Tag Archives: suspense

What to Read: Red Seas Under Red Skies

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Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch


Summary

Having narrowly escaped their previous caper in Camorr, a battered Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen strike out for Tal Verrar, home of the infamous gambling house, the Sinspire, for what could be their biggest con yet. But nothing is ever simple for these daring thieves. When plans go array, Locke and Jean find themselves embroiled in a feud between powerful parties and hunted by others unknown. The pair escaped Camorr with their lives, but Tal Verrar may not be so generous.

Overall Impressions

A perfect compliment to The Lies of Locke Lamora. This sequel maintains the suspense and laugh-out-loud wit as its original, propelled by the lovably incorrigible energy of its characters. Locke and Jean return as one of my favorite con artist/old married couple duos, and Captain Drakasha is the pirate queen we all aspire to be. Dark, though less edgy than the first installment, I loved riding along side the Gentlemen Bastards on another “insane misadventure”. Lynch easily weaves old threads of plot with the new, and once again has readers ready to follow the Thorn of Camorr to hell and back. Recommended for adult readers of fantasy and adventure.

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What to Read: Daughter of Smoke & Bone

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Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor


Summary

Art student Karou’s double-life has long been filled with dark magic and strange beasts. Yet her place among her adoptive, inhuman family has always been a mystery. When supernatural events begin to occur around the world, Karou finds herself alone and thrust into the makings of a war. A run-in with one of the angel-like Akiva only leaves her with more questions. Unsure who to trust, Karou must discover the deadly past that has led her present, and face an uncertain future.

Overall Impressions

Gorgeously written, this is one of my favorite YA fantasy series. After book one I gleefully tore through the rest of the series. The characters are highly developed and charming, and I always appreciate books with a strong female lead. Taylor constructed an equally dark and fantastical world to compliment her characters. Suspenseful and romantic, her writing balances a quick-paced plot with elegant style. I recommend the series for lovers of YA fantasy.

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What to Read: Ahsoka

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Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston


Summary

Forced into hiding in the aftermath of Order 66, Ahsoka Tano has so far managed to escape the hands of the Empire. She lives a life of necessity until circumstances send her on the run again, leading her to a place where giving up her nomadic and lonely life may just be possible. Of course, nothing is ever so simple. With her new home under threat, Ahsoka must decide how far she is willing to go to protect what little she has left.

Overall Impressions

As a life-long Star Wars fan, I was over the moon (…space humor? No? Fair enough…) when I found this book. After the release of Rogue One, I was dying to get my hands on additional Star Wars stories. This book felt like the literary version of an afternoon snack. While I wouldn’t say it stands alone outside the context of the Clone Wars and Rebels TV series, I did enjoy having Ahsoka back in my life. More classic characters also crop up throughout the book for a satisfying bit of nostalgia. The brisk writing made for a comfortable weekend read, and the plot held to the classic intertwining style of many other Star Wars adventures. I recommend this book for YA sci-fi fans.

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What to Read: Shadow and Bone

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Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo


Summary 

Thrown together by war, Alina Starkov and best friend Mal have grown from orphans to soldiers. When their regiment is shredded upon entering the Shadow Fold, Alina unleashes a power she’s suppressed since childhood in order to save her comrades and Mal. But this revelation tears her from the life she’s known, including Mal, to become a Grisha. Far from home and entangled in dark conspiracies, Alina’s magic may be the only thing capable of ending the war. She must decide who she is willing to trust, and what she is willing to sacrifice for her country.

Overall Impressions

This intriguing, chillingly beautiful story captured my attention from the start. The first in the Grisha series, I was struck by Bardugo’s stylistic noir and strong characters. Alina is a true heroine faced with a delightfully sophisticated villian. The Darkling stands out for his elegance and ruthlessness, so much so it was hard to decide whether I wanted Alina to kill him or marry him (read it, you’ll see what I mean). Bargudo has created a world real enough to step into, and who wouldn’t want to explore the enticingly dark yet enchanting world of the Grisha? Well written, suspenseful, and romantic, I adore this entire series. HIGHLY recommend to fantasy fans (and totally going on my Christmas list). Also by Leigh Bardugo: Six of Crows

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What to Read: The Lies of Locke Lamora

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The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch


Summary

You’ll never see him coming. If you do, he planned it that way. Enter Locke Lamora, the Thorn of Cammor and leader of The Gentlemen Bastards. A small operation, Locke and his crew execute intricate capers to steal from Cammor’s high class. But when a faceless man dubbed the Gray King appears in the city and begins murdering gang leaders, no one is safe, and for the first time Locke finds himself out foxed, caught up in a deadly game more complex than any con before.

Overall Impressions

The Gentlemen Bastards are everything you could want from a mischievous band of thieves. Lynch’s use of backstory reveals just enough at just the right moment, propelling the novel forward with page-turning anticipation. Enticed by a trail of delightful revelations, I found myself grinning along on more than one occasion. It’s a long book, but well worth the commitment. I recommend it for lovers of dark fantasy, complex characters, and clever writing.

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What to Read: The Night Circus

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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern


Summary

Raised among backstage curtains by her ruthless father, illusionist Celia is trained to compete in an age old rivalry. Her grooming leads her to Cirque de Rêves, a massive and fantastical undertaking like the world has never seen. As strategies unfold and terrible secrets are revealed, Celia and her opponent begin to realize they are competing for more than victory–they are competing for their lives.

Overall Impressions

Ladies and gentlemen, my favorite book, The Night Circus. Nothing prepared me for the absolute marvels inside the iron gates of Cirque de Rêves. Gorgeously written characters from all flocks of life capture the imagination, ignite the wonderment of childhood, and make a home in the heart. But amidst the magic are deeply human struggles. Hunger for power, unrequited love, and sacrifices for the sake of success. I smiled, I cried, and I fell in love with everything about Morgenstern’s magical circus world. Without question, I would recommend making The Night Circus your next read.

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What to Read: The Diviners

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The Diviners by Libba Bray


Summary

In the streets of 1920s New York City, darkness is rising. Evie O’Neill, a girl with a taste for trouble and speakeasies, is forced to live with her eccentric uncle Will, but only Evie knows of her strange talent-the ability to divine a person’s secrets through touch. When a serial killer begins leaving a trail of bodies, Evie discovers her powers could be the key to saving lives. But she isn’t the only one, and not every diviner has good intentions.

Overall Impressions

This. Is. It. Beautifully written, this book rocketed to my top five favorite series. Fantastical, thrilling, and chucked full of dramatic irony, Bray’s book had me flipping pages so fast I’m surprised I didn’t get paper cuts. The characters are real enough to touch, each a work of art in their own right. “Just one more chapter,” I whispered, and then promptly read six more. But hey! Who needs sleep, right? The Diviners will have you scrambling for your credit card and the Amazon check-out.

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What to Read: Enrique’s Journey

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Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario


Summary

At the tender age of five, Enrique and his sister are left behind when their mother travels from Honduras to the United States to seek better opportunities for her impoverished family. Enrique grows up aching to be reunited with his mother and to have an answer to the burning question: If she left, does she really love him?  Sonia Nazario details the brutal, dangerous journey of immigrant children desperately trying to reach their families in United States.

Overall Impressions

All stories challenge us, but nothing challenges a perspective like the stories of real people. Nazario puts faces to the controversial topic of immigration. She depicts the horrors some immigrants face as they struggle to break the cycle of poverty many are trying to escape. Others are children, too young to understand, looking to reunite their families. I found the book to be incredibly educational, inspirational, and relevant to today’s societal issues. I would recommend it to nonfiction readers and anyone eager to expand their understanding of immigration.

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What to Read: Six of Crows

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The Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo


Summary

A suicide mission. A gang of young criminals. A fortune to be made. Kaz, mysterious criminal mastermind and member of the Dregs, is always twelve steps ahead. While his crew may not always see his end game, they trust him whole-heartedly. Kaz recruits Inej, Nina, Jesper, Wylan, and Matthias for a once in a lifetime job that will either end in riches beyond their wildest dreams (and revenge for unsettled scores) or death.

Overall Impressions

Leigh Bargudo slays, a true queen of fantasy writing. Her storytelling skills shine in The Six of Crows, a dark, unpredictable, and thrilling novel that leaves readers hungry for more. The story is bursting with dynamic characters, both lovable and loath-able. I usually lock onto a favorite character rather quickly, but in this case it was impossible for me to choose. Despite their brutal choices and sometimes questionable morals, their silver linings left me rooting for them until the end. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book in this amazing series.

For more by Leigh Bargudo, see What to Read: Shadow and Bone.

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What to Read: The 100

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The 100 by Kass Morgan


 

Summary

High above Earth’s surface, what remains of humanity survives aboard a network of spaceships. Three centuries after the nuclear fallout that devastated the earth, a hundred juveniles convicted of dangerous crimes are being sent back to the ground. It could be a second chance, but it could also be a death sentence.

Overall Impressions 

A solid choice for lovers of YA science fiction, The 100 follows Clarke, Wells, Bellamy, and Glass as they fight to survive on Earth and above it. Each are haunted by the difficult choices they’ve had to make, and each has a backstory as compelling as the last. I enjoyed Kass’s use of multiple points of view, which added nicely to the suspense of the story. I less enjoyed the focus on romance as a motivational tool, which could be why I favor Bellamy’s storyline, but that’s more of a personal preference. Overall, the book is a fast-paced and easy read, perfect for a lazy weekend.

I’m not normally the type to watch an adaptation before I read the book, but I initially picked up The 100 after feverishly binge watching the television series (which is MIND BLOWING, by the way). The first two seasons are now available on Netflix. If, like me, you met the show before you met the book, I will warn you there are some stark differences. But if you feel the calling, check the book out anyway! And as always…

Happy Reading!

 

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