Kingdom of Copper

Kingdom of Copper is the second book in The Daevabad Trilogy.

Nahri’s life changed forever when she summoned Dara, a warrior and djinn with a mysterious past. Her return to Daevabad as the last Nahid healer, signaled a period of change for hidden world of djinn, marid’s and magic.

But when Dara is slain by Prince Ali, the city is thrown into turmoil. All Nahir’s knows is that she must protect her people and the home she never knew she had. But her efforts are constantly thwarted by a the violent king of Daevabad and it might just take all of Nahir’s willpower just to keep herself alive.

Meanwhile, Prince Ali has been exiled for defying his king and father. He is thrown out of Daevabad and is forced to deal with the repercussions of his battle with Dara on his own.

Five years later, at the turn of the century, unrest is brewing and the fate of Daevabad sways in the balance.

Phew! This was a monster of a series to get back into after a year. I vaguely remembered what happened and that I really enjoyed the story but there was so much I forgot, which made it really hard to get through the first few chapters. There is quite a lot going on and the politics of the crown and the city could be hard to get straight at first.

One thing I really like about this book though, is that you just don’t know who to root for. Nahri seems like the best choice because she is well meaning but she is also naive in ways. Dara is such a tortured soul but also blinded by loyalty and his feelings. Ali, you want to like but his “blind fanaticism,” in the words of his father, causes him to rush into things. I even rooted for Nahri’s husband/Ali’s father (name?) by the end. All of this really makes me wonder just how this series is going to turn out.

I’m going to give this one a high 3.5 stars. And I almost recommend waiting to read the whole series until all three are out, unless you are a fantastic re-reader–which I am not.

That’s all for now!

-M-

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The Afterlife of Holly Chase

The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand is a YA fictional take on a classic Christmas Story.

On Christmas Eve, Holly Chase was visited by three ghosts with the hopes of getting her to change her ways. They failed and she died. Now Holly is doomed to work for the very company that tried to save her–Project Scrooge.

Every year, Project Scrooge chooses a new “Scrooge” to try and save. And as the Ghost of Christmas Past, it is Holly’s job to get to know the Scrooge and find out which memories from their past would have the biggest impact in helping them to change their future.

For the past five years, Holly has done her job and helped to save the Scrooge. But this year something is different. The Scrooge is young, seventeen, the same age as Holly. There is just something about this Scrooge that Holly cannot resist. She feels drawn to him in a way she’s never connected to any other Scrooge before.

Can Holly put aside her selfish ways and help this Scrooge before it is too late?

This was a pretty neat take on A Christmas Carol. I wanted something Christmas-y for the holidays that would still be fun and this definitely succeeded. It was just really neat to see the blend of science and magic to make this story happen. I also liked that Holly was one of those characters you were rooting for but you also had to hate, just a little. And you could see begin to change as the story went on… but realistically so. It wasn’t a major 180, but you could see she definitely was going to try to be better.

One of the really great things about this one was, just when I thought I knew where it was heading, it’d go someplace else. That being said, there were some pretty predictable moments but the end was enough of a twist that I enjoyed it.

Overall, this was a neat little read that was unique and fun for the holiday. This one gets 4.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Christmas on the Island

Christmas on the Island by Jenny Colgan is the third book in the Summer Seaside Kitchen series.

In Scotland, on the remote Island of Mure, Christmas is a festive, cozy time of year. It’s a time for family and friends and for reflecting on the good things in life. Well… that is if you hadn’t gotten accidentally pregnant by your skittish boyfriend who has some serious emotional issues. Will Flora get up the nerve to tell Joel? And what will his reaction be?

Also on Mure, Saif, a doctor and refugee from Syria is trying to enjoy his first Christmas with his boys after their reunion earlier in the year. But things have been even harder for Saif ever since he and Lorena ruined their friendship with their emotional confessions. Saif’s wife is still missing and the whole family is struggling to adapt to life on the island.

Will Christmas on Mure be a disaster or will this little community come together to enjoy the holiday?

Oh Mure. Oh Jenny Colgan. I tend to read Colgan’s books when I am looking for something light and in general, I like my light reads to tie up in nice neat little bows. But these books almost always leave me just a smidgen wanting. And Christmas on the Island was pretty much the same. A lovely, light little read that takes us back to the characters we fell in love with in the first two books, but with new and old problems rearing their heads.

All I have to say is poor everyone in this book! I felt so bad for ALL the characters. We really need the next one to give everyone perfectly happy endings. Please. Now that I think about it, this wasn’t really a light happy read… don’t let the “Christmas” in the title fool you. It was actually quite depressing even if there were sunny moments and it ended on a fairly happy-ish note.

The more I think back on this book the more I am reconsidering my four star rating. I think I am actually going to go with a 3.5 because I just needed a little bit more from it. But I do hope we get at least one more

That’s all for now!

-M-

 

Once Upon A River

Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield is an adult fiction novel with an almost magical feel.

One dark and gloomy night, in an old inn on the edge of the river Thames, a drowned girl came back to life.

And so begins a year long mystery. Who is this little girl, so infatuated with the river? She doesn’t speak and sadness seems etched in her bones. How is it she survived after lying frozen and seemingly dead for hours?

Is it a miracle? Science? Fate?

When the girl is claimed by three different parties, these questions will be more important than ever.

I went into this book knowing that the pace would be slow. This is very important. Do not expect a quick read with lots of action. No. This is a book that builds slowly, it pulls you in and wraps you up in it’s mystery and wonder. Once Upon A River felt like someone was telling me a story on a cold winters night, with the lights dimmed and a fire keeping things warm and cozy. And I really enjoyed it.

I loved how the foundation of this book was built with story. The Swan is known for it’s storytellers and the story of the little girl passes from ear to ear, changing with each telling. The Swan itself felt like a small town, where everyone knows everyone business and gossip is ones bread and butter.

As with most folktales, and this book definitely had a folk feel, you are never quite sure whether or not there is a magical element to the story. It feels that way and yet, one could explain away much of the “magic.” I loved this about the story. Is Quietly a real person or just an idea? Some swear he is, some swear he isn’t. But by the end of the tale you are left wondering.

This was just a lovely read. Everything tied up nicely and you really felt that the story had come full circle by the end. This one gets 4.5-5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Archenemies

Archenemies by Marissa Meyer is the second book in the Renegades series.

We pick this one up where we left off in book one. Nova is still impersonating a Renegade, Adrian is still living a double life as The Sentinel, and both are fighting a losing battle against their feelings. But both still have their mission.

For Adrian, Nightmare’s death was a dead-end in his investigation to track down his mother’s murderer. And things are getting dicey with his alter ego, The Sentinel. Although, Adrian believes he is doing good, the Council wants The Sentinel stopped at all costs and that cost could be Adrian.

For Nova, bringing the Renegades down is still her priority, especially when they introduce the new submission tool — Agent-N. But not all of the Renegades seem bad and Nova seems conflicted.

Who will win when it comes down to a war between the Renegades and the Anarchists? And what side will Adrian and Nova ultimately be on.

Is it weird to write that I found myself muttering to myself, “Oh, God” and rolling my eyes at some of the awkward teen moments? Ha! That being said, this was an entertaining read. I didn’t have to listen to it non-stop like I wanted to do with the first one, so take that for what it is. I just had a hard time believing certain parts of the story this time. It just baffles me that Nova and Adrian haven’t been found out and their conflicting emotions seem just a tad overdone.

Nova, just seems so naïve to me sometimes, especially when it comes to her uncle and the other Anarchists. She “bad” and “powerful” when she’s Nightmare and she didn’t have a problem killing Detonator but she has too much of a conscious… without meaning to. Things “bother” her and she wishes things were different but I think the real thing is, is that she doesn’t realize that her goals don’t actually align with the Anarchists and this is going to cause a whole world of hurt in book three.

I think at this point, I’m mostly in it to see what happens. Entertaining, kept me going but I could go one way or the other. Hopefully, the conclusion will floor me! This one gets 3.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

 

Blanca & Roja

Blanca & Roja by Anna-Maria McLemore is a magical-realism novel targeted toward young adults.

In the del Cisne family, every generation births two girls–one of which is destined to become a swan. Blanca, sweet and graceful, and Roja, feisty and wild, are as close as two sisters can be but they’ve also grown up as rivals. Together, they have kept the swans at bay longer than an of the del Cisne’s before them. But the swans will not wait forever and the game is about to begin.

When two boys, with troubles of their own, are drawn into the game, the rules change and the stakes are higher than ever. With four fates on the line, instead of two, will Blanca and Roja finally give in to their fate or will the fight a battle that no del Cisne has ever won before?

McLemore’s writing has always been magical and yet believable; this is why her body of work is such a great example of magical-realism. You see the magic, you feel it, and yet the world is still grounded in fiction, in reality. The genre makes the ordinary, extraordinary, which is why I love it so much.

This wasn’t my favorite book my McLemore but I liked it better than some of her others. A lot of what McLemore writes has the same themes and many of the characters have the same problems and personalities, with a few changes here. Sometimes it feels like only the “magical” element changes from book to book. So if you are looking for the familiar, then McLemore’s books are for you.

There’s a familiar fairy-tale aspect to this book. A combination of Snow White, Rose Red, Swan Lake and the Ugly Duckling. But there is also more to this book. We look at different stereotypes and the assumptions people make. Ultimately, this book is about finding the truth–the truth about oneself and understanding, accepting, other peoples the truths.

This one gets 3.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Dry

Dry by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman is a YA fictional novel about what would happen is California literally ran out of water.

All the signs were there–rising prices, restrictions like being unable to water the lawn, take long showers or even throw water balloons–and yet no one could believe it when the State of California’s water ran dry. The “Tap-Out” wasn’t like other natural disasters, which get lots of new and media coverage, this was a slow, quiet beast that no one was prepared to handle.

When Alyssa and her family first noticed that their pipes had run dry, they did what most families did, they planned on stocking up and riding it out. Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street turns into a warzone. Neighbor against neighbor. Friends against friends. No one is safe when on the hunt for water.

As the situation escalates and help is no where in sight, Alyssa must make impossible choices to save herself and her brother before they too, turn into water zombies or worse.

This was such a crazy read. It was baffling for me to think that an entire state could run out of water and no one really knew about it. Were the politicians that successful in hiding the issue that things could get this bad. That being said, I loved how we glimpsed the one reporter who made the connection that no one would take the tap-out seriously until the bodies started adding up and because the destruction isn’t immediate and in your face, it isn’t “hot” news. It’s scary to think of how true this is.

The narration was a little weird for me at times but not necessarily in a bad way. Although this was Alyssa and her groups story, we did get side narratives that were connected in the grand scheme of things. Some of them were dark and awful and some of them were never resolved. But, I think this was purposely done to show how bad things could get and the narrative that weren’t finished, weren’t finished for a reason.

Again, what a crazy read when you really think about it. I bet a lot of people are going to buy an extra case of water when they finish this one. This book gets a high 4 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-