Jessica's books

The One and Only Ivan
Revolutionary War on Wednesday
Leprechaun in Late Winter
Ella Enchanted
The Courage of Sarah Noble
Plain Murder
Gone-Away Lake
Circling the Sun
Maggie and Max
The Haunting of Sunshine Girl
The Night Sister
Tuck Everlasting
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Bedknob and Broomstick
Mister Monday
Alice Through the Looking Glass
The Birchbark House
The Hobbit
The Witch's Daughter

Jessica's favorite books »

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Book Review: Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3) by Leigh Bardugo

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  The capital has fallen.

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

My Thoughts:  I picked up this series at the beginning of this year.  I am so glad I waited because, to be honest, I don't think I could have waited for the other books to come out.  I am so sad this is the last book in what has quickly become one of my favorite series (trilogies).

Just a warning...this review will most likely have spoilers for this series so if you haven't read the books then don't read this review yet...

Alina is recovering from her showdown with the Darkling.  She is under the very watchful eye of the Apparat in the White Chapel.  She has people worshiping the ground she walked on.  She is the Sun Summoner.  She has a lot at stake however as the Darkling is still stalking her.  She knows she has to find the last amplifier and do her best to ruin the Darkling.

I loved all the characters in this trilogy.  Alina is strong despite having to deal with three men who all want her (although for different reasons).  Mal has finally overcome his jealousy and has come to terms with the fact that he and Alina have no future together.  I am still a major fan of the Darkling too though.  He is just one of those characters that you love and hate at the same time.  He did some things that made me truly want him dead (Nicolai, Keramzin) but I still wanted a somewhat happy ending for him.  Nicolai is still funny and I was very upset with what happened to him.  Zoya was my least favorite character in the first two books as she was obnoxious but she grows in this book and while she can still be obnoxious, she is also funny and loyal.

I absolutely was thrilled that we finally got the whole story behind the Darkling and more importantly, Baghra's story.  It was fascinating to learn about them both and also about Morozova and how they all tied in with Alina and Mal.  

I loved the ending...and I've read a lot of reviews where people hated the way it ended but I thought it was perfect.  It was heartbreaking but so perfect. I loved what happened when Alina wore all three amplifiers.  It was completely unexpected.  

This book takes off from page one and is full of excitement.  You come to love all the characters and you can't help but feeling at least a little bit sorry for the Darkling.  Although I am sad to see this trilogy end, I am happy to say that I thought it ended well!


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Book Review: Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Don't Look Back 

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all-popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend.

Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it's one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took "mean girl" to a whole new level, and it's clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She's getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she's falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her-even if the old Sam treated him like trash.

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn't just buried deep inside of Sam's memory-someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?

My Thoughts:  If you have read my blog before, you know that I love JLA and her books.  Her Half-Blood series is probably my favorite series ever and her Lux series comes in a close second so I was excited to pick up this book.  I wasn't disappointed in it but it wasn't one of favorites, I am sad to say.  

This books starts out with Sam walking around barefoot in her town with no idea what has happened to her or where she has been.  She's taken to the hospital where they call her family and tell them she has amnesia and doesn't remember a single thing from the past.  She also finds out that her best friend, Cassie, was with her and is still missing.  Sam wants to remember to help the police find Cassie, even though she doesn't remember Cassie at all and has no feelings towards her at all. 

Upon arriving home, Sam realizes that her family is extremely wealthy.  After talking to her brother and meeting her friends and boyfriends, Sam discovers that she was a complete bitch.  She was mean, shallow, had no respect for herself or others and cared entirely too much about image.  Now though, Sam is a completely different person.  She doesn't seem to care so much about money, doesn't care about image and really, she doesn't like her friends or boyfriend at all anymore.   

I could not connect with Sam at all.  She was a little bit naive and way too trusting for my liking.  I would be completely on guard and not trusting anyone if I had no memories.  Her boyfriend, Del, lied to her the entire time about their relationship and she only questioned it a few times.  Del was creepy and a jerk and way too pushy.  Sam's "friends" were your typical "Mean Girl" type friends.  They would back stab each other in a New York minute without a single thought (as you find out later with Cassie) but this is typical of high school (in my opinion).  

I figured out the whole mystery in this one about halfway through the book.  I knew who did it just because of their attitude through the whole book and it wasn't long before I had a sneaking suspicion as to why this person did what they did so that was kinda a letdown for me.  I like a mystery that keeps me wondering until the end.  

I also didn't feel the story was very suspenseful. The notes weren't very scary and the "shadow man" never really did anything to make it scary.  In the end, all this is explained and you see why it is important but it still didn't do it for me in thrill factor department.

However, all that being said, this was still a fast read that kept my attention for the most part.  I enjoyed the amnesia factor and the romance, while a little typical, was sweet.  I got sucked into the book and despite the fact that I had it figured out, I still wanted to find out if Sam stayed "sweet Sam" or went back to "evil Sam".  It's definitely worth a just wasn't one of my favorites.