City Of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6)

Standard

City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6)

“In this dazzling and long-awaited conclusion to the acclaimed Mortal Instruments series, Clary and her friends fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary’s own brother.

Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures out of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell.

The embattled Shadowhunters withdraw to Idris – but not even the famed demon towers of Alicante can keep Sebastian at bay. And with the Nephilim trapped in Idris, who will guard the world against demons?

When one of the greatest betrayals the Nephilim have ever known is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec must flee – even if their journey takes them deep into the demon realms, where no Shadowhunter has set foot before, and from which no human being has ever returned…

Love will be sacrificed and lives lost in the terrible battle for the fate of the word in the thrilling final installment of the classic urban fantasy series The Mortal Instruments!”

– Taken from Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8755785-city-of-heavenly-fire)

I really don’t know what to say about this book. I do know I didn’t like it. And I stick to the opinion that she should have ended this series with City of Glass.

For starters, I don’t think Sebastian was a good villain. His father, Valentine, was far better for a very simple reason: he was actually right in some aspects. There are things that the Clave does that are wrong. He wanted to change them. His methods, however, were extremely wrong, and that is why he was the villain. As for Sebastian, he doesn’t seem to have a higher ideal, he doesn’t seem to want to change anything. As Alfred said in The Dark Knight, ‘Some men just want to watch the world burn’. Sebastian was evil for the sake of being evil. His allegations of hating his mother for abandoning him and all that jazz are not enough, for me, to justify the scale of destruction he causes.

As for the other characters, Jace and Clary were just annoying. If they were real, I’d keep well away from them. And some of their scenes were just too bizarre.The other characters were not that well done either. I didn’t have one POV I wanted to read more than others. I just wanted to get to the end of this and see how Sebastian would be vanquished. Furthermore, the author just kept pushing and pushing Emma to the spotlight. I get it, she is the main character of the next Shadowhunter series. But she is going to star the next series, she is not the star of the this one.

Plotwise, this was a disaster, for me. The whole book (and it’s a massive book) just keeps trying to build and build the tension, and then I nearly missed the final showdown, it was so short. I actually had to turn back the pages to check if that was it. I was expecting something bigger. The way it was done just felt too… Easy. At points, the whole thing just made me so annoyed I almost threw my Kindle against something. When I finally finished this monster of a book, all I felt was relief, that I was done with it. Not because so and so survived, so and so got their happy ending. No, it was just because it was over.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

The Unbound (The Archived #2)

Standard

The Unbound (The Archived, #2)

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books. Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Last summer, Mackenzie Bishop, a Keeper tasked with stopping violent Histories from escaping the Archive, almost lost her life to one. Now, as she starts her junior year at Hyde School, she’s struggling to get her life back. But moving on isn’t easy — not when her dreams are haunted by what happened. She knows the past is past, knows it cannot hurt her, but it feels so real, and when her nightmares begin to creep into her waking hours, she starts to wonder if she’s really safe.

Meanwhile, people are vanishing without a trace, and the only thing they seem to have in common is Mackenzie. She’s sure the Archive knows more than they are letting on, but before she can prove it, she becomes the prime suspect. And unless Mac can track down the real culprit, she’ll lose everything, not only her role as Keeper, but her memories, and even her life. Can Mackenzie untangle the mystery before she herself unravels?

With stunning prose and a captivating mixture of action, romance, and horror, The Unbound delves into a richly imagined world where no choice is easy and love and loss feel like two sides of the same coin.”

– Taken from Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13638131-the-unbound)

This wasn’t as gripping as I had hoped it would be. Maybe it was because the novelty of the world building had worn off, and the plot and characters weren’t enough to keep me really interested.

I’d say that not much happens in the first three quarters of the book. There are some flashbacks and Mackenzie whining and complaining and making bad choices that end up endangering not only her life, but other people’s as well. I get it that her parents are a bit overprotective, but I think that is perfectly understandable, as they have already had to bury one child.

I’m all for a good villain, but this book’s villain fell short for me. No spoilers, but when I learned who the villain was, I was sceptic. I don’t think it was a good choice, and I hope the next villain is better (or badder?).

In this book, the world building was the best part, as the main character did not impress me. It’s still a very original concept, though not as novel thanks to the first book.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2)

Standard

Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles, #2)

“Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison–even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive. Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.”

– Taken from Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13206760-scarlet)

Where Cinder is a retelling of Cinderella, Scarlet is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. Because I absolutely loved Cinder, I was expecting Scarlet to join its prequel in my list of surprisingly good books. Alas, it was not to be. For some reason, I couldn’t like Scarlet as much as I liked Cinder. Because of this, whenever a chapter focused on her came up, I’d turn the pages hoping that the next would bring a chapter focused on Cinder. Cinder’s chapters were not all good, though. I thought Thorne’s character was somehow overdone. I can’t really put my finger on it, but I didn’t love the guy. If it were me, I’d have left him behind somewhere, accidentally on purpose.

Plotwise, it wasn’t as gripping as Cinder. Granted, we learned more about where Cinder came from, and that was something I was really curious about, but still, the whole thing didn’t come together the way I’d expected it to. My biggest hope was dashed at the end, in an extremely heartbreaking scene, set in Paris.

Maybe I couldn’t like Scarlet as much as I like Cinder because the tale of Little Red Riding Hood is not as close to my heart as Cinderella’s (come on, I watched Disney’s Cinderella over and over again. My mom still can’t hear the songs without cringing. And yes, I know that Disney’s Cinderella is a far cry from the original tale). As the tale of Rapunzel is not as dear to me either, I will read Cress with lower expectations (yes, I will be reading it).

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Drawn

Standard

Drawn

“A wholly original tale of friendship and betrayal through the eyes – and lies – of one extraordinary girl.

Sasha has a secret – that she can make you spill your secret with nothing more than a question. Her strange gift makes her a burden to her foster family and a total freak of nature. Not that Sasha cares. Why should she when no one cares about her?

Then the CIA knocks on her door. They want to give Sasha a new identity and drop her into a foreign country to infiltrate a ring of zealous graffiti terrorists. They want to give Sasha something to care about.

To survive a world where no one is who they seem, Sasha needs to make people trust her. But when that trust blossoms into love, Sasha is forced to decide between duty and friendship, between her mind and her heart, and whether to tell the truth or keep her secrets.”

– Taken from Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18748928-drawn)

I’d like to thank NetGalley and Gray Life, LLC for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

This was an okay read. While it didn’t make me feel outright bored, I found myself glancing at the bottom of my Kindle’s screen to see how long I still had to go. It was very promising, but, for some reason, it just didn’t deliver.

Sasha, the main character, didn’t really strike a chord with me. She is not someone I’d want to be friends with. The plot also felt a bit confusing at times. Maybe it was my sleep deprivation speaking, but I couldn’t really get why it was so important for a ring of graphiti terrorists to be dismantled. I mean, I’d say that the CIA has biggest cases that could benefit from a girl that makes people spill their secrets with her voice.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Surfacing (Swans Landing #1)

Standard

Surfacing (Swans Landing, #1)

“Sixteen-year-old Mara Westray has just lost her mother, and now, being shipped off to live with the father she doesn’t know is not how she imagined grieving. She’s already counting down the days until she turns eighteen and can leave the tiny island of Swans Landing.

But from the moment she steps off the ferry, nothing is as ordinary as it looks. Whispers of a haunting song on the wind make her see impossible things, and she isn’t sure she can trust her judgment about what is real and what isn’t anymore. Maybe she can’t even trust her judgment about quiet Josh Canavan, whose way of speaking in riddles and half-truths only confuses her more, luring her deeper into the secrets hidden beneath the ocean’s surface.

As she tries to unravel the events that led to her mom fleeing the island sixteen years ago, Mara finds that the biggest secret of all is only the beginning.

Surfacing is the first book in the Swans Landing series.”

– Taken from Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20321706-surfacing)

I’d like to thank NetGalley and Fiction Addiction for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

This was an okay book, even though it was quite predictable. It also had, for me, a Tiwilight feel. I don’t really know why, but I caught myself thinking several times how similar to Twilight this book was.

While the plot was okay, I think the characters should have been more developed, as they felt too shallow. Josh’s abrupt change of heart just didn’t make any sense at all to me. One page he was in denial, and then on the next page he was all accepting? Nuh-uh. As for Sailor, she was another character that just failed to convince me. Whenever she would show up, I just knew she was going to have an angry conversation with someone and stomp off.

The love triangle (felt more like a love square to me) was not very convincing either. Mara just went from Dylan to Josh without a second thought, and then, when Dylan got hurt, it was solved quite quickly.

I do have to say that the world building was very interesting, as well as the writing style. It was very angsty, and that, coupled with a deeper exploration of the tense relationships that abound in that island would have made for a great book. The relationship development was missing, however.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Stronger Than You Know

Standard

Stronger Than You Know

“After police intervention, fifteen-year-old Joy has finally escaped the trailer where she once lived with her mother and survived years of confinement and abuse. Now living with her aunt, uncle, and cousins in a comfortable house, she’s sure she’ll never belong. Wracked by panic attacks, afraid to talk to anyone at her new school, Joy’s got a whole list of reasons why she’s crazy. With immense courage, Joy finds friends and grows closer to her new family. But just when hope is taking hold, she learns she must testify in her mother’s trial. Can she face her old life without losing her way in the new one? Will she ever truly belong in a world that seems too normal to be real?”

– Taken from Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17425196-stronger-than-you-know)

I’d like to thank NetGalley and Albert Whitman & Co. for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

From my experience with another book written by Jolene Perry (The Summer I found You), I already knew that this was likely to be a character-driven book. And I was right. Joy has an extremely heartbreaking story, and now that she is finally out of the terrible situation she grew up in, she has to deal with all those ghosts. At first, it was really interesting and well done. But then, nothing really seemed to happen. In other words, what I missed here was a plotline.

Don’t get me wrong, Joy’s journey was intense and full of setbacks and little steps forward. But it was not enough to really keep my interest. Perhaps some sort of subplot could have been added, involving some of the secondary characters, just to liven things up a bit.

There was some romance, yes, but again, it was not enough. I didn’t find myself really rooting for them. I just thought they were cute together. I have to say that the character I liked the most here was Joy’s uncle. He was an amazing and understanding person (I don’t know if I would have that kind of patience. Probably not.)

For a short read, this actually felt a bit long. The writing style was really nice, and it was because of it that I didn’t give this book up.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Contact

Standard

Contact

“It takes only half a second…

…Like those commercials where a crash test dummy rockets forward at high speed and slams into a wall.
…In that instant, every thought in Emma Lynn Walsh’s head collides with mine—every thought, memory, hope, disappointment and dream.
…I open my eyes to see Dr. Walsh peering at me, a puzzled expression on her face.

“Let—go—of—me,” I order though clenched teeth.

Mira wants to die. She’s attempted suicide twice already, and failed. Every time she comes in contact with another person, skin to skin, that person’s psyche uploads into hers. While her psychologist considers this a gift, for Mira, it’s a curse from which she cannot escape.

To make matters worse, Mira’s father is being investigated in the deaths of several volunteer test subjects of a miracle drug. Shortly after Mira’s mother starts asking questions, she ends up in a coma. Although her father claims it was an accident, thanks to her “condition” Mira knows the truth…but proving it just might get her killed!”

– Taken from Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21939160-contact)

I’d like to thank NetGalley and Hallowed Ink Press for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

I was looking for a fast-paced book, and I found it in Contact. It just doesn’t let the reader go. When I first started it, I told myself, only ten minutes. I only managed to drag myself away from it thirty minutes later (that’s how long it took for the rational side of my brain to seize control and remind me that I had to wake up at 4:30 a.m. the next morning).

Mira is a very strong main characters. Most important of all, in my opinion, she felt human. She had moments when she was angry, when she was scared, when she was doubtful… And I loved that about her. I wish she was a real person, so I could be friends with her (no touching, of course). Speaking of no touching, it must have been terribly hard for her to spend her entire life avoiding human contact, something that we tend to crave and actually need. As for David, he was more and more likeable, but I do have to say that, compared to Mira, he came across as soft sometimes.

The secondary characters (Helen, Mira’s mother, Uncle Ramón and the Beitners) were also amazing. The ones that touched me the most were, for reasons that will be obvious to anyone that reads it, were the Beitners.

I loved the mystery part of the story. The author kept me guessing (and wrongly at that) until the end. And then, when the mystery was solved, the story launched into breathtaking action and more revelations (one of them made me disgusted, but read it and see if you wouldn’t be disgusted too). However, I don’t think I got all the facts I wanted, so I’m really hoping there is a sequel (especially if it means getting more of the Beitners. If they want a granddaughter, I’m up for grabs).

Rating: 4.5 out of 5