Monday, January 30, 2017

Pocket Book Reviews {January 2017}

Started the year off strong by reading seven books from a variety of genres, so, you know, already killin' it in 2017! Let's hope I can keep the momentum going for the rest of the year. Let me know if you've read any of these books and what you read this month.

P.S. -- See outfits based on four of these books here!

The Thousandth Floor
(5 hearts)

Written by Katharine McGee; It's one hundred years in the future and the Tower takes up most of New York City. It's a thousand-story building stretching toward the sky. The future is about innovation, but people never change and five teens living in the Tower all want something and all have something to lose. 

Wow! I'm stunned by this book and how much I enjoyed it! This book has been called "Gossip Girl in the future," so I wasn't sure I'd like it since I wasn't a big fan of Gossip Girl, but it definitely has that feel. It's essentially about rich and poor teens whose dramas and problems start to overlap all while living in a huge tower in the future.

And it's as impressive as the Tower and the technology they use every day. It's an exciting, drama-filled novel with twists and romances and betrayals and I honestly couldn't get enough.

The five main characters -- Avery, Leda, Eris, Rylin, and Watt -- are believable teenagers who don't always deal with their problems in the correct way, get overly emotional, think their problems are the end of the world, and each have a fascinating story. And they actually have parents, who look out for them or are sometimes also part of the problem. It's not one of those books where the parents are nowhere to be seen.

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The Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase #2)
(3 hearts)

Written by Rick Riordan; Thor's hammer is missing. Again. But it isn't just lost. It's fallen into enemy hands and if Magnus and his friends don't retrieve the hammer quickly, the mortal worlds will be defenseless against an onslaught of giants. 

I really enjoyed this since it started off strong and finished strong, but I lost interest in the middle. For a while there, I just didn't care about what was happening. But once we got to the wedding part, the story picked up and I had to know how Magnus, Sam, and Alex were going to fix things.

I think it's really cool that Riordan introduced a gender-fluid character. At times it's awkward for Magnus to not know whether to call Alex him or her and some characters are rude to Alex by saying he's not fully male or not fully female, and it's very reminiscent of what transgender people face. I think it's great that this character has been introduced into this world (and ours!), so that kids can see what it's like for Alex and what he/she has to deal with.

Because of the ending, I'm am so pumped for the next book! More Loki! And a favorite character being introduced into this series!

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Love Is Love
(5 hearts)

Edited by Marc Andreyko; The comic industry comes together to honor those killed in the Orlando Pulse shooting. This comic contains moving and heartfelt material mourning the victims, supporting the survivors, and celebrating the LGBTQ community. 

If you're looking for a collection of comics to restore your faith in humanity this is it! It's heart-wrenching, heartbreaking, but mostly heartwarming. While reading this I found myself experiencing a range of emotions: there were comics that made me laugh, made me smile, made my heart hurt, made me happy, and made me tear up. This collection gave me hope that more people will stand together than stand apart. Absolutely beautiful!

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Girl Waits With Gun (#1)
(4 hearts)

Written by Amy Stewart; A novel based on the forgotten true story of a one of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs. Constance Kopp and her sisters get into a buggy accident with a powerful silk factory owner and a dispute over damages turns into a war of bricks, bullets, and threats, but Constance will not back down.

Girl Waits With Gun feels less like I'm reading a book and more like a conversation. It feels like Constance Kopp is telling me about a year in her life. And I highly enjoyed it!

Everything about this book feels so real and true to life: the bickering between the Kopp sisters, the way the men treated Constance and the other women as less than (it is 1914), the instinctual fear the Kopp sisters had for Henry Kaufman and his men, the slow pace of the judicial system, and the boredom the sisters face because they're neither married nor working.

The best part of this book are the sisters: Constance is the oldest and a firecracker. She's taller than most men, she's smart as a whip, has a strong moral compass, and has no problem standing up for others. The flashbacks throughout the book were fascinating and informative about how Constance became the tough but moral woman she is. I enjoyed all of the sisters for different reasons since they're all so believable, but especially loved Constance and her determination to get justice for her family from Henry Kaufman after he torments them with threats. 

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The Castoffs, Vol. 1: Mage Against the Machine
  (3 hearts)

Written by M.K. Reed, Brian Smith, and Molly Ostertag; When three apprentice mages are sent to help a neighboring guild, they reignite a decade-old war with a robot army that has destroyed the world. 

A really interesting start to a new comic series! It has a Lumberjanes feel to it because it's about three young woman who go on a mission to save people while dealing with crazy and scary creatures. The added bonus in The Castoffs is that all three girls -- Charris, Ursa, and Trinh -- have different powers and the powers themselves fit nicely with their personalities; it's like an extension of themselves.

Not going to lie, the beginning part really confuses me since they were entirely different characters and I don't see how they fit in with the three girls yet. I also felt that the end got resolved too quickly and too easily, but it did end on a fun cliffhanger. I would definitely continue reading the series.

*Received from NetGalley.

Add to Goodreads (pub date: April 12th)

Who Could That Be At This Hour? (All The Wrong Questions #1)
(4 hearts)

Written by Lemony Snicket; A young Lemony Snicket begins his apprenticeship for a secret organization shrouded in secrecy. Now he has written an account of his childhood and the mystery he begins to solve in this new series. 

After reading A Series of Unfortunate Events and watching the new show on Netflix, I wasn't ready to be done with Lemony Snicket's world, so I picked this up and it was a great idea on my part. It feels very much like Snicket's more famous works on the Baudelaire children since it has his famous wit and snarkiness and realist attitude. Here Snicket is a young boy of 12 on his first adventure after his unusual education, which he only alludes to. What starts off as a straightforward mystery turns into something much more complicated and I highly enjoyed it, as well as the intriguing characters who are always more than they seem. Perfect for people who love A Series of Unfortunate Events!

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(4 hearts)

Written by Elly Blake; Ruby is a Fireblood who has concealed her powers of heat from the cruel Frostblood ruling class her entire life. But when her mother is killed trying to protect her, and rebel Frostbloods demand her help to overthrow the king, she agrees to help in order to have her revenge. 

Well, that was a fun ride! If you're looking for a hate-to-love romance set in a fascinating fantastical and almost-Medieval world then this is for you.

I'm not going to lie, Fireblood has a ton of issues and is SO cliche in many ways (evil king, young warrior with closed off emotions, stubborn heroine, death of a parent, spy in the castle), and yet I really enjoyed it. Ruby's fierceness and fiery personality and her ability to care for others really saved this book for me. It's through her eyes that we experience this world and because of that this world became a real place. Her kindness for others is something I related to strongly and it made me root for her. I also liked that she wasn't one of those heroines were her talents come easily; she struggled and she worked hard to hone her powers.

Despite this book's issues, I really did enjoy it! The world of fire and frost is absolutely enchanting and believable and just so cool! The folk tales, the powers, the darkness, the warring nations, and the royalty. I enjoyed all of those aspects so much and I look forward to seeing more of that in the next book!

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Have you read any of these books?

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~Sara ♥

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