Monday, October 31, 2016

ARC Review: Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin

*** This is the second book in a duology so if you have not read Wolf by Wolf proceed with caution. Also, what are you waiting for? Wolf by Wolf was amazing! READ IT! Here's my review. ***

Title: Blood for Blood
Series: Wolf by Wolf #2
Written by: Ryan Graudin
Published: October 11, 2016 by Amulet Books
(Amazon / Goodreads)

SynopsisThe action-packed, thrilling sequel to Ryan Graudin's Wolf by Wolf. 

There would be blood. 
Blood for blood. 
Blood to pay. 
An entire world of it. 

For the resistance in 1950s Germany, the war may be over, but the fight has just begun. 

Death camp survivor Yael, who has the power to skinshift, is on the run: the world has just seen her shoot and kill Hitler. But the truth of what happened is far more complicated, and its consequences are deadly. Yael and her unlikely comrades dive into enemy territory to try to turn the tide against the New Order, and there is no alternative but to see their mission through to the end, whatever the cost. 

But dark secrets reveal dark truths, and one question hangs over them all: how far can you go for the ones you love? 

This gripping, thought-provoking sequel to Wolf by Wolf will grab readers by the throat with its cinematic writing, fast-paced action, and relentless twists.

*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher at BEA in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

Oh wow! Wow, wow, wow. This book was everything I was expecting it to be. It was a non-stop thrill ride of action and adventure, great characters, and pain. So much pain. I was late to the Wolf by Wolf party but I took my seat on the bandwagon and seriously loved that book. It was amazing and I couldn't wait to find out what would happen next in this series. And this was everything the first book was but more.

More action and adventure, for one. I thought that the Axis Tour motorcycle race and attempt to assassinate Hitler had high stakes but that's nothing to Yael on the run. Around every corner, after every turn there was some tight scrape to get out of. When I thought it couldn't get more intense, it did. If you are like me and are a plot-driven reader who likes a ton of action in their books this is right up your alley. It really builds to an amazing and thrilling conclusion that had me stress reading in my safe space. Not to mention it is the kind of book you will get so engrossed in you will not want to put it down. I did not expect to finish the nearly 500 pages of this book in two days but I couldn't stop. I just kept reading through all the stress and feels. Because seriously, this book is full of feels that will wreck you in the best possible way.

A lot of why this book is so full of feels is because of the characters. Because this book also has really amazing characterization. I seriously love these characters so much, they are some of my absolute favorites. I love them so much because they are incredibly complex and multi-dimensional. Throughout these books we have seen them at their best and their worst. You see them succeed and you see them vulnerable. All of this makes them easy to root for and want to see succeed. In this one we alternate perspectives between Yael, Luka, and Felix which adds a really interesting dimension to the book as we learn more about them and their pasts while seeing the present through their eyes. It makes for great character development and a great read.

But the world of this book is really fantastic too. This is a book that defies genre classification and a lot of that has to do with the world. Very simply it is an alternate history but it definitely goes deeper than that. I was blown away in the first book the way that this blended history and speculative fiction and it does it again. The author clearly did her research on World War II but she took that as a jumping off point for an complex science fiction like world and plot. I loved the way the two blended as we learned more about the skin shifting, how it works, and its history. It made for a fascinating setting and a great jumping off point for this story.

This is absolutely one of my favorite books of the year. It was everything I was hoping it would be, everything I knew it would be. It was thrilling, engrossing, and painful with amazing characters and an amazing story.

I give Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin 10 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: BUY! Without a doubt by this book. If you loved Wolf by Wolf you will love Blood for Blood. I seriously loved it and I cannot say enough good things about it. It's so creative and entralling. If you like books with a lot of action check this out. If you like character-driven stories check this out. If you like sci-fi, historical fiction. If you like nice things, read this book.

Have you read Blood for Blood? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Stacking the Shelves: October Book Haul

A weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews

Hey remember how I was on a book buying ban? Hahahaha, that seems to be a thing of the past. Last month I bought more books than usual and then the floodgates opened and in October I bought a ton of books! I did not stick to my book buying ban at all. I literally broke every rule I set for myself. And after doing so well. Oh well, I have no self control when it comes to books.

But in my defense this is when all the amazing highly-anticipated books come out. And there was a Fierce Reads tour that came through Pittsburgh. How could I not buy a ton of books? And if you ignore the fact that I bought a bunch of books from Book Outlet I didn't do too bad. Okay, I did do bad with my book buying diet. Whatever, I don't care.. GET OFF MY BACK! Oh, I'm the only one who cares about this? Cool, cool.

Alright, let's look at what I picked up...


The Midnight Star by Marie Lu My Review
I have had this pre-ordered for ages because I love this series so much. And you guys, it was soooo good. I still get weepy thinking of it. Like even looking at the cover.

Stars Above by Marissa Meyer - My Review
I have the audiobook for this but Marissa Meyer came as part of the Fierce Reads tour and it is the only one of her books that I don't own a physical copy of so I had to complete the series.

Last Seen Leaving by Kaleb Roehring My Review
I wasn't going to buy a copy of this because I had an e-ARC but after hearing for Kaleb at the Fierce Reads tour I wanted to meet him and get a signed copy so I did.

Nemesis by Anna Banks Add to Goodreads
Same as above. I wasn't sure I wanted to get a physical copy of this but Anna Banks was hilarious and I wanted to meet her. Mostly to tell her about how I read in a dry bathtub after learning that she writes in her bathtub.

Jackaby by William Ritter - My Review
I gave my ARC copy of Jackaby away a few years ago and I love this series so much I needed a copy of the book. So when I saw the paperback on Book Outlet I snagged it.

The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne - Add to Goodreads
I have been wanting to read this book for awhile now. And I honestly figured it would be the perfect book for election season but I'm definitely burned out by politics. But soon.

The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon - My Review
I love The Bone Season series and I read an ARC of this book like two years ago but I do not own a copy, until now. I got a copy from Book Outlet what with The Song Rising coming out soon.

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard - My Review
Same, same. I have an ARC of this and I wasn't planning on getting a physical copy. But what with my pre-ordering Windwitch I think that I need a copy so that they match. And I saw one on Book Outlet so I bought it.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn - Add to Goodreads
There is a new used book store in my neighborhood. Which, you know will probably be really dangerous. But also really nice because I can sell them books. But I stopped in shortly after they opened and wanted to get something. So I got this.

For Review

Drednaught by April DanielsAdd to Goodreads
You had me at transgender superhero. I mean seriously, this book sounds amazing. I was approved for this on Netgalley and I can't wait to read it.

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai - Add to Goodreads
This sounds like a really interesting science fiction time travel book. It's blurbed by Andy Weir so I'm interested. I'm really excited to read something with an Jetson-ian future world but written today.

Girl in Disguise by Greer Mcallister Add to Goodreads
First female Pinkerton detective. Yup, sold. That's really all you need to know, right? That's all I needed.

Those are the books that I got in July. What books did you get? Are you excited for any of these? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Friday, October 28, 2016

ARC Review: The Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics

Title: The Women in the Walls
Written by: Amy Lukavics
Published: September 27, 2016 by Harlequin Teen
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Lucy Acosta's mother died when she was three. Growing up in a Victorian mansion in the middle of the woods with her cold, distant father, she explored the dark hallways of the estate with her cousin, Margaret. They're inseparable—a family. 

When her aunt Penelope, the only mother she's ever known, tragically disappears while walking in the woods surrounding their estate, Lucy finds herself devastated and alone. Margaret has been spending a lot of time in the attic. She claims she can hear her dead mother's voice whispering from the walls. Emotionally shut out by her father, Lucy watches helplessly as her cousin's sanity slowly unravels. But when she begins hearing voices herself, Lucy finds herself confronting an ancient and deadly legacy that has marked the women in her family for generations.

*** Michelle from Pink Polka Dots Book Blog got an advance copy of this book from the publisher at BEA in exchange for an honest review and she let me borrow it (Thanks Michelle!). This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

The Women in the Walls is the perfect book to read for Halloween, whether you are a big horror fan or not really this is still a great seasonal read. When I was finished I I could think about was how this book is like those ridiculous and campy horror movies that you watch and think "this is absurd and gross, it's not scary," but at the same time, it totally is.

One of the reasons that I say this is because of the imagery of this book. Amy Lukavics definitely knows how to set a scene. You can perfectly picture the creepy old house with all it's many abandoned rooms, the spooky graveyard in the woods, and the vast grounds of the estate. It had a fantastic old world feel but also felt like a place you would go today and be super creeped out by. But then there was also her description of the gore. And you guys, this book had gore. That was one of the big things that gave it a campy horror movie vibe. It wasn't ghosts and things jumping out at you, it was blood and guts and creepy feelings. That is more my find of horror.

The general plot too made it feel like that campy kind of horror. It definitely had elements of classic horror stories. Creepy house that's more than meets the eye? Check. Unexplained occurrences? Check. Characters having their thoughts and feeling effected by said house and unexplained occurrences? Check. Tons of surprises and unexpected reveals? Check.It all works together to make a plot that feels reminiscent of those horror books and movies that you might know and love. It's definitely and interesting book that was full of thrills and surprises. There were definitely some crazy and creepy reveals throughout the book but especially at the end.

But the pacing of it was kind of problematic for me. This book is one of those cases where it starts our really slow and then builds to a crazy conclusion. That isn't necessarily a bad thing. But in this case, and often with books paced like this, the ending felt rushed. It escalated very quickly and then the book was just over. This is a short book, only about 240 pages, and I think more would have been more here. The ending needed a little more explanation and more time to reveal all the big things. I would have liked a little more time for it all to sink in I think.

But I also would have liked a little more time with the character development. I think the main character, Lucy, was definitely interesting and complex. We spend the entire book in her head and it is kind of a dark place to be. Things have not been going well for her over the last few years and she finds ways to cope with it however she can. But then throughout the book there is so much uncertainty about what is happening and that is reflected and makes her seem vulnerable. But the fact that she cares about her family gives her strength. She was a good main characters. But at the same time it really is all about Lucy. We get so little of most of the other characters around her. They just seem to be there and I would have liked to see and not be told why she cares about them and how they are as people. That extra attention to the characterization could have taken this book to the next level.

But on the whole this was a good Halloween read. It was dark and weird and creepy. It was full of surprises and thrills that I really did enjoy. And the fact that it is short meant that it was a good palate cleanser with all the intense and dark fantasy I have been reading. It was exactly the book I needed to read.

I give The Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics 7.5 out of 10 stars 

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow. Definitely a good Halloween read that I think will attract people who are both big fans of horror and those looking for something scary for the season but don't really read a lot of horror. Pick this up on your next library run.

Have you read The Women in the Walls? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping and HAPPY READING!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

ARC Review: Glitter by Aprilynne Pike

Title: Glitter
Written by: Aptilynne Pike
Published: October 25, 2016 by Random House Books for Young Readers
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: From #1 New York Times bestselling author Aprilynne Pike comes a truly original new novel—Breaking Bad meets Marie Antoinette in a near-future world where the residents of Versailles live like it’s the eighteenth century and an almost-queen turns to drug dealing to save her own life. 

Outside the palace of Versailles, it’s modern day. Inside, the people dress, eat, and act like it’s the eighteenth century—with the added bonus of technology to make court life lavish, privileged, and frivolous. The palace has every indulgence, but for one pretty young thing, it’s about to become a very beautiful prison. 

When Danica witnesses an act of murder by the young king, her mother makes a cruel power play . . . blackmailing the king into making Dani his queen. When she turns eighteen, Dani will marry the most ruthless and dangerous man of the court. She has six months to escape her terrifying destiny. Six months to raise enough money to disappear into the real world beyond the palace gates. 

Her ticket out? Glitter. A drug so powerful that a tiny pinch mixed into a pot of rouge or lip gloss can make the wearer hopelessly addicted. Addicted to a drug Dani can sell for more money than she ever dreamed. 

But in Versailles, secrets are impossible to keep. And the most dangerous secret—falling for a drug dealer outside the palace walls—is one risk she has to take.

*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

I really wanted to love this book. Glitter seemed like a book totally up my alley, a unique setting that combined history and science fiction and unlikable characters. It should have been a great read but unfortunately it didn't really work.

One thing that did work was the setting. I really liked the interesting way that the author combined historical fiction and dystopia. The French court of Louis XVI and a crazy conglomerate company in the near future worked together so well. It had a really great historical feel to it with the fashion and culture of era. But the more interesting part to me was the business stuff. In some respect of felt like we were seeing a dystopia from the perspective of the oppressors which was cool. But I think I would have like to explore that side of things more.

I think for me, the pacing of the book is what didn't work. This was a book that was developing while at the same time keeping things a little too close to the vest. I wasn't sure where it was going and what was happening until very late in the book. And I mean VERY late. It took way too long to get the climax. So long that the book was almost over and it still hadn't gotten there. It felt to me like it was off the rails and then just quickly jumped back on at the very end.

You see the plot of this book was mostly independent of the more traditional dystopian stuff. It was a character-driven story about a girl who is trying to break out of her really bad situation. It's not that this wasn't interesting, I just think after awhile it seemed both overly-dramatic and not dramatic enough. There was definitely a lot of complex and interesting things that were happening throughout the book but they just didn't get that much attention. Even things that you would expect to have a huge sway in the characters behaviors and psyche were glossed over for what felt like more superficial things. I think I just wanted something more out of it than it gave me.

But I think that the plot development could have been okay if I had liked the characterization a little more. These were pretty unlikable characters. And don't get me wrong, I like unlikable characters. I like when people do terrible things, but I need to understand why. And in some respects I understood Danica. I understood why she so desperately wanted to get away from the king. But I didn't understand why she was so uncaring about everyone else. When she did start to care it just felt like it was too little to late. But the thing I understood the least was the romance. Oh gosh, it was so cliche. It was instalove and it was eye roll inducing. The characterization here just didn't work for me and this is a character-driven read so it really got in the way of my enjoyment of the book.

In the end, I just think this one didn't work for me. It had a compelling world but the plot and pacing were too convoluted and not dramatic enough for me and the characterizations really made it not for me.

I give Glitter by Aprilynne Pike 6 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Bypass. Like I said, I really wanted to love this book. It has such a brilliant and it could have been amazing, it just didn't quite get there for me. I think being such a plot driven reader I just needed more from that. If you are into more character-driven books and like unlikable characters maybe check this out.

Have you read Glitter? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Windwitch by Susan Dennard

A weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Windwitch
Series: The Witchlands #2
Author: Susan Dennard
Published: January 10, 2016 by Tor Teen

Synopsis: The follow-up to New York Times bestselling Truthwitch, next in a breathtaking YA fantasy series hailed by Alexandra Bracken as "a world you will want to inhabit forever."

On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a "witchery," a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In this follow-up to New York Times bestselling Truthwitch, a shadow man haunts the Nubrevnan streets, leaving corpses in his wake—and then raising those corpses from the dead. Windwitch continues the tale of Merik—cunning privateer, prince, and windwitch.

Why I'm Waiting 

I've been a fan of Susan's books since I read the Something Strange and Deadly trilogy a few years back. So obviously I was super excited when I heard that she was writing a high fantasy with a world similar to Avatar: the Last Airbender. And I read Truthwitch at the beginning of this year when it came out and I loved it. In fact, it's one of my favorite reads of the year and I've read 120 other books since then so you know it's good

And therefore, I must be anxiously awaiting the books sequel, and I definitely am. I can't wait to find out what happens next to these characters. I'm excited that Merrik is taking a little bit more of the focus because I feel like there is a lot more to learn about him, as well as a many of the other characters. Plus that "shadow man: sounds really interesting and very Susan if you've read Something Strange and Deadly you know what I mean

I'm really excited to explore more of this world too. I think in Truthwitch we learned so little about the magical system and the history of this world. It was one of those show instead of tell kind of world-buildings and it left a lot of things unanswered and assumed that we knew stuff we didn't know. I want to know stuff and find out stuff!

I have a copy of this book preordered. I cannot wait to read it this January when it comes out. Winter for me is the perfect time to escape into a high fantasy epic and Windwitch will be the perfect book for that.

What about you? What are you waiting for this Wednesday? Are you waiting on Windwitch along with me? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween Books for People Not a Fan of Horror

A weekly meme by The Broke and the Bookish

Okay, so I love an atmospheric and spooky read but I am not a fan of horror. Every once in awhile I like being scared but like stereotypical stuff like ghosts, vampires, zombies, possessions, stuff like that is not my cup of tea. So if you are like me, here are ten(ish) books to read this Halloween season.

1.) The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova - My Review
Okay, had to start with the most obvious one. Yes, this book is about Dracula or well Vlad the Impaler but it is not your typical vampire story. It's more of a historical mystery travel epic kind of book so if you are into those kinds of books check this out.

2.) Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett - My Review
So the author describes this book as romantic horror and while it does have elements of both of those things, them working together make it feel totally different. Plus there is a good historical mystery element to which helps balance it out.

3.) Rebecca by Daphe du Maurier - My Review
So this is another one that could be categorized more as horror but to me it felt more like a Gothic mystery. But it definitely is spooky and has an atmospheric feel to it which is perfect for the Halloween season.

4.) The Diviners by Libba Bray - My Review
Like a lot of these books, this is a historical mystery with some atmospheric and spooky elements that makes it perfect for this time of year. And like a lot of the other books on this list, it is definitely spooky. It freaked me out in the best possible way.

5.) Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard - My Review
And another historical mystery with supernatural elements. I think if you want to feel like you are reading a Halloween book that is not horror, a steampunk book with zombies is probably going to do the trick. Plus it's Susan Dennard and it's great.

6.) Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalso - My Review
This would make such a perfect Halloween read. The author describes it as Victorian CSI so you know it's got good atmosphere, blood and gore, and a good mystery. Plus it's about a notorious serial killer. It's really brilliant and probably my favorite debut of this year.

7.) Jackaby by William Ritter - My Review
What's this nothing but a list of historical mysteries? Yeah, kind of. WHAT! Those are my favorite and they are totally perfect for Halloween. Anyway, this one is fun and hilarious but also involved supernatural creatures and a great mystery.

8.) This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab - My Review
Okay, finally one that is not historical. But it is a book about monsters, literal monsters, so you know it's the perfect book for the Halloween season. I mean it's such a fantastic dark fantasy with like a complex dystopian world. It's amazing.

9.) The Young Elites by Marie Lu - My Review
Speaking of dark fantasies. This one is the perfect atmospheric read for the Halloween season being that it is basically a villain origin story. But also I have been reading these books every October so it just feels like Halloween to me with them.

10.) Menagerie by Rachel Vincent - My Review
So I actually tried to read this one last fall and for some reason I couldn't get into it. But if I had listened to the audio then it may have been a different story. I mean this a book where mysthological creatures are imprisoned in a circus. And it's dark.

11.) The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma - My Review
So this one is hard to categorize. I mean it is a mystery and a thriller but it does also has some supernatural elements to it. But bottom line, it's a fantastic atmospheric read that will mess with your head and has a crazy ending.

12.) The Raven Cycle by Maggie Steifvater - My Review
Okay so maybe this surprises people that it's on the list but it involves clairvoyants and the search for dead kings so it works. Plus it's an atmospheric read that is perfect for the fall and as the series unfolds and you learn more it definitely feels more Halloween-esque.

There you have it, all the Halloween reads I would recommend to people who are not a fan of horror. Moral of the story, historical mysteries. What books would you recommend? What books made your list? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Monday, October 24, 2016

ARC Review: Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Title: Gemina
Series: Illuminae Files #2
Written by: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Published: October 20, 2016 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (Random House)
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis:Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed. 

The saga that began with Illuminae continues on board the space station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of BeiTech’s assault. Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter, Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion. 

When an elite BeiTech team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum may be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival. The fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands. 

 But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher at BEA in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

This book was so good! So good! Illuminae was one of the most creative and compelling books I read last year and I couldn't wait for it's follow up. And seriously, Gemina was just as amazing. It's such a unique, interesting, and engrossing read with a fantastic Sci-Fi setting and great characters,

For one thing, the format of these books are so amazing. Gemina is once again told in an epistolary format with hacked documents, IMs, diary entries, pictures, etc. That was one of my favorite things about Illuminae and it once again made for an amazing book here. It makes for such an interesting reading experience, too. I absolutely love this format and for a story like Gemina and the Illuminae files it works so well. It's a very complex book with a lot of moving parts and different things happening and this way you get the whole feel and understand it all better.

But I didn't just read this book. I also listened to the audio. You want a holistic and immersive way to experience this book, listen to the audio while flipping through the book. The audio is seriously brilliant. It has a full cast, sound effects, and two of my all-time favorite narrators. It was amazing and added so much feel and flavor to this already unique book.

But the plot of this book is just as unique and interesting. There is seriously so much to the plot of this book, it's intense. Every time I thought things couldn't possible get more complicated, they got more complicated. There are so many amazing science fiction elements all working together here and they all come together in a totally gripping ending that had me on the edge of my seat, surprised, confused, and totally really. It was amazing. I'm such a plot driven reader and this one was absolutely fantastic from the plot side of things.

The characters too were fantastic. There are a lot of characters and they were all great. The epistolary format means that we get in the head of each of them and see the book from the perspective. It really helps with characterization and makes for a well-rounded book. I really liked both of the main characters of Hanna and Nik. They both very easily could have been cliches, her a kickass female protagonist and him a bad boy with a heart of gold, and neither of them were. They were complex and easy to root for. Plus their banter was top notch.

There were also all kinds of fantastic secondary characters. My personal favorite was Nik's cousin Ella who was hilarious and an amazing hacker. I loved her sass so much. I also really liked Hanna's boyfriend Jax who was narrated by Steve West and was surprisingly complex. And if you are wondering if the characters from Illuminae make a cameo, they do. But all the characters here were amazing and interesting, even the villains.

On the whole, Gemina is as fantastic as I was hoping it would be. It's a unique and interesting book in every way, from the format, to the plot, to the world, to the characters. I really loved the way that this series is developing and I cannot wait to see how it all ends. It's going to be fantastic, I can already tell.

I give Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff 9.5 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: BUY! Without a doubt you need to buy this book. If you loved Illuminae you will not be disappointed by Gemina. Whether you are a fan of hard SciFi or are just looking for a different kind of read with an interesting format I would definitely recommend this book. And if you are an audiobook fan, seriously listen while you flip through the pages. It sounds weird and clunky but trust me it's the best way to experience this book.

Have you read Gemina? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Audiobook Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Title: The Night Circus
Written by: Erin Morgenstern
Published: September 13, 2011 by Doubleday (Random House)
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des RĂªves, and it is only open at night. 

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. 

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead. 

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

I am kind of nervous about writing this review. I know so many people who just love this book so much. And I get, I totally do, it was really good. But I think that the hype monster may have gotten the best of me here. Because while it was a good read, it didn't blow me away like I was expecting.

One thing I did love about this book was the plot. I did not expect to say that a few days ago though. But this is a book that is very intricately plotted. There are a lot of moving parts here and multiple storylines that felt independent and connected at the same time. It's not until very late into the book that all the cards fall into place that you see exactly where things are going and how it is all connecting. And honestly, I liked that. When it finally got to the real meat of the story I was totally hooked and needed to know what was going to happen. It really built to a thrilling and engaging ending that definitely had a few surprises in store. In the end, I did like the way it all unfolded.

But that being said, the pacing here was really slow here. Because there is a lot going on with the plot it was sometimes confusing and jarring to go back and forth between perspectives. I think that format slowed the pacing down for me. I would have to reconnect with a storyline and sometimes I wasn't able to. On top of that the nature of the plot development meant that it also took it's sweet time getting to the good stuff. There were periods where I was so confused as to where it was going that I spaced out a little bit and lost focus on the book. And that's never a good thing. In the end it did always pull me back but along the way it was a slow and sometimes bumpy ride.

I think what really drew me in to the book every time was the world. Oh wow, the world of this book is so fascinating and magical. For one thing you have the circus. The circus is explained in lush and beautiful detail. You can perfectly imagine the tents, the illusions, and the characters interacting with it all. But the circus was only the beginning. The magic then takes over and brings things to the next level. It's a low fantasy kind of magic with never specified rules but it was used in such a fantastic way that It somehow worked. It was kind of felt unexplainable in a way that almost grounded it in reality. I really enjoyed the world and it's what kept me reading here (well that and a desire to find out how it was all connected).

The characters too were interesting but I think that was one of the aspects of the story that I didn't love. Because there was a lot going on with the plot, there was also a lot of characters and perspectives too. It was sometimes hard to keep the characters straight and who knew and interacted with who. This was a case where I think there were too many cooks in the kitchen for me. I liked some storylines more than others and therefore I liked some characters more than others. And when we got perspectives from characters I wasn't as interested in I found myself wanting to go back to the ones that I did enjoy. In the end the characters were all likable and engaging I just think a more narrowed focus would have added a bit of mystery and helped me connect a little more.

But on the whole, this was a really great read. I ended up listening to the audiobook which is narrated by Jim Dale and he did a fantastic job. He perfectly captured the atmosphere of the book and the setting and the magic really came alive with his narration. I've listened to him narrate the Harry Potter books and he has a great way with this low fantasy. Although I do think sometimes his characters sound very similar making it hard to keep them straight, which may have affected my thoughts on the characters.

The Night Circus is a great atmospheric fantasy with a fascinating world and an intricately plotted story. I had really high expectations which may have been to my detriment but I did enjoy it.

I give The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern 8.5 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy/Borrow. If like me you have heard really amazing things about this book and have still yet to read it, it is worth the time. I did enjoy it despite some hiccups. Plus it is the perfect atmospheric fall read if you are looking for something that has some mystery and magic but don't got for horror or supernatural. check out this fantasy.

Have you read The Night Circus? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!