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:

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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


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Review Rendezvous: 8/5/17


Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan
Book stats:
Genre(s): Thriller, mystery
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 348
Publish date: July 16th, 2016
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

Dear AmyMargot Lewis is the agony aunt for The Cambridge Examiner. Her advice column, Dear Amy, gets all kinds of letters – but none like the one she’s just received:

Dear Amy,
I don’t know where I am. I’ve been kidnapped and am being held prisoner by a strange man. I’m afraid he’ll kill me. Please help me soon,
Bethan Avery

Bethan Avery has been missing for years. This is surely some cruel hoax. But, as more letters arrive, they contain information that was never made public. How is this happening? Answering this question will cost Margot everything.

We’re going British this time, and I admit it was an interesting change of voice to read from an author across the pond. It took a second to adjust, but then I was mildly intrigued by the storyline. I admit, I had thought I’d be more interested in this one, but just because it didn’t catch my fancy doesn’t mean it’s a bad book.

In this novel, we meet Margot, who is a columnist for the paper and a teacher at a local school. There has recently been a girl kidnapped from said school, which brings Margot to think back about a kidnapping many years ago that was never solved. The trail went cold, at least until Margot began receiving letters from the alleged kidnapped girl herself.

I kind of faded out of interest in the story about midway through, but I really had nothing better to do, so I plugged on. Boy was I glad I did. Margot becomes more and more interested in the previous kidnapping so she does some research, which attracts the wrong kind of attention. Her life slowly devolves into chaos, and that’s when there is the most shocking turn of events.

Clearly I can’t let you know what that is, since I’m dedicated to spoiler-free reviews, but it renewed my interest in the book to finish the last quarter strong. I don’t necessarily believe that is it re-read material, but I had a fair time of it the first go around. If it wasn’t for the twist though, this certainly would’ve gotten a lesser rating.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 7/29/17


Bumped by Megan McCafferty
Book stats:
Genre(s): Dystopian, young adult
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 326
Publish date: April 26th, 2011
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

BumpedWhen a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. Girls sport fake baby bumps and the school cafeteria stocks folic-acid-infused food.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and have never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Up to now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend, Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Harmony has spent her whole life in Goodside, a religious community, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.

Just in time for sci-fi and fantasy week on Goodreads! I think what intrigued me enough to read this was the stark contrast between McCafferty’s world and our own. In Bumped, teen girls are actually encouraged to become pregnant, because no one older can do so since the virus that swept through. The contrast between Melody and Harmony also seemed particularly interesting.

At first, I was slow getting into this book. I don’t know if it was because I was distracted or the book took a bit to get off the ground, but that’s how it was. Once I got into the middle, however, I was definitely more intrigued. I will be honest though, While I liked this first book, it was really the second in the series that endeared me to Melody, Harmony, and their world.

There is a lot of discussion on worldview and how where you’re raised shapes what you think. The girls wonder how life would be like had they each been in the other’s spot. Then of course there is the problem of mistaken identity just at the end of the book that hooks you in for the second story.

I enjoyed reading about the growth of the girls. At first they just blindly accept whatever they were taught, but slowly they begin to open their eyes and really see the world around them. In the second book they become even more rebellious, but I won’t spoil that for you, you’ll have to pick up the book yourself 🙂

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart


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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


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