Saturday, July 22, 2017

Ash and Quill (The Great Library #3) by Rachel Caine

Ash and Quill (The Great Library #3)
Words can kill.
Hoarding all the knowledge of the world, the Great Library jealously guards its secrets. But now, a group of rebels poses a dangerous threat to its tyranny...
Jess Brightwell and his band of exiles have fled London, only to find themselves imprisoned in Philadelphia, a city led by those who would rather burn books than submit. But Jess and his friends have a bargaining chip: the knowledge to build a machine that will break the Library's rule.
Their time is running out. To survive, they'll have to choose to live or die as one, to take the fight to their enemies - and to save the very soul of the Great Library...

Review

As expected, just like Ink and BonePaper and Fire left off in a totally expected way. Needless to say, I was super excited to jump into the third book in the series! Thank goodness I was able to download an ARC from NetGalley, shortly before it was released!

I don't want to give away any spoilers, but my reaction after finishing this book:

OMG! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!

This book was non-stop action, like the first two books, but I expected this book to bring some feelings of closure. However, I think this book ended with an even bigger cliffhanger than either of the first two in the series!

I was seriously upset after finishing this book. I arranged to read the first three books back to back, and at that time, I thought The Great Library was a trilogy. After finishing this book, I discovered that there will be two more books in the series. 

Again, this book brought about so many twists and turns in the plot that there would be no way to guess what would happen next. I definitely did not expect it to end the way it did. Of course, I hoped that this book might wrap some things up, not because I don't want to read more books in this series; on the contrary, I just want to be able to read them now and see what happens next!

I never ever would have expected the ending. I don't want to put any spoilers here, but it was almost like the author had put so many crazy plot twists in, with situations that no one would ever guess the characters would get in to, that she decided at the end to throw in something that might be an obvious in any other book. Yet, I NEVER would have guessed it, since the rest of the book has much more complex methods of problem solving. 

If these books sound even remotely interesting to you, READ THEM! I guarantee you will enjoy them, and I hope you love them as much as I did! 

Here are a couple of my favorite quotes from this book:
No one with a book is ever along, even in the darkest moments.
When all the world is a clock, bow, you don't make a key. You become a key. 
After getting over my initial shock, I did a little research and it looks like there are going to be (at least) two more books in the series. However, they do not have titles or cover art yet. Considering that this book was just released on July 11th, the next two books may not even be written yet. :( 

On one hand, I am super excited to be able to keep reading and see what happens nect in the story, especially since I was not sure exactly how I felt about the way this book ended. Again, I don't want to give away any spoilers, so I won't reveal any more. 

On the other hand, I'm going to have to wait SOOOO LOOONG to see what happens next, which sucks hard! It makes it even worse that I have no idea how long yet. I know I will be scouring the internet to try to get ARCs, though! 

Putting my feelings about waiting to see what happens next aside: I ABSOLUTELY ♥ ♥ ♥ed this book! Finishing it has just left me with such mixed emotions! Finishing it, I feel sad and super anxious about waiting to see what happens next. Reading the book made me feel a whole different range of emotions, though!

However, I am kind of glad that I didn't do this research before reading this book. I think I would have gone into it with a different perspective, if I knew that there will be two more books. 

Also, I will say that I definitely understand why there will be (at least) two more books in The Great Library series. Each book has been so jam packed with action. I don't see how the author could have ended the story with this book, without either doubling it in length or taking out some major aspects of the story. 

Again, I ♥ed this book, and I know that the next two will be great! I am just sad that they are not in my hands right now! I will be waiting super impatiently for the next two books to be released! 

I received a copy of this book from the publishers, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Paper and Fire (The Great Library #2) by Rachel Caine

Paper and Fire (The Great Library, #2)
With an iron fist, the Great Library controls the knowledge of the world, ruthlessly stamping out all rebellion, and in the name of the greater good, forbidding the personal ownership of books. 
Jess Brighwell has survived his introduction to the sinister, seductive world of the Library, bu serving in its army is nothing like he envisioned. His life and the lives of those he cares for have been altered forever. His best friend is lost, and Morgan, the girl he loves, is locked away in the Iron Tower, doomed to a life apart from everything she knows.
After embarking on a mission to save one of their own, Jess and his band of allies make one wrong move and suddenly find themselves hunted by the Library's deadly automata and forced to flee Alexandria, all the way from London.
But Jess's home isn't safe anymore. The Welsh army is coming, London is burning, and soon, Jess must choose between his friends, his family, and the Library, which is willing to sacrifice anything and anyone in the search for ultimate control...

Review

Ink and Bone was AH-MAY-ZING! So, I couldn't wait to read this book. I downloaded it immediately after finishing Ink and Bone and started reading, even though it was getting late and I knew I would probably stay up way too late reading (which I did). 

I love the characters in this book! The author did an excellent job with character development. The deeper you get into the story, the more you learn about them, but the author also does a great job of keeping some things a mystery so that you just want to keep learning more about them. Even some of the characters that I hated in the first book continue to develop in this book and make you like them more and more. Even those that I still didn't like at the end of this book, I definitely understood them better. 

You have to admire the teenagers int his book! They are all super brave a courageous when something happens to the people they care about, they will go to the ends of the earth to help save them, even if it is reckless and dangerous. 

I wondered if the author was inspired by the growing popularity of digital books today and the fact that more and more people are seeing physical books as almost obsolete. The way everyone in the book can get "blanks" to read, which are basically magical digital books, that instead of loading from the internet, an Obscurist sends the book they want to their blank. The Library holds all the originals, and chooses which content the people can access. However, Jess craves the sensations of reading real, physical, leather-bound, handwritten "originals."I have heard many avid readers explain the similar feelings about reading digital books today and just wanting to feel the book in their hands, smell the paper and be able to dog-ear pages (NOT ME! I consider this sacrilege, but some people do it! I have a slight obsession with keeping my books in pristine condition.). The way that Jess talked about and longs for "originals" is very reminiscent of this, on a whole other level though, since it is actually illegal to own them. 
Jess missed handling originals. He'd grown so addicted to the feel of those books - the individual differences in the bindings, the leather or fabric covers, the weight of papers, the smell. They were very different experiences than these Blanks, which felt so... sterile, somehow. Words that could be readily discarded and replaced didn't have the same moral heft to them, to him, but he recognized he was a rebel and an outcast, even among those who love the Library. 
I found an interview with the author explains some of her inspiration from the book. While in the book, people must request for their blanks to be filled with content that they select from a directory of books approved by the Library, the author explains that although so many books are available digitally today, but there are still so many that are not and only physical copies exist. Also, if you purchase a digital copy of a book, you cannot resell it, and the rights-holder can remove your access if they want. Click here to read that interview. In it she says:
So, I wanted to talk about how in a world where ebooks (i.e., Blanks and their contents) are controlled by the Library, physical books are an act of real rebellion and sedition. The Library doesn't own it, and can't control it. And for them, that's dangerous.
OMG! This book was even better than I anticipated! There were so many surprises that I never could have guessed would happen. 

I was so excited to see what followed the first book, and while I thought a few things in this book might happen, I had not idea that most of this book would happen. It addresses much more than the questions I had after finishing the first book but left me with quite a few more. 

This book is super action-packed! Something big that is essential to the story is constantly happening. 

In short, this book was just as good, if not better than the first! Forgive me for not writing more, I just downloaded the third book in the series, Ash and Quill, and absolutely cannot wait another minute to start reading it! I'll post my review soon!




Monday, July 17, 2017

Red Fire: Growing Up During the Chinese Cultural Revolution by Wei Yang Chao

Red Fire: Growing Up During the Chinese Cultural Revolution

In August 1966, a 14-year-old boy in Beijing is thrust into violence and chaos as the Cultural Revolution begins to blaze across China. Fifty years later, Red Fire, Growing up During the Chinese Cultural Revolution, offers the first intimate account from someone who lived through these events and survived. 
What was the Cultural Revolution like as seen through the eyes of a child? How do people surrender themselves to ideological frenzy? How does one break free? Wei Yang Chao tells a riveting story: how rebels attached and publicly humiliated his family, upended his education, and sent him out into a country rendered unrecognizable by violence and radical ideology. At heart a gentle boy, when he is swept up by the Red Guards, he finds himself at the center of a bloody revolution. The unflinchingly observant narrator or Red Fire reveals his families' struggles in an increasingly isolated and hostile culture. 
Sent to boarding school in Beijing, young Wei Yang finds that beyond the gates enclosing that peculiar, closed world, conflict roils in Chinese society. After mass rallies at Tiananmen Square, he witnesses attacks on teachers and professors, and the disintegration of his partents' lives as tolerance and freedom begin to crumble and he himself is cast into exile. Red Fire chronicles social upheaval through the keen yet naive eyes of a teenager, giving readers a fascinating and unprecedented glimpse into the Chinese Cultural Revolution. This is a rare and mesmerizing account, told with real force and heartbreaking honesty. 

Review

I wasn't sure what to expect when I started reading this book. Truthfully, I didn't know much about the Chinese Cultural Revolution (CCR), going into it. I had definately heard the name Chairman Mao, but my knowledge from past history lessons failed me, and I didn't know much more than he was a bad guy (I know, that's sad).

The first chapter of the book, in which the author starts to explain the violence and humiliation that his family experienced started to give me an idea of what to expect, though. I do know alot about traditional Asian culture and how important family honor is, so I understood the significance of the public humiliation they suffered and how devestating it must have been. 

To give a little background, in case you are as clueless as I was before I read this book about the CCR: The CCR started in May of 1966. It was a political movement inaugurated by Mao Zedong, also known as Chairman Mao. Mao grew up a peasant and "organized other peasants to eventually bring revolution to all of China, forcing his great rival Chiang Kai-shek to flee to Taiwan." 

Chairman Mao was worried that China would fall victim to what then President, Nixon, called a "peaceful evolution from socialism back to capitalism," something he believed the Soviet Union had already fallen victim to and he would not allow China to follow suit. However, Liu Shaoqi, the country's president, had very different ideas from Mao, who believed that China should "transform itself into a powerful nation state," which would require a cultural revolution. 

Mao made his conflict with Liu Shaoqi known publicly in 1966, writing and publishing a public notice, denouncing the Party and referring to Shaoqi as "people like Nikita Khrushchev, referring to Stalins successor and leader of the Soviet Union. Even though The May Sixteenth notice became the framework for the CCR, it was met with resistance at first and most high-level officials remained loyal to Li Shaoqi, which made Mao furious. For the first time since becoming the Communist Party's leader, his "authority seemed less than absolute." In 1959, Mao had given temporary leadership to Liu Shaoqi and by 1966, many officials backed Shaoqi, and he "had become powerful enough to challenge Mao's authority." 

Although Mao never actually feared a power struggle, he knew that the situation must be remedied. The author explains:
From earliest childhood, I was taught that the West - America especially - was on the verge of extinction. America was dying. No, it was already dead, destroyed by greed and decadence.
The author also explains how in school, at the beginning of the CCR, they were asked to list things that were "Yes" (good for the State) and "No" (Bourgeois inclinations). Under the "No" category, they listed things like nylon stockings, stylish hairstyles, and for some reason, a pork dish that one of his class mates enjoyed, so his mother packed it for him to bring to school. The author described that classmate as the most innocent victim of exercise. 

During the CCR, Mao was equivalent to a god and a billion copies of a book of his quotes was published, making it one of the most widely printed books ever, and during the CCR, it was almost illegal not to own and carry a copy. One of the first pages of this book shows a picture of the author and his two siblings, each holding a copy of the little red book. 

I also was not aware of the existence of the Red Guards and was shocked at how young they were. The author was present a the same site, the day they first met and were officially established. The Red Guard started as a group of middle schoolers, ready to fight to the death to defend Mao and "Mao thought," and anyone "threatening the revolution." 

I also knew nothing about the Big-Character-Posters (BCP) that were so prevalent during this time. Even though paper was so scarce that even obtaining toilet paper was rare in some places ,the BCPs were plastered EVERYWHERE - on the outside and inside of every building, including government offices, businesses, schools, and even outside of the city, in the country.

The author explains that they were everywhere inside his school, in classes, in the hallways, in the bathrooms, etc. There were so many what when there was no more space, people simply posted new ones on top of previously posted BCPs. These BCPs ruined lives and caused tradgedy in the 20 odd years the phenomena lasted (the CCR  lasted a decade). The author explains:
In some respects, BCPs constituted the first real opportunity for free expression within the country's legal system. They were considered 'the best route to a people's democracy' and 'a very effective weapon of a new generation.'
They were anywhere and everywhere, all different colors and sizes, and could consist of anything the writer wanted to express. They could consist of slogans, poems, a passage from a book, an essay or even a cartoon, but even though the format varied widely, the content always aimed to shock.

No one was spared; anyone's dignity and privacy could be violated. Taking a person's remarks out of context, grossly exaggerating their actions - even slander or libel didn't raise eyebrows so long as the writer claimed 'a revolutionary stance' or 'a revolutionary purpose.' The only risk, should you have engaged in this practice, was that someone would retaliate by writing a poster to take you down too.

Here are a few pictures I found online (not from the book):

Image result for Big-Character-Posters Image result for Big-Character-PostersImage result for Big-Character-Posters

The author actually saw the first widely publicized BCP, two days after it was posted, and witnessed its author, a woman in her 40's, arguing with a group of men in front of it at Peking University, during his first trip to the campus. Mao had the message from the BCP broadcasted everywhere, which brought about more BCPs, with people arguing over who was for Mao and the revolution and who was against it, which fed into Mao's strategy to create disorder and achieve "great order from great disorder under the heavens."

This incited violence all over campuses in China, with Peking University being a "forerunner in many respects."
As the huge and almost uncontrolled political energy inspired by the BCPs grew, revolutionary fever spread through teh whole University campus. Students began to torture their instructors, which only spurred more violence at other campuses across the country. 
The author was unfortunately part of the first case. He didn't understand everything that was happening and he went to Peking University to see what was happening, to try to better understand but still didn't understand why professors were being called "monsters" and "devils," words he had only heard in stories and fairy tales.

Even at his middle school, students created a BCP titled "Fight to the Death for the Proletarian Dictatporship - Mao Thought" and posted it in a large classroom. It targeted the school administration, which furthered the agenda of the Red Guards, whose oldest members were 19, and the youngest only 13 years old.

I couldn't believe some of the things I read in this book, and I couldn't believe that I had never heard about any of this before! Children from every school, incited by Mao and his call for a cultural revolution, humiliated, beat and even killed many of their instructors and other school staff and faculty! It got so bad that many instructors committed suicide to avoid more violence.

The one thing I kept thinking over and over throughout this book, was how these were children - just middle schoolers and some high school age - carrying out the "revolution." Children who dragged their teachers out of classrooms and dragged people out of their houses and businesses - beating and sometimes killing them, for sometimes something as small as the name of their restaurant, their family's background, even the clothes and shoes they wore, or the way they styled their hair! And more incredulous: the government and law enforcement ENCOURAGED this!

I kept thinking about how I've been seeing/reading about kids today taunting people that don't look like them. We've all heard about the violence that has been happening all over the country, after the election, but what's going on in schools has been talked about less. Like the stories in this article: Kids Quoting Trump to Bully their Classmates and Teachers don't know what to do about it.

After a school assembly at a school that is 1/3 Latino, in which dozens of students chanted "Build that wall!" the principal talked with some of the kids and found that most had no idea what it meant. They were simply joining in, because others next to them were. Similarly, the author explains that he initially wanted to and later felt pressure to participate in the CCR with his peers.

There are tons of articles online, telling of the similar incidents all across the country, fueled by the so-called "president" and the things they hear from their parents. Although I don't foresee anyone plastering Trump's tweets up on the sides of buildings across the country, they might as well be, with all of the media coverage they get. Reading this book made me think long and hard about the similarities with the things that are happening on our country today, and what if all of the children who are chanting about building walls were to decide that their teachers are part of the problem. I have no doubt in my mind that Trump would support them.

I can't fathom what the author and his family experienced. They were treated horribly for reasons that would have never occurred to them as being "bad" or "traitorous." This book, like many other autobiographies by people who have survived such trauma, strengthens my faith in humanity and the power of hope among even the most hopeless.

I loved the ending! Although I was expecting... well, I don't exactly know what I was expecting, but it wasn't this ending!

I love how the author's life was changed by such an unexpected turn of events.

I am amazed at the things that happened during the CCR and am in awe of the author and his achievements, despite everything that his family went through. However, I cannot help relating things that I have been seeing/hearing/reading about what is happening today. While I know that the words/tweets of the so-called "president" would never be considered to be up there with the bible, there are too many people taking our not-so-great leader's words way too seriously.

Just like the holocaust, the Japanese internment camps after Pearl Harbor, and other tragedies, I think it is more important, now more than ever, for people to learn about the tragedies of the past so that we don't relive them in the future.

I really enjoyed this book. The author's writing was extraordinary, and the resilience and resolve he showed at such a young age is admirable. For most, it would have been easier to take the hand he was dealt and live the life that was forced upon him. Instead, he found a way to educate himself and lived to write this great book that taught me so much about Chinese history!

I received this book for free from the publishers, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1) by Rachel Caine

Ink and Bone (The Great Library, #1)
In an exhilarating new series, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time...
Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly - but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.
Jess Brightwell believed in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family's spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library's service.
When his friend inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life - and soon both heretics and books will burn...
Review

I have been wanting to read this book for quite some time, so when I saw it listed on Blogging for Books, I jumped at the opportunity to read it. Within the next couple of days after requesting it, I also found a book called Ash and Quill on NetGalley and requested it, just because it sounded awesome. Little did I know that Ash and Quill is the third book in The Great Library Series! So, I immediately put a hold on the second book, Paper and Fire, to download it through the library, hoping the hold would be up by the time I read this book so that I wouldn't have to wait and could read all three, back to back. 

By the way, with a name like The Great Library, how could this series not be awesome?! All of the other books I've read about magical libraries have been AWESOME (i.e. The Library at Mount Char and The Invisible Library series)! Who doesn't love a book about books?!

The very beginning of the book starts with a letter from ancient Egypt, talking about the Pharaoh banning women from studying at the library, before jumping into the story. Here is an exerpt:
His divine  wisdom can kiss my common arse. We bling and hobble half of the world, through such ignorance and I will not have it. Women shall study at the Serapeum as they might be inclined. Let him execute me if he wishes, but I have seen enough of minds wasted in this world. I have a daughter.
My daughter will learn.
When I read this, I knew immediately that I would like this book!

Then the prologue starts to get into the story, beginning by explaining that Jess runs books (literally RUNS with them), which are super rare, around London with his family, which is illegal. Owning some books carries the death penalty.

They are called cutters, which are children and teenagers, that literally run books around London. However, they ran in packs, with most of them only carrying trash, in case they were caught, which was often, whether by the Garda or by people wanting money for turning them over to the Garda. The prologue explains one trip where Jess runs a book to an old man that doesn't go quite as planned.

Jess' father was in charge of their family's operation, which is famous for smuggling books. He collected the books, hired the cutters, and mapped out their routes, which they were to stick to at all costs, as at first, they started together in a pack, then spread out, taking individual paths to stretch the Garda thin.

Jess' brother died, because he was caught but kept silent about his identity and his family to protect them. Liam was only 17 years old at the time, and Jess was only 10 and had no idea how he would ever live up to his brother's legend. 

After reading the prologue, I knew I would LOVE this book! And all of this happens before the book even properly begins. 

The actual story starts when Jess is 16 and his father signs him up to train to work for the Library and spy for him. 

I also loved the aspects of historical fiction in this book! Although it is set in the future, it takes place in a world in which the Great Library of Alexandria was never destroyed, and it now rules the world.

The Library's propaganda says, "When you steal a book, you steal from the world."
Imagine a world in which anyone, anywhere, could create and distribute their own words, however ignorant or flawed! ... We cannot be weak if the Library is to resist this invasive, persistent disease of progress. 
There are excerpts between chapters, with bits of history that contribute to the story, usually letters from historical figures, and some current important figures in the Library. 

I particularly liked this excerpt. This is from a letter from Thomas Paine in 1795, voicing the Burner philosophy against the Library. Of course, access to this is strictly controlled and only accessible by the highest levels of the Library.
There are three parts to learning: information, knowledge, and wisdom. A mere accumulation of information is not knowledge, and a treasure of knowledge, in itself, is not wisdom.
The Library holds itself to be the keeper of both knowledge and wisdom, but it is not true. So much should never be held in the hands of so few, for it is a natural, venal habit of men to hold power. And knowledge is the purist form of power.
But there is no wisdom without knowledge, no progress without danger, and I am not the Library's child! I must argue my own information, build my own knowledge, and through experience, transform it into the treasured gold of wisdom.
This book went so many different directions that I never would have expected! It is fast-paced, and I loved everything about it! It made me laugh, it made me cry, and feel a whole wide range of emotions in between.

After finishing this book, I immediately downloaded Paper and Fire and started reading it, even though it was super late, and I probably should have just gone to bed...

Stay tuned for reviews for the next two books in the series! I'm about half-way done with Paper and Fire now.

I received a copy of this book from the publishers, through Blogging for Books, in exchange for an honest review.



Friday, July 7, 2017

Numbers Raging (Numbers Game #3) by Rebecca Rode

Numbers Raging (Numbers Game, #3)
THE THRILLING CONCLUSION IS HERE.
It's been ten weeks since Treena returned to NORA. The council has rejected her war preparations at every turn, and Dresden is backpedaling on his promises. Treena's secret followers push her to unseat Dresden and take control - something she refuses to consider, now with NORA on the brink of war. 
Vance has is own set of troubles. Drought has made his settlement's future bleak, and infighting has begun. Joining NORA seems inevitable, but Vance refuses to give in - not if it means putting his younger sisters and his people in danger. Then Treena asks him to join her at the peace convention overseas, forcing Vance to choose between his responsibilities and his heart.
Finally together, Treena and Vance must navigate the political undercurrents of a strange new country, stay together despite their enemies' determination to tear them apart, and convince an indifferent world to help them fight the most powerful and deadly foe they've faced yet.

Review

Warning: This first part is not actually about the book, but it speaks volumes to the awesomeness of this series and the quality of Rebecca Rode's writing.

First of all, I bought this book.

I know that wouldn't even be stated in most reviews, but let me regale you with my cheapness.

I have not actually purchased a book in years. Anything that I can't get from the library or request to read and review, I usually just wait until I can. To emphasize my point, let me give you an example, a few of the best series I've read in the past couple of years, I was literally DYING to read the next book in the series. Even after being super upset at having to wait 6 months to a year for the next book to be released, I waited until I could download a copy through the library, even though there were a ton of people that had it on hold in front of me, and it ended up taking at least another couple of months. 

Now that I have given you a little insight at just how cheap I am when it comes to reading, let me reiterate it for you: I BOUGHT this book!!

I read Numbers Game and Numbers Ignite, then read Chan's Story and Ruby's Story, which Rebecca Rode sent me for free, for signing up for her newsletter, through her website!  

I have ♥ed EVERYTHING about this series and just couldn't wait to see what happened in the last book! I am so cheap that I probably would have bought this book sooner, had I not been debating whether I could get a copy to review at some point, but right after finishing Ruby's Story, I immediately pulled up Amazon and downloaded Numbers Raging

Rebecca Rode didn't disappoint! This was an awesome ending to the series! I loved that Treena got to explore so much in this book, before returning to NORA. 

I still ♥ ♥ ♥ Treena! I ♥ her courage and faith in people. However, I did get a little frustrated at how trusting and naive she seemed at times, but Vance was usually there to look out for her and at least tray to talk some sense into her. 

This book was great, and I definitely don't regret actually paying for it one bit! It was a great way to wrap up the first two books. I hope this isn't the end of Treena and Vance's story though! I noticed that the author ended it in a way that would allow for another book... I hope that's not just wishful thinking! :) 

This book took a little bit of what I loved about the first 2 books, threw in some new aspects (that were totally surprising), and weaved them all together to create an amazing third book! 

Side note: I was so happy to see Chan and Maizel in this book! If you haven't already, I definitely recommend reading Chan's Story before reading this book. You can get it free, if you sign up for Rebecca Rode's newsletter. When I first read Chan's Story, I was a little confused why his story was so significant, but I was so thankful that I read it before starting this book, when I first saw his name in it. It will give you a great background story that will help you understand Chan and why he is doing what he does.


Friday, June 30, 2017

The Invisible Library Series by Genevieve Cogman

The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library, #1)
The first installment of an adventure featuring stolen books, secret agents and forbidden societies - think Doctor Who with librarian spies!
Irene must be at the top of her game or she'll be off the case - permanently...
 Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she's posted to an alternative London. Their mission - to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it's already been stolen. London's underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.
Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested - the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creature and unpredictable magic. Irene's new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own. 
Soon, she's up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option - the nature of reality itself is at stake. 

Review

I have wanted to read The Masked City so bad, since it was first released, but I never came across a copy and there were a lot of people ahead of me, on hold to download a copy from the library. So, it would have taken forever.

Then, I came across The Burning Page on NetGalley. I read the description and was interested, not even realizing that it was the third (and I until just not, what I thought was the final, but keep reading) book in the same series as The Masked City.

I wasn't even aware of this fact until I was approved to receive a review copy of the book, and thus began my wonderful journey through this magnificent series.

Background from Book One, The Invisible Library:

The first book explains all about the secret library that exists across worlds in an alternative reality. The Librarians' purpose is to "obtain" (and sometimes steal) rare books from various worlds in order to preserve them, which helps them maintain order. The first book is the first of such adventures for Irene, a junior Librarian, and her new assistant, Kai.

Throughout the story, all kinds of obstacles prevent them from retrieving the book in a world filled with chaos and magic. They make friends and enemies along the way, and the ending is the perfect set up for the second book, The Masked City.

No spoilers, but oh boy was a happy that I waited to read The Masked City.

The Masked City (The Invisible Library, #2)

The Masked City was worth the wait, but I am soooo glad that I didn't have to wait to read if after finishing The Invisible Library. I would have cried.

Instead of crying and wishing that I had a time machine to travel to the point in the future where I could pick up a copy, I was able to start reading the second book immediately after finishing the first.

The Burning Page (The Invisible Library, #3)

While I like the cover that is listed on the main GoodReads site for The Burning Page, I have to show you the cover that was presented on the NetGalley site and was used for some editions of the book.

The Burning Page (The Invisible Library, #3)

So, I received my copy of The Burning Page and realized that I absolutely had to get copies of the first two books so that I could review it. I know, torture, right?! 

The Burning Page starts out with an Inter-Library notice of the status of several alternate worlds, letting the Librarians know which worlds are safe, and which are prohibited from travel. Some are at war, some are experiencing power struggles between the fae (who crave chaos) and the dragons (who strive for order), and some have been looking a little too closely into the Library's dealings, making them not safe for travel, as Librarians must never reveal the existence of the Library or their relationship to it. 

Apparently some worlds have cloned dinosaurs. I particularly like this quote in one of the notices:

In fact, we wish to remind all Librarians that they are here to collect books, not dinosaurs. Those Librarians who have problems distinguishing between the two should take a refresher course in Library basics.

Again, I am so glad that I did not have to wait read this book! I would have cried if I had to wait to see how the story ends...

At the time I wrote the above statement, I thought that The Burning Page was the last book in the series. However, just now, as I was pulling the covers for this post, I saw that another book has been added, and I cannot contain by excitement! Here is the cover that is posted for The Lost Plot, scheduled to be released this December.

The Lost Plot (The Invisible Library, #4)

The description was finally added for The Lost Plot yet on GoodReads!
The fourth title in Genevieve Cogman's witty and wonderful The Invisible Library series, The Lost Plot is an action-packed literary adventure. 
In a 1930s-esque Chigago, Prohibition is in force, fedoras, flapper dresses and tommy gus are in fashion, and intrigue is afoot. Intrepid Librarians Irene and Kai find themselves caught in the middle of a dragon vs. dragon contest. It seems a young Librarian has become tangled in this conflict, and if they can't extricate him, there could be serious political repercussions for the mysterious Library. And, as the balance of power across mighty factions hangs in the balance, this could even trigger war. 
Irene and Kai find themselves trapped in a race against time (and dragons) to procure a rare book. They'll face gansters, blackmail and fiendish security systems. And if this doesn't end well, it could have dire consequences on Irene's job. And, incidentally, for her life...
So, thank you, NetGalley for alleviating my sorrow at having to wait to read The Burning Page. I will be anxiously waiting for the chance to read The Lost Plot!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Gambit by C.L. Denault

Gambit (The Prodigy Chronicles, #1)

In Earth's battle-ridden future, humans have evolved. Those with extraordinary skills ride to power and fame. Those without live in poverty.
Sixteen-year-old Willow Kent believed she was normal. But when a genetically-advanced military officer shows up in her village and questions her identity, long-buried secrets begin to emerge. With remarkable skills and a shocking genetic code the Core and its enemies will do anything to obtain, Willow suddenly finds the freedom she craves slipping through her fingers. Greed, corruption, and genetic tampering threaten every aspect of her existence as she's thrust, unwilling, into the sophisticated culture of the elite Core city. To ensure peace, she must leave the past behind, marry a man she's never met, and submit to the authority of a relentless officer with a hidden agenda of his own.
Her life has become a dangerous game. How much will she sacrifice in order to win?

Review

I got this book a long time ago and forgot that I had it. I'm trying to catch up on my reading, because I requested a bunch of books to read over the next few months. So, I'm trying to get through the ones I already have, which is taking some time, since I'm also taking classes again, now. 

I'm sad that I waited so long to read this book! It was AH-MAY-ZING! It reminded me a little of Six of Crows, which is one of my favorite books,

Will is an awesome character!  I absolutely loved her! I  the tiger references! More below (**contains spoilers**).

Despite how much I absolutely ♥ ♥  this book, I was really sad after I finished it. Somehow I had slipped over this book on my NetGalley shelf, due to the new-ish format, where all of the books you have requested are not all in the same place and are spread out in several different spots. 

By the time I realized that this book had been moved to a different section, I could't download it. Thank god it was available to download through the library, because knowing my cheap self, I probably wouldn't have bought it, which would have been a HUGE mistake! I'm so glad that I didn't just delete it from my shelf since I couldn't download it from NetGalley anymore! 

However, I am sooo sad that the next books in the series haven't been released yet! When I saw how long Gambit had been on my shelf and looked at the release days, I was so excited, because I thought that I might get to keep reading after I finished it, but there is no release date listed on the second book in the series yet. ☹️

However, I did email the author to see if she would be willing to send me an ARC of the next book, and she was super nice and responded the next day. She said that she is not sure when it will be released yet, but she will put me on a list to be sent an ARC! 

**BEWARE: SPOILERS BELOW**

If you plan to read the book and don't want to know any more, I suggest stopping here.

While I do see the appeal, and I do understand it, I was super disappointed with the way Willow submits to Reece. I know she is only 16, but still... However, I am willing to admit that by the end of the book, my mind was starting to change about him too, but I still have my reservations. 

Side note: I ♥ ♥ Tem and hope that we will see more of him in the coming books. 

I am super excited to see what happens next and learn more about Joshua and how Kane fits into everything. 

I will be (not so) patiently waiting for the next book!

I kind of received a copy of this book from NetGalley, but not really. 


Monday, June 19, 2017

Numbers Ignite (Numbers Game #2) by Rebecca Rode

Numbers Ignite (Numbers Game, #2)

Treena and Vance think they've escaped the numbers game forever. They're wrong.
After Treena's disastrous attempt to unite the nation, she has the deaths of hundreds haunting her dreams. Now, with hatred and accusations following her past the border, she's determined to leave that horrible day behind and find a peaceful, uneventful life with Vance and the settlers. But when she starts seeing mysterious figures hiding in the abandoned cities at night and uncovers a strange desert population, she realizes there's a danger much greater than NORA to worry about - and she just abandoned her people to their fate. 
Vance is a prisoner. Being rejected by the girl he loves and put on trial for betraying his clan are bad enough, but now he's been framed for a crime he never committed. Their less-than-perfect refuge has become the political game of a madman, and Vance is the only one who can stop it - if he can keep from being executed first. 
Treena and Vance are still very much in the game, and this time, it will take everything they have to save those they love. 

About the Author:

Rebecca Rode is the international bestselling author of the Numbers Game trilogy and Love Right, a sweet romance. Her published works also include the inspirational book for mothers, How to Have Peace when You're Falling to Pieces, and various freelance articles in the Desert News, Provo Daily Herald, KSL.com, Family Share, and Schooled Magazine. She loves cheesy martial arts movies, chocolate-banana shakes, and good, old-fashioned romance. Rebecca lives with her husband and four children. 

Social Media Links for the Author:

Review:

Holy crap! This book was awesome! 

This book has so many surprises and twists and turns! I loved it!

I  Vance and Treena! In case you also read my review of Red Winter and were wondering... No, my stance on cookie cutter romance plot lines being thrown into what would otherwise be awesome YA books has not changed one bit. The author just did a really good job with the love story in these books. It did not take away from the character development or from the focus on the other things going on in the book. It added an important aspect that I do not think the book would have been as good without.

The author did an excellent job of world building in Numbers Game, and in this book, she introduces readers to totally different aspects of that world, outside of NORA.

I loved following Treena's epic journey and first time outside of NORA. However, I was a bit disappointed by the ending. Mostly because it didn't keep going, but also, I feel like it just cut off and didn't have any kind of closure or provide a good transition into the next book.

The only thing that redeems this and relieves my frustration with the ending is that the final book in the series has already been released, and I do not have to wait to see what happens next.

Also, I want to thank Rebecca Rode for providing Chan's Story (Numbers Game #1.5) for free, for signing up for her newsletter. It was nice to read a story from a different character's POV about part of what was happening during the first book. I also saw that the author wrote Ruby's Story (Numbers Game #2.5), which I bet is AWESOME! I can't wait to read it! I  Ruby!

I just got done reading Chan's Story, and plan to read Ruby's Story next. Then, I have a few more books that I previously made commitments to read, but after that, I HAVE to read Numbers Raging to find out what happens next! I'll post my review soon!

I received this book from the author, through the Review Chain, in exchange for an honest review.

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