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Sean Williams
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Once We Were
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The Chaos of Stars

The Chaos of Stars - Kiersten White This review and others on my blog My Friends Are FictionActual Rating 2.5 The Story: There were elements of The Chaos of Stars that were very interesting, mostly concerning the Egyptian mythology. Unfortunately, the other aspects were less enthralling and not a lot stood out. The pacing was very slow and this book lacked the action of White’s Paranormalcy series. There was never a need for me to rush through the pages seeking the outcome.I think this might have been a character driven book? I can only assume that one of the goal’s of the novel was to show the growth of the main character and to allow the reader to journey with her. There was growth but it was little too late in my opinion and never was enough to make this a truly interesting read for me.The Characters: Isadora, the main character, was the biggest fault about this book to me. She started as a spoiled, entitled, whiney and overall dislikeable character. I had no interest in her and struggled through the first forty percent of the book trying to get past my annoyance with her. After that point she started to grow and her character became much more tolerable. I never grew to like her but it was much easier to follow the story in her point of view.My favorite character was Ry. He, along with the other two main secondary characters Taylor and Scott, were the best aspects of this book. Ry was even capable of making me enjoy Isadora a time or two. He is a well rounded, funny and likeable character.Final Thoughts: I was drawn to Chaos of Stars by the beautiful cover art and the premise of a mythology driven plot. I wasn’t ever fully immersed in this book and found a lot of it a chore to read. The last bit of the book picked up significantly and I began to become more invested only for the book to end.


Cress - Marissa Meyer This was...wonderful. Obviously, review closer to release.

The Weight of Souls (Strange Chemistry)

The Weight of Souls - Bryony Pearce This and other reviews on my blog My Friends Are FictionThe Story: I went into this book with little idea of the plot since I requested it with just a brief scan of the summary. For the most part, I really enjoyed The Weight of Souls. I found the pacing to be a great speed and was immediately drawn into the world that Pearce created and why Taylor was seeing ghosts . I was really surprised by how deep the story was and how it encompassed Egyptian myth. It was evident that the author researched her material and was passionate about telling this story. I will say that the way Pearce chose to present Taylor’s family history, through a relative’s journal, felt clunky to me. I never felt that the transition was smooth though I enjoyed the information provided.SPOILER BELOW My only flaw with this book was the romance. I could never get behind the relationship because I couldn’t see the Taylor and Justin more than friends. I enjoyed their dialog and friendship but any emotions going beyond friendship felt ‘off’ to me. I think it’s because I wasn’t sold that Taylor could fall for someone who had treated her the way that Justin had prior to him needing her help. END SPOILERThe Characters: I really enjoyed Taylor’s character. She was strong willed, capable and bold main character that made the most of her tough life. Her everyday existence was heartbreaking in the amount of stress and sadness she experienced. The bullying at school was horribly cruel and made me sad for her though it made her best friend stand out in her strength and solidarity.Taylor’s father hasn’t had an easy time either and I was really impressed with the way Pearce wrote him. He was incredibly real and though he had faults you never questioned his love of his daughter. It was refreshing to read about a strong father figure that was present in his daughter’s life though he made obvious mistakes.Final Thoughts:The Weight of Souls was a surprisingly unique and engrossing read though it did have a couple minor flaws. Some of the techniques Pearce utilized for proving background information to the reader felt clunky and the romance was hard for me to believe but neither of these detracted from my overall enjoyment of this book.


Indelible - Dawn Metcalf Very close to rating 2.5 but a couple things worked for me. Will decide when I write my review.

Find Me

Find Me - Romily Bernard This and other reviews on my blog My Friends Are FictionThe Story: Bernard knows how to write suspense. Her scenes of struggle and escape were intense and vivid yet the description did not bog down the action. I was really impressed with her ability to convey fear and tension.That being said I did have a few problems with this book. For the first part there was some computer jargon and time spent that I could have done with out personally but was essential to building up Wick's character and her skills as a hacker. I found many aspects incredibly creepy and creative but I was pretty confident in who the bad guy was really early on. I hoped I was wrong, but I wasn't. I think I could have enjoyed the experience more if it wasn't so obvious to me where Bernard was taking the story.The Characters: Wicket was a strong character and I appreciated her struggles though I constantly wished she would confide with the authorities. I would not have made the same decisions as she did, but of course she had a very difficult life and I found it nearly impossible to really see things from her point of view.As I stated above, I knew who the bad and good characters were very early, so I was frustrated when Wick didn't see what I saw. But, often times, that adds to the suspense--think horror film where you are screaming for the heroine to run. This was the case in Find Me, even having a pretty clear idea who was to blame I was still captivated in Wick's search.Final Thoughts: Overall Find Me was well written; Bernard excelling at creating a suspenseful atmosphere. My biggest disappointment in the book was the ease in which I could see the outcome (early on) and my inability to connect with the main character or her relationships.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown - Holly Black Review is up on my site My Friends Are FictionI'll post here soon

Sworn to Raise: Courtlight #1

Sworn to Raise - Terah Edun Actual rating 2.5Mini-reviewSworn to Raise just wasn't for me. I felt that the story was disjointed and the characters flat. The world was described but not fully fleshed out to me. There were instances that piqued my interest but the further I read they just couldn't keep it.The author attempts to give the heroine strength of character (her ability to ride a horse and hunt--not sure where she learned that as a poor laundress)yet she is essentially selling herself and magical powers to the highest bidder. She didn't seem bothered by this either. I have read a lot of fantasy so perhaps that was why this one just didn't hit the mark for me though it did have some creative ideas.

The Burning Sky

The Burning Sky - Review soon

Parasite (Parasitology, #1)

Parasite (Parasitology, #1) - Mira Grant This review and more on my blog My Friends Are FictionThe Story: This book traumatized me. So if you are really creeped out by things that are worm-like you should probably either stay away or prepare yourself. Grant is not overly descriptive in gory details but she created such a realistic world and the science behind it you can see the reality she created being plausible. Which to me, was terrifying. I was whisked back to those days of sitting in biology class learning of parasites and taking lab practicals.We start the story as Sally is just waking from a coma in which the doctors and her family thought was impossible. She had been in a horrible car accident and had been legally classified as brain-dead. She wakes only to realize she doesn't recognize her surrounding or the people around her; she has lost all memory of her life. Only by having the advanced SymboGen implant was she able to survive; due to this SymboGen wants to study her in detail and utilize her miraculous recovery for their benefit. The corporation along with her parents and her new boyfriend, Nathan, help Sal (she doesn't go by Sally anymore) rebuild a semblance of life.We follow Sal as she experiences this new life of hers and tries to understand what exactly happened to her. As she is living her life she starts to witness peculiar things happening and people acting oddly. Grant takes her reader through a slowly paced, incredibly interesting story line revolving around Sal. We stay within her point of view the entirety of the story so we experience events as she does. This adds mystery to the already gripping story. Though the pacing starts out slowly there is a creepy aura the entire time you are reading. I kept waiting for the next thing to happen; kept me on my toes and flipping pages.The Characters: Grant does a splendid job creating a character living after complete memory loss. I found Sal's questioning of terms and learning of new vocabulary and popular culture terms endearing and realistic. Sal and Nathan have a strong and healthy relationship though it is not at the forefront of the story but it is a constant and driving force for he characters motivations. I had some trouble understanding her parent's attitudes as the story progressed. I felt they had manic changes in personality at points and I couldn't understand many of their actions.I loved how Grant gave insight into the pioneering scientists by including magazine interview snip-its and video descriptions. She revealed only so much as the reader needed to start putting all the puzzle pieces together as well as getting a very informative peek into these characters.Final Thoughts: Parasite is a very unique and engaging book that left me feeling disturbed, squirmy and freaked out--but all in a good way. Would you get a tapeworm implant that would keep you healthy and take away any need for medicine? With my intense phobia for all things parasite and tape-worm I don't think I could ever knowingly ingest a pill containing one.


Gated - Amy Christine Parker Read this review and others on my blog My Friends Are FictionI haven't assigned a star rating to this title because I don't feel that I can do so.Electronic copy was given in exchange for an honest review.My Thoughts: I have never read anything about how life would be living in a cult. I thought the book description was intriguing; especially adding in the fear of end times. I couldn't help but think that reading about Lyla and her experiences would be entrancing and interesting in a psychological way. I wasn't wrong- this was an incredibly interesting read though I did not overly enjoy the experience. This had nothing to do with the story telling or writing; it all had to do with my dislike of the subject matter.I found Gated highly disturbing and at times frustrating. I had a very difficult time getting into the head space of Lyla's parents. Their attitudes really frustrated me and I found it impossible to like them though I did empathize with them. Lyla was relatable enough and I thought she was well rounded but it wasn't enough to make the reading of Gated pleasant for me personally. Let this be a warning there was violence towards animals which I found really upsetting even though the descriptions were not graphic.Parker included quotes from cult leaders (real and Pioneer's) at the beginning of every chapter which really created authenticity to her story. She mastered giving her reader what felt like a real glimpse into how life would be when raised in this type of environment. The pacing is slow for the majority of the book though you can feel the tension build with every page turn.Don't be mistaken...this is not a negative review. I think this book was done very well and that a lot of people will find Gated interesting and engaging. I misjudged myself in thinking that this book would be for me.

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass)

Crown of Midnight - Sarah J. Maas I have a giveaway for a Signed copy of Crown of Midnight and original Lego cover art on my blog My Friends Are FictionThis review and others on my blog My Friends Are Fiction My Take: In good fantasy the author has successfully created a world and characters that the reader can relate to- though they are capable of fantastic feats in a world with different boundaries than our own. Great fantasy has the reader so enraptured with the author’s creation that it becomes real. In essence convincing the audience that somewhere this world inhabited by those characters exists (even if only in our imagination). Maas has created great fantasy with her latest installment of the Throne of Glass series.Crown of Midnight starts off slowly, easing the reader back into the Celaena’s story and world. Now that she is the King’s Champion her life is different, her most pressing problem the King and his list of targets to assassinate. She has to slip under his radar yet keep her sense of self and adhere to her own morals.Maas did an amazing job giving depth and realistic flaws to her main cast of characters. Celaena still felt the weight and stress of her role but she also felt that she was a coward and dealt with her own self doubt. Favorites from the last book, Chaol, Nehemia and Prince Dorian all play as important of a role in this latest installment. Maas developed their characters even further as we see Celaena interact with them.About midway the pacing took off and I was totally held captive by Maas’ words as the stakes got ever higher and I truly couldn’t see how our characters would get out of the mess they found themselves. I cried, I stressed, I flip flopped between emotions while being completely glued to the story.Final Thoughts: I enjoyed Crown of Midnight more than Throne of Glass because I connected more with the characters and had the backstory behind their actions. I loved where Maas has taken this series and am so excited and eager for the next book.

Eat, Brains, Love

Eat, Brains, Love - Jeff Hart At this time I am DNFing this one at 6%. For me the writing style is not my taste and with all the books on my TBR pile I can't see keeping at this one when it just isn't hitting me right.

All Our Yesterdays

All Our Yesterdays - Cristin Terrill Read an interview with Cristin TerrillThis and other reviews (as well as interviews/giveaways) are on my blog My Friends Are FictionSpoiler FreeThe Story:I've not read many books centered on time travel but the good ones challenge my thinking; keeping me invested in what consequences an action in the past will have on the future. Time travel is an intriguing concept that is incredibly difficult to do well. Cristin Terrill manages to do an outstanding job with her novel All Our Yesterdays. She kept the science simplified, keeping it manageable for a young adult audience but not so much that it would not appeal to an older audience.I loved Terrill's ability to transport the reader through time using the point of view of a character in the past and another in the present. The pacing was fast and I felt a distinct sense of urgency as I read that mirrored the character's. I won't go into too much detail about the actual story arc because All Our Yesterdays is best experienced as you read it.The Characters: Terrill's main character Em was instantly likeable to me and I felt attached to her and her situation. I was enthralled with what she did to end up imprisoned and who she was talking to in the next cell. What was their history? I felt Em's connection to her cell-mate and felt her frustration and desire to keep him safe.Marina is written as a naïve, sheltered, and wealthy teenager who is desperately in love with her neighbor and best friend, James. Suffering from a low self esteem Marina holds her feelings close; waiting until the perfect moment to finally tell James how she has felt. Even with her faults I was able to connect to and understand her motivations and unease with how her feelings had developed and changed. I felt that Terrill developed and progressed her character realistically and at a pace that was appropriate for what she was experiencing. I could even understand her jealously and unjustifiable dislike of James' newest friend, Finn.Finn was a wonderful foil to James and Marina, where they are serious he is able to summon a sense of joviality that his situation does not merit. I loved his snarky comments and his soft hearted nature, making him the purest of the characters.I felt James' intensity and intelligence which is impressive since he is a secondary character. Though I disagreed with his actions for the most part I could understand his motivations and reasoning. Terrill created a cast of characters that are well rounded, developed and realistic.Final Thoughts:All Our Yesterdays is simply one of the best books I've read this year. I loved Terrill's characters and ability to carry me through her story-telling.


Antigoddess - Kendare Blake Read my interview with Kendare Blake This and more reviews on my blog My Friends Are FictionThe Story: Full disclosure: I absolutely love everything about Blake's writing style. Her stories flow wonderfully, veer on morbid and are incredibly vivid. She weaves her words into clear imaginary. I actually found myself rereading some of her descriptions because I enjoyed them so well. Yes, they can be about disturbing topics (feathers protruding from Athena's eyes or roof of her mouth) yet Blake writes it to be beautiful regardless of the subject matter.Antigoddess takes Greek mythology and applies it in a new and modern way. She took a very complicated story line and made it tangible and manageable to her reader. I found the style and the pacing to be very different than Blake's Anna series. Antigoddess moved slower and is told in third person. The stakes are higher since this story is centered on the Gods losing their immortality, thus starting the war of all wars with humanity as an afterthought.I personally went into Antigoddess with little knowledge of Greek mythology and didn't find I was confused or unable to follow where the story was going. It did encourage me to do a bit of googling once I finished reading to see how Blake's characterizations compared to past representations.The Characters: Blake takes some of the most recognized of the Greek gods and throws them into a modern setting yet is able to keep their mysterious and godly aura. I found her personfications to be incredibly vivid and realistic. The reader follows Athena and Hermes intermixed with the story of Cassandra (seer of Troy) reincarnated and her god lover Apollo.Blake's Athena, the virginal goddess of wisdom, courage and warfare, was rough and a bit frayed around the edges yet exuded immense strength of will and power. The idea that her immorality was ending and her powers slipping gave her character a sense of depth that I really appreciated. She was allowing humanity to seep in; causing her to doubt her past decisions and wonder about the path she'd taken.I absolutely loved that Blake utilized each god's own gifts to be the way they were succumbing to death. Athena's struggle with owl feathers was so graphic and wonderfully written:The feathers were starting to be a nuisance. There was one in her mouth, tickling the back of her throat. She chewed at it as se walked, grabbed it with her molars and pulled it loose. Warm, copper-penny blood flooded over her tongue. There wer others too, sprouting up inside of her like a strange cancer, worming their way through her innards and muscle.Blake pays equal attention to each of her main cast of characters, giving them dimension and depth. Since the story is told in third person I did feel once removed from them and wasn't as able to connect to them as I wished. I believe this will be remedied in the next books.Final Thoughts: Reading one of Kendare Blake's books is a treat for me because of how much I love her writing style and ease in which she uses her descriptions to convey even the most morbid of topics in a beautiful and unique way. Antigoddess was no exception, I loved how complex the subject matter was yet easy for me to read and understand.Look for Antigoddess (The Goddess Wars book 1) September 10, 2013 from Tor Teen

The Bone Season (Scion 1)

The Bone Season - Samantha Shannon Take a look at my site for this review and others, My Friends Are FictionThe Story: What a complex and complicated world Shannon has created in The Bone Season; a society split between voyants (those with clairvoyant abilities) and the amaurotic (those with no 'unnatural' abilities). Voyants, with a variety of differing skills, are considered to be unnatural and criminal by their more 'natural' peers. A governing body called Scion works at weeding out any voyants and sending them to a prison ruled by an otherworldly race.With the terminology, slang and different voyant types it can get a bit overwhelming for the reader to grasp the hierarchy of the world and keep track of what is happening. Some readers might find this tedious, but I loved having to really focus on what I was reading and trying to pull it all together so that I could visualize Scion and its inhabitants.Though some of the descriptions were hazy to me, I still felt emotionally moved by many aspects of the book. I found myself completely wrapped into Paige's story. I attribute the emotional pull to Shannon's writing style which is rich and detailed but also realistic. I never doubted her knowledge of her world or her characters and had every confidence that she would pull everything together in the end.The Characters: I really loved following Paige throughout Scion with the Seven Seals and then old Oxford as a captive of the Rephaite. Even though she was thrown into situations that were fantastical and she had a powerful voyant ability Shannon was able to make Paige human and relatable. She was a tough and capable female lead that thought through her decisions and adapted to her surroundings.My emotional connection didn't stop with Paige. I also cared deeply for the secondary characters and worried about them and their fate. I was really interested in all the members of the Seven Seals and liked that we got to see tidbits of the past featuring them and their interactions with Paige. I felt that they were all well rounded and Shannon paid attention to giving them depth and a unique characteristics. I knew that they each had motivations for their actions and I could understand why they acted the way that they did.As for the Rephaite race I was intrigued with what they are and where they came from. Shannon left most of these questions unanswered but I'm sure she will delve into them as the series continues. I could feel the intimidation that Paige felt by their otherworldly-ness and size. The Blood Consort, Arcturus Warden, was a wonderful three dimensional character that I immediately felt drawn too. I loved how much I could tell about his character from his body language alone.Final Thoughts:The Bone Season was an entrancing read that had me reading through it so fast that once I finished I regretted not savoring it and reading slowly. I am impressed with the creativity and lavish world building that Samantha Shannon was capable of in her debut book.


Ink - Amanda Sun This and other reviews on my site, My Friends Are FictionMy Take:Note: I'm using a different structure for this review rather than breaking down aspects of the story and the characters separately. I loved the idea behind Ink. The story taking place in Japan really drew me to requesting this title along with the beautiful cover and intrigue of a young adult novel venturing into Japanese mythology. Unfortunately, Ink and I were not as compatible as I would have liked. One downside to reading and reviewing a lot of titles is that eventually you get jaded by certain story lines, character traits and dynamics.Ink felt very familiar to me, the unique setting of Japan was not enough to stand out to me. The writing was well done, aspects of the story were interesting but I could not look past the similarities to other YA books and overall predictability. You might be asking, what seemed so overused? Well, you have a misplaced main character overcoming tragedy and uncomfortable in her new environment. Enter mysterious guy who appears to be a jerk but has so many secrets and he just might not be that bad. Guy pushes girl away (for her own good) but she pushes back because she knows there is so much more to him than what meets the eye. Insta-love ensues.As for the positives, I will say I was impressed with the choice of setting, details to the Japanese culture (the author obviously did her research) and the ink drawings sprinkled throughout the book were stunning.Final Thoughts: I think many people will really enjoy this book especially if they are new to the young adult genre and haven't read many other takes on this (cliché) story line. The setting was fantastic but for someone like me, that has read a lot, the similarities and seemingly formulaic approach might take away from the overall enjoyment.