Tag «Author: Gray»

Fresh Fridays: Defy The Stars (#1) by Claudia Gray

Fresh Fridays: On Friday, I review a brand new series (ie. only has one book released so far) to see if the series is worth keeping up with. Here is this week’s offering:

Defy the Stars Series

Other books in the series:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Defy the Stars (from Goodreads):

She’s a soldier.

Noemi Vidal is a seventeen years old and sworn to protect her planet, Genesis. She’s willing to risk anything—including her own life. To their enemies on Earth, she’s a rebel.

He’s a machine.

Abandoned in space for years, utterly alone, Abel has advanced programming that’s begun to evolve. He wants only to protect his creator, and to be free. To the people of Genesis, he’s an abomination.

Noemi and Abel are enemies in an interstellar war, forced by chance to work together as they embark on a daring journey through the stars. Their efforts would end the fighting for good, but they’re not without sacrifice. The stakes are even higher than either of them first realized, and the more time they spend together, the more they’re forced to question everything they’d been taught was true.

breakdown

Series: Defy the Stars
Author: Claudia Gray
# of Books: 1+ (Defy the Stars, Book 2)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Book 2 is to be released
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: April 4 2017 – ongoing
Source & Format: NetGalley–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I was lucky enough to snag one of 500 Read Now copies of Defy the Stars thanks to Lilly @ Lair of Books back in February. I’ve read (and enjoyed) all of Claudia Gray’s YA series in the past so I was excited to see what she could do with her own Science Fiction series (I’ll admit I’ve never read her Star Wars novels).

What I Liked:

–Abel & Noemi–

Noemi is such a strong heroine that you can’t help but love her as she evolves to see the bigger picture of the universe and herself. Abel won me over from the start as well. His character development is probably my favourite part of this novel. Together they make a fabulous team that compliments each other supremely well.

–The World Building–

The universe this story is set in is fabulous; it’s complex and layered but easy to follow at the same time. I never found that aspect to be lacking the entire time I was reading. You don’t have to be overly familiar with technology or other science fiction works to understand the plot.

–Romance Wasn’t the Focus–

Far too often the romance becomes the sole focus of the story. And while I am a huge romance fan, I really liked that it didn’t play a huge role in the novel. It’s a very slow burn type of love and when it is there, it contributes to the story in a positive way instead of a distractor from the main plot-line.

What I Didn’t Like:

–It was so Slow!–

For me, the plot was far too slow. It reads more like an adventure book where you get little hiccups of excitement (often only a chapter or two long) along the way. A chapter would end on an awesome note and we would either switch POVs or it would resolve by the end of the next chapter. Then the story would continue at a slower pace until it happens again.

Eventually, you reach a climax at the end where all the threads weave together. The last 25% of the book was fantastic and I can’t help but wish the excitement happened earlier in the novel to keep me interested.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

This book felt like a very extended prologue laying down the foundations for more exciting sequels and I’m curious to see where it goes from here.

My Rating: 3/5

Defy the Stars 3/5 | Book 2 TBP

overall

This is perfect for fans of the adventure story. I actually think this is the perfect bridging book for those who want to break out of dystopian novels and try science fiction.

Read if You Like: science fiction, world-building, adventure stories
Avoid if You: want lots of action
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Series Review: Firebird by Claudia Gray

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray | Firebird Trilogy

Other books in the series:

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Must Read Author
Series: Firebird Trilogy
Author: Claudia Gray
# of Books: 3 (A Thousand Pieces of You, Ten Thousand Skies Above You, A Million Worlds with You)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, A Million Worlds With You, will be published in November 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Alternate Dimensions, Fantasy, Romance
Heat Rating: lukewarm
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

I’ve read two other Claudia Gray series and have enjoyed both very much. I love her writing style, her plot twists and how she creates her worlds. She made me enjoy a witch-based Young Adult series (Spellcaster Trilogy) so that means I’m willing to give anything she writes a shot. So when I saw the premise for this series, I was SUPER excited. It sounded like it was going to be what I thought Alternity by Mari Mancusi was going to be mixed with the Ruby Red Trilogy by Kerstin Gier so I was sold.

This book was a lot of fun to read and it quickly had me hooked (which was good because I had to return it to the library the next day!). I was worried that the alternate dimensions aspect would be confusing but it was explained perfectly at the start of the novel, making the rest of the novel easy to follow.

Like in most of Gray’s books, there are little twists and turns along the way that keep the plot moving and unpredictable. Part of the charm of a book like this is the mystery aspect that you put together as you read and while I definitely had a good inkling of how things were all connected, I really didn’t know if I was right or not given the little surprises here and there. I liked that it kept my full attention and the last half of the book is really non-stop which was great. I never felt like plot dragged and it easily could have if Marguerite and Theo spent too long in a certain dimension but it was executed perfectly.

Even the love triangle was well done–rare words from me indeed. I think it helps that the focus of this book isn’t really the romance aspect–rather Marguerite spends her time trying to figure out what exactly is at play and I liked that a lot. There was enough romantic moments to keep the romance reader in me satisfied but it really was the plot of this book that I loved so much.

I can’t wait to see where this series is going to go! November can’t be here soon enough!

updates

–December 19, 2015– Book 2: Ten Thousand Skies Above You Later

I was really curious to see what was going to happen next given the ending of the last novel. The plot for this one was interesting for sure and I really like the direction it is going. However, I did feel it lull a bit in the middle. I found Marguerite annoyed me a little in her outlook on things and that frustrated me. At the same time, I can appreciate the situation she is in and I liked how she grew from what happens. I was worried that that love triangle would escalate into a situation that I wouldn’t like but, again, I think it worked for the story and it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

I really like the way the story progressed though. I thought I have everything figured out but those twists again kept me on my toes. Can’t wait to see how this all wraps up!

Series Rating: 4.5/5

A Thousand Pieces of You 5/5 | Ten Thousand Skies Above You 4/5 | Book 3 TBP

overall

I feel like it has been a long time since I read a good YA novel and this novel helped fill in that void. Everything is just well executed and it was so refreshing to read about Alternate Dimensions. I loved how it built and that there were constantly little plot twists along the way. If you plan to read it, make sure you set aside a lot of time because you won’t likely be putting it down anytime soon!

Read if You Like: world-building, alternate dimensions
Avoid if You: dislike parallel universes, don’t want as much romance

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Synopsis for A Thousand Pieces (from Goodreads):
Every Day meets Cloud Atlas in this heart-racing, space- and time-bending, epic new trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray.

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.

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Series Review: Spellcaster by Claudia Gray

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

Spellcaster by Claudia Gray | Spellcaster Series

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booksynopsis

Synopsis for Spellcaster (from Goodreads):
When Nadia’s family moves to Captive’s Sound, she instantly realizes there’s more to it than meets the eye. Descended from witches, Nadia senses a dark and powerful magic at work in her new town. Mateo has lived in Captive’s Sound his entire life, trying to dodge the local legend that his family is cursed – and that curse will cause him to believe he’s seeing the future … until it drives him mad. When the strange dreams Mateo has been having of rescuing a beautiful girl—Nadia—from a car accident come true, he knows he’s doomed.

Despite the forces pulling them apart, Nadia and Mateo must work together to break the chains of his family’s terrible curse, and to prevent a disaster that threatens the lives of everyone around them.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Surprise Reads of 2013
Series: Spellcaster Trilogy
Author: Claudia Gray
# of Books: 3 (Spellcaster, Steadfast, Sorceress)

There is also a prequel novella, The First Midnight Spell — see note below

Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Magic, Witches, Paranormal, Mystery, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Dates: March 2013 – March 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

My Expectations/Why I Picked it Up:

Witches are not normally my “thing” when it comes to reading. I’m not sure why, but I’ve never enjoyed witch books as much as I should. The only exception being Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, one of my all time favourite series. However, I did like the CW TV Series “The Secret Circle” (based on books of the same name) and this book was pitched for fans of that so I decided to give it a shot. I also enjoyed Gray’s Evernight Series and like her style so I decided to pick this book up.

My Review:

I’m glad I did. It’s been a long time since I enjoyed a young adult book (but that could also be because of my hectic school schedule cutting out my reading time and/or only reading short, freebies from Kindle ;)) and once I got into this one, it was hard to put it down.

I think one thing that I liked about this book was the writing style Gray uses. One is that it was very mature. Nadia and group are very grown-up for high school students and I really appreciated it. They weren’t focused on who was dating who (though it does come up of course) but the main point is that it wasn’t the ONLY plot of the book–more on that later. They were all very smart and I really liked all the characters we meet. Another thing I really liked was the third person POV and how it switched between multiple people. I like books like this because you get more plot development and you get a better understanding of the characters. I think it worked really well for this book and I’m glad this was the route Claudia Gray took when writing it.

The plot development in this was great. I like how it unfolded as you read it but there were still a few twists that really add to the story. As I said before, it isn’t primarily a romance novel but there is that element. It is more a mystery/suspense plot that keeps you hooked. I don’t want to dive into it, but the plot really builds as you read.

The series reminded me a lot of Beautiful Creatures in it’s delivery (they have similar starts I think with the main characters) but there is enough in this book to make it unique and different. It will do a good job of filling the void Beautiful Creatures left after the final book was published 🙁

The Novella:

Although The First Midnight Spell is listed as a “prequel” novella, I wouldn’t read it until after you read Spellcaster because it will have some spoilers. While it isn’t necessary to read it for the rest of the series, it does shed some light on a particular character and helps explain why things are the way they are in Captive Sound.

updates

–May 12, 2014– Book #2: Steadfast

When my eReader died in March, the book I was reading was Steadfast and unfortunately, I wasn’t able to finish it just as I really got into the story. So after a few months of waiting, I finally got my hands on a copy.

Steadfast was a great follow-up to Spellcaster. It has the exact same formula that made the first book so enjoyable and addicting. Again, lots of twists and turns throughout the plot so I never found it to be predictable. One thing I really enjoyed was that we got to see more about Verlaine and to be honest it was her story that really drew me in this time around. I’m really excited to see how everything wraps up in the next and final novel of the series.

–March 25, 2015– Book #3: Sorceress

I was first on my library’s list to get Sorceress when it was released but because of school, I wasn’t able to read it for a few weeks. I’m not sure if it was because I was in a rush to finish it before my download expired or if it is because its been a year since I read Steadfast but I just didn’t get into it. I think I was expecting more instant drama/action based on how Steadfast ends so I felt like Sorceress took a long time to build up to what should have been there from the start (in my opinion). Just past the halfway point was where things started to pick up but by then I was a little bored. Overall though I thought it was a solid way to end the series and I liked the way things progressed eventually. I would like to give it the benefit of the doubt and say that my current mood really influenced my reading. (So while I gave it a 3/5 on GoodReads, it’s more of a 3.5/5 because I think fans of the series will be satisfied).

Series Rating: 4/5

Spellcaster 4/5 | Steadfast 4/5 | Sorceress 3/5

overall

If you like witches and magic with a dash of romance, pick this up!

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Series Review: Evernight Series by Claudia Gray

Series: Evernight
Author: Claudia Gray
# of Books: 4 (Evernight, Stargazer, Hourglass, Afterlife)

There is a spin-off novel, Balthazar (sometimes it is classified as Evernight #5)

Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Boarding School
Heat Rating: cool

Thoughts:

I highly recommend to anyone who wants to read Evernight to avoid doing too much research; to not read spoiler reviews and to avoid looking at the sequel books because there is a MAJOR twist that is often reveled during said ways and it will ruin Evernight. I had accidently read the synopsis for Stargazer before I read Evernight and it ruined the twist for me because if I hadn’t known the twist, I probably wouldn’t have seen it coming.

That being said, this review is going to be very brief just so that I don’t give too much away 😉

Evernight started off slow, but really picks up about midway through (read: plot twist revealed). The rest of the books in the series follow this faster pace which makes things more enjoyable. The twist, if I had not read it before hand, would have been AMAZING and I think I would have enjoyed the book a touch more if I had left it as a surprise.

The rest of the books in the series were a little hit and miss. Don’t get me wrong, they were enjoyable but the romance was a little too sappy-feel-good for me at times and I think that turned me off a bit. Again, this was a Young Adult series I was probably a little too old to read when I did. I will say that Hourglass was probably my favourite because of the plot twists we had and the massive cliff-hanger that ends the novel.

The rest of the series also has twists (besides the BIG one) that make the story interesting. The series blends a lot of things together and for the most part I think it pulls it off. I haven’t come across anything exactly like it but I have found bits and pieces in other books. So if you want to try something new, grab this series!

As for the characters, I liked them enough. Nothing too memorable though I do like Balthazar a lot 😛 Bianca wasn’t particularly annoying and neither was Lucas.

Note: I have not read Balthazar as of June 28, 2013.

Conclusion:

Overall, this series just lacked that little something to make me love it. While I definitely enjoyed the series and admire the creativity, I think I needed a little more action in it (which it had the potential to do). As I said before, don’t read any spoiler reviews, look at genre classifications on Goodreads or at the synopsises of the other books if you plan on reading this series. I also recommend that you grab as many of the books as possible as the next book always takes place immediately after the ending of the previous one–and you have the pleasure of getting your hands on all the copies at once instead of waiting a year for the next one like I had too 😉

Rating: 3.5/5

Similar Reads: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer (Nightshade, #1); Angel (Burn) by L.A. Weatherly (Angel Trilogy, #1) and Out for Blood by Alyxandra Harvey (Drake Chronicles, #3)

Synopsis for Evernight (from Goodreads):
Bianca wants to escape.

She’s been uprooted from her small hometown and enrolled at Evernight Academy, an eerie Gothic boarding school where the students are somehow too perfect: smart, sleek, and almost predatory. Bianca knows she doesn’t fit in.

Then she meets Lucas. He’s not the “Evernight type” either, and he likes it that way. Lucas ignores the rules, stands up to the snobs, and warns Bianca to be careful—even when it comes to caring about him.

“I couldn’t stand it if they took it out on you,” he tells Bianca, “and eventually they would.”

But the connection between Bianca and Lucas can’t be denied. Bianca will risk anything to be with Lucas, but dark secrets are fated to tear them apart . . . and to make Bianca question everything she’s ever believed