Sunday, May 31, 2015

"The Library At Mount Char" by Scott Hawkins

The Library At Mount Char by Scott Hawkins is an odd book. Let me start by allowing you to read the description:

A missing God.
A library with the secrets to the universe. 
A woman too busy to notice her heart slipping away.
Carolyn's not so different from the other people around her. She likes guacamole and cigarettes and steak. She knows how to use a phone. Clothes are a bit tricky, but everyone says nice things about her outfit with the Christmas sweater over the gold bicycle shorts.  

After all, she was a normal American herself once.   

That was a long time ago, of course. Before her parents died. Before she and the others were taken in by the man they called Father. 

In the years since then, Carolyn hasn't had a chance to get out much. Instead, she and her adopted siblings have been raised according to Father's ancient customs. They've studied the books in his Library and learned some of the secrets of his power. And sometimes, they've wondered if their cruel tutor might secretly be God.  

Now, Father is missing—perhaps even dead—and the Library that holds his secrets stands unguarded. And with it, control over all of creation. 

As Carolyn gathers the tools she needs for the battle to come, fierce competitors for this prize align against her, all of them with powers that far exceed her own. 

But Carolyn has accounted for this. 

And Carolyn has a plan. 

The only trouble is that in the war to make a new God, she's forgotten to protect the things that make her human.

Populated by an unforgettable cast of characters and propelled by a plot that will shock you again and again, The Library at Mount Char is at once horrifying and hilarious, mind-blowingly alien and heartbreakingly human, sweepingly visionary and nail-bitingly thrilling—and signals the arrival of a major new voice in fantasy.

Sounds freaking amazing, right!? It sounds like a combination of fantasy, mystery, sci-fi, horror and thriller. It sounds like it will take you into a very dark place and leave you breathless. Plus the cover art is AMAZING! I thought this book would also be amazing but...

This has to be one of the most confusing books I have every read. I don't think I have ever felt so frustrated yet intrigued while reading. I have never in my life had to go back and re-read sections I just finished reading (sometimes I had to re-read it 2 or 3 times). Then, after I read it for the third time I was even more confused than when I read it the first time!

This book is filled with too many characters with too little character development. I can't think of one character I actually liked or had any emotional reading investment in. Too much switching back and forth between past and present. Backstories seemed to cloud the main story and messed up what little reading flow I had. It was a book that crossed many different genres, but so many genres that they seemed mashed together into a giant mess.

 I don't think of myself as a stupid person but I just couldn't wrap my head around this book. I am not even sure who the main character is in this story. The only reason I kept reading is because I made myself believe it would all come to a conclusion that would answer all the questions. That I would suddenly understand and scream "I get it now!" (like I felt at the end of E. Lockhart's We Were Liars) . I thought that if I could just get the the end then I would understand. But for every question I had answered, 10 more reappeared in its place. 

I feel the world that Scott Hawkins set up was primarily in his head. There was no solid explanation of the world in which the characters lived. That lack of world building left me confused from the get-go. Not enough was explained up front and throughout the whole book I was just wondering... I couldn't get past the confusion to really get into the story. 

I have such mixed feelings about this book. While it did leave me thinking about it, the thoughts aren't positive. My brain just keeps mulling around and I am almost in disbelief that a book like this could exist. I love fantasy/horror books but this book took it to a whole new level and I am just not sure I was ready for that ride. It was so deep and dark and at times horrific. Maybe I wasn't in the mindset to read a book like this right now. I might try reading it again someday. Knowing how the story goes I can prepare myself to re-read it and perhaps can try harder to understand it. From other ratings and reviews I have glanced at I see that I am a minority. Most people seemed to really like it. A solid 3 stars is what I give this for originality, creativeness, and intrigue.

I see that quite a few of my Goodreads friends have this on their "to-read" list. I am very interested to hear what they have to say about it. Please let me know your thoughts ya'll!

This digital ARC was provided by Netgalley and Crown Publishing for me to read and review. The opinions expressed are solely my own. This book is set to be released for purchase June 16, 2015.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Trish Doller's "The Devil You Know"

A fast read because it was soooooo good! Cadie (the main character- short for Arcadia) is a little sassy thing! I like her! Two pages into this book I knew I would love it! I think I have and attraction to YA books because at age 17/18 I had no idea what I wanted out of life. A lot of the YA  books I read deal with characters who are searching. Searching for themselves, searching for meaning, searching for life. 

This book is about Cadie who just turned 18. She has graduated, works at her dad's grocery store, is not over her ex-boyfriend, and has no idea what direction her life is going. She lives with her dad and her 4 year old brother and is the caretaker for both the house and her brother after her mother died. She is lost, she is sad, she is angry, and she wants change.

This book was a quick, fun read. The characters were likable and relatable. Funny, quick-witted, and a bit naughty (dirty) mouthed at times. I could totally picture the small Florida town she lived in and the landscape surrounding her adventures. 

This book is listed as a YA Thriller. I will admit it was a bit of a thriller at times, though I kind of knew where the book was heading and guessed the ending. It does take me back to a time when I was young, carefree, and down for spur-of-the-moment adventure!

It was a book that I could live vicariously through. What 18 year old girl wouldn't want to go off on an adventure/road trip with two hunky looking guys she just met!? Yes, it sounds like a stupid idea (living vicariously though!) and the adventure starts to go very wrong, but the author takes you through a fun, thrilling, and at times terrifying road trip. 

This is my first book written by Trish Doller, but I look forward to reading her others now! 

The Devil You Know will be available to buy on June 2, 2015. I hope you all read and love it! It was a refreshing read that is perfect for summer!

I was able to read a digital ARC thanks to Netgalley. The review and opinions of this book are completely my own. 

Happy Reading! 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Trent Reedy's "Burning Nation"

I have to start out with an apology. I won this book in a giveaway by Scholastic on Goodreads. It was supposed to be an ARC. This was around Thanksgiving or Christmas time. Scholastic sent the wrong book and by the time I correctly received this book it had long been released. I messaged Trent Reedy upon recieving the wrong book and he was so helpful in trying to get me Burning Nation so I could read and review it before it came out. So I am sorry this isn't an ARC review, but I am grateful for all of Mr. Reedy's help! 

I first came across the Divided We Fall series from a Goodreads giveaway. I read the summary and was intrigued. I wasn't honestly super stoked about reading the first book (Divided We Fall) but after finishing it I was blown away by how much I enjoyed it and was certainly excited about reading the next in the series.

"Burning Nation" starts off where 'Divided We Fall" left off. Sometimes I am a bit doubtful about second books in series, but this book blew me away. It was over and beyond what I expected!  I am also not usually one for books on war and battles but the author really has a way of writing that didn't leave me confused or want to skim over parts having to do with battle scenes. 

Though the characters are mostly teens, they are complex and not boring or stale in anyway. I loved seeing how each character evolved as new events in the war took place. This book is action packed and fast paced but at the same time slows down at precise times so that characters can reflect on events and readers get the full emotion of what's happening.

This book is an exciting, yet terrifying look at the perhaps not-so-distant future. It's a "futuristic" look at the possibility of another civil war in America. It is a book that makes you wonder where your own loyalties would lie if it came down to choosing between your state or your country. 

While this is labeled as a young adult book there are some gruesome fight scenes. There is frequent foul language and some crude sexual humor. I would say it's a PG-13 book. It wasn't problematic for me and I would have no issues with my almost 14 year old reading it, but I just wanted to let easily offended readers know. 

I am looking forward to reading the next book! Keep up the amazing writing Trent Reedy!

Happy Reading!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Martina Boone's "Persuasion"

Dark voodoo magic, southern charm, family secrets, complicated love, southern folklore, buried treasure, and ancient curses. This combination makes for an amazing second book to a wonderful series. 

I read the first book and was swept away by the characters and the fresh young adult world that Martina Boone created in Compulsion. It's YA paranormal mixed with romance, mixed with southern gothic, mixed with mystery, mixed with fantasy. This series is unlike any other YA series I have come across. I was so excited when Edelweiss approved me to read the ARC. 

Being that Persuasion  is the second book in the series I don't want to risk spoilers for those who haven't started the first book yet. But if you haven't read it, you should. You still have time before this book is released. 

I loved that Persuasion didn't read like a "second" book. It completely kept me in the story, yet offered new twists and mystery. I also liked that the beginning gives a recap of the previous book, but in a story telling kind of way. Gentle reminders of what I kind of had forgotten between reading the first and second books. 

Yes this is a love story of sorts, but the couple has so many quirks and issues that it isn't overwhelming. It didn't feel the need to roll my eyes at over-the-top love scenes. Very tastefully done. 

The thrilling mystery and suspense left me on edge. I needed to know more, but didn't want the drama and mystery to come to an end. 

I appreciate the author's well researched and well described folklore, southern myths, and traditions in the series. The magic described took me through a roller coaster of emotions. It truly is a book that touches all the senses and crosses through many book genres. 

I can't state enough how much I love this book and series and look forward to reading the next. Persuasion ended with a cliffhanger that left me wanting more! 

Happy Reading! 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Alive by Scott Sigler

"Alive" by Scott Sigler... where to start. I finished this book last night and had to lay in bed and really think hard on how to rate this. I went with 2.5 stars. I also had to find a way to review this book without giving spoilers. The author actually ended the book with a letter stating "please don't give spoilers or the ending away". No joke. As you probably know, I love Dystpoian books as well as Sci-Fi. This book is both. Therefore I should have absolutely loved it. But it was just ok. 

The basic plot is that a group of kids wakes up in an enclosed space with no knowledge of who they are or how thy got there. The main character, a girl named Em, must lead them to find the answers they are looking for. 

This book reminded me of "Lord of the Flies". A group of kids, trying to survive, going through power struggles, arguing over what to do next. That's pretty much the entire book. 

Just when I got tired of reading about power struggles and arguments and what they thought they should do next, the author throws in a horrific occurrence that sucked me back in and made me want to read more. Bravo for that. The plot is definitely interesting (at times) and one of a kind. But I wanted more details of the world described. I wanted less wandering around and more action. It just left me wanting more. It didn't fill me up, it was just barely enough to stop the hunger pangs. Then it seemed it all came to an abrupt end. It seemed to resolve very easily and very quickly. Resolve isn't the right word. There were more questions in my head. Way more. 

That was the huge problem I had. I was left more questions than what the author offered up as answers. How did it happen? What happened after? These, to me, are major things a reader needs to know in a post-apocalyptic, dystopian book. 

I have seen reviews that put down the writing style and called it choppy. It didn't read like that for me. It was easy to read, and flowed nicely. No major issues on descriptions of the scenery, character's looks or what was taking place. 

This is the first book in a trilogy. I supposed all the unanswered questions were a terrific way to get readers to read the next book. I have this "need to know" mentality so I will definitely be reading the next books in the series. I have also seen several websites and reviewers compare this to Hunger Games or Divergent. Not even close. Not even on the same playing field. 

So not to ruin the book I guess my advice would be: Read It! It's not a complete waste of time. It's an original plot. It's actually quite exciting at times! Click here to pre-order this book. 

I received this as a digital copy for free to read and review for Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group- Del Rey Spectra.
 The options are exclusively my own and I was not paid for them.  

After some thinking I have to raise my rating to 4 stars. I have thought and thought about this book for a few hours now. Which means it impacted me more than I thought, and not in a bad way. Too many preconceived ideas of how it should have been. The author took his own approach and it worked. Though disappointed and full of questions at first, the ending left me wanting more and excited to read the next book hours after finishing. It just had to all sink in.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Tilia Klebenov Jacobs

I expected to love this book. The plot summary was described exactly as follows:

"When Tsara Adelman leaves her husband and two young children for a weekend to visit her estranged uncle, she little dreams he is holding several local children captive on his lavish estate. Mike Westbrook, father of one of the boys, kidnaps her to trade her life for the children's. Soon Tsara and Mike are fleeing through New Hampshire's mountain wilderness pursued by two rogue cops with murder on their minds."

I mean the book sounds like a slam-dunk, amazingly good read, right? While I did enjoy the book, I am very conflicted over how to rate it and if I really even liked it. So, let me just break down what I liked and what I didn't like and I will leave it at that. 

 Tsara is a character you just love. From the very beginning of the book you like her and are rooting for her. The way the author slowly came out with details of her life was very satisfying, like how you learn bits and pieces about a person when you first become friends. I wasn't bombarded with information all at once. 

I also like how the author covered all points of views of each character. From child abductor/cop, to kidnapper/father, to niece/mother/wife/hostage, each chapter gave me a different view and look into a character. I got to understand the psych of each character and  what drove them to behave how they did. 

 I was very surprised that at 50% done what I thought would be the entire book- the kidnapping/hostage story- was over. I was shocked and it made me wonder what the author filled the rest of the book with. Turns out it was overly detailed plot of day to day life after being kidnapped. Which I guess I get. The author wanted to share the whole story. Life AFTER a traumatic event. The effects it has on the family. The trial process... blah blah blah. It was just really boring and so detailed that I skimmed through most of it. 

Also, there is a lot of Jewish rituals, beliefs, and talk in this book. The fact that I am not Jewish and had no understanding of what was happening was a bit of a turn off. I quickly learned to skim over the parts where her and her rabbi talked or met up. 

I guess I was expecting a book that was full of suspense, mystery, and thrilling adventure. I wasn't expecting a "law and order" type book that gives you the crime, the trial process, and what happens after all of it. It was unique in that fact. It made for a very satisfying ending. I knew the entire story. There was no "what happened after that" thought when I finished. But at the same time it was predictable. I pretty much had guessed how the book would end. 

All in all, I give Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Tilia Klebenov Jacobs  a solid 3.5 stars. Not wildly thrilling, but overall enjoyable. Great for a vacation read! 

Happy Reading!

I received this book to read and review via NetGalley