ARC Review: Contagion (Contagion #1) by Erin Bowman

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Top Ten Tuesday: Unique Book Titles

Top Ten Tuesday(9)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by  The Broke and the Bookish.

I don’t have much to say about this week’s choices since the theme is pretty straightforward so this post will be shorter than usual!

These are not in any particular order.

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10.) Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel

9.) And The Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich

Because it’s pretty yet creepy sounding.

 8.) Slasher Girls & Monster Boys stories selected by April Genevieve Tucholke

7.) Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

6.) Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor

5.) Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

4.) The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

3.) And I Darken by Kiersten White

2.) Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

1.) Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

I don’t know why but for some reason I really like the word vengeance?

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Have you read any of these books as well? What did you think?

What are some of your favorite unique book titles?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

 

Book Review: Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

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description

When her father is murdered for a journal revealing the location of a hidden gold mine, eighteen-year-old Kate Thompson disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers—and justice. What she finds are untrustworthy strangers, endless dust and heat, and a surprising band of allies, among them a young Apache girl and a pair of stubborn brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, a startling truth becomes clear: some men will stop at nothing to get their hands on gold, and Kate’s quest for revenge may prove fatal.

review

This book was ultimately a little disappointing for me, I was expecting something very “Kill Bill” – esque and that is not what I got.

What I Liked About “Vengeance Road”:

  • Kate Thompson, our certifiably badass MC.
  • The action scenes were what they should be, very full of action that keeps you on edge.
  • The authentic Western slang that gave you a good feel for the setting of the book, which is obviously in the Old West.
  • The big reveal at the end of the book, didn’t see it coming and it was really enjoyable.

What I Didn’t Like About “Vengeance Road”:

  • The slow pacing.
  • I pretty much loathed EVERY character except Kate and Liluye.
  • The ending was unsatisfying (for me anyways) and felt really rushed.
  • The (completely unnecessary) romance, good God did I HATE the romance.

PLOT

It was gritty and more than a little bloody, which is probably the overall BEST part of the entire book. The revenge and the pursuit of revenge. Kate (the MC) is badass plain and simple, she is what drove the story. Hunting down a gang of outlaws to avenge the death of your father? Doesn’t get much more badass than that.

“That sounds real nice, boy,” he says. “Now for the love of God, lower that damn pistol.”
“All right,” I says.
And I do.
Right after I shoot him through the skull.

See? Badass am I right?

Plus the book has quite a few action scenes that play out very well, they’re written how action scenes should be written. With lots of descriptive action and shooting.

You also get all of that authentic Western slang! Yee-haw! (Just kidding nobody says that)

“Life don’t care ’bout sorry’s,” Will says. “Bad things happen, and you can’t let ’em harden you. Whatever happened to yer pa, it ain’t yer fault, Nate, and you gotta let it go.”

I think that the slang talk really adds to the atmosphere of the book and I loved it, although it may get really annoying to some people. Especially people who hate spelling and grammatical errors. You’ve been warned!

There’s also a couple of plot twists, you won’t even see the ending one coming I can guarantee it.

So like I said earlier the best part of the entire book is that it’s a revenge tale, that’s ALL that kept me from DNF-ing this one.

Time to complain, the pacing was so SLOW and monotonous. I mean these characters did more traveling then they did anything else! I wanted to have shoot outs in the streets! And I just got a long trek across open plains! Boring, it was so boring. I could put this book down and not pick it up again, it felt like a chore to go back into reading it.

Plus the ending, oh that ending! It felt very rushed to me, I understand that this book is a stand alone and everything needs to be all nice and neatly wrapped up in the end, but I expected something a little more badass and a little less sickeningly sweet.

characters

Kate Thompson, as I mentioned before, is a certifiable badass. Her Pa gets murdered by a gang of outlaws and the first thing she does is grab a gun and shoot. Then she decides to trek across Arizona to hunt them all down. She didn’t think she just DID. She’s a very strong and complex character, she developed throughout the story very nicely. By that I mean that nothing she thinks or does is black and white, it’s all one big gray area. She kills for revenge but also contemplates the consequences of her doing so, she fears becoming like the very men she hunts.

Kate is pretty much what made the story interesting for me, she’s someone I could read about and not really get irritated with. Which is quite the feat actually.

Then we have Jesse and Will Colton, the pair of brothers who are stubborn enough to follow Kate on her path to vengeance. I wasn’t a fan of them. Will was kind of annoying and Jesse even more so because of the way I felt Bowman (the author) was trying to force him on me as “book eye-candy”. Needless to say it didn’t work, I didn’t find him to be swoon worthy at all. However, they were very necessary to the story but I would have felt better reading about Kate roughing it on her own.

We also have Liluye, or Lil, who is an Apache girl who also follows Kate on her journey for a bit. She was my favorite character next to Kate, she was smart and held her ground on her beliefs. I was disappointed with the overall execution of her character though, she didn’t develop at all really and she was barely in the story at all. She needed more “screen time” as it were. I don’t know if Bowman was shooting for “mysterious Native American girl” or what but we didn’t really learn jack about Liluye. Disappointment.

 

And last and definitely least we had a whole slew of secondary characters that didn’t do ANYTHING for the story except give supplies in some way to propel the plot forward. Seriously that’s it. They gave Kate and the boys stuff, and then we never see or hear from them again. What’s the point in that? That’s no fun.

We have the “bad guys” and Kate, the Coltons, and Liluye. That’s it, that’s all the characters that do anything. Yes, this is a stand alone book but would it kill the author to give us some other developed characters besides Kate and Jesse?

romance

I HATED IT! Kate was supposed to be hunting down a gang of outlaws to avenge her father’s death! Then she decides she has time to be all silly and fawn over a boy! No thank you! I wanted a badass woman who was going to go out and shoot some bad guys up, I didn’t want her NEEDING a man!

Besides that the romance felt really shallow, it wasn’t anything that’s going to make your heart soar. Plus the fact that it felt completely unnecessary, but that’s just me. I felt that it took away from the tough and gritty atmosphere, Kate suddenly being all moony eyed over Jesse took away from the book for me.

There was, however, no insta-love and no love triangles so I at least can’t complain about that. That doesn’t mean the romance was well done though, usually I can at least be OK with romances in books (even though I can do without any romance) but this one was NOT doing it for me.

in conclusion

The overall story was enjoyable but ultimately disappointing for me, I was expecting so much more badass-ery than I was given.

RECOMMEND

Do I still recommend it? Yes I do, just because I had a lot to gripe about doesn’t mean it’s a bad book. It’s really quite good, it just wasn’t really for me.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

The Sassy

Book Review: The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

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description

Greta is a duchess and crown princess—and a hostage to peace. This is how the game is played: if you want to rule, you must give one of your children as a hostage. Go to war and your hostage dies.
Greta will be free if she can survive until her eighteenth birthday. Until then she lives in the Precepture school with the daughters and sons of the world’s leaders. Like them, she is taught to obey the machines that control their lives. Like them, she is prepared to die with dignity, if she must. But everything changes when a new hostage arrives. Elián is a boy who refuses to play by the rules, a boy who defies everything Greta has ever been taught. And he opens Greta’s eyes to the brutality of the system they live under—and to her own power.
As Greta and Elián watch their nations tip closer to war, Greta becomes a target in a new kind of game. A game that will end up killing them both—unless she can find a way to break all the rules.


review

“No, blowing up cities doesn’t work, not in the long term. You’ve got to find something that the people in charge aren’t willing to give up. A price they aren’t willing to pay.

Which leads us to Talis’s first rule of stopping wars: make it personal.

And that, my dear children – that is where you come in.”

This book is very exciting, nerve racking, and ultimately a little heartbreaking. So in other words I freaking loved it.

The story was very original everything about it was one of a kind, there are no annoying, common YA tropes in this book! Which is probably why it appealed to me so much.

Insta-love? Nope.

Love Triangles? Yes and at the same time definitely no. You’ll see why.

Mary Sues or Gary Stus? Nope.

See? So already we’re set up for a great YA dystopian novel.

The world building was excellent, we’re introduced to such an unique worldstate. Humans (and the Earth for that matter) are under the “control” of an AI, Talis, who basically blackmails them with their own children to keep the peace. Let’s just say this book is very….gritty. Oh man, will it break your heart too. It broke my heart, I have all these feelings I don’t know what to do with now.

The pacing may get a little bit slow sometimes but it wasn’t super noticeable to me, although I can see it annoying some other readers.  I was too wrapped up in the events of the book to let the pacing get me down though.

And that ENDING, I don’t even know what to say or do about that ending! I basically NEED the next book NOW. I just want to understand!

The writing though wasn’t particularly good, it was kind of bland and boring. It got the job done is what it did. Which is a reason why other people probably haven’t enjoyed this book as immensely as I have.

Really, though,  the best part of the book BESIDES the awesome world building, were the characters.

 The characters in “The Scorpion Rules” are very strong and complex such as: Greta, Xie, Elian, Talis, and the Abbot. Everyone else is basically a secondary character and they all fell really flat for me, very uninteresting and unimportant.

  Our MC Greta is very dutiful, strong, and smart. She is a very perfect heroine for the situation she has been put in, and her best friend Xie is the same way. Overall I agree with all of the actions and choices Greta makes throughout the book.

Xie is always standing up for what she believes is appropriate or right, nobody messes with her.

Elian is a loose cannon, he does everything his way and he brings pretty much ALL the adventure in the first half of the book.

Then we have an AI character called the Abbot. The Abbot runs the Precepture where the children are kept, and he’s just…very wise. He plays a pretty vital role in the story.

Then there’s Talis. Oh how I LOVED Talis. He’s the AI that “took over the world” and he is hilarious. Talis is my absolute favorite character, is that bad? Rooting for the city-destroying, world enslaving AI? I don’t care I still love him. I basically picture him as this:

Yep that’s definitely Talis using his orbital weapons on the Earth. That’s probably why I like him so much, because I was picturing him as Chris Pine…..hmmm.

Also the romance in the book was very subtle and yet still very important, I actually really liked it. This is coming from a person who could do without side romances completely. Now remember when I said there was no love triangle? There isn’t..but there is. There really isn’t any way to explain it without spoilers sooooooo. But I will tell you it’s a bisexual romance.


All in all “The Scorpion Rules” may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it IS my cup of tea. I pretty much loved everything about it and I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a really unique dystopian YA novel.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

Top Five Most Anticipated Reads: September

Top Ten Tuesday(4)

5.) The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

The Scorpion Rules

Publish Date: September 22nd, 2015

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

I am pretty excited to read this book, it sounds SUPER interesting. Basically to prevent war on Earth the daughters and sons of the world’s generals, kings, presidents are kept as hostages. So if a nation declares war then their child is killed. Now doesn’t that sound like a promising book? The more I think about it the more excited I get! I hope it doesn’t disappoint.

4.) Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

Walk on Earth a Stranger (The Gold Seer Trilogy, #1)

Publish Date: September 22nd, 2015

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Series: The Gold Seer Trilogy – #1

First off isn’t that a GORGEOUS cover? This book is about a girl who can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. It’s set during the Gold Rush so you know it’s got to be good.

3.)  The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

The Traitor Baru Cormorant

Publish Date: September 15th, 2015

Publisher: Tor

Again. Isn’t that cover awesome? This is an epic fantasy (not YA) about a girl who hides within the ranks of an empire who conquered her land, her goal is to climb high enough to be able to free her people. As a test to her loyalty this empire sends Baru to Aurdwynn where she must bring order, this land isn’t easily tamed though and Baru must play the games of power in order to survive. Also she has an attraction to a Duchess Tain Hu, so perhaps a lesbian romance? Exciting. I LOVE fantasy novels and this one sounds SO promising!

2.) Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

Vengeance Road

Publish Date: September 1st, 2015

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Sheesh, what is it about all these amazing covers? I absolutely adore this one though. This is a western YA book and I’m excited just by that fact, seems to me we don’t have enough western YA’s. “Vengeance Road” is about a girl, Kate Thompson, whose father is killed by a gang known as the Rose Riders, and then she basically goes on a revenge kick. Awesome? Yes. Kill Bill-esque? Maybe so, and I LOVED those movies. So I will definitely be picking this book when it’s released.  (Tomorrow)

1.) Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

sixofcrows

Publish Date: September 29th, 2015

Publisher: Henry Holt & Company

Series: Six of Crows – #1

So for those of you who follow this blog then you already know how excited I am for “Six of Crows”. For those of you who don’t (even though you totally should) then I shall tell you. Six of Crows is about one grand heist and an ensemble cast of six outcast characters trying to pull it off. It’s been compared to being “Ocean’s Eleven meets Game of Thrones” if that doesn’t hook you then I don’t know what will.

The Sassy