Category Archives: Book Review

Book Review of Freeks by Amanda Hockings

FreeksTitle: Freeks

Author: Amanda Hocking

Release Date:  January 3rd, 2017

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal

In a world of magical visions and pyrokinesis, Mara just wants to have a normal life. But is that possible?

Mara has become used to the extraordinary. Roaming from place to place with Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Carnival, she longs for an ordinary life where no one has the ability to levitate or predict the future.

She gets her chance when the struggling sideshow sets up camp in the small town of Caudry and she meets a gorgeous local guy named Gabe. But before long, Mara realizes there’s a dark presence lurking in the town that’s threatening the lives of her friends. She has seven days to take control of a power she didn’t know she had in order to save everyone she cares about—and change the future forever.

Summary from Goodreads.com

My Review:  I was interested in this book, because I liked the idea of the whole carnival side show lifestyle.  I find that kind of thing fascinating and thought it would be interesting to see what life was like from the perspective of someone living in that life.  The book is classified as Young Adult, but I think I would amend it to be New Adult.  The protagonist was an older teen and dealt with issues that would keep younger teen from easily relating with Mara.  I did like Mara, I thought she had a good head on her shoulders and was interested to follow her on her journey.  She made smart choices and I liked that she stood up for what she wanted and believed in.

From the summary of the book, I thought we would follow the carnival and there would be a little mystery about an animal or something that is causing problems in the town they travel too.  And for three fourths of the book that is what we are lead to believe, but the last fifty pages or so, the story just starts getting strange.  It veers off in a direction I did not see coming and not in a good way.  Don’t get me wrong, I love paranormal and mysteries, but this book just took a detour that did not really fit with the rest of the story and actually made me dislike it by the time I reached the end.  There were too many things happening and the core of the story is lost in all of the random side directions the plot took.

The writing was okay, but not the best.  I felt like issues were skimmed over that could have been flushed out more and the ending wrapped up too quickly and with too many unanswered questions.  I really wanted to like this book, and for a while I was enjoying it, but the ending just left me disappointed.  I don’t think I will be looking into this author anymore after this simply because I did not enjoy her style or book as much as I had hoped.  The material for a good book is there, it was just not executed well.

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FTC: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

 

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Book Review: Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

daughter-of-a-pirate-kingTitle:  Daughter of the Pirate King

Author: Tricia Levenseller

Genre:  Young Adult Fantasy

Release Date: February 28th, 2017

17-year-old pirate captain intentionally allows herself to get captured by enemy pirates in this thrilling YA adventure.

If you want something done right . . .

When the ruthless pirate king learns of a legendary treasure map hidden on an enemy ship, his daughter, Alosa, knows there’s only one pirate for the job—herself. Leaving behind her beloved ship and crew, Alosa deliberately facilitates her own kidnapping to ensure her passage on the ship, confident in her ability to overcome any obstacle. After all, who’s going to suspect a seventeen-year-old girl locked in a cell? Then she meets the (surprisingly perceptive and unfairly attractive) first mate, Riden, who is charged with finding out all her secrets. Now it’s down to a battle of wits and will . . . . Can Alosa find the map and escape before Riden figures out her plan?

Summary from Goodreads.com

My Review:  Daughter of a Pirate King is a book that keeps coming up on my friends Goodreads pages as a great book and I was lucky enough to get a copy through NetGalley, yay!  Before I review the book can we talk about that cover?  I like the concept behind it, but the execution I think is off.  To me, this cover looks like a middle grade book and it most definitely is not.  It is more an upper high school level to me just because of the content and some of the things that going on throughout the novel.  However, as the phrase goes, don’t judge a book by its cover and you should listen in this case, because the cover does not do this book justice!

Now onto the book itself, which was awesome.  The main character, Alosa, is the daughter of the pirate king (hence the title) and is one kick ass heroine.  She is smart, sassy and resourceful.  I loved how she could take care of herself and never made foolish or reckless decisions that would just not fit with her character.  Too many heroines in YA books seem to make stupid, out of character, decisions as the plotlines unfold, which becomes annoying, but not Alosa.  She knows exactly what needs to be done, analyzes the best way to get there and follows through.  She is easily one of my favorite heroines of all time.  She was always surprising me, making me laugh out loud and I fell in love with her.

We also get to know Riden, the first mate on the ship that Alosa lets herself be captured on.  He was pretty great as well.  He has a fierce loyalty for his brother that seems a little misplaced, but he is the only family he has left so he will defend him at all costs.  Riden is torn between that loyalty and the feelings he is developing for Alosa.  He is also a heck of a fighter and gives Alosa a run for her money when they are sparring, both verbally and physically.  I really enjoyed the banter between them and watching them try to cope with how they feel for one another.  They are on opposite sides, each trying to get information out of the other, but they have a slow burning romance that builds naturally and is very sweet.

The plot itself moves along very quickly and as a result, I devoured the book in just one day.  I was so engaged with the storyline that I never even looked to see how much longer I had to read, which is rare for me.  I love the descriptions of a pirate life, the folklore in this world and how Alosa fits into all of it.  She really makes the story worth reading.  The plot itself was very clever, but she was just an outstandingly well written character who made the book the standout novel that it was.

I am hoping this is part of a series since the ending is open ended with a lot of questions still unanswered.  I want to learn more about the girls is Alosa’s crew and more about the other pirates that sail that same seas as her.  I am also eager to learn more about Riden and this connection that he and Alosa share.  I am hoping to see much more from Alosa and Riden in the future and will be interested to see how they tackle the obstacles that are now laid before them.  Daughter of a Pirate King is in my top three of favorite books this year, it was clever, funny, has an amazing female lead and drew me in from the very first page.  I absolutely loved this world and all is had to offer.  It was original in a world where many of the books seem to blend together.  I will be recommending this book again and again and eagerly look forward to when I get to spend more time with Alosa and her crew.

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FTC: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

the-darkest-mindsTitle:  The Darkest Minds

Author: Alexandra Bracken

Genre:  Young Adult Science Fiction

Release Date: December 18th, 2012

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living.’

Summary from Goodreads.com 

My Review:  I picked up the Darkest Minds because I saw the news that is was going to be made into a movie, which always intrigues me, and I loved Passenger by Alexander Bracken, and wanted to see what some of her other books were like.  The concept is quite interesting and heartbreaking at the same time.  All of these poor children, who have survived a massive plague, only to be ripped from their families and put into camps where they are tortured and killed is not an easy thing to read about.  Our main character, Ruby, was an amazing heroine.  She has been put through hell, and when she comes out of it, she reacts realistically to situations.  She does not magically transform and become better, but slowly comes into her own and gets her strength from within.  I loved her, I loved how she matured and grew through this book and came to understand how strong she truly is.

There is a slow building romance in this book between Ruby and Liam, which was pretty adorable.  I loved Liam, he tries so hard to take care of everyone around him first, but he has it bad for Ruby.  It is pretty apparent from the beginning, but she is just too traumatized from everything going on to let that fire burn too quickly, which I appreciated.  Ruby has been through a lot, and she needed to sort through many issues on her own before she could let someone else in to her world.

I absolutely loved the secondary characters as well, Chubs and Zu, they added comic relief in very tense moments, but were also well developed.  I thought they made such an impact on the story and I loved all the page time that both of them got.

The only thing I would say negatively is that I thought it was a little too long.  At almost 500 pages, it is a longer book and I do not think it needed to be that long to get across everything that was portrayed.  I will be interested to see what it looks like when it is made into a movie, because I think it will speed up the plot and help move things along at a better pace.

Overall, I liked the Darkest Minds.  I thought it was a good read and honestly I have already finished the series, so while I may have minor issues with it, I did enjoy the series as a whole.  I wish someone had picked out a better cover for this series though, because you really have no idea what kind of book you are getting with this cover and it does not do the contents of the book justice at all.  Now that I have finished with this series, I will be anxiously awaiting whatever Bracken will be writing next.

 

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