Tag «short stories»

Series Review: Immortal Game by Ann Aguirre

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

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Mortal Danger (from Goodreads):
Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Edie Kramer has a score to settle with the beautiful people at Blackbriar Academy. Their cruelty drove her to the brink of despair, and four months ago, she couldn’t imagine being strong enough to face her senior year. But thanks to a Faustian compact with the enigmatic Kian, she has the power to make the bullies pay. She’s not supposed to think about Kian once the deal is done, but devastating pain burns behind his unearthly beauty, and he’s impossible to forget.

In one short summer, her entire life changes, and she sweeps through Blackbriar, prepped to take the beautiful people down from the inside. A whisper here, a look there, and suddenly… bad things are happening. It’s a heady rush, seeing her tormentors get what they deserve, but things that seem too good to be true usually are, and soon, the pranks and payback turns from delicious to deadly. Edie is alone in a world teeming with secrets and fiends lurking in the shadows. In this murky morass of devil’s bargains, she isn’t sure who—or what–she can trust. Not even her own mind…

breakdown

Series: The Immortal Game Trilogy
Author: Ann Aguirre
# of Books: 3 (Mortal Game, Public Enemies, Infinite Risk)

There is a prequel short story: The Girl in the Gray Sweatshirt. Read for FREE here!

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Infinite Risk, will be published August 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Horror, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: August 2014 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I randomly stumbled upon this book at the library. My library had the original cover (shown below) and there is just something about simple covers that draws me in…

Mortal Danger (Immortal Game, #1)

So I read the synopsis and noted the author. I read Ann Aguirre’s New Adult series 2B Trilogy but didn’t enjoy it all that much. But everyone seems to rave about her Razorland Trilogy which is Science Fiction/Horror/Apocalyptic so I figured those genres, not contemporary romance, were more her forte and Mortal Danger is the same genre (kinda/sort-of).

Then, I met Jennilyn @ RurouniJenniReads who also mentioned she was up to buddy read some books–and Mortal Danger was on there (among other ones)! A sign? I think so!

And so we decided to Buddy Read this together–and thank goodness we did!

What I Liked:

–The Revenge Concept–

I love a good revenge story and this one sounded so promising! Edie has a score to settle with the beautiful people of her school. What they did to her exactly is a bit of a mystery and so I liked the idea of it being revealed in time. The revenge plot line isn’t too elaborate but it started off strong and as I expected, it does take a backseat to the other plot-points later in the book.

–The Faustian Compact–

Definition of Faustian
  1. :  of, relating to, resembling, or suggesting Faust; especially :  made or done for present gain without regard for future cost or consequences <a Faustian bargain>

Jennilyn and I both agreed that this story reminded us of the animes/mangas Death Note (which is one of my all time FAVOURITE animes) and Black Butler. Mortal Danger has a darker edge to it thanks to the deal Edie unknowingly makes. There is so much mystery and uncertainty regarding the bargain and its terms. I love stories that have great twists on word contracts and the like. It’s why I enjoy faerie stories so much: there are always great manipulations that come back to bite the characters back in the ass later and those make for shocking “WHOA” moments when reading.

And for the record, Mortal Danger pales in comparison to Death Note.

What I Didn’t Like:

–It was Slow and Wordy–

I had this problem with Aguirre’s 2B Trilogy as well; her stories seem to move at such a slow pace. I would find myself 30% of the way through the book and going, “really? We’re only here right now?”. I just felt like we were in the exposition wayyyy too long with this one and that nothing was really happening. It takes Edie a long time to get involved in the “game” and by the time she gets there, I really didn’t care anymore.

–Edie’s More than a Little Boring–

While I sympathize with Edie because she was bullied, there really isn’t much too her as a character. Her plan for revenge is never really elaborated on and she doesn’t come across as the brightest. I guess Kian was supposed to handle most of it with her wishes but that was never really clear to me. I just wanted more from her.

–The Romance–

This didn’t work for me AT ALL. I get the physical attraction thing but I failed to see why these two even liked each other beyond that. It was wayyy too insta-love for me and also seemed hypocritical to the story to a certain extent.

–It was Simple, Yet Oddly Complicated–

Like I said before, there wasn’t a whole lot going on in this book (hence, the “simple”). I wanted more revenge, I wanted more games and I wanted more excitement.

In the last 40 or so pages, things just get overly complicated. While I like twists that come out of nowhere, these ones just didn’t seem to add up for me given everything that had happened in the 250 pages beforehand. I felt like too many things were thrown in at the last minute. And while I’m sure they are going to be built upon in the next book, I found it more preposterous than exciting and that pretty much ended any hopes of me picking up the next book right there.

Will I Finish It?

No, I have no plans to pick up Public Enemies at this time–and I’m A-Ok with that. Even with all the “interesting” plot twists that we get at the end, I really don’t care to know how Edie gets her way out of the mess she created.

As Light Yagami would write:

I have to thank Jennilyn for buddy reading this with me because if we didn’t, I would have stopped reading and would have always wondered if I was missing out on something amazing.

Series Rating: DNF

Mortal Danger 2/5 | Public Enemies N/A | Book 3

overall

Nothing really impressed me about this book. It took a long time to get anywhere and I just didn’t like the execution of it once it did reach a place of interest. I didn’t get invested in the characters nor their romance so there was nothing to keep me motivated to continue this series. At the start, I wanted a story about revenge and in the end, I got a sub par romance novel with some paranormal elements thrown in–not a winner for me.

Read if You Like: slower stories, revenge concepts, horror
Avoid if You: want a more intriguing heroine, dislike insta-romance

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Anthology ARC Review: Led Astray by Kelley Armstrong

Synopsis for Led Astray: The Best of Kelley Armstrong (from Goodreads): Two brand new tales anchor this wide-ranging collection from one of urban fantasy’s most successful authors. Here is the first time that best-selling fantasy, YA, and crime author Kelley Armstrong has had her stories collected from Otherworld and beyond. With her signature twists and turns, Armstrong gives a fresh spin on city-dwelling vampires, werewolves, and zombies, while also traveling further afield, to a post-apocalyptic fortress, a superstitious village, a supernatural brothel, and even to feudal Japan. With tales that range from humorous to heart-stopping, these are the stories that showcase Kelley Armstrong at her versatile best.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Canadian Author
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Anthology, Short Stories, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Supernatural
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First & Third Person
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
Source & Format: ARC–eBook Thank you Tachyon Publications!

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When I was asked if I would be interested in reading the latest work by Kelley Armstrong before it came out–I immediately said yes! I love Kelley Armstrong’s work. Whether it’s her adult works or her young adult works, I’m always looking forward to her latest release. I’m not too up to date with the Otherworld series but I was looking forward to the Age of Legends short story as well as the Darkest Powers and standalone stories.

The Kitsune’s Nine Tales:

I just want to mention this one specifically because I LOVE the Age of Legend series, I was stoked for this! It was a perfect prequel short story and I hope we get more of these in the future because it added so much depth to the series. I can hope anyway 😉

The other stories:

These stories did a great job showing off Armstrong’s talent as a writer. Her ability to write strong adult and young adult stories as well as jump between urban fantasy and thriller/horror is amazing and shown fully here.

I’m not a huge short story fan but these ones were really well done! I had enough information to understand what was happening completely. I didn’t feel like information was missing and it was easy to move from story to story. There keep your attention and end on a very satisfactory note. Simply well done!

My Rating: 4/5

overall

If you enjoy variety to your anthologies, this is a great one! Fans of Kelley Armstrong will love these extra bonuses to their favourite Armstrong series!

Read if You Like: anthologies, short stories, urban fantasy
Avoid if You: don’t like short stories

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Series Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Dystopian Series
Series: Divergent Trilogy
Author: Veronica Roth
# of Books: 3 (Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant)

There are a bunch of short stories told from Tobias’ perspective. See the list here.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Romance, Action
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person
Movie Review: Catch my thoughts on the movie here!

Thoughts:

After reading The Hunger Games, I discovered my love of dystopian fiction and like most people who enjoy a book, I look for similar books to read next. Divergent was one that was constantly recommended and it sounded really interesting so I picked it up. This was just when it started to get a lot of hype and I didn’t know anyone else who had read it, but it quickly became popular and after reading it, I understood why.

While Divergent starts fairly slow, it really picks up and keeps going for the duration of the book. I also slowly grew to like Tris. She wasn’t the best heroine I had ever read initially but watching her and reading her thoughts about things really made me love her. She is a very strong character and after reading the series, I would say she is one of my favourite characters in young adult fiction.

I also like how the romance is handled in this series. Like The Hunger Games, but without the love triangle (BONUS!), it’s subtle and slowly builds. So this isn’t a series you read solely for the romance–if you want a dystopian series that focuses mostly on the romance read Lauren Oliver’s Delirium –but the relationship Tris develops is very important later on in the series and takes a bit more of a central focus. I loved the tension between her and Four in Divergent and I have to say they are easily one of my favourite literary couples.

To be honest, I don’t remember a lot of what happened in Insurgent –just the ending because it was fantastic! While it was a lot slower to me, I love what happens and what is revealed as you read so I didn’t find it particularly dull–it just lacks the action and fighting you get accustomed to in Divergent.

It took me a long time to get my hands on Allegiant and then actually get a chance to sit down and read it. I was eagerly anticipating where this series would go and I have to say it blew my mind where it went! I have to give Veronica Roth a lot of credit because she did a great job creating this world the books take place in and I totally saw all the dots connect as I read the last novel. Again, this book is a lot slower action-wise than Divergent as most of the plot development comes from talking and revealing the mystery of the world. I think this may disappoint a few people who enjoy this series for the action–but those who like the politics and the mystery of the world will like this book a lot.

When I look at Goodreads, I see that the rating for this book is a lot lower than the previous books in the series and after reading it, I totally know why. Roth took a lot of risks writing this book and taking it in the more Science Fiction direction that she did and I personally think they paid off. I can appreciate what she did even if the book fan in me doesn’t particularly enjoy it. I think that is why a lot of people rate Allegiant lower than the rest because they don’t like the direction it takes and the movement away from dystopian to science fiction. But after reading it, I am totally satisfied with how it ended and content with it.

I’ve never read the short stories about Tobias and I will eventually get around to reading them but not at this particular moment in time.

Conclusion:

This series constantly surprised me and in that great way I love as a book reader. When you read as much as I do, you get bored with the same cut and paste storylines that seem to appear when Young Adult trends start. But every once in a while, you find a book that is a result of that trend that stands out from the rest and for the Dystopian Trend: Divergent is that series for me (though I still love The Hunger Games). I recommend this series to practically anyone who enjoyed The Hunger Games and they have all enjoyed it as well.

Rating: 4.5/5

Similar Reads: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games Trilogy #1); Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky Trilogy #1); Matched by Ally Condie (Matched Trilogy #1) and Delirium by Lauren Oliver (Delirium Trilogy #1)

Synopsis for Divergent (from Goodreads):
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.