Top Ten Tuesday: Most Unique Books I’ve Read

Top Ten Tuesday(9)

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

This week’s theme is unique books and you can put any kind of twist on this that you wish but I’m going to be simple and do up the most unique books I’ve read! I absolutely love books that break the mold so unique books are some of my all time favorites.

These books aren’t really listed in any particular order and I will link up my full reviews to each title, although two of these were done when I was VERY new to blogging so I’m sorry they suck!

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10.) Alice by Christina Henry

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I love a good retelling and retellings of all kinds are unique on their own considering that they are a re-imagining of another story. However, I found that “Alice” is even more unique that your regular retelling, it’s dark, horrific and yet still really fun to read through if you’re a fan of Alice in Wonderland. Although I will say read my full review for trigger warnings and to see if it is a book you could stomach…it is pretty gruesome.


9.) Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics

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Good YA Horror books are kind of hard to come by, especially if you actually want to be terrified out of your wits. This book not only does that but it also has a really unique setting and the story itself is something I haven’t ever really seen before. A family being terrorized by the supernatural out in the middle of the prairie back in the 1800’s is definitely not an over-used plot!


8.) The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

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There aren’t many YA books involving cults (at least that I know about anyways) so a book that not only has this element but also has a very important and powerful plot: believing for yourself and not for others. It’s a very emotional book as we watch Minnow come to terms with herself and everything she’s been taught to believe.


7.) My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

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This is a historical retelling of Lady Jane Grey’s story with some added magical twists! I think what makes this story unique is that it is absolutely hilarious and silly, you don’t read many books that manage to be a comedy and yet still very heart-warming and touching!


6.) The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

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This is about a boy named Todd who lives in a town on a different planet and in this town men can hear each other’s thoughts and there are no women. The world is 100% original, detailed, and just downright interesting and I think that’s enough to make it one of the most unique books I’ve read.


5.) Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick

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I don’t even know where to begin with this book, it’s a mish mash of the past, present, and future and everyone’s stories on this island mix together. The non-linear style of the story makes it not only intriguing but also, once again, very unique!


4.) Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

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Laini Taylor’s writing is absolutely gorgeous and I have yet to find any author who can compare to it, but if that’s not enough to convince you of her book’s uniqueness then the plot certainly will. It’s a long, fleshed-out world with its own mythology that centers around a centuries old war between angels and chimera. Hello originality!


3.) Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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I don’t think I need to explain this one too much since I’m sure you all know what makes this book unique! The formatting is “out of this world” (lame pun alert!) because there is some amazing typography, diagrams, and designs throughout the book that make for a really unique reading experience.


2.) The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

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Like with “Illuminae” what makes this one unique is its formatting, the story is told throughout a series of newspaper clippings, video transcripts, and journal entries. This is a creepy psychological thriller about a girl whose twin goes missing in a mysterious fire at her boarding school except….she doesn’t have a twin.


1.) A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

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Magical, parallel Londons and a boy who can travel between them. Now that just screams uniqueness! I absolutely love the ideas Schwab comes up with for her books they are never, ever boring.

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What makes a book unique for you?

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

What are some unique books you’ve read?

Do you have any unique books on your TBR?

Let me know in the comments and feel free to link up your Top Ten Tuesday as well!

The Sassy

Book Review: The Diabolic (The Diabolic #1) by S.J. Kincaid

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description

Nemesis is a Diabolic. Created to protect a galactic Senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The girl who has grown up by her side and who is as much as sister as a master. There’s no one Nemesis wouldn’t kill to keep her safe. But when the power-mad Emperor summons Sidonia to the galactic court as a hostage, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia.

She must become her.

Now one of the galaxy’s most dangerous weapons is masquerading in a world of corruption and Nemesis has to hide her true abilities or risk everything. As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns that there is something stronger than her deadly force: the one thing she’s been told she doesn’t have – humanity. And, amidst all the danger, action and intrigue, her humanity might be the only thing that can save her, Sidonia and the entire Empire…

review

I just KNEW I was going to adore this book although at first I was skeptical, “The Diabolic” managed to 100% win me over though with it’s utter perfection (or really it just contained everything I look for in a book and did it awesomely).

I really don’t have to much to complain about and thus will spend this review trying to convince YOU to read this book!

PLOT

Also just one little side note here! This book WAS supposed to just be a standalone and apparently it is now a trilogy which is a little upsetting to me since I thought it was all wrapped up 100% and I’m not sure I’ll like it having more books now since the ending was completely satisfying. I’d also love to hear YOUR thoughts on this too so leave some comments down below!

Now before I start gushing about how amazing this book is I will start with saying this book takes a little patience at the beginning! When I first started reading I was thinking to myself “Wait, I thought I was going to love this book? Why does everyone else love this book? Am I even reading the same book?”. Turns out I just needed to push my way through the beginning of the book to get to all of the awesomeness! So the beginning is a little slow to start and actually a teeny bit boring honestly but I understand that it was needed to set the stage for all of the cool stuff that happens later.

As I said the beginning is a little slow paced but once it gets going it really gets going! The rest of the story is very fast paced and action packed without any dull moments or lulls. And the  plot twists are BRUTAL by which I mean they’re pretty jaw-dropping, there’s conspiracies, politics, mind games, betrayals, and revenge! How could you ever get bored?

One thing I really thought was interesting was the setting and world building for this story. The galaxy (universe? space in general?) is run by an Imperial Court/Senate type of thing with the ruling figurehead being an Emperor. So this had a very Roman feel to it mixed in with the futuristic/space-y atmosphere. How is that NOT awesome?

I also thought that the world building was just minimal enough to keep you interested and not confused especially since this book was SUPPOSEDLY a standalone when I read it. It was just enough and it was perfect, however, now that this is a trilogy I’m sure they can (and should) expand way more on the world building.

characters

Let’s just say the characters are pretty amazing in this story especially the main character and her love interest I thought the development and complexity was spot on.

Nemesis is our main character and she is a badass, vicious, and ruthless…..I loved her. Her sole purpose in life is to protect Sidonia (who is her charge basically) and she will do this at all costs even if it means sacrificing herself. Her personality is very robotic and animalistic she doesn’t exactly have feelings or experiences like humans, however, she does care for Sidonia and Sidonia cares greatly for her as well and insists Nemesis is human too. Thus we see a lot of conflicting emotions inside Nemesis as she develops throughout the story as she tries to deal with her nature and her growing human feelings. SO MUCH COMPLEXITY, IT IS AMAZING!

Then there’s Tyrus. Holy crap I absolutely loved his character so much, I thought only Nemesis was complex and developed but Tyrus is right up there as well. He’s so clever and when I say clever I mean so unbelievably smart and devious with all of the plot-hatching and mind games. He’s just awesome, okay?

The secondary characters were also pretty great, they had JUST enough development to keep them interesting although overall they paled in comparison to Nemesis and Tyrus. Everyone had their own agendas and additions to the story. Plus the villains are so VICIOUS and cold-hearted that you just loved to hate their guts.

romance

Let me describe this with a gif:

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I rarely love YA romances and especially not this much! I adored the romance in this book to little bits and pieces, it had a kind of “forbidden love” feel to it and there were definitely NO tropes or cliches with it either this was a complete slow burn romance. I think that Nemesis and Tyrus fit so well together because they’re both ruthless but also with a strong underlying goodness to them.

Also without naming whos or whats there is a bit of a LGTB romance in here toooooooo!

in conclusion

I very much loved “The Diabolic” it was all kinds of vicious and trope-free and just really unique! There weren’t really a whole lot of things I DIDN’T like about it thus giving it the 5 star rating.

What I Liked:

  • Ruthless, vicious characters
  • A badass main character
  • SO MUCH CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT/COMPLEXITY
  • The romance was so freaking cute and I ship it so hard!
  • The setting and world building were interesting
  • The plot is fast-paced and there’s constant action
  • Space politics and mind games!

What I Didn’t Like:

  • The beginning was hard to get into (the pacing was slow to start)
  • The fact that this went from a standalone to a trilogy even though the ending was perfect for a standalone!

RECOMMEND

Most definitely I recommend giving “The Diabolic” a read! Especially if you’re into YA sci-fi, vicious/badass characters, and you like a little politics in your plots! Also if you like action because there are things constantly happening!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

Book Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

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Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

review

 I would first like to say I read “Cinder” by Marissa Meyer a while ago and was not impressed and vowed to not read any of her works again because of the issues I had with “Cinder”. I assumed everything she wrote would all be the same, which was clearly very stubborn of me. So it’s kind of a big deal when I say that I not only read “Heartless” but really, really loved it. I have been won over!

It also may have something to do with the fact that I love Alice in Wonderland retellings…..

PLOT

For those of you who don’t know this isn’t just a retelling of Alice in Wonderland, oh no. It’s an origin story for the Queen of Hearts herself….which makes it all the more fun am I right?

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One of my biggest complaints about “Heartless” is that it’s pacing is extremely slow and a bit tedious at times. I would say this is true for about three quarters of the book and the last quarter it definitely picks up and gets REALLY interesting! This was kind of a “meh” or “okay” for a lot of the book but damn that ending completely won me over!

I have seen a lot of negative reviews for this book and their problems were with the slow pacing and the plot itself. You see the plot is mainly about Catherine not wanting to marry the King of Hearts and that’s really all there is to it which does get very repetitive and boring, I agree. However, I overlooked that because I was having so much fun with the characters and references to Alice in Wonderland. I would say the slow pacing has a lot to do with the plot not really moving in any other direction for a long duration of the story.

There’s also an inclusion of the Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater nursery rhyme which I thought was pretty neat. Just saying.

I also loved the way Marissa Meyer weaved in her Wonderland references without info-dumping us. We are, after all, pretty familiar with the Alice in Wonderland and I thought that made it all the more fun to pick out her references while reading.

The ending was my favorite part of the story because of how dark, twisted, and awesome it is! I loved seeing what happened to Catherine that turned her in to the beheading crazy Queen of Hearts we all know and I was NOT disappointed! Actually I take that back I was disappointed because with that ending I thought this was a series but alas it’s a standalone and I’m very upset…..

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I want more!

So while the pacing is slow and plot is more or less a little boring it’s still okay because this is more of a character driven book in the first place.

characters

As I said this is a very character driven book so the characters are pretty important and Meyer does a great job of making them as interesting and complex as possible. I think you can have a boring plot and the book will still be great if you do a good job developing your characters and that’s proven in “Heartless”.

Catherine is a likable enough main character she’s sweet, kind, and the most fantastic baker in all of Hearts (which made for some stomach-rumbling reading). I ended up being very sympathetic to Catherine’s cause, she wants to open a bakery and her mother wants her to marry the king and become Queen of Hearts. You can see how those two wants would conflict and I just became very invested in Catherine’s plight.

Jest, the new court joker, is also a very interesting character and also the love interest. He wasn’t particularly the best character or even my favorite character but he was very charming and a lot of fun , if that makes sense. I also really loved his bird companion Raven, who speaks in poetry and quotes Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” which was hilarious!

Hatta (aka The Mad Hatter, speaking of which the name Hatta for this character drove me insane! It’s just stupid to me and I hated pronouncing it Hatta in my head!) was also a great character and stayed pretty true to the Alice in Wonderland character. Even if he was rude sometimes…..but you’ll understand when you read his origin story which I thought was very interesting and adds a lot to your perspective of the Mad Hatter.

I, of course, have to mention how much I loved Cheshire because I always love the Cheshire Cat in every Alice in Wonderland related work. He’s just as mischievous as always!

There’s also a slew of other characters that were absolutely wonderful as well and even if we saw very little of them I still feel like they had a complexity all their own.

romance

As you all already know it takes a lot for me to enjoy YA romances since they’re usually so full of cliches. While I did catch a whiff of some insta-love at first this romance was not completely nauseating. It was a bit charming and a bit cute but overall it was just sort of okay and I didn’t mind it but I didn’t love it either.

However, the romance between Cath and Jest is a major plot point and yet it never feels like it totally takes over which is definitely a plus.

in conclusion

Overall I very much enjoyed this book even though it had a few issues I was able to easily overlook them and still end up loving “Heartless”.

What I Liked:

  • The Alice in Wonderland references and that this world stayed pretty true to the original
  • The characters were interesting and complex
  • That ending!
  • Cheshire

What I Disliked:

  • The pacing was very slow
  • The overall plot was a bit boring
  • The romance was just okay/meh

RECOMMEND

I definitely recommend reading “Heartless” if you’re willing to push through the slow pacing and get to that wonderful ending but if you aren’t a fan of slow books and lose patience quickly then maybe give this one a skip.

Also if you’re like me and didn’t love “Cinder” by Marissa Meyer and aren’t sure if you want to give this book a try I strongly urge you to take the plunge! I really disliked “Cinder” and ended up not only loving “Heartless” but am now willing to dive back into the Lunar Chronicles as well!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

 

Book Review: Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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description

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.

review

Let me say this first: Not as good as “Illuminae”.

I gave “Illuminae” 5 full stars despite the minor issues I had with it and so my expectations were extremely high for “Gemina” and I have to say I was a bit disappointed with it overall. However, this book is still getting a 4 star rating because it’s still a great book despite not enjoying it as much as the first book.

PLOT

First of all the plot stays really true to what Kaufman and Kristoff did in “Illuminae” in which case I mean it’s full of action and death mostly. However, I felt like the plot could have used MORE suspense and that survival feel that we saw in the first book. I didn’t feel as…thrilled as I did during “Illuminae” my adrenaline wasn’t pumping as much (well as much as it can be while reading a book). Remember all the insane plot twists in “Illuminae”? Yeah. Didn’t really see them in “Gemina”. There were a few that I enjoyed but for the most part they were either not that great or a little bit predictable.

I did enjoy the inclusion of alien life forms in this book because come on what sci-fi series would complete without that? They were terrifying and interesting and probably one of my favorite parts about this book and I almost would have enjoyed them playing a bigger part than they did. There’s also a kind of Russian Mafia in this story too which is pretty much guaranteed to always make things more interesting. Then we have space pirates/mercenaries invading a space station and even a time paradox which may or may not be a little confusing.

The pacing of the story was a little off in the beginning of the book by which I mean it was slow and a little boring at first. I’m here for the spaceships and death! I don’t care about a teenage girl and her boy problems, damnit! Anyways, the pacing picks up as the story progresses until suddenly you’re done with the book, very much true to “Illuminae” style.

Of course we have the same awesome format in “Gemina” that we saw in the first book and even the inclusion of some of author Marie Lu’s illustrations. There’s also a few hidden things in the book if you pay close enough attention, one being the names of several other YA authors included on a list of casualties. So I thought those were some cool little treats to include for us booknerds!

I enjoyed the story at the ending the most where we got to finally see some of the characters from “Illuminae”, *cough* AIDAN *cough*. It really livened things up in my opinion.

I would also like to take a moment to discuss the thing that irritated me the MOST in this entire book and while I will not mention names I will mention a sort of situation that might be considered a spoiler soooo….

****Start of potential spoilers****

The single most irritating thing in this whole book is: HOW DEAD PEOPLE DO NOT STAY DEAD!!!! This is the most proficient way to piss me off and make me resent the character that did not stay dead. The whole entire point of killing a character off is to make us shocked and it really ruins that when they were fine the entire time! Quit ruining it!

I also feel like that twist is a little “been there done that” considering it was used in the first book as well.

****End of potential spoilers****

characters

One word for the characters in this book *ahem, cough* NOOOOOOOOOO!

Really by this I mean Hanna one of the main characters, couldn’t stand her. I thought I had issues with the characters in “Illuminae” but oh boy they look like gold compared to the characters in “Gemina”. Hanna starts out as a spoiled, entitled teenage girl and really that shows in her attitude a lot of the time. Does she develop? Yeah, I guess but she still never failed to annoy me.  I thought Hanna acted really selfish through a lot of the book, sorry sweetheart but the world doesn’t revolve around you…or your boy problems.

Nik, the other main character, I actually thought was pretty decent. He was funny and a little more down to Earth (space? space station? not technically Earth…) than Hanna was. Although his constant flirtations with Hanna were by far the most annoying thing about this book. Still liked him though.

I liked a couple of the secondary characters as well and the villains for this book were pretty intimidating which I LOVED.

Overall though I just felt that the characters weren’t all that great in “Gemina”, I didn’t feel a connection and I really could have cared less about most of them.

romance

I briefly mentioned the constant flirtations between Nik and Hanna but I’m here to say it again. This took so much away from the plot itself I thought, it wasn’t cute or funny it was just extremely irritating because of how constant they were. Seriously! I do not exaggerate! It’s happening all the time throughout the entire length of the book.

There’s also insta-love, not in it’s traditional form but it’s still kind of there. If you’ve read the book you might know what I mean and if not you’ll find out. There’s also a love triangle that once again isn’t your typical love triangle but is still technically a love triangle. Both of those things annoyed me as well….

Overall not impressed with the romance whatsoever but no real surprise there.

in conclusion

I DID like this book but it was not as impressive as “Illuminae” in my eyes. I’m hoping this is just a case of “middle book syndrome” and the next book will live up to expectations.

What I Liked:

  • The unique and fun format
  • The fast pacing (although it was a little slow to start)
  • Aliens
  • Space mercenaries
  • Time paradoxes
  • The inclusion of characters from “Illuminae”

 

What I Didn’t Like:

  • The thing in my potential spoilers section
  • Hanna, the main character
  • A lot of the other characters were bland
  • The romance
  • The constant flirting which was more annoying than cute

RECOMMEND

If you’ve read “Illuminae” I definitely recommend continuing with “Gemina” but I would maybe lower your expectations a little bit so you don’t end up like me. If you aren’t sure about this sequel you can always wait to binge read it when the last book comes out!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

ARC Review: Fate of Flames (Effigies #1) by Sarah Raughley

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description

Years ago, everything changed. Phantoms, massive beasts of nightmare, began terrorizing the world. At the same time four girls, the Effigies, appeared, each with the unique power to control a classical element. Since then, they have protected the world from the Phantoms. At the death of one Effigy, another is chosen, pulled from her normal life into the never-ending battle.

When Maia unexpectedly becomes the next Fire Effigy, she resists her new calling. A quiet girl with few friends and almost no family, she was much happier to admire the Effigies from afar. Never did she imagine having to master her ability to control fire, to protect innocent citizens from the Phantoms, or to try bringing together the other three Effigies.

But with the arrival of the mysterious Saul—a man who seems to be able to control the Phantoms using the same cosmic power previously only granted to four girls at a time—Maia and the other Effigies must learn to work together in a world where their celebrity is more important than their heroism.

But the secrets Saul has, and the power he possesses, might be more than even they can handle…

review

**** Big thank you to Simon Pulse for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review****

This was a book that was hard to rate because I liked the concept a lot but overall “Fate of Flames” was really meh. So it gets a rating right down the middle because there were some things I really enjoyed and others that really infuriated me.

Also this is going to be a longer review than normal because I RANT quite a bit over the characters…….

PLOT

The story and world-building were pretty much the only redeeming qualities within this book. As I said earlier the concept is great even if the execution wasn’t the greatest.

“Fate of Flames” is set in a world where monsters called Phantoms are a constant threat to humanity. To protect themselves, humans, have Anti-Phantom-Devices to keep the monsters out as well as super-powered teenage girls called Effigies whose purpose is to kill the Phantoms. Concept sounds pretty badass, right? While the execution is okay it wasn’t as great and badass as I thought it would be. We are actually left with quite a few questions and plot holes.

The world-building with the mentions of the Phantoms and Effigies themselves was pretty interesting but I feel like there definitely could have been MORE. What exactly are the Phantoms and the Effigies? How are Effigies chosen? Where did the Phantoms come from? So the world-building is okay and has a lot of potential but could have used a lot more expansion, maybe we’ll see more of that in the sequel.

I really loved the idea of girls with super powers kicking Phantom-butt and while we do see that within the book I, once again, wish there would have been MORE. More action! What action we did get is actually really well done and were some of the most exciting parts within the book, BUT I wanted to see the Effigies use their powers more.

I also found the pacing throughout the book to be a little slow, I found myself really bored during certain parts. While the battle scenes are really great and fast paced, everything else is a little boring and repetitive.

characters

Okay, honestly a majority of the characters weren’t THAT bad but the main character is the WORST part of this entire book! RANT TIME!

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First of all Maia, the main character, has got to be the worst heroine I’ve ever read about! Not even exaggerating here people! Now I understand having super powers and super responsibility thrust upon you as a teenager all of a sudden isn’t the easiest thing to adjust to but you’re going to have to suck it up and get used to it because the WORLD NEEDS YOU. Maia is weak, cowardly, annoying, and foolish throughout the ENTIRE BOOK. As I said I get that being scared right away is more realistic than a heroine running face first into danger to save people but I’d much rather have that than MAIA who literally runs away from everything and lets people die.

Besides that, Maia is also a HUGE Effigy fangirl. I consider myself a fangirl at times and know a lot of you are as well but holy shit Maia has got to be the definition of ANNOYING FANGIRL. She literally brings up all her (slightly creepy) fangirl knowledge about the Effigies to the Effigies themselves all the time and it makes me want to hide under a rock because I’m so embarrassed for her. I think by making Maia a fangirl the author thought she was making the character more relatable but there is such a thing as taking it too far.

Speaking of things Maia says….her dialogue and thoughts are absolutely cringe-worthy at times. I found myself thinking:

“WHY? WHY WOULD YOU SAY SOMETHING LIKE THAT? YOU’RE JUST EMBARRASSING YOURSELF!”

And then there’s the things she would do that had me thinking:

“WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT? YOU’RE EMBARRASSING YOURSELF!”.

Do you see a pattern here? Seriously Maia is just awful.

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Another thing that drove me up the wall was the complete lack of character descriptions, if there’s one thing I loathe in books it’s when I don’t get a character described to me. Seriously, how hard is it? You write up a single sentence describing the character and I’ll be happy! While the other Effigy girls get a BIT of description it still isn’t enough to picture them all that well and you know who gets absolutely ZERO description? Maia.

As if I didn’t have enough to complain about her in the first place. I spent the first couple of chapters picturing Maia as a red-headed white girl, why you may ask, because that’s what my brain decided she would look like for the time being. Then we get a brief mention of her family having Jamaican roots and then all of a sudden my image is shattered because Maia I’m almost positive is African-American now. Kind of something that should be mentioned don’t you think? Especially considering I could go around saying this is a Diverse YA book, which is great! But also I’m actually still not 100% she is African-American because it’s never outright mentioned! Confusion!

The other Effigies were alright, nothing too special but still way more interesting and badass than our main character. I actually really liked them, especially Chae Rin! Now that’s who the main character should have been, someone who is actually badass.

Then we have the villain who will remain un-named due to spoilers. I don’t understand this book’s villain WHATSOEVER. I kind of understood the motive at the end of the book but I just don’t understand the villain itself, not explained at all. Very confusing and quite frustrating. Hopefully it will get explained in the rest of the series.

Also we do see a bit of a YA cliche in this book concerning adults. You know the one, right? Where every single adult on the face of the Earth is completely incompetent and absent? Yeah, not fun or realistic and very annoying.

romance

There really isn’t any romance in “Fate of Flames” which is a HUGE relief for me because I can foresee what a disaster it would have been. Basically what romance there is is simply Maia having a crush on a boy and the boy having a crush back. It was meh.

in conclusion

I actually am torn right down the middle about my feelings towards this book, I did really enjoy certain factors even if I do make it sound otherwise.

What I Liked:

  • The Phantoms (who were terrifying)
  • The slight world building
  • The Effigies and their powers
  • The few battle scenes

What I Didn’t Like:

  • The many questions I was left with and plot holes
  • Lack of character description (especially with Maia)
  • Literally everything about Maia, the main character
  • Incompetent adults
  • Pacing

RECOMMEND

Meh. I can’t say this is a book I’d go around recommending to anyone since I feel really indifferent about it, it had good and bad. Although if you were interested in this book beforehand I think you may still find it worth trying but other than that maybe skip this one.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

Book Review: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows

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The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane is about to become the Queen of England.

review

I just have to rate this book a full five stars! I don’t usually enjoy historical fiction or romance but the way these ladies wrote it I couldn’t help but love it. It’s hysterical, fun, light-hearted and so very unique and I want you all to go read it ASAP!

PLOT

The story in “My Lady Jane” is essentially a twist and sort of retelling of English history involving the Lady Jane Gray, King Edward VI, and Lord Guildford Dudley who are our POV narrators. So if you love the history of this time period then I’d say you’ll probably have a lot of fun making comparisons between this book’s re-written history and the real history, I know I did!

A large part of deciding whether you’ll love this book or not really depends on what kind of mood you’re in and what your sense of humor is like. DO NOT go into this book expecting something tense and dramatic because it most definitely is not any of those things. “My Lady Jane” is silly, light, and charming and full of hilarious lines and references to Monty Python and The Princess Bride (although on the latter I cannot specify too much as I haven’t seen the entire movie, don’t kill me). So if all of those things sound appealing to you then you’ll  with no doubt love this book if you don’t take it too seriously because the book itself certainly doesn’t.

While I don’t necessarily consider this YA Fantasy since it’s mostly a historical retelling it does contain some elements of fantasy such as magic. Basically we have Edians who have the ability to shape-shift into a certain animal and live among the rest of us normal humans. I very much loved how this magic was incorporated within the “real” history and plot both while also adding to the overall cuteness and fun of the story.

The pacing was great too, I thought there was never a dull moment with “My Lady Jane” and couldn’t put it down. Another great feature was the writing I thought it was just brilliant, fun, and blended everything together nicely making the book a joy to read through.

Overall I think the plot has plenty of cute romance, action, and adventure all seamlessly melded together in very clever ways. It’s not too dramatic or serious and just a very fun, entertaining story.

characters

The characters were all absolutely fantastic and I adored them, they were clever, witty, and interesting. Each of our protagonists developed in their own way throughout the story and had vivid personalities of their own making for some fun and three dimensional characters. I don’t have any issues with the main characters whatsoever and even the villains were fun to hate….because no one can hurt my precious characters! No one!

Jane is a girl after my own heart, honestly probably one of the most relatable characters I’ve had the pleasure of reading about. She’s bookish, a bit silly, and quite spunky.

Edward was one of the more funny protagonists I thought his narration was hilarious. He’s also a big softy and generally I thought he was adorable and precious and needed to be protected at all costs.

Gifford, while a great character in his own right, was my least favorite just because I personally thought his personality didn’t shine as brightly as Jane’s and Edward’s. He was the more boring one for me while reading although I must say I DID love his perspective during certain parts that I shall not specify because spoilers!

romance

This romance was a winner and I will say when I am convinced to love a romance in a YA book then it is usually a five star read for me. It did not necessarily have me swooning but it was a well done, slow-burn, trope-free romance and really that’s all I’m really looking for. Even thought the romance is a big part of the plot it doesn’t ever take over completely and over shadow all of the other things going on, which is always appreciated by me.

Gifford and Jane were very cute and I felt that their romance was realistic because at first they don’t care for each other in the least bit and slowly fall in love. Realistic romance folks! That’s all I want! No tropes here!

in conclusion

I LOVED this book plain and simple and had zero issues with any of the aspects of it. I NEED these authors to write another book together STAT!

What I Liked Loved:

  • The romance was sweet, trope-free, and not the sole focus
  • The protagonists were all wonderful, funny, and developed
  • The plot is clever, unique, and hilarious
  • The magic is interesting and adds a lot to the plot

What I Disliked:

  • Nothing. I rated it 5 stars for a reason!

RECOMMEND

YES! A BILLION TIMES YES! This book is perfection and I highly recommend reading it! Although like I said earlier if you want something more serious and dramatic steer clear but if you want a light, silly book that’s tons of fun then “My Lady Jane” is for you!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

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ARC Review: Timekeeper (Timekeeper #1) by Tara Sim

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Two o’clock was missing.

In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

It’s a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors.

And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny’s new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower’s clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield’s time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he’s fought to achieve.

But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to Stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target or he’ll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves, forever.

review

**** Big thank you to Sky Pony Press for sending me this ARC in exchange for an honest review****

This is one cute and intriguing book although it took me a while to get into it which is why I feel like I can’t give it a full 4 stars, but I do think “Timekeeper” is very much worth your time. (See what I did there?)

PLOT

“Timekeeper” is essentially a story all about how a young clock mechanic falls in love with a tower’s clock spirit and it is adorable. While the romance does play a big part in the book it is not the main focus of the story, and thank goodness for that! There’s an added mystery involving bombs, clock towers, and towns whose time has stopped, that adds a lot to propel the story forward and damn was it good as well as unpredictable.

The setting is also something we don’t see too often in YA and that would be steampunk. Of course this is an alternate reality England mixed in with steampunk and while I liked the setting I also didn’t at the same time. This is a steampunk book but I thought it definitely could have used MORE, all we get in the story that even makes this feel like steampunk is the clock towers (which are essentially JUST clock towers) and the occasional mention of automatons. That’s it. I just felt like we could have used more mention of the gadgets and machines that make steampunk what it is.

As you can obviously tell this book is about clocks and time and since Danny, the MC, is a clock mechanic we do get quite a bit of information on how the clocks function and such. While this could potentially bore some people I thought it was actually quite interesting and it’s definitely not info-dumping, we don’t get overloaded with so many mechanics that you’ll get insanely bored.

While the mechanics of the clock towers themselves are interesting there is nothing in this book more intriguing than the clock spirits. The minute clock spirits are mentioned I wanted to know more about them, which of course I did slowly throughout the book and was not disappointed. I think they are the most creative part of this story and add so much magic to it.

There’s also a bit of added Greek mythology with Chronos and Aetas the god of time who gave people the ability to weave time into the clock towers. While it didn’t necessarily add a lot to the central story I thought it was a nice touch and helped build on the universe Tara Sim created.

While I really loved the story overall I will say that it really dragged in some parts, especially in the beginning. The story didn’t grab my attention until about 30-35% of the way in where we got introduced to the mystery.

characters

The characters were just kind of okay, I didn’t absolutely adore them but I didn’t hate them either. They weren’t as developed as I would have liked and overall they felt a little too young…..they’re supposed to be teenagers and they seemed like middle school age which is probably because of the writing.

I liked Danny as a main character and Colton is the sweetest thing ever. I also liked a lot of the secondary characters although I wish they would have been a little more fleshed out.

As I said they’re just okay, nothing too special.

romance

Usually it takes quite a bit of convincing to make me enjoy any YA romances but let me tell you Danny and Colton are the cutest couple ever, seriously they’re downright adorable. I really enjoyed their romance, it’s so sweet and heart-warming. There is a degree of insta-love between them but it isn’t extreme and it was easy to look past.

As I mentioned earlier their romance plays a big part in the book but it isn’t the sole focus at all. I love having a wonderfully written romance that doesn’t take up the entire story.

Also if you couldn’t tell it’s a LGTB romance which adds to the diversity!

in conclusion

Overall I was really impressed and happy with this book but I had a few “meh” issues with it which is why it didn’t receive a full 4 stars. I will definitely be looking forward to the sequel though.

What I Liked:

  • The story was unique and interesting
  • The romance didn’t take over the entire plot
  • World-building was pretty spot-on
  • The added mythology was intriguing
  • The romance was SO FREAKING ADORABLE

What I Didn’t Like:

  • The characters were just sort of “meh” and not developed enough
  • The steampunk setting didn’t seem steampunk-y enough
  • The pacing dragged throughout the book

RECOMMEND

Yes I recommend reading “Timekeeper” it’s a very original, charming story. If you’re looking for diverse books this also fits the bill!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy