April Wrap Up

April is over. I have to so say that I am glad. April is all fickle weather when I am ready for SUMMER. I had 4 books on my April TBR list and read all and then some. I wanted to just go over everything I read and just quickly give it a either a “YES. READ THIS BOOK” or a “READ SOMETHING ELSE”  recommendation. Just remember that what I really like may not be what you prefer. Which is totally fine. We all have our own brand of weird and I feel like mine can be uniquely mine. Honestly tho, I think most of my friends and I like the same kind of books. Also remember that unless I REALLY loved it and would read it again AND recommend it to ANYONE, I won’t give it 5 stars.

MY APRIL TBR:

Cress is book 3 in the Lunar Chronicles. I would recommend this series to anyone. Honestly. It is a sci-fi fairytale retelling. At first I was skeptical and didn’t understand all the hype but I have really loved it. The next book is Winter and it is on my MAY TBR. I give this one a YES. READ THIS BOOK.

My Lady Jane is a book I picked up months ago because I loved the cover. I put it off for awhile but when I finally found time to read it I was kicking myself because I loved it so much. If you love historical romances you will love this one. It comes with a magical twist and is narrated by the three coauthors. I thought they were hilarious and as soon as I finished this one I felt like I should read it again. YES. READ THIS BOOK.

Three Dark Crowns was very slow at first for me. I actually bought it on vacation and couldn’t get into it. I came home and set it on my shelf and didn’t really think about it again. I decided I needed to read it. I have this rule of not buying books I’m not going to read. (ha ha.. funny I know. I do it anyway) I trudged through it and was very unexpectedly surprised to find that I really liked it. I want to reread it and figure out why it was so slow in the beginning. It ended with a real cliff-hanger and now book 2 is on my list. This one I feel like is a middle recommend for me. YES. READ IT… if you don’t have anything else pressing or are looking for something different.

True North was a ARC I received from Netgalley. It is the sequel to True Born. I read both and was not impressed. I couldn’t seem to get into this world. It was so depressing and I felt the characters weren’t very deep. It was all a little weird, even of me. I gave it 3 stars in my review because it was interesting and I liked the love story. I hate not knowing the ending. I believe book 3 comes out next year. READ SOMETHING ELSE.

 

MY EXTRA READS:

Paris Time Capsule and The House by the Lake I grabbed a long time ago because Amazon was doing a kindle deal. They are stand alone novels but they are based off of some of the same characters. I was glad I read both of them. I would read The House by the Lake first. It is a dual narrative about a girl now  and her grandfather when he young in 1930’s Germany.  Paris Time Capsule is mystery story about a girl who inherited a Paris apartment that has not been touched since the Nazi’s invaded Paris. Both were quick weekend reads. YES. READ THESE BOOKS.

Imitation is book one of a trilogy. I have the other two on my kindle and didn’t get to them this month. A good friends of mine recommended them and I would also. Ven is a clone. Like I said, I like weird. The whole book is about money being above the law and who really is making the law. Ven is trying to find her place and earn her freedom. Not for only herself but for all the others. I hopefully will finish her story in May. This book is also middle ground. I did enjoy it. I want to finish the trilogy, but I can’t say I LOVED it.

The Valiant I listened to on Audibles. The narrator was INCREDIBLE. Honestly. I haven’t written my review for this one yet because I don’t know how to spell anything! I started writing and I don’t know how to spell their names or the towns. Ha ha. It is a female gladiator story. Fallon is a warrior princess taken as a slave and has to earn her freedom competing as a Gladiatrix. This one I can say I LOVED. YES. READ THIS BOOK.

Melody’s Key I received a copy from author Dallas Coryell to review. I really enjoyed this book. It is about love and family and most of all music. I felt that the characters were deep. I really liked the story. It is a reminder of the pressures teens go through trying to figure out their place. It was a good young adult read but again as much as I liked it, I’m not sure I would recommend it to everyone. It was good. Read my review and then you decide.

Overall

I did pretty good this month. There wasn’t anything I read that was a complete waste of time. There also wasn’t one I started and didn’t finish. I don’t know if I could pick one favorite but I know my least favorite was the True Born series. I hope you all had a great April but lets move on to May. I mean.. A Court of Wings and Ruin comes out in 2 days and I’m freaking out.

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

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Title: Three Dark Crowns

Author: Kendare Blake

Published: September 20, 2016 by Harper Teen

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Stars: 4           Content Rating: 4

Synopsis: In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born—three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown.

******

“I want revenge and then I want my crown.”

I started this book a few months ago and was bored. I could not seem to get into it. It started out really slow for me. I am also someone that has to be in the “mood” for a certain story and I just was not ready to read it. I decided to put it on my April TBR list and I am so glad I did. Yes it was slow at first but only because these characters run deep and are more intertwined than you realize at first.

On the Island of Fennbirn 3 triplets are born. Once their gifts start to show they are given to the foster families to be taught their gift. Their Mother is no longer Queen since the new queens have arrived. She names them and they go into the care of others. Brought up to hate their sisters so that they can kill them and take the crown for themselves. Pretty gory right? The gifts are from the Island. The Goddess they all  pray to. Katharine has the gift of poisons and even though she is amazing at combining and brewing the concoctions she can not handle them herself like the other poisoners can. Arsinoe is a naturalist who can not seem to find her gift. Naturalist can ripen fruit and bloom flowers. Make fields full of wheat and they also come with an animal companion. It takes time sometimes for their gifts to come, but time is not something Arsinoe has. Mirabella is an Elemental. She can control all but her favorite is the storms. The fire. She is strong and everyone knows it. Including the Priestesses of the Temple. They have disobeyed some very big rules in showing her favor. Mirabella is strong with elements but also strong of heart. Can she truly kill the sisters that she loves? So many politics and others trying to rule these young girls and I have a feeling they have other ideas. Within the year they are to try and kill the other two sisters and decide on a King Consort. These boys come from the mainland where there is no magic and have to swear loyalty to his Queen. I feel like maybe if I were one of these boys I would stay on the mainland!

This is only book one and it ended with quite the cliff-hanger. I’m glad I don’t have to wait for the next one to come out. I will be adding One Dark Crown to my list.

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows

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Title: The Lady Jane

Author: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

Published: June 7th, 2016 by Harper Teen

Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Stars: 4         Content Rating: 2

Synopsis: The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane is about to become the Queen of England.

******

My Review, but a first, a few confessions.

Confession #1: I am a cover slut. I bought this book and didn’t even read what it was about. It had been popping up on some accounts I follow and I just had to have it.

Confession #2: I bought this book months ago with every intention of reading it but because I didn’t really know what it was about (other than I loved the cover) it sat on my nightstand. Forever.

Confession #3: I glanced over the synopsis but I did not register what it said about being narrated like Princess Bride. When I first starting reading it I thought, “oh wow! This reminds me of The Princess Bride.” Which really bothered me at first because I didn’t like how The Princess Bride was written. I wasn’t prepared for it. I fell for everything the narrator said! When I found out that it was just a story inside a story, (very genius) I felt betrayed. I know, I know. I’m silly. That being said, I love The Princess Bride… now. After I got over the betrayal. Back to The Lady Jane, I did not feel at all betrayed here. The narrators were very honest from the beginning. I also love the Tudor England era so I felt more confident in the “real” history.

Okay. Now on to my review. I really enjoyed this read! The Lady Jane Grey isn’t a very well known Queen since her reign was only 9 days and then was later beheaded. The authors explained how and why and decided to giver her a different ending. They wrote  a fun story that goes along with history but then at the same time doesn’t at all.  The characters in the book are mostly taken from real people. Their names and relation to the crown are accurate. They decided to add a magical twist which makes everything more interesting. I feel like they did a really good job. I looked up Lady Jane Grey on Wikipedia just to get the initial scoop and was quite surprise at how accurately this story actually is. That is if you believe in Wikipedia. Accurate but with the magic. I know. It sounds weird but I promise once you start to read it you will totally understand.

It was fast paced. I read it in 2 days and it was perfect. Those of you who are looking for a funny narrative will love it. There is a little bit of everything. Magic. Danger. Romance. Friendship. Humor. I fell in love with Jane. She is a girl after my own heart. She is smart, funny, courageous and such a little Lady with sass and spirit. I am definitely happy that I bought this beautiful book. I might just go read it again. Happy reading!

Cress by Marissa Meyer

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Title: Cress (Book 3 in The Lunar Chronicles)

Author: Marissa Meyer

Published: February 4, 2014 by Feiwel & Friends

Genre: Sci-fi, Young Adult, Fairytale Retelling

Star: 5             Content Rating: 2

 

Synopsis: In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

******

 So far this one has been my favorite retelling. Scarlet ended with Cinder and Captain Thorne escaping prison with his ship and Scarlet, Wolf and of course Iko. Iko is my favorite. Those of you who have not read the first two books, Cinder is a Cinderella retelling. Scarlet is Little Red Riding Hood and Cinder is Repunzel. This series is set in a futuristic world where cyborgs and androids are common. Net screens and technology is super advanced and Aliens called “Lunars” exist. Lunar’s live on the moon. They are ruled by Queen Levana who is trying to become empress by marrying Emperor Kai. She wants to control the moon, the world and the galaxy.

As the crew hides up in space and tries to come up with a plan to stop the royal wedding they find the girl that warned them in the first place. Cress is a Lunar shell who because of her exceptional skills of hacking and reprogramming, was put in a satellite all alone. Her job was to spy on the royal family and to keep all the Lunar ships hidden. She also hated her job. She loved Earth. She helped keep Cinder and the crew hidden from all those that were looking for them. When they finally contact her, they decide she is an ally and go to to rescue her. Their rescue attempt goes not as planned and Scarlet gets taken to Luna. Cinder ends up with a Lunar guard and Captain Thorn and Cress get left on the satellite as it falls to Earth. I really loved these two. I couldn’t help but to picture Captain Thorn as Flynn Ryder. The charismatic personality. The arrogance. The handsomeness. His whole personality. He really made this book fun. Cress was perfect as well. She loves to sing and because she has been trapped in that satellite she is very naive and sweet. Everything is new and she gobbles it up with enthusiasm. This story brings everyone together in an attempt to find more answers and stop the royal wedding. A dangerous mission since they are all recognizable criminals.

What I love most about this series is how true they are to their fairytales with the story being so completely new. The main characteristics are the same. For example: Cinder is a servant in her step mothers home with two step sisters. She ends up at the palace and falls in love with the prince. Scarlet’s grandmother was taken by wolves and she has to figure out how to save her but fails. Cress has been locked up in her “tower” aka satellite waiting for her love to save her. Caption Thorn is a selfish thief that has a change of heart. Everyone has a place with their own story but with the series as a whole as well. The way Marissa Meyer has intertwined all the characters is this little world is so fun. She did a really good job. I love the connections. The layering of the stories. I love the futuristic retellings of these fairytales. I can’t wait to read the next one.

The House by the Lake by Ella Carey

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Title: The House by the Lake

Author: Ella Carey

Published: March 29, 2016 by Lake Union Publishing

Genre: Historical Romance, Mystery

Stars: 5          Content Rating: Clean

Synopsis: Anna is content with her well-ordered life in San Francisco. But her world is turned upside down when her beloved grandfather, Max, reveals a startling secret: Anna is part of an aristocratic family who lost everything during World War II. What’s more, Max was forced to leave behind a precious item over seventy years ago in their estate in old Prussia. It’s now his ardent wish that Anna retrieve it.

Anna burns with questions as she heads for Germany: What memento could be so important to her grandfather? And why did he keep their history hidden? As she searches for answers, she finds herself drawn to Wil, a man who may hold the key to unlock the mystery. Together they discover that her family’s secrets are linked with an abandoned apartment in Paris, and these secrets go deeper than she ever imagined.

Alternating between 1930s Europe and the present, The House by the Lake illuminates the destiny of a family caught in the tumult of history.

******

I don’t really want to tell you all about the book. Ha. Some book blogger I turned out to be! I feel like the synopsis does the telling well enough. The mystery of the past and Anna’s journey into finding it, along with her future is the fun of this book. I don’t want to spoil it. I really enjoyed the way the author wrote two stories in one. It pretty much alternates each chapter. I would finish one and it would leave me wanting more of the present story and as I was finishing the next chapter I wanted more of the past. It was fun uncovering the past and getting some historical fiction from Nazi Germany. The author did a good job helping us readers understand what a difficult time that was. For my readers that want a good love story then give this one a try. As far as content goes it was a clean read. I really enjoyed it! Happy Reading!

Paris Time Capsule by Ella Carey

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Title: Paris Time Capsule

Author: Ella Carey

Published: May 26, 2015 by Lake Union Publishing

Genre: Romance, Mystery

Stars:  5             Content Rating:  Clean

Synopsis: New York–based photographer Cat Jordan is ready to begin a new life with her successful, button-down boyfriend. But when she learns that she’s inherited the estate of a complete stranger—a woman named Isabelle de Florian—her life is turned upside down.

Cat arrives in Paris to find that she is now the owner of a perfectly preserved Belle Époque apartment in the ninth arrondissement, and that the Frenchwoman’s family knew nothing about this secret estate. Amid these strange developments, Cat is left with burning questions: Who was Isabelle de Florian? And why did she leave the inheritance to Cat instead of her own family?

As Cat travels France in search of answers, she feels her grasp on her New York life starting to slip. With long-buried secrets coming to light and an attraction to Isabelle de Florian’s grandson growing too intense to ignore, Cat will have to decide what to let go of, and what to claim as her own.

******

 I have been so absorbed by this story. I couldn’t put this book down. I tried. I really did. I had things to do and I just couldn’t get this story out of my mind. I wanted to know what happened! Especially since I read The House by the Lake first. That explained some things but then also left me with many questions about Isabella de Florian and what had happened to her. 1930’s Paris must have been quite the scene.

This story starts out with Cat. Normal, ordinary Cat, who loves photography and vintage things. She receives a package in the mail and one thing leads to another and finds herself in Paris looking  at an apartment that was left to her. She can not figure out the connection. Why would this apartment be left to her and not to Isabella de Florian’s relatives. Her very handsome grandson, Loic, is also there and upset that he knew nothing of this apartment. What secrets was his Grandmother keeping?

Since sorting everything else takes some time and Cat wants answers she stays longer in Paris. Her boyfriend is super rich. His family is the summer in the Hamptons kind of rich with all the right connections. You can tell their relationship is one-sided but when he proposes Cat says, ‘yes’.

As Cat and Loic work together and bring in professionals to catalogue the apartment they find out about the past. One clue leads to another and Cat is determined to find the reason Isabella de Florian never went back to Paris and never confided to her family about her past.

I love how easily Cat falls in love with Paris. The culture and language. She immediately feels right at home. Her chemistry with Loic and his family. Her determination to uncover the truth and in the end to be herself. I really enjoyed uncovering this mystery.

True North by L.E. Sterling

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Title: True North (True Born Series Book 2)

Author: L.E. Sterling

Published: April 4, 2017

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Stars: 3           Content Rating: 2

Synopsis: Abandoned by her family in Plague-ridden Dominion City, eighteen-year-old Lucy Fox has no choice but to rely upon the kindness of the True Borns, a renegade group of genetically enhanced humans, to save her twin sister, Margot. But Nolan Storm, their mysterious leader, has his own agenda. When Storm backtracks on his promise to rescue Margot, Lucy takes her fate into her own hands and sets off for Russia with her True Born bodyguard and maybe-something-more, the lethal yet beautiful Jared Price. In Russia, there’s been whispered rumors of Plague Cure.

While Lucy fights her magnetic attraction to Jared, anxious that his loyalty to Storm will hurt her chances of finding her sister, they quickly discover that not all is as it appears…and discovering the secrets contained in the Fox sisters’ blood before they wind up dead is just the beginning.??

As they say in Dominion, sometimes it’s not you…it’s your DNA

******

True Born (book 1) left off with Lucy staying in Dominion and Margot being taken with her parents and the Russians. As Lucy tries to navigate through who is her enemy and who she can rely on she comes up short. Everyone has their own agenda regarding her and her sister. The leader of the True Borns, Nolan Storm, has promised to help her find her sister but instead parades her around the rich to improve his connections and social standing. He uses her to his advantage and always, conveniently something more pressing takes priority over saving Margot.

Jared Price is Lucy’s body guard and secret boyfriend. They have a connection that neither can deny although Jared tries. He doesn’t want to put Lucy in more danger by being with him. He is hot and cold with her through out the book but is always her most vigilant protector.

Most of this story is Lucy’s journey to find Margot. She makes friends with Alistair. A boy that saves her from a kid gang she foolishly thought would give her answers. Ali seems to be an ordinary Laster but is he? This  part actually drove me crazy. I wanted to know more about him. At first I was expecting some love triangle between Lucy, Jared and Alistair but he was amused by Jared and Lucy’s relationship. He is different but no one seems to notice or ask why he was actually helping them. SPOILER ALERT: As far as book 2 goes Alistair stays a mystery. Ha ha. Seriously. I’m dying.

I have mixed feeling about this series so far. I had a hard time getting into the first book. I felt like the connections and plot was more fast paced this time. I was more invested and interested in the story and characters as well.  Her adventure in getting to her sister was fun. I don’t feel like I learned more about what makes them so different. This book confirmed suspicions I had from book 1 but not really any new information on the “lock and key” mystery. I’ll be honest, it didn’t catch my attention right off the bat. I’m not sure if when book 3 comes out that I will be impatiently waiting for it. It was a good read but not my top choice to recommend to my friends right now.

Thanks for reading!

Imitation by Heather Hildenbrand

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Title:  Imitation (Clone Chronicles Book 1)

Author: Heather Hildenbrand

Published: July 29, 2014 by Alloy Entertainment

Genre:  Fantasy, Young Adult

Stars:  4            Content Rating: 2

Synopsis: Everyone is exactly like me. There is no one like me.

Ven wrestles with these contradicting truths every day. A clone of wealthy eighteen-year-old Raven Rogen, Ven knows everything about the girl she was created to serve: the clothes she wears, the boys she loves, the friends she loves to hate. Yet she’s never met the Authentic Raven face-to-face. Imitations like Ven only get to leave the lab when they’re needed—to replace a dead Authentic, donate an organ, or complete a specific mission. And Raven has never needed Ven . . . until now.

When there is an attack on Raven’s life, Ven is thrust into the real world, posing as Raven to draw out the people who tried to harm her. But as Ven dives deeper into Raven’s world, she begins to question everything she was ever told. She exists for Raven, but is she prepared to sacrifice herself for a girl she’s never met?

******

 Most underrated book I have read so far this year. Ven goes about her usual routine in Twig City, a place were the Imitations were created and trained to be just like their Authentic. They are trained to say the appropriate thing and do the appropriate action. They are not considered human. They are products. They imitate their Authentic so perfectly that no one will notice when an Imitation steps in for their Authentic. When Ven gets her note from Marla she is afraid. No one in Twig City actually knows what is out there. Her Authentic, Raven, has had attempts on her life and is in hiding until the attackers are caught and the threats dissipate. As Ven starts to navigate this new life and be a person who is her opposite, she begins to realize a more sinister plan is waiting for her. Titus is Raven’s father. He is  the Head of RogenCorp. He is the “Creator.” He is also a very powerful, dangerous man who has implanted all the imitations with a GPS loaded kill switch. Step out of line and you are dead and easily replaced with another Imitation. Ven plays the part of rich princess, going to charity dinners and fashion events. She plays Titus’ puppet until she can find a way out. Ven has multiple body guards following her and telling Titus her every move, but she knows her she will die trying to find her freedom or die as bait.

Link knows something isn’t right with Raven. Something is off but he can’t pinpoint it. It’s his job to know. He is new security detail. She drives him crazy. Who is this girl? One minute she is the Raven he has been watching these last few months and the next she is someone else. He trails her everywhere and is always there to protect her before her attackers do. He knows she is not Raven but how can she not be?

Ven might be able to save herself and others like her but she can’t do it alone and it means putting herself in more danger. I loved the blossoming romance between Ven and Link and watching the bigger picture come into play.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this story. A friend recommended it to me and I found all 3 books for a steal on Amazon. I really loved it. I haven’t read anything about clones before so this was new. What’s scary is that I can actually see something like this happening in our world. It’s not so far fetched. Since I didn’t know what to expect I didn’t really try to predict it too much. It has been fun uncovering the plot and getting more in depth with the characters. I can’t wait to move on to the book 2.  Happy Reading!

True Born by L.E. Sterling

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Title: True Born

Author: L.E. Sterling

Published: May 3,2016 by Entangled Teen

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Stars: 3              Content Rating: 3

Synopsis: After the great Plague descended, the world population was decimated…and their genetics damaged beyond repair.

The Lasters wait hopelessly for their genes to self-destruct. The Splicers pay for expensive treatments that might prolong their life. The plague-resistant True Borns are as mysterious as they are feared…

And then there’s Lucy Fox and her identical twin sister, Margot. After endless tests, no one wants to reveal what they are.

When Margot disappears, a desperate Lucy has no choice but to put her faith in the True Borns, led by the charismatic Nolan Storm and the beautiful but deadly Jared Price. As Lucy and the True Borns set out to rescue her sister, they stumble upon a vast conspiracy stretching from Dominion’s street preachers to shady Russian tycoons. But why target the Fox sisters?

As they say in Dominion, it’s in the blood.

******

Lasters. Splicers. True Born, or something else? This story follows twin sisters trying to figure out what they are. They know they are different but when someone kidnaps Margot it all changes. No longer can they trust the people they thought. Instead they turn to True Borns and not all is as they have been told. Everyone wants their blood, but why?

Honestly this story fell a little flat for me. It was definitely different. I just could not get into it. It was so sad to me. A world where the plague has come and destroyed everyone and everything. The only people that still live are are called Splicers and they are constantly getting treatments to keep the plague at bay. True Borns are the only ones that never get sick because their DNA has patched itself with something else to help it survive the plague and it involves animals? It makes it so they can shape shift. I guess this all went a little over my head. Kids are in the street starving. Everything is dirty and blown up. I kept picturing riots everywhere ruining shops and houses. I think after reading it to the end I kept wanting more explanation of why? More of ‘how does this get better?’

That being said I do want it to get better and I will be reading the next book to see if it does. I’m weird like that! I can not start something and not see how it ends. Book two JUST came out yesterday and hopefully it picks up some momentum. Happy Reading!