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A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Elias and Laia are running for their lives.
After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.

Laia is determined to break into Kauf - the Empire's most secure and dangerous prison - to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars' survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.

But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene - Elias's former friend and the Empire's newest Blood Shrike.

Bound to Marcus's will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own - one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape... and kill them both.

Goodreads Summary

I waited for this book for months and it was somewhat worth the wait! The book is told from three different viewpoints, and the reader will get to know Helene quite well. I actually ended up preferring Helene's character over Laia's. Laia spent much of the book trying to rescue her brother from the terrible prison Kauf. Elias, of course, helps her. Elias and Laia further develop their relationship, but in a way that I did not expect or particularly like. Elias's and Helene's characters develop the most while I felt that Laia was more stagnant. 

I understood a lot of Laia's actions, but felt they were questionable. I thought she was horribly selfish and self-absorbed. I don't think she ever thought seriously of how her actions would literally affect the Empire. I hated with all my heart how she treated Elias and what happened when Keenan came back into the picture (cue awful love triangle). I felt bad for Helene and, for the most part, would back her choices. I wish she could be the new main character. The truth behind her actions really surprised me. I could write more, but I don't want to accidentally give away any huge spoilers. Apparently, there will be a third book and it is dubious as to whether or not I will read it.

2 Stars

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

When the mysterious fog of the Ruining crept over the world, the living died and the dead rose. Only the walled city of Viyara was left untouched.

The heirs of the city’s most powerful—and warring—families, Mahyanai Romeo and Juliet Catresou share a love deeper than duty, honor, even life itself. But the magic laid on Juliet at birth compels her to punish the enemies of her clan—and Romeo has just killed her cousin Tybalt. Which means he must die.

Paris Catresou has always wanted to serve his family by guarding Juliet. But when his ward tries to escape her fate, magic goes terribly wrong—killing her and leaving Paris bound to Romeo. If he wants to discover the truth of what happened, Paris must delve deep into the city, ally with his worst enemy . . . and perhaps turn against his own clan.

Mahyanai Runajo just wants to protect her city—but she’s the only one who believes it’s in peril. In her desperate hunt for information, she accidentally pulls Juliet from the mouth of death—and finds herself bound to the bitter, angry girl. Runajo quickly discovers Juliet might be the one person who can help her recover the secret to saving Viyara.

Both pairs will find friendship where they least expect it. Both will find that Viyara holds more secrets and dangers than anyone ever expected. And outside the walls, death is waiting. . . 

Goodreads Summary

This is not your typical Romeo and Juliet tragic love story. A lot of the plot doesn't even necessarily focus on Juliet or Romeo. Juliet is the overall weapon. Romeo believes himself to be in love with her. Rosaline is sacrificial. Paris is Juliet's strong and caring protector. 

Romeo's character bugged me. He seemed weak and pathetic. I didn't fully understand why he was even included if he didn't add much to the plotline. I liked Runajo. She was cunning, smart, and willing to do nearly anything to save her little city. She was the epitome of a strong, female character; however, sometimes she took her role as savior a little too far. Paris tried to help Juliet, but more often than not Juliet ended up saving him. I think if the book was a little more focused on one character or another I would have had an easier time connecting with each character and truly caring about them. 

I liked the plot as a whole, but in fragments it was disjointed and confusing. I had to reread certain chapters just to ensure I had a grasp on what was going on. The ending wasn't entirely surprising and I will be looking forward to the next book, if anything so I can answer the questions I have.

 3 1/2 Stars

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Cherry by Lindsey Rosin

Monday, August 22, 2016
In this honest, frank, and funny debut novel, four best friends make a pact during their senior year of high school to lose their virginities—and end up finding friendship, love, and self-discovery along the way.

To be honest, the sex pact wasn’t always part of the plan.

Layla started it. She announced it super casually to the rest of the girls between bites of frozen yogurt, as if it was just simply another addition to her massive, ever-evolving To Do List. She is determined to have sex for the first time before the end of high school. Initially, the rest of the crew is scandalized, but, once they all admit to wanting to lose their v-cards too, they embark on a quest to do the deed together... separately.

Layla’s got it in the bag. Her serious boyfriend, Logan, has been asking for months.

Alex has already done it. Or so she says.

Emma doesn’t know what the fuss is all about, but sure, she’ll give it a shot.

And Zoe, well, Zoe can’t even say the o word without bursting into giggles.

Will everything go according to plan? Probably not. But at least the girls have each other every hilarious, heart-warming, cringe-inducing step of the way.

From debut author Lindsey Rosin, Cherry is a coming-of-age, laugh-out-loud tale of first times, last chances, and the enduring friendships that make it all worthwhile.

Goodreads Summary

Cherry, a young adult novel, was very frank and open about sex. It's both refreshing and (for me, not for everyone) a little overdone. The book revolved around Layla thinking she was ready to lose her virginity to her boyfriend, Logan. She made a pact with her three friends to lose their v-cards by the end of the high school. The book has four main characters and their stories are told from their points of view. The reader will get to know each character very well. 

Even though she was potentially the most annoying, Layla was my favorite character. It's difficult to say what each character chose to do or not to do without giving away the book, but I like that Layla was cautious and open-minded. Although she sometimes rushed into an idea, she didn't necessarily rush into completing it. Zoe was the cute and quirky friend. She often felt like she didn't fit in. Emma's character was more no-nonsense and serious. She seemed to skim over the "big deal" of the whole thing. Alex's character was sweet. She had to tell her friends the truth concerning something from her past, but I like that she eventually trusted them enough to be honest to them. Her ending was particularly adorable.

Overall, I'm glad I read this book. I feel somewhat obligated to say that it was nice the book was about sex (because although it is seen in young adult books, it isn't usually so over-stated). I did appreciate the author's commitment to the premise, I did start to get tired of hearing about sex. This book would be a good read for young adult/teen readers who enjoy contemporary fiction.

3 1/2 Stars


This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Top Tens List with Charles A. Salter (Kare Kids Adventures)!

Sunday, August 21, 2016


TOP TEN CHARACTERS IN THE KARE KIDS ADVENTURE SERIES
by Charles A. Salter

(1) Mr. Bartleby--First appears in Book #1 (The Secret of Bald Rock Island).  Mr. Bartleby is a kindly, middle-aged man who considers it his responsibility to look out for the children living on his small island off the coast of Maine.  His prime concern is to protect them from the mysterious island creature whom only he has seen.

(2) Kelcie Oglethorpe--First appears in Book #1.  She is ten years old and decides to help Mr. Bartleby solve the twin mysteries of what happened when her fisherman father (Bartleby's best friend) disappeared years ago during a violent storm at sea and what the Bald Rock Monster really is.

(3) Charlotte Jennings--First appearance in Book #2 (Charlotte and the Mysterious Vanishing Place).  Kelcie of Book #1 is a grown woman now, and Charlotte is her nine year old daughter.  With her twin brother and sister now out of town, it is up to Charlotte to solve the mystery of the enormous and rapidly growing sinkhole in the nearby woods which threatens an entire kennel of puppies, including her own.

(4) Matt Danson--First appears in Book #3 (How Three Brothers Saved the Navy).  Matt is 12 years old, the oldest son in a Navy family.  He wants to follow in the footsteps of his father, Captain Danson, currently serving on an aircraft carrier, except that Matt wants to be part of the Force Recon Marines onboard rather than a sailor.  He has read many of his father's training manuals and knows a lot about military skills and tactics.

(5) Ryan Danson--Appears first in Book #3.  Ryan is 10, the middle son of the family, and a budding expert in martial arts.  When the three brothers uncover a terrorist plot against their father's ship, Ryan plays a key role in using judo to protect his team.

(6) Jack Danson--Also appears first in Book #3.  Jack is 8, the youngest brother, but just as active, spunky, and dedicated as his older brothers in escaping the terrorist gang.  He loves to play "mind tricks" on the enemy at every opportunity.

(7) Captain Danson--First appears with his sons in Book #3.  He is a decorated war hero, enormously proud of his three sons, and plays a key role in convincing the Navy these preteen boys know what they are talking about.

(8) Hannah Jennings--Appears first in Book #4 (The Travel Twins and the Lost Secret of the Vikings).  Hannah is 12 years old and one-half of the Travel Twins and also sister to Charlotte of Book #2.  The twins embark on a scary mountain train in Norway in pursuit of the Leif Erikson Sunstone which has been stolen from their uncle's museum.

(9) Josh--Appears also first in Book #4.  Josh is the other half of the Travel Twins.  He and Hannah struggle to retrieve the invaluable Sunstone and also discover how its thief was planning to use it to re-create the ancient Berserker Viking warriors not seen on earth in a thousand years.

(10) Uncle Olaf--Appears first in Book #4.  Olaf is the brother-in-law of the twins' father.  Olaf runs the Museum of Viking Antiquities in Oslo, Norway, and is horrified when its most precious exhibit--the Leif Erikson Sunstone--is stolen.  The police seem unable to help, but he has confidence in his young niece and nephew, especially given their own secret--and very unique--skill.


This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ