Book Review: There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

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Love hurts…

Makani Young thought she’d left her dark past behind her in Hawaii, settling in with her grandmother in landlocked Nebraska. She’s found new friends and has even started to fall for mysterious outsider Ollie Larsson. But her past isn’t far behind.

Then, one by one, the students of Osborne Hugh begin to die in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasingly grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and her feelings for Ollie intensify, Makani is forced to confront her own dark secrets.

review

**** I would like to just say right away before I get into the review that if you liked this book, that’s fantastic! I am in no way trying to demean your experience with this book! I, however, really hated it. So I respect your opinion and I would like if you respected mine. Thank you! ****

What can I say about this book? I really, really wanted to enjoy it because YA Horror books seem so few and far between and I like to get my hands on as many as possible. Then I heard it’s based off of the movie ‘Scream’ which is one of my all time favorites so of course I wanted to read it! However, I was extremely disappointed by it.

Prepare for a very ranty and ragey review.

PLOT

Plot? What plot? Oh you mean the one that is ROMANCE TO THE EXTREME with no horror, suspense, or slasher vibes at all? I really don’t know why I expected anything more than this from Stephanie Perkins, who is a romantic contemporary author, honestly. The plot was completely overwhelmed by the romance and sorry but I came here for a damn slasher story not a love story that just so happens to have a mediocre slasher subplot!

Now, you would think that in a slasher story there would AT LEAST be a little suspense right? “Who is the killer” type of suspense? Well, think again! Because this book had zero plot twists! Sure I didn’t guess who the killer actually was right away but when their identity is revealed it was so freaking anti-climatic. I thought it was a joke, I found myself sitting there and thinking “seriously? That’s it? That’s who the killer is?”. Speaking of the killer’s identity….it was revealed WAAAAY too early on in the story! Half way through the book early. Since it happened so soon I found myself wondering if there was going to be another twist that would actually shock and surprise me. Like *gasp* it was two killers or *gasp* he was framed and the killer is someone else! But nope. What we got is what we got and no other shocks or twists along the way.

Don’t even get me started on the killer’s motive…because it was so freaking laughable.

I will say this though: the scenes where we got to see the killer…well, kill people, were the only interesting aspect of this story. They saved me from the monotony of the main character’s romance obsessed POV. HOWEVER, the story is only told through this one POV and whenever the killer is going to strike we switch POVs over to that of the victim. Surprise, surprise? Suspenseful? I think not. How exactly is this shocking when a character is killed but you knew they were doomed the minute the POVs were switched? It ruined the surprise! Half the fun of a horror book/movie ESPECIALLY slashers is not knowing who’s next!

Also this is supposedly based off of ‘Scream’ or a sort of retelling of ‘Scream’, if you will. In my opinion, comparing this book to ‘Scream’ at all is almost insulting. ‘Scream’ is a freaking horror masterpiece, at least in my eyes, and the only thing this book had in common with it is that it’s about a slasher killing teens with a knife. That’s it. Honestly if you want something like ‘Scream’ just go watch it because you won’t find it here.

There is also a sort of mini subplot in which Makani, the main character, is harboring this big, bad, deep, dark secret from her friends and peers. So of course this makes you want to know what it is, right? I figured it’d be something pretty juicy! I was wrong. Like every other “twist” in this book it was completely anti-climatic and once again I found myself thinking “seriously? That’s it? That’s your bad, horrible secret?”. Cue my many *eyerolls*.

characters

One of the other few things I liked about this book was the diverse cast of characters featuring an African-American/Native Hawaiian main character along with a transgender character.

That’s about as far as my love for the characters go though. They weren’t complex and didn’t develop whatsoever, which doesn’t really surprise me since horror characters usually fall into stereotypes anyways. Plus they constantly make stupid decisions, which once again that’s sort of what horror characters do but these guys just….really annoyed me.

And the victims? I could have cared less about any of them.

romance

The worst part of this story because it IS the entire story. Forget the crazed killer on the loose this book is 100% romance! I was so tired of all the make-out and sex sessions because that’s not what I signed up for. The main character’s love interest was so incredibly boring and I just felt like they had zero chemistry on the page. It felt like romance for the sake of romance.

in conclusion

In case you didn’t already know….I really hated this book. I normally can find more than a couple good things about a book but this book was awful.

What I Liked:

  • Diverse characters

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Everything….
  • Romance that overtakes the entire plot
  • No suspense, action, or thrills
  • I died of boredom while reading this book
  • The killer’s identity reveal was anti-climatic and his motive was ridiculous
  • Not comparable to ‘Scream’
  • Characters were not developed or complex at all
  • The romance was awful and tropey

RECOMMEND

I cannot recommend this book, sorry, I gave it a shot and suffered through it all the way until the end. This is probably one of the worst books I’ve ever read.

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ARC Review: The Tombs by Deborah Schaumberg

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New York, 1882. A dark, forbidding city, and no place for a girl with unexplainable powers.

Sixteen-year-old Avery Kohl pines for the life she had before her mother was taken. She fears the mysterious men in crow masks who locked her mother in the Tombs asylum for being able to see what others couldn’t. Avery denies the signs in herself, focusing instead on her shifts at the ironworks factory and keeping her inventor father out of trouble. Other than secondhand tales of adventure from her best friend, Khan, an ex-slave, and caring for her falcon, Seraphine, Avery spends her days struggling to survive.

Like her mother’s, Avery’s powers refuse to be contained. When she causes a bizarre explosion at the factory, she has no choice but to run from her lies, straight into the darkest corners of the city. Avery must embrace her abilities and learn to wield their power—or join her mother in the cavernous horrors of the Tombs. And the Tombs has secrets of its own: strange experiments are being performed on “patients”…and no one knows why.

review

**** Huge thank you to HarperTeen for approving me for this eARC in exchange for an honest review! ****

I have to say I’m a little confused about my feelings for this book, because it started out excellent and then for some reason dragged at the end and the story got really jumbled up. I think it had a lot of potential but that ending just made everything fall really flat for me.


(I’m going to do this review a bit differently, I recently ran a poll on my Twitter asking if you guys prefer my normal method of reviewing or if you’d like a list. It was close but the list style ended up winning so I want to give it a try! Please, please let me know what you think and if you’d like more reviews in this style!)


What I Liked:

  • Avery Kohl, our main character, is a fantastic protagonist. She’s very loyal, kind, and doesn’t like to stick to the 1880’s views on women and race. Avery is a welder and honestly it’s pretty badass because the work is hard, she’s looked down on for being female and in this position but toughs it out, and she does it all to help provide for herself and her father. She also watches over the other boys in her crew and is very protective of them, it’s adorable!
  • The setting of this book is extremely unique as it’s set during the Second Industrial Revolution in 1880’s New York. I don’t know about you guys but that’s not exactly a setting I see very often especially in YA! From what little I know about this time period I still thought Schaumberg did an excellent job with this setting.
  • I also really enjoyed the paranormal/psychic bits of the story, the powers that Avery has are interesting and some other characters possessed powers as well. However, I felt like the powers could have been explored a lot more and it would have made things a lot more interesting.
  • The side characters were really great and had their own unique personalities, sometimes they just don’t get enough development but these characters had it! There were a few characters that really endeared themselves to me.
  • Avery also has a pet falcon named Seraphine, it’s awesome.
  • The pacing at the beginning of the book is very fast and I was pulled in right from the start, the story was intriguing and I wanted to know what was going on with Avery’s powers!
  • There is some romance present in this book and I love that it didn’t take over the plot. I did like the love interests overall as well and could easily see why Avery liked them both. It was nice that no one ever had a big spat over who was going to end up with who though.
  • Diversity! We have African-American characters, Romany characters, and an Italian character. Of course there were others as well and I liked that we were shown what a “melting pot” New York City is.
  • I also really liked that the racism shown towards characters is challenged especially considering the time period the book is set in. Avery and her father both actively disregard the public’s views of other races and are close friends with different people of color.
  • The cover is gorgeous!

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Half way through the story the pacing slows down significantly and really starts to drag. I ended up skimming a bit right at the ending because I just wanted it to be over.
  • The overall plot made sense from the start but as with the pacing, it just got really messy and confusing towards the end. I can’t even really tell you what the heck was happening by the end! The beginning was strong but the end not so much.
  • The main antagonist was incredibly cheesy, we are talking classic mustache twirling villain. I had a hard time taking him seriously at all let alone as a threat. And his “grand scheme” was laughably terrible.
  • There’s a love triangle and while I liked both love interests, what was the point? Especially the second love interest! He came out of nowhere I felt like!
  • As I already kind of mentioned, I wish everyone’s “powers” were explained and explored a lot more. For such an important part of the story I felt it was barely present.

Normally I’d say if the “liked” bits outweigh the “not liked” bits then I enjoyed the book but here it’s just not the case. I enjoyed myself at the beginning of the book but by the end I was so bored and confused that I just can’t give this book a better rating. It was too much of a mess by the end.

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ARC Review: Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston

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Seventeen-year-old Ana is a scoundrel by nurture and an outlaw by nature. Found as a child drifting through space with a sentient android called D09, Ana was saved by a fearsome space captain and the grizzled crew she now calls family. But D09—one of the last remaining illegal Metals—has been glitching, and Ana will stop at nothing to find a way to fix him.

Ana’s desperate effort to save D09 leads her on a quest to steal the coordinates to a lost ship that could offer all the answers. But at the last moment, a spoiled Ironblood boy beats Ana to her prize. He has his own reasons for taking the coordinates, and he doesn’t care what he’ll sacrifice to keep them.

When everything goes wrong, she and the Ironblood end up as fugitives on the run. Now their entire kingdom is after them—and the coordinates—and not everyone wants them captured alive.

What they find in a lost corner of the universe will change all their lives—and unearth dangerous secrets. But when a darkness from Ana’s past returns, she must face an impossible choice: does she protect a kingdom that wants her dead or save the Metal boy she loves?

review

**** Huge thank you to HarperTeen for approving me for an eARC in exchange for an honest review****

I can’t help but feel slightly disappointed with “Heart of Iron”, I was expecting a lot from it especially since it’s not only a sci-fi but also a retelling of ‘Anastasia’. I just felt like nothing lived up to these expectations and while the book was enjoyable overall it really wasn’t anything that blew me out of the water. I DID still like a lot of elements within the story though, just not the story as a whole.

PLOT

As I already briefly mentioned this story is kind of supposed to be “Anastasia in Space”, (and whether you want to compare it to the real story of Anastasia Romanov or the animated movie based off of her ‘Anastasia’ doesn’t really matter. Whichever you prefer, it makes no difference) but apart from the fact that it features a lost princess….I don’t really see what it has in common with ‘Anastasia’ at all. Just because one element of the original is present in the story doesn’t make it a retelling in my eyes.

The plot was a little confusing at times, like what’s going on? What’s supposed to be happening? What is the overall POINT of the entire story? I just felt like the “plot” described in the synopsis is resolved too early and the rest of the story is kind of directionless. Don’t get me wrong: things were definitely happening, but to what end? I have no idea, and I don’t really know what’s going to happen in the sequel either. As for the plot twists, those were very predictable and didn’t really surprise me whatsoever.

I did like how fast paced the story was though, we are thrown into action right from the start and it keeps the pace up throughout the entire book pretty evenly. There was also a decent amount of action and it did keep me interested.

I wish there had been more world building provided, I loved what little bit I got and I’m very curious about a lot of it! I wanna know more! I loved how well it blended sci-fi and fantasy elements together. I’m definitely looking forward to more of it in the sequel, hopefully it’s expanded on.

One thing I didn’t really like was that there are 4 different POVs and while each character had a very distinct “voice” and were easily distinguishable, I thought it was a bit much to keep track of.

characters

There are four main characters, and as I mentioned all have a POV during the story. I actually did like them all for the most part, they were good characters with quite a bit of personality. However, I did still feel like they could have used a little more complexity, but I understand that’s a little bit harder to accomplish with 4 differing POVs!

I also wish the secondary characters were developed a bit more, they are clearly very important to some of the main characters but to me they just didn’t feel very “real”. At times it felt these secondary characters were used solely for the purpose of being “cannon fodder” and I just couldn’t care much about them since they were never really developed at all. Shock for the sake of shock, is what it was.

However, one secondary character that was a freaking awesome queen was Captain Siege! I loved her! She was a total badass and also a POC and lesbian, she needs her own damn book because she is a godess.

Captain Siege’s crew also reminded me A LOT of ‘Firefly’, I know people compare things to that show frequently but trust me! I wish they would have been a little more important to the story because there was some serious ‘Firefly’ retelling material there. Plus space pirates are always awesome.

Last but not least we had a diverse cast of characters! Captain Siege, as I already mentioned, is black and lesbian, Ana has darker skin as well, and two characters (that will remain unnamed because of spoilers) are both gay. So there is quite a bit of diversity in the story!

romance

I’m a little “meh” on the romances in this book, they weren’t terrible but they really didn’t have me swooning either. They were pretty cute but at times I felt that the two different romances between main characters got to be too much and overshadowed the plot a bit. Now of course, I’m not a big fan of romances taking over especially in an action packed sci-fi. BUT like I said the pairings were adorable so I didn’t mind too much.

Although one of the romances was very, very insta-lovey and I didn’t like that. I ended up rooting for that pair but it was some hardcore insta-love which annoyed me.

Also diversity in the romances as well with F/F and M/M pairings!

in conclusion

Overall I liked the story but I didn’t love it, which was  disappointing because I was definitely excited for a sci-fi ‘Anastasia’ retelling. It’s definitely a three star rating right up the middle.

What I Loved:

  • Fast pacing
  • Decent amount of action
  • World building was interesting
  • Diverse characters
  • Space pirates comparable to ‘Firefly’
  • Characters were likable
  • Romantic couples were adorable
  • Captain Siege!!!!

What I Didn’t Love:

  • ‘Anastasia’ elements weren’t very big or important
  • Plot twists were predictable
  • The story and overall plot got “lost” at times and confusing
  • Wish there was a little more character development
  • Romances took over the plot too much at times
  • Insta-love

RECOMMEND

If “Heart of Iron” sounds interesting to you I say go for it, you may enjoy it more than I did! It isn’t a bad book whatsoever, it just wasn’t 100% for me but it did have enjoyable parts.

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ARC Review: The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross

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When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.

Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron.

Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.

With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen? 

review

**** Huge thank you to HarperTeen for sending me an ARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review ****

This was kind of disappointing because I felt it had a lot of potential to be amazing but it was just….extremely slow. It wasn’t terrible by any means but I just felt it was boring.

PLOT

Essentially the plot revolves around Brienna who is studying to be a passion of knowledge at Magnalia house with 5 other girls who are studying each passion as well-arts, drama, music, wit, and knowledge. She is left without a patron though and is swept up in a plot to overthrow a king! That’s the story! There’s also a kind of subplot where we are left wondering who Brienna’s father/family history is the entire book too, but this is literally given away by the family tree at the beginning of the book! Why would they do this? You want us to sit in suspense and make it a big mystery throughout the story and yet reveal it in the family tree at the beginning of the book? Needless to say I DO NOT recommend reading those before you read the book.

The plot was extremely slow paced and at times very boring. Brienna’s time at Magnalia house is spent gossiping with the other girls and they talk about their passions and such. It was tedious, so very tedious. From there I usually love the whole “rebellion” side of plots but this was very underwhelming, it completely lacked any action or twists. What twists there were, were completely predictable and in no way surprised me. That was probably one of the things that disappointed me the most since it took away any suspense from the story for me.

I also felt a lot of things were a little too convenient in order to move the plot forward and the ending felt rushed.

I DID like the family dynamics and lineages though, they were fun to keep track of especially with all of the political intrigue.

Also I really loved the idea of the passions and what little world building there was, was really interesting. However, I felt that there could have been a lot more world building and what there was could have been expanded on. I liked the magic system too, in which magic passes woman to woman and not to men whatsoever. Very feminist, which I loved.

The writing did flow well and was very descriptive, I think it’s one of the few reasons I managed to push through the entire 464 pages.

characters

Overall the characters were kind of “meh”, they were all likable enough but I definitely felt like they could have used a little more complexity.

Brienna was an okay protagonist, I didn’t love her and I didn’t hate her. I did like that she was very brave and bound and determined to help aid the “rebels” and that she didn’t make a bunch of stupid decisions either.

There were quite a few side characters such as Brienna’s peers who were all fine, but I really liked the rebel characters the most such as Alderic, Luc, and Yseult. But as I already mentioned I thought everyone could have been developed a bit more.

romance

The romance was definitely my least favorite thing about “The Queen’s Rising” right up there next to the painfully slow pacing. There is a developing romance throughout the book between Brienna and her teacher, Master Cartier. It was extremely awkward, lacked chemistry, and not to mention completely inappropriate. Sorry but I do not enjoy teacher/student relationships and that’s just my opinion.

Plus the romance became too much of a focus at times and was completely unnecessary.

in conclusion

Overall, this book just fell really short for me and I’m left feeling kind of disappointed with it. I expected a lot more action, suspense, and build up.

What I Loved:

  • Liked keeping track of the families and politics
  • Feminism!
  • World building was okay
  • Writing was good

What I Didn’t Love:

  • Complete lack of tension and suspense
  • No action
  • Extremely slow paced
  • Family tree provided at beginning RUINS a plot twist
  • Plot twists were predictable
  • Characters could have been more complex
  • The romance was unnecessary

RECOMMEND

Sorry, but I can’t really say I recommend this book as it wasn’t anything new to the YA Fantasy genre at all and was slow an predictable.

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Book Review: Dear Martin by Nic Stone

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Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack.

review

Trigger Warnings: Racism, Sexism/Misogyny, Violence, & Police Brutality

Honestly, how do I even begin to write a review for an excellent book such as this?

A brilliantly written book that is not only incredibly powerful and packs a lot of punch in just 210 pages. I can already tell that “Dear Martin” and “The Hate U Give” are going to be compared and let me just tell you: read them both. They are both excellent and both deserve to be read as they handle important issues like police brutality and racism.

Of course I’d just like to say that I, being a white woman, can’t even begin to fully understand the issues described in this book nor can I fully give my opinion on them because of that. However, I do think this book is very important and I urge you all to give it a read. That being said you should definitely check out some #OwnVoices reviews of this book and if you know of any please feel free to link them below!

PLOT

Right off the bat I’d like to say that it was great to be reading from Justyce’s POV,  he’s just a great character but it was also nice to read from not only a male POV but also a POC POV in YA. I also really enjoyed the sections of the story in which Justyce wrote his letters to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. they added so much insight into not only his character but the issues that African Americans endure every day.

While this book focuses a lot on police brutality it also focuses a lot on racism micro-agressions as well. For example throughout the course of the story Justyce is faced with white male peers constantly making racist jokes and telling him to “quit being so sensitive” about them at the same time. Many of the side characters act atrociously in this perspective throughout the story too. I will say that one of the characters makes a bit of a turn around by the end of the story, which was nice to see.

One other thing that I mentioned in the trigger warnings was sexism and misogyny which we do see a bit of in this story and while it’s challenged I don’t think it was challenged enough. At one point during the story Justyce’s best friend, Manny, states that he isn’t interested in black girls because they’re “ghetto and full of attitude” and Justyce doesn’t want to date the girl he’s interested in because she’s white and his mother would not approve.

Aside from the plot the pacing is very fast and the writing is excellent, it’s easy to breeze through this one! I’ll also be looking forward to anything Nic Stone will be writing in the future as well!

Also my only real complaint is that it wasn’t longer!

characters

I really enjoyed Justyce’s character as well as his friend Manny, his love interest SJ, and their debate teacher whom they refer to as Doc. I thought they were all great characters and good people on top of that. I have to say though SJ, honestly, was my favorite I loved how fiesty and intelligent she was every time she would speak up about the racist and unintelligent remarks made by some of their classmates. I wish there would have been more development for a lot of the characters but with such a short novel that can’t really be helped.

As for some of the other characters such as Justyce’s peers, whom I don’t remember all of their names because they were horrible people, I loathed them. They were so blatantly ignorant and racist it was ridiculous and got to the point where I thought to myself “Do people actually talk this way?!” to which the answer is yes there are horrible people out there that do talk, think, and act like the people in this story.

romance

There was a bit of romance in “Dear Martin” and sometimes I felt it became too much of a focus in the plot and a little….overly dramatic. There’s a love triangle between Justyce, his on again, off again girlfriend Melo, and his friend SJ. Melo is clearly not a great girlfriend and manipulates Justyce whereas SJ is clearly perfect for him, so of course I spent the entire book rooting for Justyce x SJ! I really loved their relationship. So overall I did like the romance but like I said it got to be a little “too much” at times.

in conclusion

Overall thoughts: a fantastic book that my review simply cannot do justice (pun, unintentional!).

What I Loved:

  • Fast-pacing
  • Excellent writing
  • Fantastic characters
  • Important plot
  • Justyce’s romance with SJ

What I Didn’t Love:

  • Romantic sub plot got a little overwhelming and trope-y at times
  • Would have loved to have seen some of the sexism challenged more

RECOMMEND

I cannot recommend “Dear Martin” enough, it is an extremely important and powerful novel. I also recommend checking out “The Hate U Give” as well if you have already read this one and loved it!

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ARC Review: A Conspiracy of Stars by Olivia A. Cole

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Octavia has only ever had one goal: to follow in the footsteps of her parents and become a prestigious whitecoat, one of the scientists who study the natural wonders of Faloiv. The secrets of the jungle’s exotic plants and animals are protected fiercely in the labs by the Council of N’Terra, so when the rules suddenly change, allowing students inside, Octavia should be overjoyed.

But something isn’t right. The newly elected leader of the Council has some extremist views about the way he believes N’Terra should be run, and he’s influencing others to follow him. When Octavia witnesses one of the Faloii—the indigenous people of Faloiv—attacked in front of her in the dark of night, she knows the Council is hiding something. They are living in separate worlds on a shared planet, and their fragile peace may soon turn into an all-out war.

With the help of Rondo, a quiet boy in class with a skill for hacking, and her inquisitive best friend, Alma, Octavia is set on a collision course to discover the secrets behind the history she’s been taught, the science she’s lived by, and the truth about her family.

review

****Huge thank you to HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!****

Trigger Warning: Animal Abuse & Experimentation

This book really surprised me in the best possible way, I was not expecting to love it this much!

PLOT

“A Conspiracy of Stars” is a bit slow to start as it slowly introduces us to the characters and the planet of Faloiv, however, world building and plot were definitely enough to keep my interest regardless of the slower pacing. The pacing and action really does pick up in the second half of the book though, there were some great twists!

As I mentioned there are some pretty great twists in this story, although many of them I found to be predictable but that didn’t make them any less enjoyable! However, the main focus of the story is on Octavia and her friends who are interns in the labs studying the local fauna. That’s all I want to really say since I don’t want to spoil anything! And that cliffhanger at the end was awesome and I will definitely be anticipating the sequel!

The world building was absolutely fantastic in this book, it’s very unique and creative but I would say it’s safe to compare it to Avatar (the movie, not the Last Airbender!) with the native people, Faloii, and native plants and creatures. I was enthralled with the planet of Faloii, there was a lot of detail and thought put into it and I really can’t wait for the sequel so I can learn more!

However, since a lot of the book focuses on the human settlers on Faloiv and their scientific experiments it can get very emotional at times. Some of the scientists are cruel and subject these poor creatures to cruel experiments, it’s heart-breaking. That being said there are good characters that do everything in their power to help though.

I also thought the writing flowed well and was very descriptive, although it would have been nice to get some more character description.

characters

While I really liked the characters in this story I just felt like they were a little…distant at times. I do think that Octavia especially could have used a bit more personality as the main character and the side characters could have used a little more development too.

Octavia and her friends, in general, were all pretty likable and sweet. They must be protected at all costs because of their adorableness! I thought the friendships were portrayed positively and well, they were all very loyal to each other.

Even with the lack of character descriptions there were some hints at diversity in the characters too, such as many characters being described as having brown skin and one character who has two dads.

romance

There is a bit of romance in this book and it definitely doesn’t take the spotlight at all, which is nice especially in YA. It’s also more slow burn and develops from a friendship, they were pretty cute!

in conclusion

What I Loved:

  • World building
  • Plot was interesting
  • The writing was good
  • Bit of diversity
  • Well portrayed friendships
  • Cute, slow burn romance that doesn’t take over the plot

What I Didn’t Love:

  • Slower pacing
  • Characters could have used a bit more complexity

RECOMMEND

I highly, highly recommend checking this book out! It’s beautifully written and is an incredibly unique YA Sci-Fi that really breaks the mold in my opinion.

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

The Sassy

 

ARC Review: Between the Blade and the Heart (Valkyrie #1) by Amanda Hocking

a title here (20)

description

Valkyries have one great responsibility: to return immortals to the afterlife by slaying them. As a Valkyrie, Malin has always known that the balance of the world rests on her ability to carry out orders. But when Malin discovers that her mother spared the life of an immortal who was destined to die, her world is thrown into chaos. 

Malin not only wrestles with the knowledge that her mother might not be who she thought—she’s also thrust into the path of a gorgeous blue eyed guy named Asher who needs her help slaying the rogue immortal who destroyed his family. The balance of the world is at stake. And, as Asher competes with Malin’s ex for her love and loyalty, so is her heart.

review

*** Big thank you to St. Martin’s Press for giving me a copy in exchange for an honest review***

This ended up being such a quick and entertaining read! Everything just flowed so well and I absolutely devoured this!

PLOT

The story is an urban fantasy that mixes together many different mythologies but the main one mostly being Norse since the story revolves around Valkyries who were created to kill immortals. However, there are so many different supernatural creatures portrayed including your basic vampires, demons, and angels but we also get to see some more unique ones such as gorgons, aswangs, and jorogumos! I thought the world building, in this case, was fantastic it was fun seeing such a blend of supernatural beings! I did want a little more information and details on the world but I’m sure I’ll get more in the sequel.

Apart from the world building, another aspect I really enjoyed was the pacing. This was an incredibly fast paced book, I was hooked right off the bat and all the way up until the end. The writing and dialogue flowed well and kept my interest, I’ll definitely be checking out more of Hocking’s books!

There also wasn’t any lack of action and twists, and be forewarned the book ends off with a pretty brutal cliffhanger!

characters

I also really enjoyed all of the characters and while I think they could have used a bit more development and complexity I still thought they were all a lot of fun.

Malin, our MC, is a badass Valkyrie who is also smart and stubborn at times. I liked how feisty she is, however, at times I felt she could be a little….fickle since she seems to not really know what it is that she wants.

Then there’s Quinn, the ex-lover, and Asher the new guy and both are love interests. I liked both characters and I could easily see how Malin fell for both of them. Basically Quinn and Asher are both badasses as well.

Speaking of badass….Malin’s mother, Marlow, was also really badass. She’s a fellow Valkyrie and is incredibly focused on her job and doesn’t really open up ever, even with her own daughter. I kind of had a love/hate relationship with Marlow.

There was also a strew of many other side characters that I loved as well such as Malin’s best friend who is also a witch and her pet Wolpertinger (which is the most adorable thing ever).

romance

I wouldn’t say I loved the romance in this book but I also didn’t hate it either but there is a bisexual love triangle so there is that. There is a bit of insta love and there definitely is a love triangle, but as I mentioned I didn’t mind it too much. Malin’s attraction to both Quinn and Asher was believable as both characters could offer her something different, however, I don’t think Quinn treated Malin the best though. I’m here for Malin x Asher!

in conclusionWhat I Loved: 

  • World building
  • Fast paced, action packed plot
  • Unique supernatural/mythological creatures

What I Didn’t Love: 

  • Characters could have used a bit more development
  • Romance was “meh”

RECOMMEND

I highly recommend checking this book out! Especially if you love urban fantasy, mythology, or just a fun, action-packed read!

• Add on Goodreads!
• Purchase: Amazon – B&N – Book Depository

Amanda Hocking is the author of over twenty young adult novels, including the New York Times bestselling Trylle Trilogy and Kanin Chronicles. Her love of pop culture and all things paranormal influence her writing. She spends her time in Minnesota, taking care of her menagerie of pets and working on her next book.

 

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The Sassy