Book Review: See How They Run by Ally Carter

24644814Title and Author: See How They Run (Embassy Row #2) by Ally Carter

Series: Embassy Row #2 

Shelves: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller, 2015 Release

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Published: 22nd December 2015

Ratings: download (1)


 

Summary:

Inside every secret, there’s a world of trouble. Get ready for the second book in this new series of global proportions–from master of intrigue, New York Times bestselling author Ally Carter.

Grace’s past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn’t stop it, Grace isn’t the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down. 

The twists get twistier and the turns get even more shocking in the second thrilling installment of Embassy Row.

Review: I was really looking forward to this book because All Fall Down was the first book I reviewed when I started this blog and also because I love Ally Carter. Her books never seem to disappoint me so I had high expectations for the sequel. Sadly, I ended up really disappointed.

“This is my big brother, the boy who slayed all my monsters. But just as soon as I’m back on the ground, I remember: The monster is me.”

In this book, we finally get to meet Grace’s brother Jamie who is on leave from his military academy back in the US and as come to spend some time in Adria. Grace, however isn’t too happy to see her brother because she feels that now that she knows the truth about what happened three years back, nothing would ever be the same again. Not even her relationship with her brother.

Keeping that in mind, Grace spends more than half of the book whining and hating herself for what happened. I mean, I get it. I understand anyone would feel horrible but I don’t need to be reminded about it on every single page.

“history almost always repeats itself. And it is almost always written by men.”

Then half way through the book, Ally Carter introduces a 1000 year old secret society which has been and continues to influence all events that take place in Adria. This was just too ridiculous and yet I continued to read the book. But then Ally Carter went ahead and did the unforgivable. She introduces to the plot, a story of the baby princess of Adria who got lost (in a way) during a coup which took place 200 years ago. Naturally, even after 200 years have past, people are still curious to know what happened to the lost princess. Or better yet, whatever happened to her descendants. And ofcourse this curiosity turned out to be the reason behind why a few had lost their lives.

As much as I love Ally Carter, this book was too ridiculous. And the lost baby princess plot was the last straw. The only reprieve was that we get to see a lot more of Alexei and both Grace and Alexei seem to be a lot more closer to each other than before.

Final thoughts: I don’t know whats going to happen in the next series and frankly I don’t even want to know. I feel like the author herself doesn’t know what to do with the series anymore and frankly, I’d rather read a sequel to the Heist Society than a sequel to this.

 

 

 

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Book Review: The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

22929578Title and Author: The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Series: The Fixer #1

Shelves: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller 

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Published: 7th July 2015

Ratings: download


Summary: This thriller YA is Scandal meets Veronica Mars. 

Sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick has spent her entire life on her grandfather’s ranch. But when her estranged sister Ivy uproots her to D.C., Tess is thrown into a world that revolves around politics and power. She also starts at Hardwicke Academy, the D.C. school for the children of the rich and powerful, where she unwittingly becomes a fixer for the high school set, fixing teens’ problems the way her sister fixes their parents’ problems.

And when a conspiracy surfaces that involves the family member of one of Tess’s classmates, love triangles and unbelievable family secrets come to light and life gets even more interesting—and complicated—for Tess.


Review: After being swamped by my university books for so long, I finally had time for leisure reading and I’m glad I chose this because I was sucked into the world created by Jennifer Barnes from page one.

“You’re telling me that my sister is a professional problem solver?” I asked tightly. “She just goes around, solving other people’s problems? How is that even an occupation?”
“Supply and demand?” Vivvie suggested. “Around here, we call them fixers.”

The Fixer tell us the story of Tess Kendrick who after living a quite life at her grandfather’s ranch is left with no choice but to move to D.C with her sister Ivy who she hasn’t seen or spoken to in three years. In DC, Ivy works as a professional problem solver for important political figures and when Tess joins Hardwicke, an elite school for the children of the rich and powerful, she soon realizes that the same is expected of her as well. Tess is an absolute badass. Shes strong, independent, incredibly smart and has a zero tolerance for bullying. She doesn’t intend to become a fixer but it soon becomes apparent that problem solving runs in the veins of the Kendrick sisters.

“Go away, Asher.”
“You say go away, I hear be my bosom buddy.”

Apart from Tess, even the other characters are very well rounded. Each and every character had an important part to play in shaping of the story and what I liked most was that all the characters had very different personalities. Tess’ group of friends included Vivie, who she becomes instant friends with at the very beginning, Asher, a troublemaker who seems to be everyone’s best friend, Emelia, Asher’s smart and resourceful twin and Henry, who doesn’t seem to like the Kendrick sisters very much.

The plot was absolutely terrific and intriguing!  Although it was a political thriller, a large theme of the book was centered around family and the relationship between Tess and Ivy. There were certain twist and turns that which would come as a shocker but unfortunately, I had already been suspecting them way before they were revealed. However, I’m sure I would have been completely blown away if i hadn’t been paying attention to little details. Another thing that I quite appreciated was the lack of romance. I like how the author felt that there was no need to throw romance into the mix as the mystery in itself was very engaging.

Final thoughts: The Fixer is an absolute page-turner. I really did enjoy reading it and I am definitely looking forward to book two!

Book Review: Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

24378015Title and Author: Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

Series: Never Never #1

Shelves: Young Adult, New Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Romance, Paranormal

Publisher: Hoover Ink

Published: 7th January 2015

Ratings: 4 stars


Summary: Best friends since they could walk. In love since the age of fourteen.
Complete strangers since this morning.
He’ll do anything to remember. She’ll do anything to forget.

Review: Can we please talk about the blurb. I think we all need to appreciate the smartass who wrote those three lines! I like to imagine that whoever was responsible for it, wrote it with a smug smile on his/her face and I would very much like to take this person out for a drink. I mean just look at it! Its possibly the vaguest blurb I have ever come across but its what made me yearn for the book.

“I want to know if she’s wondering the same thing I’m wondering: What does Never Never mean?”

When I finally finished reading it, I just closed the book and just stared at it for about a minute. From the outside it might have looked like I completely calm and just appreciating the book cover. However, the truth is that I was freaking out and fangirling inside! All I wanted was to shout from the rooftops that this book is FANTASTIC!

Never Never tells the story of two highschool students: Silas and Charlie who suddenly have no recollection of who they are, where they come from, what was happening to them and why it was happening. Together they look for clues and try to put together their lives whilst also trying to figure out what exactly caused their memory loss.

I’m not going to say much about the story because its best to go into it completely blind. But what I can tell you is that I really enjoyed reading it. The only drawback was that this book is divided into part two and three. I think I would have enjoyed the book even more if it was a standalone.

Nevertheless, reading this book was an enthralling experience. Never Never, which I found to be a perfect blend of mystery and romance was absolutely unputdownable and I was completely hooked to it from page one.

Final thoughts: Tarryn Fisher and Colleen Hoover have together written one hell of a book and I will definitely be reading book two and three of this series.

Book Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

20560137Title and Author: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Series: An Ember in the Ashes #1

Shelves: Young Adult, Fantasy, 2015-release

Publisher: Razorbill

Published: 28th April 2015

Ratings: download


Summary:

 Laia is a slave.

Elias is a soldier.

Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

Review:

“Life is made of so many moments that mean nothing. Then one day, a single moment comes along to define every second that comes after. Such moments are tests of courage, of strength.

An Ember in the Ashes was one of the the most highly anticipated books of 2015. However, the problem with hyped books is that sometimes they tend to disappoint. This was one of the reasons why I avoided An Embers in the Ashes at first. But now that i have finally read it, I’m glad to say that i was horribly wrong. This book is an absolute page-turner.

An Ember in the Ashes tells a story about Scholars who have been oppressed by the Martial Empire for hundreds of years. The Scholars has once been very learned people. They were philosophers and thinkers but when the Martials conquered their lands five hundred years ago, they were stripped of all their former glory. Now, they are poor, illiterate people who are often taken into slavery. Major themes of the book are centered around oppressive rule, slavery, abuse and a lot more. An Ember in the Ashes does not sugar coat any of the above mentioned and tells it like it really is.

The story has a dual POV. One belongs to Laia, a scholar girl living with her brother and grandparents. When her grandparents are killed and her brother captured and arrested by the Empire she is left with no choice but to approach the Resistance to help save her brother. However, the Resistance agree to help her only if she infiltrates Blackliff Academy (a school where Masks, the elite soldiers of the empire are trained) as a slave and spies on the Commandant for them.

“You are an ember in the ashes, Elias Veturius. You will spark and burn, ravage and destroy. You cannot change it. You cannot stop it.”

The second POV belongs to Elias who is a Mask in training at the Blackliff Academy. Unfortunately, he also happens to be the son of the commandant and even though they are related, trust me that there is no love lost between them. Elias is a reluctant soldier of the Martial Empire. He hates the brutal ways of the Masks and longs for freedom. But the only way he can achieve it is by escaping.

The Commandant is a piece of work. Ever heard of the saying “there are worse things than death?Well, I’m quite positive that it was exclusively meant for her. She is made of EVIL. She is sadistic and completely psychotic and i am pretty sure that she has an empty cavity in place of a heart. She is a horrible person and yet there is something about her which makes me want to get into her head and try to understand what makes her the way she is.

“Fear can be good, Laia. It can keep you alive. But don’t let it control you. Don’t let it sow doubts within you. When the fear takes over, use the only thing more powerful, more indestructible to fight it: your spirit. Your heart.”

I really loved Laia’s character development. In the beginning she seems like a timid girl. I think that Laia’s character is something i really appreciated. She is not your usual badass main character with fantastic fighting skills. She is just another normal teenager. However, that does not mean that Laia was not strong because in my opinion, anyone who is willing to give up their freedom to save their loved ones and slave for a person who inflicts the worst kinds of torture is really tough and is not to be messed with.

Im not a fan of love triangles and this story doesn’t have one. What it has is a love square instead but, it seemed to have fit quite well into the story which is a plus and even though An Ember in the Ashes does have a romantic aspect, its not the main focus of the story.

Overall, this book was a page turner. It was packed with action and I was entirely absorbed in the world that Sabaa Tahir created and I will surely pick up the sequel when it comes out next year.

Final thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. Sabaa Tahir is a really good writer and I am very much looking forward to reading more from her.

Book Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

TheWrathAndTheDawnCover

Title and Author: The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Series: The Wrath and the Dawn #1

Selves: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, 2015-release

Publisher: G.P Putnam’s Sons

Publication Date: 12th May 2015

Ratings: 4 stars


Summary: Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

Review:

“What are you doing to me, you plague of a girl?” he whispered.
“If I’m a plague, then you should keep your distance, unless you plan on being destroyed.”
The weapons still in her grasp, she shoved against his chest.
“No.” His hands dropped to her waist. “Destroy me.”

You know how sometimes you read a blurb and you just know that you’re going to enjoy reading that book?
Well, I had a similar intuition when I read the summary of The Wrath and the Dawn and boy, did I have a great time reading it! The Wrath and the Dawn which is a inspired by A Thousand and One Nights is more than just great — it’s one of the best books I’ve read this year!!

The story is about Khalid Ibn al-Rashid, the Caliph of Khorasan who takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at dawn. After Shahrzad’s bestfriend suffers the same fate at the hands of the Caliph, she volunteers to marry him to seek retribution. However, to exact her revenge, she needs to somehow avoid being killed at dawn. Therefore, Shazi comes up with a plan and does the unthinkable — she becomes the first bride to have survived the dawn and lived to see many others.

“I will live to see tomorrow’s sunset. Make no mistake. I swear I will live to see as many sunsets as it takes.
And I will kill you.
With my own hands”

Shahrzad hates Khalid. He’s a cold blooded monster who killed not only her best friend but several others as well. However, as she spends more time with Khalid, she learns that he’s not at all the person she thought he was and this makes her question the reason behind the death of all those brides. As the story progresses, Shahrzad finds herself in an uncomfortable postion. She feels caught between her feeling for Khalid which had started out as hatred but had evolved into something that felt a lot like love and, her promise to exact vengeance.

I absolutely loved Shazi. She was smart, sassy, fearless and silver tongued. I
really admired her for her bravery and independence. She’s the sort of main character that screams girl power because she doesn’t depend on men or anyone else for that matter to get things done. Neither is she afraid of Khalid. Infact,she is so bold that she slapped the Caliph of Khorasan and even got away with it. She’s the sort of main character that you root for from the get go.

Khalid was so dreamy! At first he seemed so distant, cold and mysterious but despite all that, he was really polite and respectful. He was a quite person — he spoke less and observed more. His sad childhood and the weight of all the deaths that were on his shoulders were the reason for his icy demeanor and it was beautiful watching Shazi thaw through his cold facade but make no mistake because Khalid is a ruthless killer and we get to see that side of him a few times.

“Shazi,

I prefer the color blue to any other. The scent of lilacs in your hair is a source of constant torment. I despise figs. Lastly, I will never forget, all the days of my life, the memories of last night—
For nothing, not the sun, not the rain, not even the brightest star in the darkest sky, could begin to compare to the wonder of you.

Khalid.”

I LOVED Shahrzad and Khalid as a couple. I SHIP THEM SO HARD! They were so good together and it was an absolute delight watching them fall in love. Together they make a formidable couple — a force to be reckoned with. Khalid is a good king but Shazi makes him even better. After all what’s a king without his queen. Honestly, they are so adorable together and I just couldn’t get enough of them. And the romance, OMIGOSH it is SO GOOD!! The chemistry between the two is amazing and I need more of it!
Can hardly wait for the sequel!!

As much as I loved the book, I felt that it lacked action and magic but I’m hoping to see more of that in the next book.

Final thoughts: Renee Ahdieh has made a perfect debut with The Wrath and the Dawn. The writting was absoultely wonderful. Even the setting, the plot and the characters were so well written and I am so looking forward for the next book.

Book Review: All Fall Down by Ally Carter

Title & Author: All Fall Down by Ally Carter 81k35r7TWpL

Series: Embassy Row #1

Shelves: Young Adult,Contemporary,Thriller, 2015-release

Publisher: Scholastic Press  

Publication Date: 20th January, 2015 

Ratings:   4 stars


Summary: Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things:

1. She is not crazy.
2. Her mother was murdered.
3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay.

As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her — so there’s no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door, who is keeping his eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands.

Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts. But they can’t control Grace — no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do. Her past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn’t stop it, Grace isn’t the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.

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