Archive for the ‘ Book Review ’ Category

Book Review: The Copper Witch by Jessica Dall

The Copper Witch Review at Quintessentially BookishRelease Date: March 13th 2014
Publisher: 5 Prince Publishing
Series: The Broken Line (#1)
Pages: 257

The Copper Witch

From the book jacket:

Adela Tilden has always been more ambitious than her station in life might allow. A minor nobleman’s daughter on a failing barony, Adela’s prospects seem dire outside of marrying well-off. When Adela catches the eye of the crown prince, Edward, however, well-off doesn’t seem to be a problem. Thrown into a world of politics and intrigue, Adela might have found all the excitement she ever wanted—if she can manage to leave her past behind.

Overall Thoughts:

Though the book jacket description is eye-catching, it really isn’t doing this book justice.  The story is much more involved than it would lead you to believe.  I expected to like the book, but I ended up enjoying it, and Adela, more than I thought I would.  I’m definitely looking forward to the next book in the series.

Characters:

Adela starts out as a little bit of a brat, but I soon started really liking her confidence and her unapologetic attitude towards going after what she wants.  What reads as  spoiled childishness at the beginning ends up morphing into a woman doing what she can to protect herself in a world where she doesn’t have many options.  Yes, she is selfish and vain and sometimes hurts other people, but she is also strong, intelligent, and ambitious in a way that female characters (or, really,women in general) are not often allowed to be.

Setting:

I actually had to go back and skim the book again before I could write about the setting; I couldn’t think of any overly distinguishing characteristics. This is not because it is deficient, but instead because it complements the story so well.  It provides the perfect backdrop for Adela and her rise to power.

Writing Style:

The writing isn’t exceptionally poetic – this is a novel driven more by plot than language – but it serves it’s utility. The dialogue is the most impressive bit.  Dialogue is difficult for many writers, but Dall makes it seem effortless.  It walks the line between appropriate to the historical setting and appealing to modern readers while still sounding completely natural.  I’ll admit that my inner voice was slightly British when reading the dialogue.

Extras:

Just a touch of magic…maybe.

Favorite Line:

“Men tend to underestimate a smart woman with an innocent face.”

Read This If You Like:

The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Nobody’s Princess by Esther M. Friesner

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a review. I did not receive any compensation for this review. All opinions here are my own.

Find Jessica Dall online: Goodreads // Facebook // Website

Book Review: Reap & Repent by Lisa Medley

Reap & Repent Review at Quintessentially BookishRelease Date: March 3rd 2014
Publisher: Harlequin
Series: The Reapers (#1)
Pages:

Reap & Repent

From the book jacket:

They see death. Can they share a life?

Ruth Scott can read the energy of every person she meets. Then she meets Deacon Walker. She can see his ice-blue eyes, his black hair, and his gorgeous face. But this beautiful stranger has no aura.

Deacon is just as unsettled by Ruth—and, having spent more than two hundred years ushering souls to Purgatory, Deacon is seldom shocked by anything. As he helps Ruth to understand her true nature, she awakens desires that he decided long ago a Reaper can’t afford.

A demon invasion forces Deacon to confront the darkness in his own past even as he fights to save the human souls he’s charged to protect. When he’s taken captive, his first concern is for Ruth. But Ruth just might be able to save herself—and the Reaper she can’t live without—if she can learn to wield her newfound powers.

Overall Thoughts:

This is definitely a fun (and sexy) read.   I found myself immediately sucked in to the story.  It’s entertaining without relying too heavily on paranormal romance tropes.  It works fairly well as a stand-alone book, but is strengthened by its placement in a series due t0o a few characters and situations that weren’t fully realized.   I’m certainly looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the series!

Characters:

Deacon is smoldering, as a good romantic hero should be.  However, unlike so many paranormal romances, he isn’t overly broody and macho.  He has the dark past, but he doesn’t dwell on it or use it as an excuse to push Ruth away.  While he’s protective, he isn’t domineering.  Ruth is no wilting flower, herself.  She might be naive in many ways, but she’s capable and as much a hero as Deacon.  It’s refreshing to see this dynamic in a romance.

Setting:

Medley is from the same area that I am and the way she wrote the town of Meridian is so very familiar.  It’s not often you see romances of any kind set in the Midwest.  I definitely enjoyed that.  Her world creation isn’t overly descriptive, I could have used a little more detail in certain sections, but it was sufficient to paint a clear picture of the location.

Writing Style:

Her writing simple and straightforward in construction.  She thankfully doesn’t fall back on euphemisms or overly flowery language.  The words are there to convey the action, rather than as a stylized choice.  It works well with the subject.   There are some issues with foreshadowing that could have been better handled, but in all its a smooth, enjoyable read.

Extras:

The way reapers handle food is hilarious.  I’m definitely jealous!

Favorite Line:

“Most people said they didn’t believe in the supernatural, but if they believed in God, they should at least believe in the possibility of everything else.”

Read This If You Like:

The Southern Vampire Series by Charlaine Harris

Supernatural (TV Series)

The Undead Series by MaryJanice Davidson

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a review. I did not receive any compensation for this review. All opinions here are my own.

Find Lisa Medley online: Goodreads // Facebook // Website

Book Review: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park Review at Quintessentially BookishRelease Date: February 26th 2013
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Pages: 328

From the book jacket:

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and unruly red hair, she couldn’t stick out more if she tried.

Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black T-shirts, headphones, head in a book – he thinks he’s made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor… never to Eleanor.

Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you’re young, and you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose.

Overall Thoughts:

I see why this book received so much praise.  It’s sweet and real and heartbreaking.  I wanted to read it again immediately after finishing it. This book certainly includes painful things, but it does so in a way that isn’t overwrought.  It’s simultaneously dark and hopeful and very real. People often complain that YA books are too dark, without really understanding how important it is for those books to portray the difficult lives and circumstances.

Characters:

I just love these two characters.  I want to give Eleanor a hug and be the mother that she desperately needs.  She really just breaks my heart.  Park is wonderful.  He’s the kind of boyfriend I would wish for every teenage girl.  Rowell does such a great of portraying two characters that are lost in that way that is so universal to so many teenagers, but still unique to each one.

Setting:

The setting, particularly Eleanor’s house, is very important to the story.  The way she describes each location really emphasizes the way the characters feel when there.  Eleanor’s house feels suffocating and almost scary, but the bus seat feels safe.  It’s a great accompaniment to the action and conversations.

Writing Style:

Rowell writes from the perspective of both characters and does so beautifully.  She often alternates between each of them within one scene, so we are able to see simultaneously what they are both feeling in a particular moment. The language she uses is very poetic, but still believable as a teenage voice.  It was really difficult for me to pick a favorite line because there are so many that were so wonderfully written.

Extras:

Mixtapes.  I do so miss mixtapes.

Favorite Line:

“Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”

Read This If You Like:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Bloom by Elizabeth Scott

Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

Book Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

I wrote this several weeks ago and apparently forgot to publish it. So, here you go!

 

 

Storybound Review at Quintessentially Bookish

Release Date: October 22nd 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Series: Divergent (#3)
Pages: 531

The Secret Eater

From the book jacket:

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Plot:

This final book explores the reality of the revelation from the end of Insurgent. Tris, Four, and their friends learn why the factions were formed, the purpose of their city, and what lies beyond the fence – as well as what part they play in all of it.

Overall Thoughts:

Though this was a controversial ending to the series, I loved it.  Roth makes some very tough choices that certain types of readers might not fully appreciate, but those choices remain true to the characters and plot in a way that a more upbeat ending would not.  Even with the popularity of dystopian fiction and darker novels, there’s often a push for YA writers to end their series with a happily ever after – the characters fall in love, the bad guy is beaten, everyone lives – but this isn’t always an appropriate way to end the story.  I appreciate Roth’s commitment to ending her story in a way that respectful to her characters and the reader, rather than caving to the pressure to tie everything up in a nice little bow.

Characters:

We learn more about Tris and Four in this book than we did in the previous two combined.  Tris explores her past, her mother’s past, and how they have shaped who she is. Four flounders a bit as he tries to come to terms with what he fears about himself.  It’s interesting to see his side of the story, rather than solely that of what Tris believes about him.  We learn much more about what motivates him.

Setting:

Talking about the setting is difficult without revealing too much about the plot.  It plays a big part in this final book, to the point that it’s almost a character on its own.

Writing Style:

Unlike the previous two books, Allegiant is written in alternating viewpoints between Tris and Four.  While I think it helped round out the story in a way that just hearing Tris’s side would not have done, I wish there had been more distinction between the two characters.  The voice Roth used for each was so similar that I often had difficulty remembering which character was narrating.  I would have liked to see each of them have a more clear voice that was all their own instead of being so very much Roth’s voice.

Extras:

A much more clear back story than we usually get in dystopian novels, while still being vague enough that the details don’t muddle the story.

Favorite Line:

 “Sometimes, all it takes to save people from a terrible fate is one person willing to do something about it. Even if that ‘something’ is a fake bathroom break.”

Read This If You Like:

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Matched by Ally Condie

 

Book Review: The Secret Eater by Ros Jackson

The secret Eater Review at Quintessentially Bookish

Release Date: July 15th 2013
Publisher: Self-Published
Pages: 80

The Secret Eater

From the book jacket:

Kenssie is a demon who feeds from secrets. Lately pickings have been slim, and she has grown so weak that her shield of invisibility is slipping. As the servant of a demon who eats embarrassment she already feels like she’s the laughing stock of the demonic world. But the scorn of someone who thinks that Hawaiian shirts are the height of cool is the least of her worries.

A powerful fear demon is dead set on making her his slave, a position that carries seriously short life expectancy.

She has no friends.

No powers.

No clue.

Her only hope of escaping a life of terror lies in stealing a grimoire she’s never seen from the clutches of a vindictive group of master demons.

Plot:

I really can’t add anything; the book description explains almost the entire plot.

Overall Thoughts:

I was really into this book up until it very abruptly ended.  It’s a novella, so of course it will be short, but there was potential for so much more story.  There are a couple of story lines that really weren’t resolved or used fully; we don’t even really find out what is happening to Kenssie.  That’s really my only complaint with this book – that I wanted more.  I wish the author had considered writing a full length novel.  Short of that, I would have liked an ending that felt more final.  As it is, it felt a bit incomplete.  I kept looking for another chapter or even another page to wrap things up.

Aside from that, it was a good story.  The idea of demons (and really neat, quirky demons at that) that feed on human emotions and secrets is a nice change from the usual paranormal fiction out there.  I also appreciated that it wasn’t yet another romance; there was an actual story involving a female character that didn’t center on catching a boyfriend. It’s such a fun read I finished it all on my lunch break.

Characters:

Kenssie is hilarious. She actually kind of reminds me of a Meg Cabot heroine (which is very high praise from me).  She’s a great combination of naive, snarky, and mischievous.  I was rooting for her immediately, even when I knew she was doing something that would get her into trouble.

The secondary characters were all super interesting, but sadly not as developed as I would like.  I wanted to know more about each of them and of their history and the world of the demons.  Again, this just goes back to me wishing this was more than a novella.

Setting:

It’s set in modern day London, though the setting isn’t as important to most of the story as other aspects.  When there is need for it, the setting is described in more detail, but for the most part the setting wasn’t very noticeable.

Writing Style:

Jackson isn’t an incredibly descriptive writer, but she is great at dialogue and inner thoughts.  Kenssie has a very clear voice and the book reads like she is telling the reader the story.

Extras:

Demons that actually look and act demonic.

Favorite Line:

Are you intellectually subnormal? Tick yes if someone had to explain those words to you

Read This If You Like:

The Mediator Series by Meg Cabot

Devilish by Maureen Johnson

The Trylle Triology by Amanda Hocking

 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a review. I did not receive any compensation for this review. All opinions here are my own.

Find Ros Jackson online: Goodreads // Amazon // Website