Monday, May 29, 2017

Book Review: The Crown's Fate by Evelyn Skye

The Crown's Fate by Evelyn Skye book cover and review
After absolutely loving The Crown's GameI must admit a little disappointment in the sequel, The Crown's Fate.

It may have something to do with my reading mood?  It took me forever to read The Crown's Fate, and I really thought it dragged, especially during the first half. I started about a week before the release date, and it took me at least 12 days to read it! (Hence, the late review.)

One of the things I liked most about The Crown's Game was the characters.  I fell in love with them and struggled with their dilemmas.  In The Crown's Fate, I didn't really like Pasha, Vika, or Nikolai.  They were all wishy-washy, changing allegiances and, in general, working against each other most of the time. There's almost no romance.  Not that it's required for me to enjoy a story, but I felt this book needed some.

And I guess when a book is about magic, one can expect magic to save the day (over and over again.) I don't know why this didn't bother me in the first book, but it just seemed like they just kept coming up with better magic tricks to save the day.

I haven't really talked much about the plot, but you can read the blurb and get that.  Suffice it to say, it's a battle for the throne. The battle at the end was epic (and, of course, magic filled.) The ending was happily satisfying.

I'm glad I read it--I just think the beginning could have used some editing. I think my teens will enjoy it too.

Published by Balzer + Bray, May 16, 2017.
eARC obtained from Edelweiss
432 pages

Rating: 3.5/5

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Audiobook Review: Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult book cover and review
Here are my general feelings while reading Leaving Time: love, love, love, LOVE... oh no... way!... well,  maybe,  ummmm, well I guess this is okay.

Leaving Time is about an adolescent girl, Jenna, who has been searching her whole life for her mother who disappeared when Jenna was a  young child.  Her mother (and father) worked at an elephant sanctuary.

The story is told from multiple perspectives. Through Jenna's mother, Alice, we learn about her elephant research in Africa and how she ended up married and working at the sanctuary. The stories about the elephants are my favorite parts of the book. We learn a lot about elephant behavior, and it is fascinating.

Jenna enlists the help of a psychic, Serenity, and the washed-out detective who originally investigated the tragic events leading up to Alice's disappearance. We get their points-of-view also.

The reader is taken step by step down this path to discovering what happened, and then BAM! -- the huge twist.  I had no idea this was going to happen because I hadn't really heard anything about the book before I read it. I was stunned and disappointed at the "cop -out" I fell Picoult used.

However, I liked that the twist wasn't the end of the book. We still get more story, more explanation, and some closure for all of the characters, so I ended up being okay with it. But I still would rather it have turned out to be something else.

The audiobook is narrated by four different people, all of whom did a great job, and the multiple readers helped make the perspectives distinct.

Looking back, I really enjoyed Leaving Time and would recommend it even with the startling twist.

Published by Ballentine, 2014 (Random House Audio)
Audiobook obtained from the library
416 pages

Rating: 4/5

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Stacking the Shelves - A Few New Ones

Happy Weekend everyone! We are winding down things at school, so I'm hoping to up my reading for the summer -- but still have a lot of other plans, so we'll see!  Here's what I received for the past two weeks:

For Review:
Among the Red Stars by Gwen C. Katz, book cover
Among the Red Stars, by Gwen C. Katz from Edelweiss

Dare Mighty Things by Heather Kaczynski book cover
Dare Mighty Things, by Heather Kaczynski from Edelweiss

Crossing Ebenezer Creek by Tonya Bolden book cover
Crossing Ebenezer Creek, by Tonya Bolden from NetGalley

That's it for me.  How about you?  Anything good I should get my hands on?  Leave me a link in the comments.  Thanks for stopping by and be sure to visit the hosts:  Team Tynga's Reviews. 

Back to Annette's Book Spot Homepage Copyright © 2017 Annette's Book Spot. All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Book Review: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens book cover and reviewI would never make it through Charles Dickens without my Serial Reader app. I have tried to read Great Expectations previously but just couldn't do it. Taking it in 10-15 minute chunks daily is the only way for me.

I can't say I enjoyed Great Expectations, but I did get through it without any discomfort.

It really takes a long time for the story to get going.  It never moves at a fast pace, but it does pick up a bit at a point past the halfway mark.  I just didn't find the story all that compelling.  I was entertained by poor Pip's experiences but really could have read the CliffsNotes and been just as happy. The characterizations are great, and I enjoy visualizing them. There were some surprises that I didn't see coming and some that I did.

I readily admit I don't have the appreciation for the old terminology, slow pace, and very descriptive language used in many classical works. But now I can say I've read it. It will be a while before I tackle another Dickens.

Published by ??
EBook obtained from Serial Reader
544 pages

Rating: 3/5

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Book Review: Avenged, by Amy Tintera @amytintera

Avenged by Amy Tintera Book cover and review
I enjoyed Avenged just as much as Ruined and I'm really excited about this series!

Em has rescued her sister, Olivia, and they are now headed back to Ruina to rebuild the castle.  Things are not that easy, though, and Olivia is out for vengeance.  Em has assured Cas, who is now ruling their enemy, that Ruina will not attack and he has assured her he will leave them in peace.  But that isn't good enough for Olivia.

So things get complicated between the three kingdoms. Alliances are made and then broken.  No one trusts anyone.  And all the time, Em just wants to save her kingdom and keep everyone safe - including her enemies.  That isn't a popular opinion, however.

There is a lot of movement between kingdoms and in some books with multiple factions, I tend to get them mixed up.  But not in Avenged. Tintera does a great job of keeping them distinct.

I enjoyed the struggles and how Em is so strong in her beliefs. She's a survivor and a fighter, and I'm rooting for her and Cas to end up happily together -- but that isn't the case yet.

This series is shaping up to be a favorite, and as I said in my review of Ruined, teens who can't get enough of these female heroines who are trying to take over the world will enjoy Avenged.

Published by HarperTeen, May 2, 2017
eARC obtained from Edelweiss
416 pages

Rating: 4/5

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Monday, May 1, 2017

Book Review: Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith book cover and review
I'm going to have to quit saying I don't like contemporary romances when I adore everything Jennifer E. Smith has written. I was, once again, captivated by Windfall.

The funny thing is, you will probably be able to guess the general story arc when you read the blurb.  Alice buys a lottery ticket for her best friend, Teddy, on his birthday.  She's secretly head-over-heels in love with him and has chosen this day to tell him.  Instead of that happening, he wins millions of dollars in the lottery.

There is much more to these characters. Alice lost her parents when she was nine years old and lives with her aunt and uncle and her cousin, Leo, who makes up the third person of the best-friend trio. Teddy's father left when he was young, and he and his mother struggle to make ends meet. Leo's boyfriend is a year older than Leo and is away at college. They are all trying to figure out what they will do after high school.

Smith is a wonderful storyteller. There's just no way that this mostly predictable story should be this good.  But it is. It isn't sappy, but it should be. The characters are genuine and tug at your heartstrings. They have life struggles to get through, and they do it without going over the top. Smith just has a way of sucking you in so that you can't wait to find out what happens, even though you pretty much know.

I thoroughly enjoyed Windfall, and I can't wait to hand it to some of my teens.

Published by Delacorte, May 2. 2017
eARC obtained from NetGalley
432 pages

Rating: 4.5

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