Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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I have three words for this book: suspension of disbelief.

As long as you have that (and like the genre) you’ll enjoy it.

I liked the story itself. I liked the writing, and the characters, and the world. That cover is amazing too. I liked the love triangle and the surprising amount of deaths throughout. Most of the things that bothered other reviewers on Goodreads I didn’t mind.

However, throughout the whole thing I just could not believe that Mare could tell the world that she didn’t know she was Silver blooded for her entire life. Like…do periods not exist in that world? And then they kept putting her in positions where she was about to bleed? I just…I had to force myself NOT to think about it to enjoy the book.

And then there’s Silvers who can control minds. Do they not have safeguards against those kinds of powers? You know, in case one of them KILLS ANYONE THEY WANT? There’s no freaking way those people would be allowed in positions of power like that.  In ACOTAR I could believe it because there was a way to fight the control. But here? It’s just silly to let these guys roam free and manipulate whoever they want.

I understand that there has to be some things you just have to take as is, and when my disbelief is set aside it’s actually an enjoyable read. I won’t be picking up the next one, but I’m glad I read this book to get a better feel for good antagonists.

Overall it was a good read that I’m glad to have finally crossed off my shelf.

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The Genius Plague by David Walton

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I’ve been looking forward to this book ever since I saw the author’s AMA on Reddit. I’m not a huge sci-fi reader, but the premise was too intriguing to pass up: a fungi infection can make you super-smart, but it also takes over your mind and affects your actions to ensure its survival. It’s a symbiotic relationship, except for the fact that you can’t control how you feel about things like killing people when they want to give you antifungals.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable read. It played out like any apocalypse movie, where you just don’t ask questions and enjoy it for what it is. Action and thrills and *insert charismatic white male actor* protagonist you can’t not like. A fun book that brings up some really interesting concepts.

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The Princess Game by Melanie Cellier

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Every cover for this series is freaking beautiful. Just wow. I can’t get enough of them.

The story had a great twist on the original that made me read this before any of the others. The Sleeping Princess isn’t actually asleep, the curse just makes it so she acts like a dimwit instead of the intelligent young woman that she is.

Unless she’s in disguise that is.

I just loved this idea, and while I enjoyed the plot and the romance, I found myself skimming more and more until I was turning pages with barely a glance. There was just too much hanging around and talking and not enough to keep me interested. I just wanted to know what happens!

Anyway, it really was a great twist, and anyone who likes retellings would enjoy this book. I’m excited for The Little Mermaid and The Swan Princess coming out this year. Yes please!

Perfected by Kate Jarvik Birch

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Look at this cover! So pretty! So symbolic! I love it!

The book itself was … odd? I’ve been thinking of a word to describe how I feel about it and I’m still not sure if I got the right one.

In Perfected, girls are genetically engineered to be sold as pets to the rich. In a dystopian world, I wouldn’t bat an eye. But here, it was actually our world. o_0 We’re talking modern USA, with people calling it slavery and Canada taking in refugees. Somehow, a bunch of rich guys got legislation passed that made it legal, even though there’s no actual explanation as to -how- the girls aren’t slaves. There are a ton of conversations like this:

Person1: It’s slavery!

Person2: No it’s not! They’re pets!

Person1: No, they’re people!

Person2: No, they’re pets! Aren’t they so pretty?

Person1: WTF!

Person3: Yeah, you’re right, they’re so pretty I want one too now! Totes ok!

No actual argument against the girls being human or how it’s not slavery, just calling them pets and that’s that, with old rich guys getting boners by looking at them. I genuinely don’t get it.

Honestly, this entire issue could have been circumvented with the girls being built instead of bred. If they were AI lifelike robots like in Human, this whole book would have been fantastic, no immense suspension of disbelief required.

Anyway, I did enjoy reading it though. I liked the romance, and the characters, and the story itself. The second book just came out and I might check out where it’s all going.

Overall, an interesting book, but get ready to let a lot of logistics slide for creepy old guys who want to own little girls as their playthings.

Armada by Ernest Cline

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My husband finally got around to reading Ready Player One, just in time for the movie, and he wanted to check out another book by Cline, so we both started reading (and listening) at the same time. I LOVED Ready Player One so even though I’m not huge of scifi I figured I’d like this one too.

And…I mostly enjoyed it. I love Cline’s writing, it’s so witty, and coupled with Will Wheaton’s narration it becomes just a fun ride. I could listen to him read it all day. The thing about the story is that for the first half it was so silly I kept wishing the main character would just wake up and realize it was all a dream or something. But then when it was explained and I was like ok, that actually makes sense, I really like this! it went on to follow the exact same tropes of every story like this. I even made a bet with my husband about all the things that would definitely happen and sadly I won every one of them. I didn’t want to. I wished he would subvert the tropes somehow, but no, it all laid out exactly like I thought it would.

I know a lot of people are complaining he ripped off Ender’s Game and some others, but I don’t mind the similarities. Re-tellings are my favorite genre! I don’t need a new idea, just great execution and some twists to shake it up. This had two of the three, and I’m glad I read it, especially as a gamer.

The only thing that bothered me though, is when the World of Warcraft playing mom said ‘Late for a video game’ with practically an eyeroll. Umm no. Anyone who plays WoW competitively knows that you don’t make 20+ other people wait on you because ‘it’s just a video game’. Everyone’s time matters. People make sure their work schedules and family time doesn’t fall on raid nights to be able to play, and when you can’t start a raid because someone’s not there you’re wasting that time. In my guild, that costs you your raid spot.

Anyway, a pretty good read, but it’s no Ready Player One (aaaaah I can’t wait for the movie!!!).

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

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I’m terrible at ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ because I wasn’t going to read this book for that reason. The cover looks like it was drawn in colored pencils at a high school art class. Maybe I’m biased because I come from a family of artists, but come on, my friend’s octopus tattoo looks better. Still, when I got an email about a new mermaid book from NetGalley, I couldn’t help checking it out.

And OH. MY. GOD.

When you’re reading a book and you yell out ‘holy shit!’ you know it’s a good book. It’s the kind of book where you don’t see things coming and when they come you think God, how did I not see that coming? I should have seen it coming! Aaaaahhhhh!!!!

Anyway, I loved it. The writing is descriptive in all the right ways and the dialogue brought a smile to my face every time. I loved how it was a twist on The Little Mermaid, and I just can’t get over how great the ending was.

So I guess the moral of the story is, don’t judge a book by its cover. This one is worth the look.

Thanks NetGalley for giving me this ARC! I wouldn’t have read it otherwise.

Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh

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I’ve been looking forward to this book from the moment I saw it on my Netgalley email, and though sadly the publisher didn’t approve my request for an ARC (making me wait MONTHS until it came out) I finally got the chance to read it.

First of all, and I know I’m a broken record when it comes to reviews for this book, but the cover is amazing. Seriously, this is a book that deserves a forward-facing spot on the shelf.

Now for the story. I came into this book expecting death magic, dealing with addiction, and f/f romance. I got all three, in that order, 1/3 of the book each. I can’t ask for anything more. Expectations: fulfilled.

As someone who’s written a zombie book, I understand the logistics behind what it means to die and come back a monster. This book was definitely an interesting and unique take on the genre, seamlessly blending fantasy into it, and while it wasn’t how I would have done it (I’m a ‘better safe than sorry’ kind of person over this world’s ‘trust everyone to keep each other safe’ mindset) I do see how it could work.

I also loved the Deadlands, it reminded me of Los Lagos from Labyrinth Lost, and I hope we get to see more of it in the future. The twists of this book were pretty predictable, but I think the next one won’t be since we don’t have a bunch of imminent events from the description looming over our heads anymore.

I thought the addiction storyline was done amazing. I truly felt for Odessa, and it was the part of the book I thought was the best. I really liked Valoria, and for the longest time I thought that they’d get together. I liked Evander, but I didn’t understand why he went through the trouble of becoming a necromancer and have his mother hate him for doing it when he really wanted to be an explorer. And with Meredy, I couldn’t help seeing Merida from Brave,  because she looked like her, acted like her (with the archery), and had a bear. I think Jax was my favorite character. I’d love a book just about him.

Overall, I’m glad to have read it and I hope publishers pick up more books like this (*cough cough hint hint*). We need more queer fantasy out there! Oh, and look at this amazing gift I got from Sarah for pre-ordering!