fell pretty short.

What I Loved:

  • The diverse setting
  • The diverse and very likable characters
  • The world building (even though I wanted more)
  • The second half of the book which was action packed and fast paced

What I Didn’t Love: 

  • Super, slow pacing at the beginning
  • Not a whole lot going on plot-wise
  • Many things in the plot felt too convenient
  • Insta-Love Romance
  • Daiyu’s character was a “perfect Mary Sue”

RECOMMEND

If you’d like to read an awesome diverse read then definitely check this book out, however, maybe go in with some lowered expectations since I found it to be very slow paced and borderline a little boring.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy