Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Review: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

From Goodreads: Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz's cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city's dark and twisting streets - a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world. 

My Rating: 3.5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: After liking Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo’s Crooked Kingdom was a book that I was highly anticipating. Sadly, I was unable to read it right after its release because I was so busy, and have only been able to review it now.

Once again, I loved reading from the perspective of Nina. She continued to develop as an individual, and she and Matthias remained my favourite couple of the series. Surprisingly, I also ended up liking Jasper and Wylan as a couple. I didn’t understand why everyone was shipping them in Six of Crows, but I totally got it here! As for Kaz and Inej ... I just didn't believe in the chemistry between them and think that they'd be better off as friends; not everybody in this series needs to be paired up with each other.

Besides the romance, I also enjoyed the action and plot twists in Crooked Kingdom. I would have liked Kaz and his gang though to be a bit more vulnerable as I feel like they were able to get away with everything too easily. And yes, I'm aware that Matthias died! 

Crooked Kingdom was released in September 2016 by Henry Holt and Company. 

Comments About the Cover: I like the continuation with a crow on the cover.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Mini Reviews: The Friendship Experiment by Erin Teagan and Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

From Back Cover: Everything has been going wrong for aspiring scientist Madeline Little, and she's dreading the start of sixth grade. Now that her best friend has moved to private school, Maddie has no one to hang out with except a bunch of middle-school misfits. And if you add Maddie's blood disorder, which causes public humiliation at the very worst times, it's all a formula for disaster. At least she can rely on her standard operating procedures, the observations and step-by-step instructions she writes down in her top-secret lab notebook. Procedures for how to escape a conversation with your mother, how to avoid the weirdos at school - it's all in there. Fortunately, no one will ever read it. But does science have all the answers? 

My Rating: 3.5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: The Friendship Experiment by Erin Teagan is a solid MG read about discovering the unpredictability of life. I really liked that Madeline loved science so much, and found it refreshing to have a narrator who wrote Standard Operating Procedures and grew bacterial cultures instead of worrying about popularity and boys.

The Friendship Experiment was released in November 2016 by HMH Books for Young Readers. 

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (Raincoast Books) for free.
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From Goodreads: Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions. But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose ... it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown. If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest ... but she may be the darkest.  

My Rating: 2 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Kendare Blake’s Three Dark Crowns was a book that I was looking forward to reading because of its dark premise. Unfortunately, while the beginning part of the novel whetted my appetite with Katherine having to ingest poisoned food, for example, the majority of the book was quite dull. There was little plot to be honest, and I’m still confused as to why Katherine, Arsinoe and Mirabella must kill each other. Furthermore, none of the queens made me want to root for them or their insta-love romances.

A huge disappointment, Three Dark Crowns was released by HarperTeen in September 2016.  

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (HarperCollins) for free via Edelweiss.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Mini Reviews: A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz and Gertie's Leap to Greatness by Kate Beasley

From Back Cover: Follow Hansel and Gretel as they run away from their own story and into eight other scary fairy tales. They'll encounter witches and warlocks, hunters with deadly aim, and bakers with ovens that are just right for baking children ... It may be frightening, but unlike those other fairy tales you know, these are true. 

My Rating: 3 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Having loved Adam Gidwitz’s In a Glass Grimmly, I thought it was time to give its companion novel, A Tale Dark and Grimm, a try. Despite having some of the same elements as In a Glass Grimmly (e.g. a few gory parts here and there, an interjecting narrator that's funny, etc.) however, I didn’t enjoy A Tale Dark and Grimm as much – perhaps because the main characters were Hansel and Gretel, who I don’t care for as Grimm characters either.

A Tale Dark and Grimm was released in October 2010 by Dutton Books for Young Readers. 
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From Inside Jacket: Gertie Reece Foy is 100% Not-From-Concentrate awesome. Which is why she's dumbfounded by her mother's plan to move away from their coastal Alabama town, leaving Gertie with her father and Great-Aunt Rae. Most kids would be upset about this. But Gertie is absolutely not upset, because she has a plan. More than a plan. She has a mission. Gertie is going to become the greatest fifth grader in the universe! All she needs to do is: write the best summer speech (after she finds Zombie frog), become the smartest student in her class (if her best friend, Jean the Jean-ius, doesn't mind), and win the lead part in the play (so long as a Swiss-chocolate meltdown doesn't mess things up). There's just one problem: Seat-stealing new girl Mary Sue Spivey wants to be the best fifth grader, too. And there is simply not enough room at the top for the two of them.

My Rating: 3 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Gertie’s Leap to Greatness by Kate Beasley was a book that I generally liked because of the realistic way it handled a theme like parental abandonment and because it featured a non-traditional family structure – Gertie is raised by her great-aunt and her dad (who is often away due to his job). At times though, Gertie could be perceived as selfish due to her me-first attitude and inability to listen to others. 

Gertie’s Leap to Greatness was released in October 2016 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR). 

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (Raincoast Books) for free. 
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