Review Rendezvous: 9/2/17


The Jewel by Amy Ewing
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, fantasy, dystopia
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 358
Publish date: September 2nd, 2014
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

The JewelThe Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.

Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.

Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence… and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.

First of all, love the cover. There’s something about beautiful dresses on covers that just strikes me (I’m looking at you, Selection series). Anyways, I must say that I was interested in this book because of it’s similarity in premises to The Handmaid’s Tale. Granted, it’s not exactly the same, but they both revolve around the idea of surrogacy, with elites and wealthy having all the power while the poorer bunch get the worst of it.

Violet originally begins as a bit of a timid girl, not that I blame her. She’s been trained at a special ‘school’ where certain girls born with good genes are taken to after being rounded up. She understands that the only way to survive is keep her head down, and that works – for a bit. Once she gets in to her household, she quickly realizes how difficult life could be, both physically with her skills and mentally dealing with the woman who owns her. Surrogates are paraded around as show dogs and told to do ‘tricks’ with the powers that they have been trained in, but the problem is those powers come at a cost.

Eventually, Violet stumbles upon the stirrings of a rebellion, and people plan to help her get out. Only, it doesn’t go so smoothly. Nothing ever does. I do like the fact that instead of her becoming the ‘face’ of a rebellion, as easy as it is for this type of book to fall into that trap, she’s just another one of the girls being rescued. There is enough ‘teenage rebellion leader’ tropes going around, it was refreshing to see someone not take the reigns immediately after joining the resistance after all.

Then there is the matter of the extremely forbidden romance. Boy does Violet get in over her head on that one. I can’t give away much, but it is so conflicting I don’t even know what to think.

There is two more books to the series so far, one I’ve read and one I haven’t. I need to pick up the third one ASAP.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart


I am a Book Depository affiliate, click here to purchase books through my link.

Skillshare is an online community full of amazing classes and brilliant teachers. Try out two free months with my code here!

Advertisements

Review Rendezvous: 8/19/17


The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid
Book stats:
Genre(s): Dystopian, science fiction, fantasy
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 416
Publish date: November 1st, 2016
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

DiabolicNemesis is a Diabolic. Created to protect a galactic Senator’s daughter, Sidonia. There’s no one Nemesis wouldn’t kill to keep her safe. But when the power-mad Emperor summons Sidonia to the galactic court as a hostage, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia.

She must become her.

Now one of the galaxy’s most dangerous weapons is masquerading in a world of corruption and Nemesis has to hide her true abilities or risk everything. As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns that there is something stronger than her deadly force: the one thing she’s been told she doesn’t have – humanity. And, amidst all the danger, action and intrigue, her humanity might be the only thing that can save her, Sidonia and the entire Empire.

This particular book has been on my to-read list for some time. I always thought that the concept was quite interesting, so I had to read it. Fortunately, I finally got the chance, and it was just as entertaining as I’d hoped.

We open the book with Nemesis in her “training” period when she’s being raised as a Diabolic. It never really does explain if they were human to start with (as I suspect), but they’re genetically engineered for rage. Yet, they are attached to one singular person, and would do anything to save that person.

The downside to this is that eventually, her kind are outlawed, but the people who own her (as diabolics are property, not people) keep her safe and hidden. Of course, the family she is employed by are not the most respectful citizens, barely threading the line between outlier and insubordinate. The emperor knows this, so he calls the daughter away to the court. Of course, the family isn’t going without a fight, so they send Nemesis instead.

Nemesis journey throughout this book is highly intriguing. We see her go from completely subservient to thinking and acting on her own. She also befriends some interesting people at court, and though there is a lot of backstabbing going on, she manages herself not terribly bad.

I will say, the very ending had me so conflicted over who was telling the truth and who wasn’t. Kincaid keeps you guessing, which I liked very much. There wasn’t a specific ending I could pick up halfway through the book, as I’ve been known to do that before. Definitely give this one a try, you’ll enjoy it.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeartHeart


If you liked this book, check these ones out:

Linked

A girl discovers she has a twin, and both end up fleeing their planet’s government

cinder

It’s Cinderella, but as a cyborg in SPACE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


I am a Book Depository affiliate, click here to purchase books through my link.

Skillshare is an online community full of amazing classes and brilliant teachers. Try out two free months with my code here!

Review Rendezvous: 8/12/17


The Step-Spinsters by Madina Papadopoulos
Book stats:
Genre(s): Fantasy, romance, young adult
Medium: Kindle
Number of pages: 238
Publish date: August 15th, 2017
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

SpinstersOnce upon a time, in a land far, far away…

…(actually, in Medieval France, to be exact) there lived Cinderella’s stepsisters, Fredegonde the tall and Javotte the small. They wake up the morning after the legendary ball to learn that they each still have a chance to be the bride—all they have to do is make their feet fit into that tricky slipper. Alas, these two damsels under stress never quite seem to fit in anywhere. But that doesn’t stop them from wishing and hoping as they set upon a quest for grooms and grandeur of their own.

This one is quite interesting, as instead of focusing on Cinderella, like most fairytale retellings do, you get to see her step-sister’s point of view. The novel begins the morning after that fateful ball, and after the magic has worn off, you’ll see that things are not always what they seem. Cinderella’s sisters and mother are struggling to keep their house. Because they are women, they cannot inherit property, and one of the daughters must marry before the end of the month if they are to keep their land.

Of course, once Cinderella is plucked from obscurity and brought to the castle, she no longer cares for her family’s plight, which leaves them in quite the desperate situation. We also realize that the prince isn’t quite a princely as he would seem, and duke is a conniving old man, and a troubadour may not be all he’s crack up to be.

I loved the fact that we got more of a realistic setting here, as it is based in Normandy in the medieval times. There’s so many different conflicting storylines here, but at the same time Papadopoulos manages to weave them together very well. There’s also the question of if true love really exists, or if people only get married to further their own interests.

I quite loved this book, the only thing that occasionally tripped me up were the french words sprinkled throughout. However, I believe that you could reasonably understand what they are referring to from context. All in all, quite the lovely retelling, I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in the medieval period or fairytale retellings.

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart


If you liked this book, check these ones out:

Cinder

A cute romance featuring a version of the Cinderella story.

cinder

It’s Cinderella, but as a cyborg in SPACE!

The Selection

Beautiful dresses, political intrigue, and a rags-to-riches story!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


I am a Book Depository affiliate, click here to purchase books through my link.

Skillshare is an online community full of amazing classes and brilliant teachers. Try out two free months with my code here!

Review Rendezvous: 12/24/16


Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, fantasy, science fiction
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 395
Publish date: January 3rd, 2012
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

cinderHumans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Holy cow was this a good book. A great opening to an even better series. This is the Cinderella retelling that I had no idea I wanted. I love the Disney classics, but there is something about throwing Cindy into a whole new world (pun very much intended) that I love!

Cinder goes through such great character growth in this book, and she has plenty of room for more. I hate when authors build their character up too far or flesh out their problems too much and then do not have anywhere to go in the coming additions to the series. But seeing how Cinder isn’t the perfect Cinderella (she’s none to quick to forgive her stepfamily, she isn’t particularly the best dancer, although there’s a logical reason for that) makes the story just that much more realistic. I don’t know how realistic you can get with a futuristic society involving moon people, androids, and old fairytales though.

The fight she has between herself, her duty, and her current situation makes for such a good read. I was afraid that she was gonna ditch everything and we were going to be left with a terrible conclusion, but that evidently did not happen. I was right there with her, feeling the anger at her terrible life circumstances. She certainly didn’t choose them, after all.

Then in the end there is also quite the revelation that completely turns the tables. Meyer has done a great job of interconnecting the fairytale but also throwing in her own twists and changes that keep everything fresh. I loved the fact that it was Cinderella, but Cinderella as you’ve never seen her: kicking butt as a half-human, half robot android.

I would one hundred percent recommend this book. I’m waiting on a hold at the library so I can read the last book in the series, and boy am I excited!

Rating:

HeartHeartHeartHeartHeart


I am a Book Depository affiliate, click here to purchase books through my link.

Skillshare is an online community full of amazing classes and brilliant teachers. Try out two free months with my code here!

Review Rendezvous: 05/03/2016


Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, fantasy
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 383
Publish date: February 10th, 2015

Red QueenThis is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a fantasy novel I’ve well and truly liked. Well, I did read another today, but that one I’ll have to get to later because this book blew my mind so much that I couldn’t possibly resist writing up a review for it.

I’ve had the first chapter of this book on my Kindle for a while since it was the free sample available on Amazon’s store. I’ve wanted to read this book for a while as well, but just couldn’t handle paying for it because I never really find that to be worthwhile to me. But, I did recently find out that my sister actually owns a copy, and thus set forth to read it automatically.

It took a second for me to get into this world, but once I did I was in and did not put this book down for a second. I genuinely felt for Mare, as she was thrown into a world where she had no idea how to handle herself or what to do, and it was no fault of her own.

She’s forced to become a princess and deny the very life she was so accustomed to living. One would think that she’d have a much better life in a gilded palace, but that is not so as the palace is rife with vipers willing to cut her down at a moments notice. The worst part is that one hides in plain sight, and towards the end commits such an act of treachery that I was stunned and did not see it coming at all.

Aveyard builds her world so well, though it takes a bit to learn about as we learn the rules of the Silver world along with Mare. For a debut author, she has written such a compelling book, so much so that it was a Goodreads Choice 2015 winner. I cannot tell you just how excited I am to get on to reading the sequel to this one.

Rating:
Heart
HeartHeartHeartHeart


I am a Book Depository affiliate, click here to purchase books through my link.

Skillshare is an online community full of amazing classes and brilliant teachers. Try out two free months with my code here!