Posts Tagged ‘book review’

This is the third book in the series. For my review of the first book go to:…-teeth-5-stars/


Unlike the huge gap between the first and second books, the third takes place almost immediately after the second. You can more or less understand the second book without reading the first, but if you don’t read the second before this one, you’re going to get confused.

Like the other books we get a new pov character. This one is Annah, Gabry’s sister. Now Mary from the first book was a dreamer. Gabry was a scared kid. Annah is scarred inside and out. She doesn’t believe in dreams. She doesn’t have the luxury of showing fear or any kind of weakness. She lives in a tough world, and to survive she has to be just as tough.

I do like this variety of pov characters. It’s interesting to be able to see this world through different eyes.

The plot was interesting. There’s plenty of tension going on. The writing is pretty, and the world is both beautiful and terrifying. And best of all: no love triangles! Well, there’s a bit of self-pitying and whining from Annah and Catcher, our newest pair. That got a little annoying. Other than that this book was awesome. I think it might be my favourite of the series.

The other books are pretty dark, but this one hit new levels of gloom and despair. That was Ok though, because our characters didn’t give up. They kept trying.

That’s the message I’ve taken away from these books. The world they’re set in is so absent of hope, but they don’t give up. They find their own hope. It could be a dream to see the ocean one day, or helping a loved one, or finding your friends again. Whatever drives them, once they find it, that’s enough to keep them going.

There’s a beautiful section near the end of this book. Annah is tired and injured. There are zombies shambling behind her, and if she stops they’ll get her. She’s gone through so much already, and even if she keeps ahead of them she’s no idea if she’ll be able to get out of the situation she’s in.

Her courage is not shown through an epic fight, nor a moment of brilliant inspiration. It’s putting one foot in front of the other for hours. There’s only a small chance she’ll make it, but she keeps going because of that innate desire to live. That single-minded determination to survive.

I think that section sums up what I loved most about all the books. Our greatest accomplishments often aren’t sudden moments of triumph or epic showdowns. They’re the drive to keep going, no matter how tired you are, and how much you want to stop. No matter how dark your world gets there is always something to hold onto, and some reason to take that next step.

Love triangles aside, I really enjoyed these books. And if you liked the last two books, you should check this one out.

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Here’s a link to my review for the first book in this series:…-teeth-5-stars/

Years have passed and we have a new pov character who this book is about, Mary’s daughter. So don’t come into this book all amped up from Forest of Hands and Teeth, expecting to see more of Mary’s adventures. Though we do hear about a few of them.

I knew going into it that this was about a new character with a whole new story, but it still felt like there was this huge gap. I wanted to know what happened to the others from the first book. There was so much going on and it just ended. Gah.

As some small consolation we do get to find out some of what Mary has been up to these past years. I guess it’s just something to add to the heartbreak of the first book. Mary didn’t get a happy ending. She found the place she dreamed about, but she lost her family. She couldn’t have both.

Though I still don’t understand why she couldn’t find them. She knew those fences better than anyone. So how could they find their way around in there and she couldn’t?

Well. Moving on. Once I (mostly) got over the broken pieces from the last book staying broken, I started to enjoy this one. There’s a lot to like. The parallells between the stories is pretty cool. The first book is about a bold girl in a timid community. She knows what she wants, and when she gets the chance she goes to get it.

The second book is about a timid girl in a relatively bold community. She’s the last one behind the kids when they sneak out. She doesn’t know what she wants. It takes her life crashing down around her to force her to get out of her comfort zone and find out.

Here’s the blurb:

Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She’s content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry’s mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing. One reckless moment, and half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother’s past in order to save herself and the one she loves.

We get to find out a bit more about the world of Forest of Hands and Teeth – outside of the actual forest. There are people who worship the dead and do really creepy rituals that give me the heebie jeebies just thinking about them. I don’t think I’d want to join their group.

There’s also a creepy army type group that spend a large proportion of this book chasing around our main characters which consist of: timid main pov girl, her crush, his sister who happens to be her best friend, and mysterious guy who doesn’t talk a lot but stares a whole heck of a lot. He starts off creepy as well, but grows on her and the reader as the book goes on.

So, a whole lot of creepy people in one book. Well, it is a zombie book I guess.

The writing itself is pretty and smooth. The characters are interesting, the plot action packed, and the world building is beyond interesting. The pure scale of the dead is horrifying, but it does make sense. If most of the world died and turned into zombies – the type of zombies that could go about their shambling way for decades – then you could have millions of dead with only a very small percentage of living people left.

Not a good world to take a stroll anywhere. Though the fenced forest paths from the first book seem safer than most and make another big appearance this book.

This book did have another love triangle. I hate love triangles. I did have to grit my teeth a couple times, but the love triangle in this book was relatively free of woe, manipulation and whining. Not completely free, but more or less.

(The love thing was actually kind of confusing. She starts off with a solid crush on one guy, while the other guy is dubbed creepy. She gives up her life to save her crush. Then comes the developing attraction for now not so creepy guy which leads to ‘which one’ feelings. Then comes her decision which seems to be out of the blue and made up in less than a second.)

There are a lot of brilliant moments that make gritting your teeth through love triangles worth it. There’s one moment at the very end where our girl and the (guy she didn’t choose) have to do something that I can’t explain fully because of spoilers. But it needed her to trust him with her life – literally. One wrong move from him, or her – even a tiny slip – and she would be dead. My heart was hammering reading that bit. So good.

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This is another short story in the Lunar Chronicles, set before the events of the first book. For my review of the first novel in this series go to:…cinder-5-stars

This is available to read for free! And it’s only 32 pages. So if you’re not sure if you’ll like the world Marissa Meyer created in Cinder, you can read this story first. Neat, huh?

I found the tone a bit darker than the novels. It’s set way back when little Cinder first met her adoptive family. There are so many feels packed into this short story. I’m not sure if it hit me so hard because I read the novel first, so I had that version of the stepmother in my head. I won’t say you have to read it in that order though. I’d imagine reading this first will expand the feels you get reading the novel.

So in the novel the stepmother and the older sister are nasty pieces of work. We get some hints about why they’re so mean toward Cinder but it’s nothing compared to seeing it happen in this story. You see, in this story they start off pretty decent. The stepmother tries, and then things happen that I won’t get into.

It’s so heartbreaking. Cinder is this little girl who can’t remember her past, and all she wants to do is fit in with her new family. Then things happen beyond her control.

If you’ve read the books or are planning on reading the books, then you definitely have to check this story out. It really deepens our insight into the relationship between Cinder and her adoptive family, and it makes her stepmother in particular that much more three dimensional.

For more reviews on this book go to:


This is a short story set in the Lunar Chronicles series. Here’s the link to my review of the first book:…cinder-5-stars

If you liked Cinder and plan to (or have already) read Scarlet, then you need to read this short. It follows Wolf; a character introduced in Scarlet. You can read this before or after Scarlet, it doesn’t matter.

Wolf was one of my favorite characters in Scarlet. He’s bad-ass, but also sweet. This 18 page story follows him from a kid taken from his parents to right before the events of the second book. It helps expand his character and give us more insight as to what it’s like living under Levana’s rule.

Last I heard this story’s free to read, so go check it out. For more reviews on this book go to:

This is the second book in the Under the Never Sky series. For my review of the first book go to:…er-sky-4-stars

You know, I think this book was actually better than the first one. The character’s actions feel more natural in this one, whereas in the first they do a lot of things that seem forced. And while I applaud the author’s decision not to go for insta-love, the two main characters flipped from ‘hate their guts’ to ‘lovey dovey’ way too quickly.

The best thing for me about this sequel was the world building. We get to spend more time with other characters that make our world that much wider since the first spent a lot of time just with the main couple. The interactions between Aria and Perry’s tribe are really interesting, as are her reactions to the rest of the world she explores in this book.

Aria spent a good chunk of this book away from Perry’s side, and went on a quest with Roar. And guess what? She didn’t flop down in despair, not able to function without her guy. She got on with things and grew as a character. Too many books have the girl’s only thoughts being about the guy, and without him they become two-dimensional. She functioned well enough before him, and functions even better afterward because of how he had helped her grow as a person.

To me that’s the definition of a healthy relationship. Each person helps the other face new challenges and become better. If you end up even more useless because of knowing someone, then there’s something wrong with that relationship.

Plus she got to spend time with a male character other than her boyfriend, and they don’t hook up! In fact they form a pretty cool friendship. Finally, an author who believes a guy and a girl can spend time together without it ending in sex (and if they get together in the next book I’m going to be really cross).

The plot is good, and the book is action packed. This book was a fun read, but wasn’t edge of your seat, will stick with you forever kind of thing. There seemed to be something a little off with it (other than the flawed science), so this gets four stars from me instead of five.

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Another self help book. This one claims to help you overcome procrastination and become more productive. I don’t know about you, but I can always use a productivity boost. There are just so many things to do and never enough time to do them in.

Writing, crafting stories, various writing courses, editing, publishing, learning spanish, a full time job, chores, exercise, eating, sleep. And that doesn’t include all the extra commitments that seem to pop up out of nowhere. Not to mention all those times your brain crashes and refuses to do anything that so much as smells of effort.

This book is a little short of four stars on goodreads. A good rating but not overwhelmingly brilliant. I however loved it, so I gave it five stars.

It gives some simple techniques to help increase productivity, some which I hadn’t heard of before. Now I just need to remember to use them. I won’t give them all away but one of the really useful things I picked up was not to be so hard on myself.

Instead of saying ‘I must do this’ or ‘I have to do this’ (which I still find myself doing even now) say ‘I want to do this.’ The book goes further into explaining why this helps motivate you more, but what I took from this was to view the fun in tasks. Don’t build it up in your brain as this big scary thing that is nothing but work, work, work. Concentrate on the good parts and chances are you’ll enjoy it more and find it easier to start whatever task it is.

And for tasks that you really can’t see anything good in: break them down into little parts. Doing something horrible for an hour seems impossible. Doing something for a few minutes feels a lot more possible.

If you’re an increasing productivity obsessive like me, then I definitely recommend this book. It’s not the most life changing productivity book I’ve ever read (that title still belongs to ‘how to be an A star student’ which despite its title has useful tactics for all, not just students) but it has some interesting ideas that I hope will give my productivity that extra boost.

For more reviews on this book go to:

This one is a short read, but definitely worth it if you liked the humor in the Sarah Milton Chronicle books – which by the way I wholeheartedly recommend. It’s an expansion of events mentioned in the second book which were only mentioned in passing. And it’s really really funny.

Link to my review of the first book:

Link to my review of the second book:

The humor of the series reminds me of Buffy. Some may see something different in it, but that’s how I view it. Now I know there are those who hate buffy humor with a passion, in which case this may not be up your street. For my fellow buffy fans who have not read these books, click on the above link to read my review of the first book in this series.

By this paragraph I’m going to assume you guys still reading this have read at least one of the Sarah Milton books and know what I’m talking about. If not prepare for confusion.

Anna gets the front seat in these stories. The first is her point of view of the night the “Fancy Dress Killer” almost killed Sarah. This was mentioned in the first book and detailed pretty explicitly in the second, so not much new here. Still was interesting to see Anna’s side of things though.

The second story is the real prize. This one takes place during Sarah’s dad’s wedding which was mentioned in passing in the second book. It’s kind of like Casper meets Home Alone, and this one was hilarious.

Two criminals have the bright idea to infiltrate the wedding to try and steal money from the house while the guests are busy shedding tears over the vows. Anna just so happens to spot them and takes it upon herself to teach them a lesson.

This was pure unadulterated fun, so don’t expect anything serious from that story and you’ll enjoy it.

For more reviews on this book go to:

The third book in the Cinder series!

For reviews for book one go to:

And book two:

We meet a new fairytale character in this book. She doesn’t spend much time outside, and has long long blond hair. Can you guess who she is?

Rapunzel goes by Cress in this book but she’s the same character. Only I think she’s a bit more realistic than some other versions. For one thing, her long hair is a matted tangled mess. Makes sense. Is it even possible to brush that much hair yourself? It trails along the floor. Can you imagine the upkeep? And she would’ve had to start growing it very young. Can you imagine a small child being able to keep that much hair in order?

She’s also shy. Very shy. Like hide under the desk when the handsome man on the computer screen talks to you kind of shy. The handsome man being Thorne who was introduced in the last book. They spend a lot of time together in this book. (Crash landing in a desert together does that.)

I like how the author tries to make the characters different from each other. Cinder was driven from the beginning back when her acts of rebellion consisted of her scrap projects and keeping her odd robot Iko safe. As her book went on she developed a cool calm confidence that made her a good leader. Red was headstrong and quick to temper, but unfocused in life which is something she developed during her book.

Cress quite possibly has the farthest to develop of them all. She starts off timid of everything and everyone. She hasn’t been outside her tiny home in years, and hasn’t talked to anyone but her abusive jailer in just as long. Then lo and behold, Cinder contacts her and says they’re coming to her. Wow! Cress’s mind explodes.

Only she’s in a novel. So of course to say things don’t go smoothly is an understatement. (Lots of action later and she and Thorne crash-land in the middle of a desert. Well, at least she gets to see earth for the first time.)

It’s so sweet seeing her get excited over absolutely everything. And the relationship that develops between Cress and Thorne is both cute and hilarious.

Speaking of hilarious, humor is just as present if not more so in this novel as the last ones. There were so many laugh out loud moments, particularly around Thorne, and the interactions between Thorne and Cress. That’s not to say the others didn’t have their funny moments. Iko in particular had oh so many.

Not everything is a playful romp. This book does have its serious moments, and a lot of action. And Cinder finally manages to talk to Kai. But only after attacking him, because, apparently that’s a lot easier than having a sensible conversation.

Lots of action, lots of plot, and loads of funny. I’m loving this series. Near the end of this one we catch a glimpse of the fairytale character that stars in book four: Winter. She has an evil step mother, a fondness for animals, and was scarred by her step mother because she grew too beautiful. Can you guess who it is?

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I’ve heard that the author didn’t like this short story much. It follows Dresden back when he worked with Nick, and they worked to find missing children. So it’s set before any of the books in the Dresden Files series. He’s looking for a girl who is definitely not happy to be found.

This is also the first time Dresden meets Murphy, and she’s as kickass as always. Plus we meet a troll. A big ugly troll out to eat naughty little children.

The kid in question; a girl called Faith is a neat character. She’s rough and tough, and gives poor Dresden a hard time for trying to rescue her. But when you find out her reasons you understand why.

They eventually form some kind of bond, what with all the danger about and Dresden being the only one who can practice magic. An action packed little story with some sweetness and a newbie to the paranormal shell-shocked Murphy. If you loved the Dresden series, then I recommend this one.

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I came to know of Holly Lisle through her writing classes. Like all writers, I’m constantly working on my craft and Holly Lisle has some great resources for that. The Death Circus is a novella included in the ‘How to Write a Series’ class that I’m working through for the second time.

It’s a dystopian space opera set around a ship that has a mysterious owner who no one seems to see. Be warned though, this is a series. We don’t get all the answers in the first book. That would make for a very short series.

The ship is a death circus. They travel to pact worlds and buy people sentenced to death. Pact worlds seem to be kind of like weird playgrounds for insanely rich control freaks. With enough money you can buy your very own pact world, whose people are taught from childhood to be mindless drones. Any deviation away from said mindless drone state results in them being taken away for punishment.

Punishments seem to vary, but in a lot of cases it’s death. Of course there’s a technical issue here. Pact worlds can’t carry out a death sentence. They get around it in other ways. Most popular seems to be saying to them ‘hey you’re not in the club anymore. If you want us to welcome you back, step right up and plunge yourself into this burning pit of fire.’


And brainwashed as they are, most of them do just that. The stubborn few left are sold to passing death circuses who agree to carry out those death sentences. And there begins our story, with one poor brainwashed guy bound for our mysterious ship, and our other main pov character, a guy working on said ship.

This book mainly revolves around our guy working in the ship. He’s ambitious and has his mind set on his next in what he hopes will be a long line of promotions, but things don’t go quite as he planned.

The most interesting part of this book for me was the looming mystery. What exactly is the ship’s owner up to? How is he getting all his money? And what are his plans for all those people he buys?

Be warned though, this is a short book. Only 56 pages. So don’t go into it expecting a full blown novel.

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