2016

Saints (Boxers & Saints #2)

Saints

Summary:

China, 1898. An unwanted and unwelcome fourth daughter, Four-Girl isn't even given a proper name by her family when she's born. She finds friendship--and a name, Vibiana--in the most unlikely of places: Christianity. 

But China is a dangerous place for Christians. The Boxer Rebellion is in full swing, and bands of young men roam the countryside, murdering Westerners and Chinese Christians alike. Torn between her nation and her Christian friends, Vibiana will have to decide where her true loyalties lie...and whether she is willing to die for her faith. (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

This book is the counterpoint to the first and I want to reiterate that I’m not sure I would recommend this book to anyone under teens.  There is repeated graphic violence in both of them that doesn’t hold back.  The books don’t provide a happy, clear ending on who you’re supposed to sympathize with similar to real life.  They’re thought-provoking and interesting to see how the story ends up.

Going into this book, you know where it’s going, but it was still interesting to get there.  At the end a little extra is revealed that brings it all together.  Ifyou’re going to commit to reading one, I’d highly recommend reading both and fairly close together.

Warning: Contains repeated violence.

Rating: 5 stars!

Who should read it? Only folks who have read the first in the series.

Want to read the whole series?

Boxers (Boxers & Saints #1) 

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Summary:

Harry Potter is lucky to reach the age of thirteen, since he has already survived the murderous attacks of the feared Dark Lord on more than one occasion. But his hopes for a quiet term concentrating on Quidditch are dashed when a maniacal mass-murderer escapes from Azkaban, pursued by the soul-sucking Dementors who guard the prison. It's assumed that Hogwarts is the safest place for Harry to be. But is it a coincidence that he can feel eyes watching him in the dark, and should he be taking Professor Trelawney's ghoulish predictions seriously? (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

If “Chamber of Secrets” is my least favorite of the series, then “Prisoner of Azkaban” is definitely my favorite.  I think this book is so beloved by so many because it’s straight-up fun.  It’s the only book that Voldemort doesn’t appear in and it’s when we get a lot of background about Harry’s parents.  Lupin is such a beloved character and there really could be a book just about his life.  To avoid spoilers I’ll just say in general: there are SO many characters that we are introduced to that I love.  And getting to know a lot of those characters sets up so much more to be built on later on in the books.

The last 1/3 of this book is really where all of the action is and it’s so interesting to see how everything plays out.  I find it particularly interesting to see how Rowling is able to portray events without anything feeling repetitive as well.  I absolutely adore the movie version of this book as well, they did a fantastic job not leaving any of the best parts out.

Warning: Contains violence.

Rating: 5 stars!

Who should read it? Fantasy fans!  If you skipped the first two books you might be a little confused, but can probably get away with it.

Want to read the whole series?

Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1)

Ink and Bone

Summary:

In an exhilarating new series, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time.…

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.

When his friend inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn… (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

I really liked the idea of this book, but was disappointed in the execution.  At the beginning I found it quite slow and then once the story did get going, there were a lot of “oh how convenient” moments.  Jess is put in an awkward position being at the Library and yet he continually does whatever people tell him to do.  I never got the true sense of what he wants to do at any one point.

Jess finds a romantic interest to add a little more flair about halfway through the book, but it felt forced and never seemed to develop naturally.  It was an insta-love that they then maintain and I just didn’t quite buy it.  I liked the concept and may continue the series because of that enjoyment, but I’m not sure where the story will go.  This novel felt chopped off at the conclusion like the author wasn’t sure where to finish things.  In the end, I think this is a book with fantastic world-building and a great concept, but a so-so story.

Warning: Contains repeated violence.

Rating: 3 stars!

Who should read it? Dystopian young adult fans who find historical twists intriguing.

Want to read the whole series?

  • Tigers in the Cage (The Great Library #0.1)
  • Stormcrow (The Great Library #0.5)
  • Paper and Fire (The Great Library #2)
  • Ash and Quill (The Great Library #3)

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch

Good Omens

Summary:

According to “The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch” (the world's only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655, before she exploded), the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just before dinner.

So the armies of Good and Evil are amassing, Atlantis is rising, frogs are falling, tempers are flaring. Everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon—both of whom have lived amongst Earth's mortals since The Beginning and have grown rather fond of the lifestyle—are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture.

And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist… (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

This book was witty in the best way, but it’s one I’m glad that I didn’t read younger because I would have missed about half of the references.  It’s a great one on many levels as there are religious, literary and philosophical references embedded throughout the whole novel. I’m already looking forward to a reread because I know I didn’t catch everything. 

At times, the book felt a little long, but this slow build allowed things to unravel into chaotic hilarity.  That being said, this slow build meant that some jokes fell a bit flat as I was hoping for a bit more of a reveal.  Overall, I’d still strongly recommend this one to anyone with a religious background or enjoy a good satirical read.

Warning: Contains repeated violence

Rating: 4 stars!

Who should read it? Folks who can laugh at anything – the devote religious would probably be horrified by it.