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Review: Defy by Sara B. Larson

Defy - Sara B. Larson

Defy was one of those books that the cover always drew me in, but the synopsis was never enough to make me buy it.  I've never been a fan of the "girl disguised as a boy" thing, or a fan of love triangles, which the synopsis states very clearly.  But as a fantasy lover, I decided to give it a shot.


I'm glad I did!  While there were quite a few moments I had to stop my eyes from rolling, Defy was still a good book.  The story is interesting the entire way through, and Alexa was one of those heroines that always got back up, even if she didn't want to, and she always took action in the face of danger (which is the true definition of bravery if you ask me!).  As predictably as the love triangle went, and the development of romance between the characters, in the end Defy really did focus on the main issue at hand: overthrowing a kingdom.


The world that was built could have been stronger.  While many descriptions were given, they tended to focus on the same few descriptors (like the heat of the jungle, the sunshine vs. shadows).  It got a little tiring hearing about how sweaty everyone was.  However the descriptions given for characters was plentiful, and they came to life right off the page!


Fans of The Hunger Games should definitely check out this book.


Review: Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

Stolen Songbird (Malediction Trilogy 1) by Jensen, Danielle (2014) Paperback - Danielle L. Jensen

While I found the narration started out weirdly monotone, after the first chapter it got much better. The voices  were easily distinguishable and there was never any question between what was dialogue and what the characters were thinking.  I liked that there were two narrators to separate when the POV switched between male and female, as well.

The main character, Cecile, was pretty good, too.  She was strong and didn't take everything lying down after being kidnapped, but I found she did fall in love pretty quickly (and while there were a few weeks that passed, that's not much when the guy is being a jerk!).  Still, I liked her, and I found that she was a smart, relatively level-headed lady put through much hardship.  

What I loved most about this book was the world-building.  It didn't seem like anything was forgotten, and I found I could image everything very clearly.  Nothing was left out, even from the places you didn't actually go to!  There was a rich history built within inner and outer dialogue, and before I knew it I was engulfed in Trollus and the surrounding world.

On the negative aspects, I can't really say what the major thing that bothered me was, because it's really just a matter of me not liking the main characters choices.  Some of the moves she makes I was sitting in my chair thinking, "Really?  THAT'S what you do?" I can't complain about it.  


Overall I enjoyed this story beginning to end, and look forward to finding out what happens next!  There was so much mystery set up in the first one!


Review: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea - April Genevieve Tucholke

This was one of those books that I just don’t know how I feel about.  It’s not bad, but I’m not sure I would describe it as “great" either.  “Good” works, but it doesn’t quite convey this absence of feeling I have.  It was unusual, for sure, which fits it right into the gothic horror category.  

Violet is so in love with River that it is a little annoying in the beginning, but it soon turns out to be something she can’t necessarily control.  It made me a little uncomfortable, admittedly, because of the abusive undertones (SPOILER: River is manipulating her emotions A LOT).  Their relationship was very Twilight-esque to be honest, and the fact that Violet doesn’t run screaming from River when she learns *SPOILER* just how many people he has murdered, I was starting to fade out.  Okay, spoilers done.

The writing in Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea was suitable to the genre.  However it was pretty pretentious, because Violet is pretentious.  She was raised by artist parents, and often references different kinds of painting styles and artists (ones I assume are famous and I’ve never heard of as I'm not into art).  I think unless you’re into art many of the references will be lost on you (as they were on me).  Other than that I found the writing was well done, and Tucholke did a good job describing the settings.

So to conclude, I liked the writing (minus the constant art references), and the storyline was pretty good until it became more like an abusive relationship.


Review: The Vanishing Girl by Laura Thalassa

The Vanishing Girl - Laura Thalassa

(Originally posted on The Book Breakup on July 20, 2015)

*I received a copy of this from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*


The Vanishing Girl was a good read, but the romance left a bit to be desired.  As much as I love a cocky love interest that only has eyes for the main character, his movements were a little too predictable.  Caden was sweet but there were quite a few moments that just made me go "come on, seriously?".  Of course, he was constantly trying to catch Ember naked (which happened quite a bit I might add), and there were some not-so-sublte hints that he loved her.


Romance aside, however, The Vanishing Girl had a good mystery about it.  I was constantly trying to figure out exactly what was going on when Ember kept teleporting to strange/dangerous areas with only a sentence to instruct her what to do, and it wasn't the government sending her there.  Thalassa did a good job keeping everything a secret through the novel!


Other than that I didn't feel one way or the other about the book.  It featured a good heroine that didn't take anything lying down, and had a nice "evil government" feel about it. 


Review: The Astrologer's Daughter by Rebecca Lim

The Astrologer's Daughter - Rebecca Lim

(Originally posted on The Book Breakup July 13, 2015)

*I received this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*



The mystery is intriguing, and you go through Avicenna's investigation into her mother's death.   The entire novel was a large setup to an intense ending.  However, it left the main plot unresolved.  Avicenna spends the novel worried about her missing mother, the entire plot is about what could have happened to her mother, as well as a cold case murder.  In the end the murder is solved and wrapped up but her mother isn't exactly.  Without getting into too many spoilers, it leaves it open-ended, with almost a cop-out, leading to an unsatisfactory ending.  It's not happy but not sad either.  It doesn't appear that there's going to be a second book, so what you get in book one is it.


Of course, as many YA books do, there's a love triangle.  In the beginning Avicenna is focused on Simon, who disappears for a while only to come back and sort of win her heart.  However half way through Avicenna suddenly falls for a guy she just met, Hugh.  It was odd how quickly she fell for him, and it seems rather superficial; she only ever talks about how she likes how this guy looks, and how rich he is, or how nice his car is.  She never states she likes anything else, but calls him her "dream guy".  I think the story tries to justify her feelings with her pain; she's never had anything handed to her and this is her chance to be with a rich guy that seems to like her.  No matter the reasoning, I thought less of her, and they way it's resolved in the end was rather quick and unusual.


Overall, a good mystery with some paranormal aspects to it.  The details and second mystery were what saved this book for me; the way it delved into the astrological charts and kept the story moving was what kept me reading.  That said, if you read the author's review on Goodreads it sheds a little light into what she was doing with her non-ending.  I was going to give this book a 3.5/5, but once I read her review I decided to give it a full 4/5.