Monday, May 22, 2017

These Ruthless Deeds (These Vicious Masks #2) by Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas #BookReview

These Ruthless Deeds (These Vicious Masks, #2)Title: These Ruthless Deeds
Series: These Vicious Masks #2
Author: Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Published Date: March 14th 2017
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Page Count:320
Format: Paperback

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Goodreads Summary: 
England, 1883. Still recovering from a devastating loss, Evelyn is determined to use her powers to save other gifted people from those who would harm them. But when her rescue of a young telekinetic girl goes terribly wrong, Evelyn finds herself indebted to a secret society devoted to recruiting and protecting people like Evelyn and her friends.

As she follows the Society’s orders, healing the sick and embarking on perilous recruitment missions, Evelyn sees her problems disappear. Her reputation is repaired, her friends are provided for, and her parents are newly wealthy. She reunites with the dashing Mr. Kent and recovers the reclusive Mr. Braddock (who has much less to brood over now that the Society can help him to control his dangerous power). But Evelyn can’t help fearing the Society is more sinister than it appears...
   

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 My Review:


"Not at all, I don't trust anyone"
"But I do trust everyone's self-interest. I can easily see how a society and its members being rewarded for performing miracles can lead to a pleasant and long-lasting cycle."


MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Honestly if you like Historical fiction and fantasy please pick up this series you will not be disappointed. It has strong female characters, super abilities, and good friendships with multiple people.

Friday, May 19, 2017

A Psalm For Lost Girls by Katie Bayerl #BookReview

A Psalm for Lost GirlsTitle: A Psalm For Lost Girls
Author: Katie Bayerl
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Published Date: March 14th 2017
Genre: YA, Mystery, Contemporary
Page Count:363
Format: Hardcover 

My Rating: ★ ★ ★.75

Goodreads Summary: 
Tess da Costa is a saint — a hand-to-god, miracle-producing saint. At least that's what the people in her hometown of New Avon, Massachusetts, seem to believe. And when Tess suddenly and tragically passes away, her small city begins feverishly petitioning the Pope to make Tess's sainthood official. Tess's mother is ecstatic over the fervor, while her sister Callie, the one who knew Tess best, is disgusted - overcome with the feeling that her sister is being stolen from her all over again.

The fervor for Tess's sainthood only grows when Ana Langone, a local girl who's been missing for six months, is found alive at the foot of one of Tess's shrines. It's the final straw for Callie.

With the help of Tess's secret boyfriend Danny, Callie's determined to prove that Tess was something far more important than a saint; she was her sister, her best friend and a girl in love with a boy. But Callie's investigation uncovers much more than she bargained for: a hidden diary, old family secrets, and even the disturbing truth behind Ana's kidnapping.


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 My Review:


"The voice is telling me not to be afraid, reminding me that even in the worst moments, when nothing makes sense and doubt and worry make everything bleak, there is still love in my life."

This was one of my most anticipated reads for 2017!

A combination of sainthood, small town desperation, kidnapping and mental illness made this a really quick read for me.

"That was how it was with us. Back and forth. You built me up one day, I did the same for you the next. We fell asleep talking woke up talking, filled the moments between with laughter... and when the voice appeared and your life began to spin out of shape, I was there to help you restore order. Or I tried to anyway"

Callie lost her sister Tess a few months back and is still reeling from it due to her mom pushing for her sister who was hearing a voice into a saint. Not to mention that Tess was the one that kept Callie and their mom from constantly batting it out, means that now they don't really get along at all.
The real sainthood possibilities become even more prominent when Ana a six year old girl who has been missing for six months shows up at one of the Shrines set up to honor Tess.
This of course makes the sainthood possibility really explode with the media and the church as well. As more and more people claim it is a miracle and that Tess was responsible for me Callie becomes more determined to prove that her sister isn't a saint.

"What's wrong with me? Miracles are supposed to be good things. Miracles make people happy. A little girl survived something horrible. I should be happy for her, for her grandmother, for all of us. For you, Tess. Instead I feel like I've been gutted all over again, my chest torn wide."

Callie enlists the help of Danny and together that start trying to find clues to point to what happened. And hopefully for it to show that Callie was no saint. Callie and Danny make a pretty good team. Danny is kind of the misunderstood guy to everyone else but Callie and Tess and we get to see him really change and start to work towards a future. As for Callie she is rather mean at times and really just needs to step back and consider others a little more. We do see her change as well though thankfully.

"You do seem a little stressed?"
"Stressed you think I seem stressed?"
"If the only person who ever lobed you was dead and being pimped out by our mother and the entire medical establishment was lining up to support her. DON'T YOU THINK YOU"D BE STRESSED TO?"

Told from three different main perspectives of Callie, Tess and Ana making this book really feel like you were right there with Callie trying to figure out what happened.

Overall this book was a really quick read for me. It was interesting to see how the whole town was reacting to the possibility of one of their own becoming a saint and how they reacted to it in what I believe to be a rather normal way. Some were all for it while others didn't believe it, which tends to happen to people who get "famous" and are from small towns. Also the modern day saint hood process was interesting to me, and how some of the higher ups in the church were reacting to it.

Ultimately though this book did feel more like it was about finding closure for Callie, her mom and Danny than figuring out a mystery. Which is completely okay and is still an important thing to read because of how it shows that they all dealt with grief differently. I was just personally expecting more of a mystery about finding out who took Ana and her story I guess.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Traitor To The Throne (Rebel Of The Sands #2) by Alwyn Hamilton

Traitor to the Throne (Rebel of the Sands, #2)Title: Traitor To The Throne
Series: Rebel Of The Sands #2
Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers      
Published Date: March 7th 2017
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Page Count:513
Format: Hardcover

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Goodreads Summary: 

Rebel by chance. Traitor by choice.

Gunslinger Amani al'Hiza fled her dead-end hometown on the back of a mythical horse with the mysterious foreigner Jin, seeking only her own freedom. Now she’s fighting to liberate the entire desert nation of Miraji from a bloodthirsty sultan who slew his own father to capture the throne.

When Amani finds herself thrust into the epicenter of the regime—the Sultan’s palace—she’s determined to bring the tyrant down. Desperate to uncover the Sultan’s secrets by spying on his court, she tries to forget that Jin disappeared just as she was getting closest to him, and that she’s a prisoner of the enemy. But the longer she remains, the more she questions whether the Sultan is really the villain she’s been told he is, and who’s the real traitor to her sun-bleached, magic-filled homeland.

Forget everything you thought you knew about Miraji, about the rebellion, about Djinn and Jin and the Blue-Eyed Bandit. In Traitor to the Throne, the only certainty is that everything will change.

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 My Review:

"I sobbed. For all the dead. For all the losses. For the things that had been taken away. It was seared into my mind forever. The blade. The blood. The eyes."

Starting off just a few months after Rebel of the Sands with the war in the dessert still going on with no end in site. Amani has changed quite a bit from the first book. Now she isn't so reckless and instead has learned with the other rebels; and truly become one of them. She has also gone from only using her gun-sling as a way to fight, to learning how to control her power and use it when needed. 

Things end up going very wrong though after a mission that brought back people who had been held captive. Not is Amani in danger, but now so is the rest of the rebellion, or so she thinks. When in all actuality she is the one they want. 
This starts a whole new world, that I never thought we would get to see. Meeting the Sultan and his others sons Albish and Rahim. One is good and the other needs some help. 

"If the world were simple, we could be free of foreign powers, an independent nation. But we are country with borders, with friends and enemies at all of them."
We also get to meet several other new characters and get surprised with others as well. Amani's experience with the Sultan and his sons was one that I really enjoyed. It showed another part of this world and really put other things in to perspective. Still like the rebellion part of it far more though. 

Overall I really really loved this book and series. Getting to see what the Sultan thought of the rebellion and also meeting his sons was so nice to read. His son's... where to start, Rahim is my favorite out of the two new ones and honestly I could have done without Albish, but it was nice to dislike someone besides the Sultan. 
As for Amani's relationship with Jin is still fun to read, but I do wish they actually had time to talk about things, instead of just hugging and then everything being all good again. 

This book still has the same fast pace of the first one, and if possible I think it might even be a faster read. I have grown attached to the characters in this series and I want to know how the continue on after what happens at the end of this book. 

 No middle book syndrome happened and now I can't wait for the third one. I need it soon please!!!!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Your Welcome Universe by Whitney Gardner ARC #BookReview

You're Welcome, UniverseTitle: Your Welcome Universe
Author: Whitney Gardner
Publisher: Knopf
Published Date: March 7th 2017
Genre: YA, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary, Deaf
Page Count:304
Format: Kindle

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Goodreads Summary: 
When Julia finds a slur about her best friend scrawled across the back of the Kingston School for the Deaf, she covers it up with a beautiful (albeit illegal) graffiti mural.

Her supposed best friend snitches, the principal expels her, and her two mothers set Julia up with a one-way ticket to a “mainstream” school in the suburbs, where she’s treated like an outcast as the only deaf student. The last thing she has left is her art, and not even Banksy himself could convince her to give that up.

Out in the ’burbs, Julia paints anywhere she can, eager to claim some turf of her own. But Julia soon learns that she might not be the only vandal in town. Someone is adding to her tags, making them better, showing off—and showing Julia up in the process. She expected her art might get painted over by cops. But she never imagined getting dragged into a full-blown graffiti war.


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 My Review:

"My first real piece and I'm expelled. And now I need a new tag. Go ahead, call me a vandal, say I'm some sort of delinquent, it isn't going to insult me. It's not going to stop me. Please. This is what I live for."

I believe this was the first ever book I've read that has a deaf main character. So this ended up being a huge learning experience for me in not only learning about being deaf, but also about graffiti which is Julia's favorite hobby.

Julia does end up getting expelled like it says in the synopsis, but I wasn't expecting such a betrayal to happen between her and her best friend because of what she did to get expelled. After it happened though I understood Julia's feelings because she really was just trying to do the right thing even if it wasn't what her best friend wanted her to do. And now because of said best friend she is getting sent to a hearing school. One where she will have to have an aid and will be mostly alone. This is very isolating for Julia especially because she doesn't really like school at all, and having everyone around her be different just seems to make it worse.

As for Julia's home life it was really interesting to read as well. She has two moms who are both deaf as well and seeing how they interact and parent as well was really nice to read. In fact I would have to say that Julia's moms were some of the most involved YA book parents I've seen for awhile. They truly care for her and just want the best for her and to see that actually be conveyed in a YA book was nice.
"I don't do friends, I don't do friendly. I don't play nice, because I get played."

She does end up making a friend that she nicknames Yoga Pants and this friendship was so nice to see. Not only did YP treat Julia normal, but she also didn't go way over the top with trying to learning everything about Julia and how to best interact with her. Instead waited for Julia to give her cues for things. Which was really nice to see for a change. Of course I feel like part of YP niceness was because she herself felt alone now, because of her own struggles with things.

As for who she was in a tagging war with, I was surprised. I truly wasn't expecting that, and I also felt betrayed because of who it was.

Overall I really enjoyed this book. Obviously there were certain things I didn't really like, namely Julia's attitude about things (I did understand it, and I could tell some consequences were going to happen because of it that were going to potentially put her in a bad spot). As a person in a wheelchair I get being exasperated with people and just wanting to be left alone, but I also know that you have to tell them to leave you alone in a kind way so they know you still want them around and that you just need some space. It's a hard concept to explain to someone until you've been in that type of situation before yourself.
As for the graffiti parts of this book I found them to be a huge learning experience. I've been able to appreciate most graffiti for awhile now once Bansky made it well known and started to convey actually messages through it. Before then I just saw it as a way for people to tag things showing it was their territory. Now though I see it not only as art, but also as a form of expression thanks to this book.


Friday, May 12, 2017

City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson #BookReview

City of Saints & ThievesTitle: City of Saints & Thieves
Author: Natalie C. Anderson
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young
Published Date: January 24th 2017
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, YA
Page Count:432
Format:  Hardcover

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Goodreads Summary: 
In the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who doesn't exist. After fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrived in Kenya looking for the chance to build a new life and home. Her mother quickly found work as a maid for a prominent family, headed by Roland Greyhill, one of the city’s most respected business leaders. But Tina soon learns that the Greyhill fortune was made from a life of corruption and crime. So when her mother is found shot to death in Mr. Greyhill's personal study, she knows exactly who’s behind it.

With revenge always on her mind, Tina spends the next four years surviving on the streets alone, working as a master thief for the Goondas, Sangui City’s local gang. It’s a job for the Goondas that finally brings Tina back to the Greyhill estate, giving her the chance for vengeance she’s been waiting for. But as soon as she steps inside the lavish home, she’s overtaken by the pain of old wounds and the pull of past friendships, setting into motion a dangerous cascade of events that could, at any moment, cost Tina her life. But finally uncovering the incredible truth about who killed her mother—and why—keeps her holding on in this fast-paced nail-biting thriller.


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 My Review:


"People are complicated creatures, my dear. The ways they find of explaining the bad things that happen in the world are not always the right ones. Sometimes they are simply easy ones that give them enough comfort to sleep at night, the ones that let them take the blame off themselves."
 Tina is a young woman who has lost everything, but her little sister and because of that she is willing to do anything to make sure her sister has a good life. She sacrifices her own education to do so, and works with the Goondas who give her protection and a job that isn't selling herself.
She also has a revenge she wants to complete. To make her mothers murderer pay for what he did. In order to do that though she is going to need the help of not only the Goondas but also her "friend" boyboy. I say "friend" because Tina doesn't want any friends, because friends mean you care and have something that bad people can use against you and take away from you. She's determined to not get close to anyone again after what happened to her mother.

On her revenge mission though, things go very wrong and she ends up seeing someone she thought she would never see again.
This was a scary situation for anyone to be in, and Tina handled it like a pro in my opinion. Not only did she stick to her guns, but she tried to keep the person at a distance in order to keep them both safe. She never let her mind get changed from what her mission was and because of that good things end up happening.
Not only does she find things out about her mothers past, but she learns so much about who her father is and why her mother had brought them to the greyhill estates after fleeing Congo.

Overall I really loved this book. It was like nothing I've read before and it really opened my eyes. Not only to how life is like for some refugees, but also how young kids survive after losing their parents and no one steps in to take care of them. Tina for me was such a strong and caring character. Even though she tried to keep everyone away from her, she really did rely on them in the end and learned a lot herself about what certain things mean. How just because you've been burned once doesn't mean that you should keep everyone away. The friendship she did make in the end were so nice to read and the fact that things ended up turning out mostly good was also nice, because at one point I thought everything was going very very wrong and she would be left with nothing.
Definitely one of my top books of 2017 so far.

"Maybe you can't be all the things to all people. You might not ever be a proper boarding school girl. Or a perfect thief. Not always the daughter they want or deserve or the sister or the friend. Rules will break you as often as they break them. But I guess thats okay."