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

Follow Me Elsewhere: Twitter * Instagram * Goodreads

The Sassy

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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!

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

Follow Me Elsewhere: Twitter * Instagram * Goodreads

The Sassy

December Wrap-Up

Top Ten Tuesday(13)

I had a pretty great blogging month in December, I’m proud of myself! I’ve started scheduling and pre-planning posts ahead of time and opening up more time for me to read so I’ve been finishing more books as well. Hopefully I can stick to doing things this way as I find it to be a lot more satisfying!

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Books Read This Month: 13

Dear Martin by Nic StoneMs. Marvel, Vol. 1 by G. Willow WilsonBetween the Blade and the Heart by Amanda HockingThe Wicker King by K. AncrumSaga, Vol. 7 by Brian K. VaughanThere's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie PerkinsA Conspiracy of Stars by Olivia A. ColePaper Girls, Vol. 2 by Brian K. VaughanPaper Girls, Vol. 3 by Brian K. VaughanFinal Girls by Riley SagerThe Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 5 by Kieron GillenThe Queen's Rising by Rebecca   Ross

I read a mix of books this month some were great, some were “meh”, and some I really didn’t enjoy. I loved “Dear Martin”, “Between the Blade and the Heart”, “A Conspiracy of Stars”, and of course “Paper Girls” and “Saga”. While I thought “Ms. Marvel” and “The Queen’s Rising” were okay but kind of meh. And I REALLY didn’t enjoy “The Wicker King”, “There’s Someone Inside Your House” and “Final Girls”. However, there were more good than bad so that’s always a great thing!

I also actually stuck 100% to my planned monthly TBR, which is kind of a first!


Reviews Finished This Month:

The Devils You Know by M.C. Atwood

No Saints in Kansas by Amy Brashear

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking


Tags & Memes Done This Month:

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Settings I’d Love To Visit

12 Days of Christmas Book Tag

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books of 2017

Christmas Song Book Tag

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Hope Santa Brings

Top Ten Tuesday: 2018 Releases I’m Looking Forward To


Other Posts Done This Month:

Down The TBR Hole #7

November Wrap-Up

December TBR

Down The TBR Hole #8

Favorite Book Covers of 2017

Down The TBR Hole #9

20+ Books! Black Friday/November Book Haul

Down The TBR Hole #10

All My Favorites Books of 2017!

Down The TBR Hole #11

Least Favorite Books of 2017

2017 End of the Year Survey


Currently Reading:

Honor Among Thieves (The Honors, #1)Heart of Iron

So right now I have like 30 pages left of “Honor Among Thieves” so I’ll be finishing quick here, but I’m kind of underwhelmed by it which is a shame because it sounded great. Then I’ll be moving on to “Heart of Iron” which is another sci-fi and hopefully more enjoyable.

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How was your reading and blogging month this December?

What were your best or worst reads?

What are you currently reading?

What books are you excited for this coming month, January?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

Top Ten Tuesday: New To Me Authors I Read in 2017

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

Of course I read quite a few new authors this last year but these are the top ten that made the biggest impression on me! They are in no particular order and I will link to the reviews I have of their books.

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10.) Angie Thomas (The Hate U Give)

After reading the amazing masterpiece that is “The Hate U Give” I am fully prepared to read anything and everything Angie Thomas writes! While I was reading I could not believe that this was her debut novel, she definitely writes like a seasoned pro.

(You can read my full review here)


9.) Pierce Brown (Red Rising)

Why did it take me so long to read his books?! Why?! There is such a wonderful blend of twists, fantasy, sci-fi, and just overall emotions in this book. He wrote such excellent characters and I fell in love with them! I am ready for more heartbreak, bring on the rest of the trilogy!

(You can read my full review here)


8.) Sabaa Tahir (An Ember in the Ashes)

Once again I am ashamed that I didn’t read this book immediately because it was amazing. The world that Sabaa Tahir created is brutal, shocking, and full of twists but there are also hints of magic and fantastic characters. I’m not only really excited to read the sequel (and rest of the series) but also anything she writes in the future as well.

(You can read my full review here)


7.) Jen Wilde (Queens of Geek)

Not my usual genre whatsoever as it is not only contemporary but also romance, however, it was fantastic. There was loads of diversity, I found the anxiety rep to be on point, lots of geekiness, and in general just a great book. I am really excited to read her upcoming book “The Brightsiders” and anything else she writes!

(You can read my full review here)


6.) Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue)

While I do own another of Lee’s books, “This Monstrous Thing”, this was the first book I have read by her. This book was incredibly well written, fast paced, and downright fun! Her characters had a ton of personality and I’m very excited for her future books.

(You can read my full review here)


5.) Hillary Monahan (The Hollow Girl & Mary: The Summoning)

I actually read two books by Monahan this year because one was an ARC and the other was for Halloween! However, after reading “The Hollow Girl” I knew I would want to read her other books and was not disappointed with either of them. She definitely knows how to write horror well!

(You can read my full review of “The Hollow Girl” here)

(You can read my full review of “Mary: The Summoning” here)


4.) Margaret Rogerson (An Enchantment of Ravens)

I am so happy I decided to pick up this debut novel because Rogerson’s writing is so lyrical and beautiful! She also created a wonderful fantasy world in such a short amount of pages, I am excited to see what else she will come up with!

(You can read my full review here)


3.) Amanda Hocking (Between the Blade and the Heart)

This was such a fast paced, fun read that was filled to the brim with great mythologies and world building. I’m not only excited to continue this series but also to check out Hocking’s other books as well.

(You can read my full review here)


2.) Olivia A. Cole (A Conspiracy of Stars)

I think I could gush about this book forever! The vivid and creative world building is some of the best I’ve seen especially in a sci-fi book, the creatures and planet were described so well and all of it’s unique! I am PUMPED to read the sequel and of course any of her future books too.

(You can read my full review here)


1.) Jodi Lynn Anderson (Tiger Lily)

I loved this book it was a very somber but beautiful retelling of Peter Pan and some of Anderson’s other books also sound very creative too. I think I’m more excited to see some more retellings from her though.

(You can read my full review here)

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Have you read any of these books before? What did you think?

Have you read anything by any of these authors before?

Who were some of your favorite new to you authors in 2017?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

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: The Empress (The Diabolic #2) by S.J. Kincaid

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****SPOILERS FOR “THE DIABOLIC” BELOW!****

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It’s a new day in the Empire. Tyrus has ascended to the throne with Nemesis by his side and now they can find a new way forward—one where they don’t have to hide or scheme or kill. One where creatures like Nemesis will be given worth and recognition, where science and information can be shared with everyone and not just the elite.

But having power isn’t the same thing as keeping it, and change isn’t always welcome. The ruling class, the Grandiloquy, has held control over planets and systems for centuries—and they are plotting to stop this teenage Emperor and Nemesis, who is considered nothing more than a creature and certainly not worthy of being Empress.

Nemesis will protect Tyrus at any cost. He is the love of her life, and they are partners in this new beginning. But she cannot protect him by being the killing machine she once was. She will have to prove the humanity that she’s found inside herself to the whole Empire—or she and Tyrus may lose more than just the throne. But if proving her humanity means that she and Tyrus must do inhuman things, is the fight worth the cost of winning it?

review

**** Huge thank you to Simon & Schuster for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!****

**** All of my reviews are spoiler free but if you haven’t read “The Diabolic” you may not want to continue. If you have read it then continue as you will not be spoiled here!****

Right when I didn’t think S.J. Kincaid could blow my mind any more, she did it again! I think it’s safe to say my mouth was open, jaw on the floor the entire time I was reading and that I’m also dying for the third book now. I NEED IT NOW! Prepare for a review that will probably mostly be me fangirling.

This review will be a bit shorter than usual since I don’t want to spoil anything but you can read my full review for “The Diabolic” here for a little more information!

PLOT

If you were worried, like me, that “The Diabolic” should have remained a standalone and the sequel wouldn’t live up to it: don’t be worried. I was very satisfied with this book and now I’m happy that it turned out to be a series because what would I do if I didn’t have more of Nemesis?! I think this one is equally as enjoyable as “The Diabolic” but parts also weren’t as great, however, seeing as how we really waste ZERO time setting anything up it was better in that sense. Kincaid throws us right into the nitty gritty immediately.

Extremely fast pacing, I’m talking about the kind of pacing where you can’t turn the pages fast enough to keep reading! I am a sucker for fast pacing and “The Empress” did not disappoint whatsoever, as I mentioned we are thrown into a breakneck speed at the start and it doesn’t let up until the last page. There wasn’t a single dull or boring moment!

And the twists! The twists! There are so many ridiculously good twists in this book and I fell for every single one! At one point during the story I think there were about 3 major twists on ONE PAGE. So yeah you definitely will not be bored with this book! There is a ridiculous amount of action and I felt so many emotions while reading, mostly I got so enraged by the antagonist that I wanted to crawl into the book and pummel him…but hey that’s how you know they’re doing their job and the author is a fantastic writer!

I also really, really enjoyed that Kincaid expanded a lot more on the world building for this series, seeing as how in “The Diabolic” we didn’t get much. It’s definitely really interesting and also a bit of a shocker too!

If you’re a fan of political intrigue, you’ll definitely love this. Trust me. Trust me!

Kincaid’s writing packs the usual punch, and by that I mean it was fantastic and made me an emotional roller coaster the entire time I read this book.

Also that cliffhanger ending will destroy you so be prepared!

characters

Really the only characters I continued to love were Nemesis and Tyrus and that’s simply because they’re really the only characters with any substance. They’re complex and develop A TON during the course of this story and really learn their limits. They both continue to be badasses out smarting everyone, which is all I will say!

There were a couple other secondary characters that were okay and came into the story a couple of times but they weren’t very complex or developed, in my opinion. Still they were there and definitely progressed the plot…..a lot.

The antagonist was pretty dang good though too in the sense that I wanted to choke them out the entire time…..just means they were well written because that’s what the author wanted you to think!

romance

I burn. I pine. I perish for this romance! I will always and forever be a big fan of Nemesis/Tyrus especially since I’ve been rooting for them since “The Diabolic” so of course their wonderful romance continued on in this book and made my heart happy.

in conclusion

Overall, I was very impressed with this sequel! Usually sequels, specifically in trilogies, suffer from middle book syndrome in which they really drag on and are mostly there to set up the last book. However, “The Empress” suffered no such syndrome! It packed a huge punch and still managed to set up the last book magnificently!

What I Loved:

  • Can I say literally everything?
  • Twists and political intrigue
  • Fast pacing, non stop action!
  • Great writing
  • Great main characters
  • The romance
  • Did I mention plot twists?
  • Great additional world building

What I Didn’t Love:

  • I kind of wish the secondary characters were a bit more important, but they did serve their purpose! (hence the 4.5 instead of full 5 star rating)

RECOMMEND

If you read “The Diabolic” and enjoyed it but aren’t sure if you want to read the sequel…do it. Just do it! It’s fantastic and I promise you, you will not be disappointed!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

ARC Review: The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy

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What if the ordinary things in life suddenly…disappeared?

Aila Quinn’s mother, Juliet, has always been a mystery: vibrant yet guarded, she keeps her secrets beyond Aila’s reach. When Juliet dies, Aila and her younger brother Miles are sent to live in Sterling, a rural town far from home–and the place where Juliet grew up.

Sterling is a place with mysteries of its own. A place where the experiences that weave life together–scents of flowers and food, reflections from mirrors and lakes, even the ability to dream–vanish every seven years.

No one knows what caused these “Disappearances,” or what will slip away next. But Sterling always suspected that Juliet Quinn was somehow responsible–and Aila must bear the brunt of their blame while she follows the chain of literary clues her mother left behind.

As the next Disappearance nears, Aila begins to unravel the dual mystery of why the Disappearances happen and who her mother truly was. One thing is clear: Sterling isn’t going to hold on to anyone’s secrets for long before it starts giving them up.

review

**** Big thank you to HMH Books for Young Readers for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review****

I’m not normally a big fan of historical fiction or magical realism but with this book I found myself really enjoying both genres. Overall the word that comes to mind with “The Disappearances” would be delightful (the finishing word, if you will *book inside joke*)!

PLOT

First of all one of the downsides to this story is that it’s a little on the slower side with not a whole lot going on or a whole lot of action. However, the mystery of the Disappearances is definitely interesting enough to keep reading until the end. There are also quite a few little twists that I definitely didn’t figure out and while they weren’t mind blowing they were still exciting and tied things together.

The overall plot, as I said already, was very intriguing and well developed. I really enjoyed all of the Shakespeare themed tie ins and they get even better right at the end! Although speaking of the ending while I did like it I also felt it was pretty rushed, I mean here we were taking our sweet time for 400 pages and then all of a sudden it’s all resolved? It all made perfect sense fortunately but it just felt a little too soon.

The premise and the execution were well done and I really liked how unique the whole story was. A town being plagued by things such as colors, smells, and reflections disappearing is a really interesting concept! The way the townspeople deal with these things are also neat and this is where the “magical realism” aspect of the stories come into play but that’s all I will say!

I liked the writing style as well it was simple, easy to follow, and flowed nicely. It’s hard to believe that this is only Emily Bain Murphy’s debut novel, I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for her future books!

characters

I liked the characters they were all so…..adorable and sweet. Although everyone was pretty plain but definitely not in a bad way they just felt a little tedious at times.

Aila was a decent protagonist and I liked how she was pretty feisty at times. It was nice to see a YA heroine who had her head on straight!

As for all of the secondary characters: I really liked them. Dr. and Mrs. Cliffton were amazing and so were Will, Beas, George, and even Eliza. Everyone was developed well enough but not so much that they felt very complex.

romance

I actually really enjoyed the romance in “The Disappearances” which is really saying something! It was very much a slow-burn romance and I adore the friends to lovers trope. It also helps that I loved both Aila and Will separately and I thought they were really cute together.

Seriously though the key words here are: slow burn.

in conclusion

What I Loved:

  • The premise and overall execution
  • The “world building” or magic aspects
  • The writing
  • Shakespeare tie-ins
  • The characters were all great
  • The romance was fantastic and slow burn

What I Didn’t Love:

  • The slow pacing
  • The ending felt kind of rushed

RECOMMEND

I really recommend checking this book out if you’re a fan of historical fiction, magical realism, and books that have very unique plots!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy