Book Review: Talon by Julie Kagawa

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Summary

This is book follows Ember Hill, a dragon disguised as a teenage human living on Crescent Beach. She has moved there with her twin brother, Dante. She is tasked with learning how to assimilate with humans before she is assigned her permanent position with the dragon organization, Talon.

This book also follows Garret, a human trained to hunt dragons. Shoot now, ask questions later. He is sent in undercover to uncover dragons and eliminate them before they cause trouble for the humans.

What I Liked

  • Did you read the summary above? Dragon. Dragon Slayer. Need I say more?
  • This world was just so imaginative. Grounded in the world I know, but with these whole new worlds within it. Talon, the dragon organization, has its own unique intricacies and politics, which were really cool to discover as Ember discovered them. St. George, the dragon slaying organization, is similar to any military organization, except steeped in centuries of history.
  • This book kept me on the edge of my seat. I read it on breaks, at lunch, and any free minute I had until I finished it. I can’t think of many more specific things, but the tension between the two main characters (Ember and Garret) is enough to keep you going!

What I Didn’t Like

  • I didn’t understand her desire to rebel. She often wanted to get free and fly, but I couldn’t quite see why. I guess this could just be because I’ve never been a dragon though so…
  • Sometimes she makes stupid decisions. But it’s not a really big issue.

In Conclusion

If you like dragons, or fantasy, or Julie Kagawa (Iron Fey series anyone?) then this book is for you! The book takes place over a summer, so there’s not really any high school drama – I know some people avoid those books.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

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Book Review: Undeniably Chosen by Shelly Crane

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Summary

This is book five in the Significance series by Shelly Crane. It follows Ava, the daughter of the main characters in the first four books. In this series, a certain group of people called Virtuosos (who are mostly human, but with some extra powers), find their soulmate by “imprinting” when they touch. Once they have their soulmate, their Significant, they go through a period of time before they Ascend and gain their power. Ava has grown up in the Jacobsen clan – a close-knit family that has good morals and stands up for its beliefs. Her significant, Seth, grew up with the Watsons – the antagonists from the first four books. The books very much follows the idea of star-crossed lovers.

What I Liked

  • I don’t know why I’m obsessed with this series. I love the idea of soulmates. (So if you know any great books with a soulmate AU, let me know! I want to read them!) And although there are a ton of things I don’t like with these stories (see below) I just keep reading them…
  • Seth is a firefighter, which brought some unique challenges we didn’t get to see with the original characters (Ava’s parents).
  • The star-crossed lovers thing was also a very intriguing idea. This also lent itself to some interesting plot points that we haven’t seen yet from this society.

What I Didn’t Like

  • The grammar and the writing. Oh. my. gosh. For a while I though these books were just self-published eBooks, for which it would be understandable if they weren’t well edited. But apparently she does have an editor?! If you are her editor and you’re reading this – please go read a book by Jeff Gerke. I’d suggest 50 First Pages or How to Write Christian Fiction. Then problems such as the following could be avoided:
    • Telling and not showing
    • Treating the reader like they’re stupid. (Stating “I knew this was such a significant moment in my life” is unnecessary. If the scene was written correctly, we the reader already know that!)
    • Restating the same things over and over and over again. Unless of course it’s an important detail, in which case it’s only mentioned once and never again.
  • Ava is supposedly attending university. But the way it is described sounds a lot more like high school… Are there universities out there with bell schedules? And a lunch time that everyone has?
  • While I understand that he first four books are romances following her parents, it is still incredibly weird the way in which Ava describes her parent’s romantic life. “Hanky panky would have been had” is something I would never imagine a teenager saying or even imagining about her parents.
  • Twenty years or so have passed since the last book ended. However, nothing much seems to have changed. Either in the human world or in the Virtuoso world. And that was weird too.

In Conclusion

If you can get past the sloppy writing and poor grammar and you’re weirdly obsessed with the soulmate AU idea like I am, then read this book. Otherwise, it’s not for you.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

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Book Review: Stone in the Sky by Cecil Castellucci

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

This is book two in the Tin Star series. It follows Tula Bane as she works to assert herself and her values against the evils in space. Her home in space, the Yertina Feray, has now become a hub for a new source of galactic currency – the alin. Thanks to all of the extra traffic, Tula attracts some unwanted attention and finds herself travelling the galaxy, reaching out to aliens she knows.

I really wanted to like this book – but it left me feeling so-so. In the first book (which I loved), Tula Bane is a kick-butt character who uses her wits and creative manipulation to become a (somewhat) respected citizen on the Yetina Feray. In this book she does a lot of sitting and letting other people do the work. I expressed my frustration to my writer friend, who said “Ahhh. She’s losing agency.” And that’s exactly why this book bothered me. Instead of taking control of her own fate, things just sort of happen to her and around her. Yes, the events may be exciting, but she’s not the one participating in them. There’s also a nice section of the book where she’s pretty desolate and hopeless. Which isn’t necessarily a problem by itself, but combined with the agency problem, makes the story weak.

Another dislike is that, as the reader, I had a hard time believing in the author’s assertations about Tula’s leadership skills. Of all the things that happened in the story, we didn’t get to see Tula’s leadership skills in action (much), we were just told she had them.

That being said, there were some good things with the story. I did enjoy following the romance(s). It’s the first time since Stephenie Meyer’s The Host that I’ve actually rooted for an inter-species relationship. I also loved the galaxy and and the aliens within. The aliens species were creative and I enjoyed how the author conveyed their different cultures and communication styles. We see a lot more of this in the first book, but I still though it was strong in this one as well. We also get a deeper look into different cultures (the wanderers and pirates) who are mentioned in the first book, but never really elaborated upon.

(affiliate link)

September 2017 TBR

I mentioned this in my August wrap-up, but I’m moving full-steam ahead towards by goal of reading 100 books this year. Which means I’ll be reading anything and everything I can do quickly! Graphic novels, children’s novels, young adult, romance, etc. I have 48 books left to reach this goal and only four months left to reach it, which means I have to read at least 12 books each month. So without further ado, here are the 12 books I plan on reading in September!

(Post contains affiliate links.)

The Shadow Throne by Jennifer Nielsen

I whizzed through the first two books in this series. I can’t wait for the third!

F**k Depression by Robert Duff

I’m intrigued to see what this book has to offer.

Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Ray Kristoff

I caved. I was going to wait to read this until it was closer to the time when the third book in this series comes out. But I just can’t do it. I know this is going to be so good!

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Condie

I saw this on someone else’s list of books read (I don’t remember who, I should take better notes!) and remembered how much I wanted to read it when it first came out. So I ordered it off of Amazon and it’s on its way.

Sugar and Spice by Lisa Papademitriou

Book three in this adorable cupcake series.

 

Unsinkable by Gordan Korman

I loved Gordan Korman’s series (such as Dive or On the Run) growing up and I haven’t had a chance to read his Titanic series yet. Also, curiously, I own books two and three in this series already.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

My friend got me this book for my birthday last month. It sounds awesome and I’m super excited to read it.

The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton

I haven’t read this book, but I’ve heard so many good things. One friend loves it so much that she owns four copies of the book!

Asi Es Josefina

Hopefully the Spanish doesn’t slow me down very much. 🙂 I’m excited for a chance to keep in practice in reading it.

AI Love You

This was on sale at the library’s book store, so I picked it up. I have no idea if it’s going to be any good.

Ragweed by Avi

I love books about mice so hopefully this one is no exception.

 

Soldier by Julie Kagawa

I didn’t get around to this one last month, but hopefully I’ll get to it this month! (I also just realized that I read all but two from last month’s TBR, so go me!)

 

Any other suggestions for quick reads for this month? Any thoughts on the books already on the list? I’d love to hear from you!

❤️ Annette

Month in Review – August 2017

Here’s a summary of my reading/bookish action in August 2017. I’ll be linking up to bookdate.blogspot.com, who inspired this idea and post format. 🙂 If you want to check out July’s month in review, you can find it here. Overall, August was a pretty great month!

month in review (1)

Total Books Read: 9

I decided this month to go full steam ahead towards my goal to read 100 books this year. Which means putting non-fiction down for a little bit and whizzing through some of the easier books on my to-read list.

Books Read

(Reviews for most of these will be up… sometime. 😊 The links below are affiliate links to Amazon.)

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

V is for Virgin by Kelly Oram

A is for Abstinence by Kelly Oram

Forgotten Honeymoon by Beverly Farr

The M Word by Beverly Farr

The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen

Redesigned by Denise Grover Swank

The Runaway King by Jennifer Nielsen

Business as Usual by Denise Grover Swank

Book Formats

Hardcover – 1

Paperback – 2

Ebook – 6

Book Genres (Some books belong to multiple genres)

Young adult – 5

Romance – 6

Fantasy – 2

Science fiction – 1

New to me authors

Amie Kaufman

Jay Kristoff

Jennifer Nielsen

Top Book for August

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

 

If you want to see the books I got this month, check out this post.

I’ll be posting my September TBR shortly!

 

How was your August? Any books I need to know about?

❤️ Annette

Book Review: Taking the Cake by Lisa Papademetriou

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is book two in the Confectionately Yours series. It follows Haley, a middle schooler, as she deals with friends, ex-friends, crushes, and her family. This book follows her throughout the fall, as she deals with Halloween and Thanksgiving.

I know I’m technically to old to be reading a book at this level, but I really enjoy reading about Haley and her adventures! This was another sweet installment in the series. Just like the first book, there are a couple of recipes (including gluten free ones) included.

(affiliate link)

New on the Stack in August 2017

Once again, I will be linking up to The Deliberate Reader for this post. Here are the books I’ve acquired since last month’s post. Next to each book I give a short explanation why I chose to pick up that particular book. (Clicking on the picture of each book will take you to the book’s Amazon page, through an affiliate link.) 

Borrowed from Friends

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Was highly recommended by my friend.

 

 

 


The Outsiders by S.E. HintonI’ve never read this and I’ve heard such great things about it.

 

 

 

Got as a Gift

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

My friend got this for me for my birthday. I’m super excited to read it after hearing so many great things about it!

 

 

Purchased Physical Book

The Last Time I Saw Paris by Sheene

This one caught my eye at a book sale.

 

 

Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn

This one looked intruiging.

 

 

The Scarlet Thread by Francine Rivers

I love some of Francine Rivers’ other books, so I wanted to try this one out as well.

 

 


Deadly Sanctuary by Sylvia Nobel

A mystery that takes place in Arizona? Count me in!

 

 

Oliver Twisted by Cindy Brown

The synopsis of this one grabbed me and I can’t wait to read it.

 

 

 

Purchased eBook

The M-Word by Beverly Farr

This is the sequel to a book I read this month.

 

 

Counted with the Stars by Cossette

I’ve seen this on multiple blogs (I don’t remember which, sorry) so when I saw it was on sale I snagged it.

 

 


Song of Edmon by Adam Burch

It was cheap. 🙂

 

 


The Watchmaker’s Daughter by C. J. Archer

Another deal on Amazon.

 

 


Shadow Throne by Jennifer Nielsen

This is the third book in the False Prince series. After reading the first two I had to buy this one!

 

 


Business as Usual by Denise Swank

This is the third book in the Off the Subject series.

 

 

Soldier by Julie Kagawa

This is the third book in the Talon saga.

 

 

 

Borrowed eBook Through Kindle Unlimited

Dating on the Dork Side by Charity Tahmaseb and Darcy Vance

This looked like a cute romance.

 

 

Prejudice Meets Pride by Rachael Anderson

Another cute sounding story.

 

 

Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

This is the oldest book on my “to-read” list!

 

 

A is for Abstinence by Kelly Oram

This is the sequel to a book I read this month.

 

 

F**k Depression by Robert Duff

This one was recommended by my counselor, since she knows I like to read.

 

 


A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest

A really well timed ad on Amazon caught me while I was buying a completely different book. 😛

 

 

Did you pick up any fun books this month?

❤️ Annette