Dread Nation – Book Review

 

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

ISBN: 0062570609

Published: April 3,2018

Length: 455 pages


Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.


My Thoughts: I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this alternate history tale with zombies, but what I got was a punch to the face. First of all, it’s well written, and the characters are fleshed out really well. You could feel what they’re feeling and what more could you ask for in a story? Then you have the political commentary thrown in, and it’s just such a creative way of putting forth facts about American History within a fictional world. 

Jane is in this school to learn how to protect wealthy white people from the undead, but in the process, she learns a lot more than she bargained for. I liked the fact that the MC spoke her mind even in situations that could be dangerous to do so. Something that is still prominent today if we really think about it. The author herself gets a lot of crap for speaking her mind, and I think a bit of that comes through in Jane. 

There are some scenes that are a tough pill to swallow, but that feels like the point as well. 

There was a spark of romance, but it didn’t drown out the rest of the story. The action scenes are extremely well written, and I really enjoyed this alternate history story. I am not sure if this is a duology, trilogy, or a series, but I do know I am looking forward to the next book!

I gave this 4 out of 5 metal horns!

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The Extinction Trials – Book Review

 

The Extinction Trials by S.M. Wilson

ISBN: 1474927343

Published: January 1, 2018, Usborne Publishing LTD

Length: 384 Pages


Betrayal. Sacrifice. Survival.
Welcome to the Extinction Trials.

In Stormchaser and Lincoln’s ruined world, the only way to survive is to risk everything. To face a contest more dangerous than anyone can imagine. And they will do anything to win.

But in a land full of monsters – human and reptilian – they can’t afford to trust anyone. Perhaps not even each other…


My Thoughts: I saw The Extinction Trials at the bookstore and saw the little fake sticker on it that said “The Hunger Games meets Jurrasic Park” and I instantly grabbed it. I didn’t even read the synopsis till I got home. I really had no idea what the book was about other than it had dinosaurs and some kind of trial like the hunger games. I was instantly sold. 

I was not disappointed. This was such a fun ride! I have been telling everyone to read it since. The writing is great and the story is wonderful. Stormchaser and Lincoln’s dynamic is fun to read, and while you know they’re catching some feelings for one another, that doesn’t end up taking over the plot like so many YA stories these days.

The dinosaur aspect is my favorite part because ever since I was younger and watched Jurassic Park, I wish we could one day see these animals up close (although that movie franchise shows just how horrible of an idea that would be). Wilson’s ability to bring these animals to life within this story is amazing. I felt like I was being watched at times.

The story itself was a bit predictable, but that didn’t take away from the entertainment factor of this book. I highly recommend it if you are a fan of The Hunger Games and Jurassic Park. The second book in the series called Exile will be released this Thursday and I am already itching to read it!

This book gets four out of five metal horns from me!!

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Hunted – Book Review

 

I have said it before and I will probably say it once again, but I am a little tired of the fairy tale retelling trend in Young Adult. Mostly because I think sometimes the books have NOTHING in common with the original fairy tales :: cough :: A Court of Thorns and Roses :: Cough:: I have been disappointed one too many times and thought I was completely over the retelling craze. Then I heard about Hunted by Meagan Spooner. I haven’t read anything else by Meagan Spooner, but this had me intrigued. Hunted felt closer to the real Beauty and the Beast fairy tale than any others I have checked out, so I decided to get it and read it.

I was so pleasantly surprised. I for one loved the fact that the main character Yeva, or as she’s also known in the story as Beauty, was incredibly close with her sisters. It was a nice change of pace to not see every female character at each other’s throats all the time. When their father goes missing in the woods, Yeva takes it upon herself to set off into a forest that she knows deep within her bones has secrets and possibly even magic. Sticking true to the tale of Beauty and the Beast, she becomes the Beast’s prisoner…or does she? She begins to question many things, including the beast’s intentions.

That was part of the magic that made me love this story so much. Anyone who loves the original will have an idea or glimpse into what happens next on Yeva’s journey, but Spooner was able to give it a twist of her own, and it had me hooked right away. Meagan Spooner also has a wonderful way with words. Hunted is the Beauty and the Beast retelling I have been waiting for.

I highly recommend this novel if you’re looking for a fairy tale retelling to read.

I gave this one four out of five Metal Horns.

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Beheld – Book Review

beheld

This book was sent to me by the publisher, this in no way influenced my opinion on the novel.

Beheld by Alex Flinn seems to be the fourth novel in the Kendra Chronicles series of novels where Flinn mixes fairy tale retellings with the story of the witch Kendra. I actually was unaware that this was the fourth novel in the series but it doesn’t seem like I missed much of anything by skipping the others. (by all means do correct me if I am wrong) I will make this a spoiler free review as most of mine are, but I have a couple of minor issues with this story.

I found it to be dull or at least slow moving at first, and then I was entertained enough to keep reading. As I did so, I found a couple of things that were making me roll my eyes a bit. This book contains the retellings of Little Red Riding Hood, Rumplestiltskin, East of the Sun and West of the Moon, and The Ugly Duckling. All interwoven with the story of Kendra, so she makes in appearance one way or another in each one, but in my opinion it is done in such a  haphazardly way that I could have just done with the four retellings without Kendra being involved. Kendra is always an after thought, a cut and paste within the four retellings.

I also didn’t really enjoy the retellings that contained the desperate woman who couldn’t live without her man, and this mirrored Kendra’s incessant need to look for her long lost love. This certainly made me roll my eyes, because Kendra otherwise comes off as a strong character, but then she’s pining for this man constantly. Maybe that’s someone’s cup of tea, but shit like this gives me Twilight feels, and that makes me twitch.

I enjoyed the last retelling of the Ugly Duckling. It had a bit of a deeper story running through it and possibly saved this novel from getting 2 stars. Then we end with Kendra and I rolled my eyes again, making me want to give it closer to 2.5 rather than a 3, but I didn’t hate the book, it just isn’t the typical story I enjoy, also maybe I am tired of the retellings. This book is out in stores tomorrow Jan.10th. If you love retellings, you will enjoy this book.

This book gets 3 out of 5 metal horns from me.

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American Street – Book Review

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I was given an eARC of this book from the publisher; this in no way influenced my opinion.

This is a Spoiler free review!

American Street by Ibi Zoboi is one of the most powerful stories I have read this year. It follows Fabiola Toussaint as she moves to Detroit from her home in Haiti with her mother. They’re headed to live with her aunt and cousins, but Fabiola’s mother is held by immigration in New Jersey, but Fabiola continues her journey on to Detroit.

This is where the story kicks off, and it certainly does just that. Fabiola tries to understand her new world. American Street is filled with amazing characters, and what’s more important it is filled with complex and interesting relationships. It is a really gripping book.

I think a reason I really loved this book beyond the great story telling and characterization, is that I connected with Fabiola on certain things she went through trying to fit into a new country. I had to do the same when I was a kid who emigrated from Portugal to the USA, and then once again when I moved to Germany. Fitting into a new country, is a massive undertaking and always one hell of an adventure.

 

Fabiola handles a number of different obstacles in this book, all the while dealing with the matter of her mother still being detained in New Jersey. The story is going to twist and turn, and your heart will do the same.

 

This book is great, and I HIGHLY recommend this novel. It’s a rough read with a sprinkle of magical realism. The book will be released February 14,2017. PREORDER IT, BUY IT!!!

 

I give this book 5 out of 5 Metalhorns!

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Aug./Sept. Reading Wrap Up

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Man oh man, I really suck at writing up Wrap ups, but in my defense after I decided to start writing these up, my life sort of went on this downhill tumble for a minute. Things are looking up and I am finally getting back into the swing of things. I didn’t read as much as I would have liked this summer. In fact in the month of August (the month we moved) I only got around to reading Manga volumes. September was a little better, but the end of the month was a bit busy, so I didn’t get around to finishing a couple of books that I thought I would. Let’s begin!

August

Death Note Volumes 2-9

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Oh Death Note, you started off so strong, and then I have no idea what the fuck happened. I really loved the dynamic in the beginning of this story. It was thrilling, and just well done, but the further into the story I got, the less I enjoyed it. It became such a convoluted mess that by the time I finished Volume 9 I decided not to continue the series. I googled how it ends, and felt satisfied doing so. It could have been done in such a better way, and I am still mad as hell at how they fucked it up so bad at the end.

Rating: ratethree (average for the entire series)

September 

Warbreaker

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Warbreaker was a great book!! Brandon Sanderson is becoming one of my top ten favorite writers, even though for some reason I wasn’t a huge fan of the Mistborn series, or at least not the first novel. I have enjoyed his other books a lot more so far. Warbreaker has a wonderful magic system, gorgeous world building, and the best characters. It was a bit slow paced compared to some of his other stories but I still thoroughly enjoyed it.

Rating: ratefour

The Female of the Species

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The Female of the Species took me by surprise. It was sent to me by Harper Collins INTL, and I wasn’t sure what to expect from it, but in the end I loved it so very much. It takes a very hard look at rape culture, and how females are perceived in these situations. It faces these hard topics head on, and takes you into a whirlwind of emotion. It’s an important read and I think many young women and MEN should be reading this novel.

Rating: ratefive

Pottermore Short Stories

Oh you know by now anything Harry Potter and I have to get my hands on it instantly! These short story collections weren’t exactly anything particularly new as they all came from the Pottermore archives and info, but I never had the chance to fully read everything from the site so a lot of it was simply amazing for me to read. I love how expansive the wizarding world is, and how much information J.K. Rowling has for us. Some people keep bitching (including some authors out there) that if it wasn’t in the original series then it doesn’t count, but I say FUCK YOU to that bullshit. Here’s why: J.K. Rowling spent YEARS writing very detailed background information about each character, even the smallest of the small characters have some back story, and they’re her characters it’s her world and she can expand upon it, say whatever she wants about it and you can like it or you can shut it. People were mad about Dumbledore being gay,and how it was never included in the story but then wanted her to clearly state that Sirius was gay and when she said he was straight and crushed everyone’s fan fiction dreams, they got mad as well. Make up your minds, is she allowed to talk about her characters or not? Well, actually let me reiterate that SHE CAN DO WHAT SHE WANTS BECAUSE THE STORY IS HERS. I personally love all the things she adds to it, and I loved reading this three short ebooks. I am all about PROMOTING what I love, and IGNORING what I hate.

Rating: ratefive

The Sea of Monsters

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This is the second book in the original Percy Jackson series, and I have never read the full series. When I read the first book I actually wasn’t sure if I would continue on because I didn’t really love it. Then when I wanted to read the new Trials of Apollo book that was released, most fans said that I should Read this series, and the second series in the same world before jumping into that novel. So here I am trying to get through this series. I still don’t know how I feel about Percy Jackson. This book was more enjoyable than the first, but lacked something for me as well.

Rating: ratefour

Orange: The Complete Collection Vol.1

orange

I enjoyed this Manga. Orange has a bit of a Sci-Fi touch to it that makes the story really intriguing. There are really sweet moments, but also extremely sad moments as well. It certainly hooked me in instantly and I will hopefully read the second complete volume as well in October. It did lose a star because some aspects of the plot felt a little repetitive. I do recommend this one to any Manga lovers out there, or even anyone looking to get into Manga.

Rating: ratefour

Cold-Forged Flame

cold-forged-flame

This was a short story that I bought on my Kindle. It starts off pretty mysterious and it hooks you in rather quickly, but as a continued to read it, my interest began to wane. It’s a little over 100 pages long, and It felt rushed and almost a little bit pointless towards the end of the story. I would categorize it as fantasy. I have read Brennan’s work in the past and I think maybe I am not a fan of her writing style. It’s a quick read if you’re looking for something to entertain you on a short train trip or plane ride, and maybe you will enjoy it more than I did.  I just think that with a strong main character (which shall remain nameless since that is revealed way into the story) this could have been seriously fleshed out into a much bigger and better story.

Rating: ratethree

So That is what I read the past couple of months. I think October in general will be a better reading month, as I now have a bit of a commute on the train to work, and can get some more reading time in during the day. I currently have My Lady Jane, More Happy than Not, How it went down, and a Head Full of Ghosts going, and should finish them all this month. Let me know what you read in September and if you read any of the things mentioned above! 🙂 I love to hear other points of view.

 

 

Mr.Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore – Book Review

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Mr. Penumbra’s 24- Hour Bookstore was a sweet sweet surprise. When I picked it up, I had sort of heard about it, but couldn’t actually pin point from where, but something about the idea of a 24 hour book store totally grabbed my attention. My curiosity gave me a pleasant surprise, just like the main character in the book. You will be happy to know that this book review, like most of my book reviews contain zero spoilers. I know a lot of reviewers like dissecting a book, like it’s a frog in a high school science class, but I like to stick to the basics, and how the book made me feel.

Mr.Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore follows Clay Jannon, who loses his job, and out of natural human curiosity ends up working the night shift at this really quirky bookstore. From there, he discovers that there is just so much more to the store and its peculiar customers. He begins to dig deeper and finds himself taking part in a quest just like the heroes in his favorite novels.

I noticed that a few people I follow, found this book to be boring, and couldn’t finish it. Obviously that’s okay, I am not here to pick on their opinions, but for ME, this book was pure magic. The geeky name drops that included Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling, and all of the adventure surrounding books and this wonderful bookstore, I just found myself wanting to read the book all of the time. I think it is written beautifully, and it made me miss my own days of working at a bookstore.

This book also contained a little sprinkle of things I love in stories; Fun friendships, mystery, a secret society, books within a book, a little bit of love, and a whole lot of amazing. I think as a booknerd, you should definitely check this out if you haven’t. Also if you have and found the beginning to be a little slow, then try to stick through it a little longer, you might be pleasantly surprised. It may not have tons of action, and it’s slow pace did sort of hit the rating for me as well, but it was still a great book.

Mr.Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore get 4 out of 5 Metal Horns!!

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Black Widow Forever Red – Book Review

Black Widow: Forever Red
Black Widow: Forever Red

I was given a Digital ARC of this novel from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

I love the Marvel universe. I think they always get the movies right, and make us feel like the super heroes are the real deal. Black Widow has been one of my favorites for the very obvious reason that she kicks ass. When I saw that Black Widow Forever Red was going to be released and that it would be a full fledged novel, not a comic book, I thought this was the book all Black Widow fans have been waiting for. 

I might have jumped the gun with that thought.

Black Widow Forever Red

The book is about Natasha Romanoff A.K.A. Black Widow. Considering her name is the title, you would expect the story to be about her, and focus mainly on her. Except it doesn’t. In the story you meet Ava Orlova. Who is just your average teenager, well except for the fact that she isn’t. There are a lot of exceptions going on here. 

I don’t want to give things away, so I will just share my views about the story itself. I personally think this is being marketed as a Black Widow novel, and it really should have another name. She is not the main focal point of the entire story. While she pops up, she is a small bit of a much bigger story. This was the most disappointing part of this book. I wanted MORE Black Widow. Ava to me was an okay character, but there’s another character Alex…and yes there’s a bit of a romance factor there, which I always think it wouldn’t be a YA novel without the romance being shoved in there some where. 

Because yes this is a Young Adult novel, which really just makes me think this was a way to cash in not only on the rise of YA fiction, but also on the popularity of Black Widow, especially among the main demographic for both points. Wish they had focused that energy on the actual story though. 

I also have to say, it was very hard to really get into the story. The writing in Black Widow Forever Red is not 5 star material, and I found myself easily distracted. 

I think this book will be popular among young teenaged girls. I think hardcore Black Widow fans will be highly disappointed by it. (teenaged or otherwise) 

This will be out October 13th.

I gave this 2 out 5 metal horns. 

Metal Horns

Sorry Black Widow, Wish I could have given you more.

Black Widow

The synopsis from the Publisher:

Enter the world of the Avengers’ iconic master spy

Natasha Romanoff is one of the world’s most lethal assassins. Trained from a young age in the arts of death and deception, Natasha was given the title of Black Widow by Ivan Somodorov, her brutal teacher at the Red Room, Moscow’s infamous academy for operatives.

Ava Orlova is just trying to fit in as an average Brooklyn teenager, but her life has been anything but average.The daughter of a missing Russian quantum physicist, Ava was once subjected to a series of ruthless military experiments-until she was rescued by Black Widow and placed under S.H.I.E.L.D. protection. Ava has always longed to reconnect with her mysterious savior, but Black Widow isn’t really the big sister type.

Until now.

When children all over Eastern Europe begin to go missing, and rumors of smuggled Red Room tech light up the dark net, Natasha suspects her old teacher has returned-and that Ava Orlova might be the only one who can stop him. To defeat the madman who threatens their future, Natasha and Ava must unravel their pasts. Only then will they discover the truth about the dark-eyed boy with an hourglass tattoo who haunts Ava’s dreams. . . .

Black Widow:Forever Red features all the heart-pounding adventure readers expect from Marvel, written by #1 New York Times best-selling author Margaret Stohl. Uncover a new side of the Marvel Universe that will thrill loyal fans and newcomers alike, as Stohl reveals the untold story of Black Widow for the very first time.

The Rithmatist – Book Review

rithmatist

If you read fantasy novels then you have definitely heard of Brandon Sanderson.

Well he wrote The Rithmatist for a younger audience. Teen/Young Adult audience to be exact. If you are not usually a fan of Young Adult novels, then you may want to start being a fan. This book made me so excited and happy!!!

Seriously, it hooked me right from the start, and it kept me interested and wanting more. Which is where it made me sad because from the information I could find, the second book is only scheduled for 2017. Brandon Sanderson, if you ever see this… please hurry!! I will give you … (checks pockets…) 20 euros if you release it sooner!!

It is indeed that wonderful.

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This story is about Joel, who wants to become a Rithmatist. Rithmatists are a very selective group of people who have the ability to bring two dimensional figures that are known as Chalklings to life. This is important because there are wild chalklings that the Rithmatists need to be able to defend their world from.

Joel is just a son of a chalk maker at Armedius Academy who would give anything to become a Rithmatist himself. He gets thrown into a mystery when a few Rithmatist students go missing. Him and his friend Melody along with another group of wonderful side characters bring this mystery to life. This story might be written for a younger crowd but Brandon Sanderson got it right. The story has mystery, and amazing detail. There are drawings explaining exactly what it is that Rithmatists do.

It brings this world to life, and it had been a while since a book has brought me so much joy, and yet some sadness. Booknerds know what I am talking about. I highly recommend this book!!! The characters are wonderful and the plot is imaginative.

This one gets 5 out of 5 Metalhorns from me!!!

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The Wrath and the Dawn – Book Review

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The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh (I am glad this is a blog and not a youtube video, because I would butcher her last name, I am so sorry) was the first book I read from the books I chose from my summer reading challenge. It was a great first read and first choice. I have this fear now every time I decide to read a super hyped up Young Adult novel, that it will be disappointing but this one was surprising. It was actually worthy of all the hype.

This story is about Shahrzad (Shazi) who wants to take revenge on Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan, why, you ask? Well quite simply, or not so simply put Khalid has married about 100 women, each dawn after the wedding, the women have been killed. The last one was Shazi’s best friend. This is when she volunteers to marry Khalid. She wants to be able to break the cycle of murder and innocent lives lost once and for all.

Khalid has his own secrets, and as you go through this book, you realize there’s so much more to the story.

This book is a retelling of 1001 nights, and the greatest thing of all is the beautiful descriptive language used, you practically feel like you are within the palace walls.

Here’s the surprising factor for me. I have mentioned before that I am quite tired of the romance and love triangles in young adult novels. Coming from a hopeless romantic that’s really saying something. The truth is though, that I LOVED the romance in this book. It’s not cheesy and it’s not lame. It shows real conflict of emotion and real feelings in the characters. You will fall in love with them, even the secondary characters, who were actually some of my favorites from all the books I have read.

I highly recommend this book. It pulled me in and did not let me go. I read it in a couple of days, probably could have finished it sooner if I had the time. Really go out to your local book store and buy it, buy it on your kindle, or head to your local library.

This one gets four out of five metal horns from me.

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