Thursday, February 24, 2022

Leigh Bardugo: Shadow and Bone

In the first in a series, Leigh Bardugo what woman will do to protect her Country:

The Shadow Fold (a dark area full of monsters) cuts the once great nation of Ravka in half, and each year makes Ravka more and more vulnerable to their enemies. Alina was a orphan who grew up in a big family home and it was only made better by her best friend Mal comes to live their as well. They have been inseparable sense and even joined the army when they got older. Now they are to cross the Shadow Fold for the first time. When their convoy was attacked, an unknown magic is released from Alina, one that the most powerful magic used in Ravka has been looking for, one of pure sunlight. Alina's life is now changed forever, she needs to master her magic in order to help save Ravka, but forces do not want her to succeed and there are threats both far away and close to home.
I did enjoy this book but it felt like it was just there to set up to the second one. I know that the first book is supposed to that but for being 356 pages not a lot really happens within those pages. A lot of the book is dedicated to Alina not believing in herself and her allowing other to do things for her. I wanted more of a plot to unfold that what occurred in the book, it felt like it was all left to the last quarter of the book.

I liked Alina as a character, in the end, but why did Bardugo feel the need to make her beautiful. I mean why could she have just stayed herself in appearance? I think that her being not someone everyone wanted defined who she was and was actually a strong quality as she did not think too much of herself. At the same time I felt like she was all too willing to have those around take care of her and not have to put any thought into what she is doing.

I personally like The Darkling as a character, I felt like he was portrayed really well in the book and all the mystery surrounding him by the other Grisha and people of Ravka. Side not has anyone else realized how close Grisha and Geisha.

World building is okay as I would like to know more about the other regions in this world, but I think that will come later in the book. I am also interested in the history of this world as to why they are all fighting.

This was a good book and I will continue on in the series, I’m just hoping that the next book in the series is one of more substance in the plot and world building and I hope that Bardugo can deliver in the next one.

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Friday, February 18, 2022

Greer Hendericks & Sarah Pekkanen: The Golden Couple

Greer Hendericks & Sarah Pekkanen are back and ask how far are you willing to go in order to save your marriage:

All Avery needs is 10 sessions, 10 sessions in order to help you overcome the biggest obstacles in your life, from domineering parents, to overbearing partner to assault, Avery will take you on as a client. When Marissa first contact Avery, it is out of the need to confess to her husband that she has been unfaithful to him and she wants him to forgive her and make their family work for the sake of their 8-year old son. But the more Avery digs into the Bishops lives she cannot help but notice that there are other things going, other secrets that need to be revealed and it is simply not just the marriage that is in danger.
This is the third book that I have read by Hendericks and Pekkanen and I think this is my favourite so far. The Golden Couple is a fantastic book that may start a bit slow, but trust me keep reading and all the twists, turns and shocking moments will come. Just when you think you have the plot figured out or have the person figured out a new twist will emerge and completely shatter what you thought before. 
Avery seems like half therapist half private eye as she not only performs stakeout on her clients, but also digs into their past and present, to try and really determine who her clients really are as people as well as why they have really sought her out. I liked this mix as it meant that Avery was not limited to the therapy session with trying to help her clients. It also gives the reader a better understanding of who Avery is and there are even tidbits about how she has helped other clients. I like that Avery is a rebel in her profession and while she may not be 100% honest on far into her clients lives she digs she does it to help them.
I personally did not care for Marissa's POV. I felt that it was just a bit of a filler for the book and had me just wanting to get back to Avery's POV. Marissa's POV did provide some additional details a little bit before Avery found them out, but overall I did not find Marissa's POV that important to the over all plot of the story, even though she was one of The Golden Couple.

I think it is a testament to this book that I would like to read more about Avery and the clients that she helps in her own unconventional way. I think that Hendrick and Pekkanen could easily have a series around her based upon what they have achieved in this book.

If you are looking for a domestic suspense, mystery book (and don't mind a bit of a slow burn) that is very much character driven then this one is for you. I am really looking forward to seeing what Hendrick and Pekkanen come out with next.

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Thursday, February 10, 2022

Marie Lu: Steelstriker

This is the second book in Marie Lu’s Skyhunter duology, so you will need to read the first books, Skyhunter, before you read this one as it sets everything up. 

Marie Lu shows what one woman will do to protect her family and friends:

Talin has become a Striker, it is now her job to protect The Premier at all costs or else her mother will suffer. Red is no stranger to the cruelty of the federation and the torture it takes to be transformed into a Skyhunter. Red is determined to free Talon, and free Mara and all the other countries that have been conquered by the Federation.Talin and Red want the same things, but the path is marred by difficult decisions and actions that need to be taken to make sure that the ones they love survive.

I really enjoyed the first book in the series and it really leave you on a cliffhanger so I have high expectations for this book by Lu and I will say that this book is quite different that the first book because of the setting. This book is much more political than the first book, it is about doing things behind the scenes in order to overthrow the Premier. That means there are less battle scenes involving both Red and Talon, so at times this does slow the book down. 

I personally love the Strikers and the training that they have gone through to be such effective killing machines and would love to have their POV in a book or novella. They really are the highlight of the book for me, when they are fighting ghosts or sneaking about. 

You cannot help but feel sorry for Talin in this book, she is doing everything in her power to protect her mother but fails multiple time as she cannot sit by while the Premier hurts her friends. However, she does do horrible things to people she does not know even though it weighs on her. I’m not sure if Lu was intending to have a philosophical question in this book, but it is very much kill one to save the rest or kill them all. Talin’s inability to see the bigger picture in this case causes more harm to herself, mother and the rest of the people under the Premier’s control. Do I fault Talon for this? No, she is a teenager who is just trying to protect her mother, her friends, but it is a question to ask oneself as you read the book.

This is the first complete series that I have read by Lu and I enjoyed the world building that she does as well as Talin as a main character. I look forward to reading other series by Lu.

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Friday, February 4, 2022

Kimi Cunningham Grant: These Silent Woods

Kimi Cunningham Grant show the lengths that a father will go to, to keep a family together:

In a remote cabin in the Appalachian forest, there is a remote cabin with no electricity, no running water and a simple way of life. This is where Cooper and his daughter Finch have made their home for the past eight years and Cooper would have it no other way as he has a past that he would prefer not face. But Finch is getting relentless and pushing back, wanting to explore more on her own and do her own thing. When their one connection to the outside world, who brings them supplies each year, fails to show up it sets off unforeseeable event, that will change Cooper and Finch’s lives forever.
This book is a slow burn that is very much character driven and beautifully written. It was not quite what I expected, I thought there was going to be some sinister twist or for it to get darker along the way and it just never really happens. Even what Cooper does in order to make sure that him and Finch stay together is not as bad as he makes it seem, I honestly was picturing something way worse that what actually happened. I think that this is where the book is lacking for me is from my own expectations of what this book should have been, especially with the title and how the premise is presented. I was thinking that this book was going to fall more into the thriller genre than the contemporary fiction genre. We are basically waiting for Cooper to tell his story of how he and Finch ended up in a cabin in the middle of nowhere and why they avoid people at all costs.
Cunningham Grant has a great ability to make the reader really care about the characters, and not just Cooper who is the POV that we read in the book but of Finch as well. As Cooper is the POV in this book, we are able to get a past and present aspect in the book. This allows us to get to know him before, after and now time as a person but many of his strong attributes remain the same. Finch is also an interesting character, very one with the forest and her surrounds having grown up in the middle of nowhere. Even though she is still a child you can tell the independent woman she is going to become with what she is pressing Cooper about even now. You also feel sorry for Finch as she has never had friends her own age with is why she becomes obsessed (in a way) for the girl with red hair.

Now that I know the type of book that Cunningham Grant has the ability to write, I would read another novel by her. I would just go in with different expectations after reading this book. So although this was not the book I expected it to be, I still enjoyed her writing style, characters and setting of this book. I look forward to see what Cunningham Grant comes out with next.

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