Review: Walk on Earth a Stranger

Standard

17564519

Goodreads Summary:

Gold is in my blood, in my breath, even in the flecks in my eyes.

Lee Westfall has a strong, loving family. She has a home she loves and a loyal steed. She has a best friend—who might want to be something more.

She also has a secret.

Lee can sense gold in the world around her. Veins deep in the earth. Small nuggets in a stream. Even gold dust caught underneath a fingernail. She has kept her family safe and able to buy provisions, even through the harshest winters. But what would someone do to control a girl with that kind of power? A person might muder for it.

When everything Lee holds dear is ripped away, she flees west to California—where gold has just been discovered. Perhaps this will be the one place a magical girl can be herself. If she survives the journey.

The acclaimed Rae Carson begins a sweeping new trilogy set in Gold Rush-era America, about a young woman with a powerful and dangerous gift.

Let me start with this: I was not as excited about this book as a lot of other people were, there was so much hype about this and not having read anything else by the author, and generally being weary of alternate history, I went into this with some reservations. Well, I needn’t have, it was pretty darn good.

First, it was not alternate history like I was afraid of, but general historical fiction, with a little witchyness thrown in. I loved the jargon, the visual depictions of life in American in the late 1800s, the diversity, and most of all how Carson confronted many of the social and political issues of that time. I really enjoyed the touches on Manifest Destiny, how idyllic it was, how different people viewed the idea, and how different people executed their interpretations. Also, the dealings with Native Americans and slaves, I really liked those parts of the story and how realistic they felt.

I was quite taken with our MC Leah/Lee, she was so interesting. She was a hard working girl with a strong sense of independence fostered by her loving family. When she has to strike out on her own I loved that though she was smart and strong she still had her fair share of issues, but she never gave up and as many bad people she ran into there were good ones too. I enjoyed watching she and Jefferson move from best fiends to something a little more (but they need to just happen already). Her growth throughout is really interesting as well, I wouldn’t say she’s stronger or smarter than she was in the beginning of the book, but she’s more confident and trusting.

The journey across the country was really fun to watch. I loved the dynamic of the wagon trail and how they all turn into one big family. And the diversity that Carson was able to craft into that group was so amazing! None of it felt overdone or unrealistic, and it was so impressive watching those people come together and strengthen over the period of their dangerous trek.

The two things I didn’t really like about this book were the relationship between Jeff/Therese/Lee. It was clear that Therese had a thing for Jeff, but I was never positive if Jeff liked her as more than a friend, it seemed like it was there to make Lee jealous and raise the “does he/she really like me as more than a friend” between she and Jeff. I also wished Lee had come clean to Jeff earlier about her ability with the gold, but it all worked out in the end.

I am really looking forward to continuing this series and seeing what happens with Lee and Jeff and their new adopted family. How Lee deals with her ability in the Gold Rush country, and what happens with her uncle.

Coming This Week: Sep. 28

Standard

55d7d880015862ea5bab3f34248449e0

Our Household Goods come today!!

That’s right, no more sleeping on a (full-sized) futon, sitting on the floor, and only having a Dutch oven to cook dinner with. Yay!!!

Though, as is standard with any military move, the active duty member seems to only be present for one stage of moving. So I’ll be alone Monday dealing with the movers, but fortunately life as an Army Brat has me prepared. Really the only thing it impacts is that I won’t be able to get as many boxes unpacked so the movers can take them off my hands. Luckily, as it’s only 2 of us, we don’t have all that much anyway.

So, since I will be spending the week (Father’s set time limit to have the house completely unpacked and settled, and I have upheld) I am only going to be posting my usual scheduled book reviews. Hopefully next week, since I will have my computer again, I will get some more exciting things up. Maybe something writing related?

Book reviews, look for:

And huzzah for metal utensils and wine glasses!

Review: Split Second

Standard

15792316

Goodreads Summary:

Life can change in a split second.

Addie hardly recognizes her life since her parents divorced. Her boyfriend used her. Her best friend betrayed her. She can’t believe this is the future she chose. On top of that, her ability is acting up. She’s always been able to Search the future when presented with a choice. Now she can manipulate and slow down time, too… but not without a price.

When Addie’s dad invites her to spend her winter break with him, she jumps at the chance to escape into the Norm world of Dallas, Texas. There she meets the handsome and achingly familiar Trevor. He’s a virtual stranger to her, so why does her heart do a funny flip every time she sees him? But after witnessing secrets that were supposed to stay hidden, Trevor quickly seems more suspicious of Addie than interested in her. And she has an inexplicable desire to change that.

Meanwhile, her best friend, Laila, has a secret of her own: she can restore Addie’s memories… once she learns how. But there are powerful people who don’t want to see this happen. Desperate, Laila tries to manipulate Connor, a brooding bad boy from school—but he seems to be the only boy in the Compound immune to her charms. And the only one who can help her.

As Addie and Laila frantically attempt to retrieve the lost memories, Addie must piece together a world she thought she knew before she loses the love she nearly forgot… and a future that could change everything.

This book had a hard story to sell in the fact that we have already seen what Addie’s life would have been if she had chosen life with her dad, and we know why she is so drawn to Trevor. I’m going to go ahead and say that it was a successful sequel though.

We left the first book with a hint to Addie’s new ability, and this instalment picks up almost exactly where the first one leaves off. Addie is getting ready to go to Dallas to spend the holidays with her father. However, Laila has failed to give her the note she wrote herself. So Addie doesn’t know she wanted her memories of Trevor restored, and Laila – who read the letter – is stressing about expanding her ability to be able to restore those memories. It’s all pretty much what you would expect.

We also get the same sort of dual perspectives in this book, but instead of the two paths that Addie searched, it was Addie and Laila. I have to say, I wasn’t a huge fan of Laila’s POV. She’s really hard to connect too and I found her pretty unlikable. Unlikable characters can be done well, but she wasn’t deep enough to really keep me interested in her vainness, pessimism, and ego. Only when Addie interpreted her was when I found redeeming qualities for Laila, and I hate when you need another character to like someone else.

I thought the attempt at world building was better in this one. We see a little more about the Compound, what the different abilities can do and how they are seen within their community, and more on how the Norms are perceived. I thought the big drama it centered on with the Compound was a bit lacking though and could have been more deeply developed.

I think this is really more of a love story though. I mean one of the only reasons I read it was to see how Addie and Trevor interacted in this one. And honestly, it could have been better. In the first book them being thrown together was so much more natural. In this one it was random runnings into each other and little else. Then they were just Together. It was still pretty cute though, mainly because Addie and Trevor are such strong characters, but without the first book to give us those preconceived notions I don’t think it would have been as successful.

I mean, it was a quick, easy, and entertaining read, but I don’t think I’ll be coming back to this series in the future.

Book Spoilers

Standard

Zb44O

With the release of Queen of Shadows I had been seeing so many status updates, tweets, and blog posts about reactions and evaluations and general book feels. This had been one of my most anticipated book releases of the year, so I was all over everything that I could find. It made me think though about how easy it is to have a book spoiled these days with all of these media outlets.

I have to go ahead and admit that I am one of those people who reads all the spoilers, especially if it’s with a series I am invested in. I want to know if my ships are successful, I want to know if it lives up to the hype, I want to know if my theories play out! I know, I could just read the book and find out. And I understand that, I do, but I don’t want to. In my post last week you may remember me saying that if a book doesn’t go the way I want it to I will quit. Well, for series I love I don’t want that to happen. The way I see it, by reading all these spoilers I have time to process my disappointments, then when I get to reading I am over the initial emotional reaction and I can appreciate more what the author is going for and the big picture. (Though I am still going to hold onto my thread of hope with a death grip for my Chaoleana ship, there are still 2 more books!)

So what about you, are you one of those who willingly reads all the spoilers, or do you avoid them like the plague until you’ve read the book for yourself?

Review: The Glass Magician

Standard

22341276

Goodreads Summary:

Three months after returning Magician Emery Thane’s heart to his body, Ceony Twill is well on her way to becoming a Folder. Unfortunately, not all of Ceony’s thoughts have been focused on paper magic. Though she was promised romance by a fortuity box, Ceony still hasn’t broken the teacher-student barrier with Emery, despite their growing closeness.

When a magician with a penchant for revenge believes that Ceony possesses a secret, he vows to discover it…even if it tears apart the very fabric of their magical world. After a series of attacks target Ceony and catch those she holds most dear in the crossfire, Ceony knows she must find the true limits of her powers…and keep her knowledge from falling into wayward hands.

The delightful sequel to Charlie N. Holmberg’s The Paper Magician, The Glass Magician will charm readers young and old alike.

I liked this one a little less than the first. Mainly because Ceony’s reasons for involving herself in the dangerous and exciting aspects of this felt a bit weaker to me. Though when I think about it, in TPM, her reasons were pretty selfish – saving a man who she was developing feelings for – there was enough unselfishness too though to balance it. I mean, risking you life for another is inherently unselfish right? Well, in this one, her need to “take responsibility” for the dastardly deeds going on was not as strong an argument as I thought it could have been.

Given the hastyness of this book, I enjoyed seeing more of the magic, and how it interacts with the magicians. I am still wondering how one gets to be a magician though, can anyone learn or do you have to have a predisposition for it? I also enjoyed watching Ceony and Emery grow closer in this. I would like to have seen more between them though than a few tender moments of snuggles on the couch and comforting hands on backs. I mean we all know Ceony knows him, she walked through his heart, but he doesn’t seem to know all that much about her beyond their shared experiences.

So while this was not as charming as the first book, it was still a quick and enjoyable read.

Coming This Week: Sep 21

Standard

some-e-cards-pumpkin-640x420

I’m not really one for the PSL, but I do make a killer pumpkin cheesecake. It’s just nice to actually be feeling the transition into fall! Being on the island completely failed in the whole seasons thing and that was something I missed the most.

Anywho, this week look for book discussions about:

And on Wednesday I will be talking about book spoilers, and how one reacts to them.

Review: Lair of Dreams

Standard

16060716

Goodreads Summary:

After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. Now that the world knows of her ability to “read” objects, and therefore, read the past, she has become a media darling, earning the title, “America’s Sweetheart Seer.” But not everyone is so accepting of the Diviners’ abilities…

Meanwhile, mysterious deaths have been turning up in the city, victims of an unknown sleeping sickness. Can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld and catch a killer?

I’ll start off with I did not like this one as much as the first, but it was still very strong, and as usual for Bray, the writing was superb.

First, I was not a fan of Evie in this book. In the first book, her vain attention needing personally was balanced by her want to help her uncle, her love of her brother, and her moments with Jericho when she showed us a deeper side of herself. In this one she’s so selfish! She’s also drinking herself out of the memories of the first book, and trying to ignore her feelings for Jericho, developing feelings for Sam, and straining all of her friendships. She’s a mess basically, I really hope she cleans herself up in the next book. And while I am pretty solid in my ship of she and Jericho, I did like the dynamic between she and Sam in this one and how it brought out more of Sam’s sweet side. I also hope to see more of Jericho, I feel like he’s on a precipice of something and it could be major. He needs Will’s support and Evie to either take him or leave him, I missed him in this book.

Ok, now that my Evie/Jericho rant is over.

I really liked the attention on Henry and the new character Ling. We have about the same impute from Theta and Memphis as the previous book, and I thought all of the POV’s worked really well to let us get to know the characters better while still progressing the plot. I loved getting the background on Henry, he so sweet and passionate and caring. It was great to see him as more than Theta’s sidekick. I also really liked Ling. She’s very stoic and smart and straight-forward, I feel like she and Jericho would be great friends since their personalities are so similar.

To the new creepy-crawlies! This one was not as viscerally creepy as the first one, but who can beat Naughty-John? However, the idea of being trapped in your dreams until you die, that’s pretty scary. Dreams are supposed to be something happy, a place to escape within your own mind. And the physical traits Bray gives her hungry ghosts, oh man, I’m glad it wasn’t a movie or I wouldn’t have been able to sleep at all. We also are getting closer to figuring out what this whole eye with the lightning bolt is, so I am very excited to see how Bray moves that forward. I want to see more of this government side of things that she unveiled at the end of the book and Sam’s Project Buffalo.

Hopefully it won’t take another 3 years though! Also, the super brief appearance of Gemma Doyle from  A Great and Terrible Beauty was amazing!