Book Review: Smuggler’s Run

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I’ve been trying to make an effort to catch up on reading the new cannon Star Wars books lately. The series is still small, but I have yet to fall in love with the books, though perhaps in time and with the right authors and stories I will.

I figured that I can’t go wrong with a Han Solo story. Who doesn’t love that scruffy looking nerf herder? This story focuses on an event that occurs between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes back.

I thought that the story was pretty good. It had a decent flow to it and the portrayal of Han was pretty spot on. One aspect I liked was how it explained just how difficult it is to pilot the Millennium Falcon, and how it really relies on having a pilot and a co-pilot in order to properly get the ship to respond. I never really gave any thought before as to why Chewbacca was the co-pilot, I just figured he was there because he was Han’s friend.

The story had a decent amount of action scattered throughout, which I feel really helped me enjoy the book more. Without that, the book would have been a bit bland. Plus how can you have a mission to rescue people important to the Rebellion if there aren’t a few blaster fights and ship battles along the way.

One thing I find strange about this book, and all of the other “Journey to” books that I have read so far, is that the 99% of the events within the book happen sometime during the orignal trilogy, yet they are labeled as a Journey To: The Force Awakens. Okay, yes there tend to be small things that will be referenced in The Force Awakens that you will read about in the book, but I just feel like it’s sort of faulty advertising. If it was truly a Journey To The Force Awakens story, then it should help to fill in the thirty year gap between the original trilogy and the new movies, not focus on something that happened during the original trilogy.

Though this book is labeled as Young Adult, I really don’t feel like it falls into the category. I guess it was the easy way the story unfolded that puts it in that genre.

Overall, this book was okay. It wasn’t great but it held it’s own in a fledgling series that is trying to build itself up to what the Expanded Universe what was – though I feel like it will take quite some time to reach that caliber of books. It is a worthwhile read for Star Wars fans that want to absorb every bit of the new cannon, but honestly for the average person it can probably be skipped.

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Book Review: Nimona

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Nimona is one of those books that I knew nothing about, but kept seeing it on so many blogs. It seemed like everyone loved this book and couldn’t stop recommending it. I’m normally leery of books that get too many recommendations, but I was also curious. So after months and months of debating on whether or not I should read this one, I decided to give it a chance.

I feel like I missed something. I liked the book, I really did. I just didn’t feel that love that everyone else seemed to feel when reading this book.

It was a quick read, and the characters were enjoyable enough. The story was…I don’t know, maybe this is where I only liked it and didn’t love it. This is really one of those ones that I can’t explain myself. Perhaps someone who did read this and love it can help me out here. Why did you love the book?

I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who haven’t read this book yet and will enjoyed it. Others may be like me and simply like it. I’m not sure if I would recommend it or not, but hey if you want to read it, do so, since you will never know if you will like, love or hate a book until you give it a try.

Book Review: Night of Cake & Puppets

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Often times, I don’t read novellas that are part of a book series. Either I forget that they exist or I just don’t have an overall interest in them. However, I knew that I wanted to read Night of Cake & Puppets. A few years ago, when I was actively reading the Daughter of Smoke & Bones series, I really wanted to read this one. In fact, I even bought the Kindle edition, since that was the only one available at the time. The problem was, I hate reading books on my Kindle, so I kept putting it off. Then finally the book was released in physical format and I had to get it.

I really wanted to love this book, because I loved the main books in this series. However, as I was reading this, I kept questioning things. Who the heck was Kaz? What the heck is going on? Who/what was Kishmish? While I was enjoying the story, I wasn’t fully understanding everything. Obviously the problem lied on my end. It had been too long since I had read the series can I could no longer remember who was who or anything that had happened up to this point.

So needless to say, while I liked the book, I didn’t love it. The story is a very quick read, and the illustrations scattered throughout definitely added something extra to the whole experience. I am glad that I finally read this one, even though it didn’t blow me away like I had hoped it would. I think to truly appreciate this book, I need to go back and reread the entire series, that way I will know all of the characters and events that led up to this point – which I plan to do at some point..

Book Review: World of Warcraft Traveler

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

For many years I have enjoyed the lore behind all of the World of Warcraft games, so any time a new book comes out, I am eager to read it. Because of this, I have read all of the current books published set in this world. So when I first heard about Traveler, I knew I had to read it. Not only was it a new book in the series, but it was also the first young adult book as well. I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure if a young adult Warcraft book would even be any good, but I was at least willing to give it a shot.

It took me a little bit to get into this book. I think the reason behind this is that it surrounds all new characters. Up until now, all previous Warcraft books have revolved around well known characters from the game, so you tend to already know things about them and the book merely expands on those things and ties it all into the current and/or future expansion of the game. It was not the case in this book. I’m not opposed to new characters at all, after all, the world setting of this series is so vast that you can easily have a new character, or several of them, in each new book and still only begin to scratch the surface. It’s just that it took a bit too long for me to have any invested interest in the characters. I realize that it does take time to truly establish characters and for them to grow, but it wasn’t until the second half of the book when things finally picked up enough for me to start enjoyed the story.

I will also admit that for quite some time the story itself felt a bit flat. It was clearly leading up to something, but the destination seemed so far off that the journey was getting a bit monotonous. The second half of the book was much better, things finally started to pick up and the plot and characters seemed to finally have a purpose.

I have to say that the character growth in the book was hit and miss. Makasa, the female lead of the story didn’t change very much, but Aramar, the male lead definitely had a lot of growth. It took him time to come into his own, but once he found his way, his growth came quickly.

A great addition to this book were the drawings without. Since Aramar is an artist at heart, I appreciated the fact that they included the drawings he did along the way, instead of just saying that he did them and not allowing us to see him capture the places and people that he met along the way.

Though this is not the strongest book in the overall Warcraft series, I still quite enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading the second book when it comes out. I do feel that younger readers would enjoy this story more, but really anyone who loves Warcraft or has even a small interest in the series may enjoy it as well.

Book Review: Sacred Seas

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Sometimes a book catches you by surprise, grabs hold of you and takes you on a beautiful, emotionally charged journey. This is how I felt throughout the entirety of The Sea Monster Memoirs trilogy. Tangled Tides set the foundation for it all, giving us a story about finding oneself, facing challenges head on and getting the love that you deserve. Dangerous Depths took that foundation and shook it hard, testing the characters even more and forming this beautiful tale of sorrow and perseverance. Sacred Seas came along, taking the best of both of those books, and added in new emotion, depth, trials and pushing the characters to their limits, setting us up one hell of a ride.

I do not normally read emotional books, yet Karen’s writing style allows me to enjoy feeling those emotions along with the characters. Getting that pulse of happiness, sorrow, anger, fear, elation, and that everything those characters experience, I experienced and it made me love the characters and the story even more. There is something almost refreshing when a book causes you to pause while reading and reflect on what it must be like to go through such trials and to come out the other side as a stronger person.

Let’s talk characters for a moment. One neat aspect of this trilogy, is that each book has a different set of narrators. While Yara is always one of the narrators, the other two change in each book. I feel like this really helps to showcase different aspects of the story and world, to present a well rounded tale. Having a multitude of perspectives spread throughout three books is surely a challenge to write, and yet Karen has tackled that and done it well. Her writing style has changed since the beginning of the series, and it’s a wonderful thing to see not just the story and characters evolve along the way, but the writer as well.

Then there is the Kraken. He is a force to be reckoned with. Though Yara and the others have had their fair share of obstacles to overcome, he brings a whole new meaning to the word challenge.

One aspect I really enjoy in this book is the character flaws. Of course we want characters to succeed. But not everything can, or should, come with ease. Things that may be obvious to us readers, aren’t always obvious to the characters, and when they do make those bad decisions (I’m looking at you Rownan!) there is bound to be consequences down the line. What they do when faced with those consequences really makes them grow as a character. I am glad to see these flaws included, because it makes the characters more realistic. No one is perfect.

The flow of this book is great. A little slow to start with as things are set into place, but then it picks up and doesn’t slow down. Each chapter pulls you along, diving into the next challenge that the characters must face and propelling you closer to the end. I couldn’t put this book down, since I kept wanting to know what would happen next, how would Yara, Treygan, Rownan and everyone else manage to get past their next major roadblock.

Scared Seas is a gift. Much like Medusa’s agape pearl, this story truly shines throughout. With it’s stellar fast-paced plot, multifaceted story, wonderful character growth, and a healthy dose of magic, myth and finding that delicate balance between love and loss, triumph and tragedy, and light and dark, Sacred Seas is the series ending that we deserve. This series has solidly placed itself in my list of favorites.

Book Review: The Last Olympian

My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

I almost didn’t read this book. I had pretty much lost interest in this series with the previous book and wondered if I should even bother. But then it started to bother me, knowing that there was just one book left in the series and that if I didn’t read it, it would be forever unfinished. So I sucked it up and read this book.

No surprise here, I didn’t like the book. I had stopped caring about the characters and their problems, I stopped caring about whether they could stop Kronos or not. I just didn’t care.

I will admit, that I am a bit bummed that I didn’t love this series more. It started off strongly but then just got less and less interesting with each progressive book. I guess all books in a series can’t be stellar. Ah well.

But you know what, I read it, so at least I can say I read the entire series. However, now I’m wondering if I should bother with the Heroes of Olympus series or not.

Book Review: Cress

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

For some silly reason, it took me a full month to read this book. Mostly it was because I was busy with other things, you know how life gets in the way of a good book, yeah that’s what happened, and then when I did have time to read I would pick up other books (generally short manga’s that I could read in one quick sitting). I wanted to read this book so badly, but everything seemed against me finishing it. Luckily, I did manage to get it done a whopping thirty days after starting it, and I really enjoyed it.

I’m not going to go into much detail with this, but I will cover some key points. First off, I thought Cress was a great character. She had her quirks, some faults and a definite zest for life. There is a lot of character growth for her over the course of this novel and I think the Cress we will see in the next book will be even better. I still hate Thorne. Not as much as I hated him in Scarlet, but I still really, really don’t like his character. He has redeemed himself some through his actions in this book, but ugh I just can’t stand the man.

Like the previous novels, everything has been coming together smoothly, perhaps not for the characters, but in the sense of all the story lines intermingling and joining into one very strong and appealing plot. It’s this aspect alone that has made me enjoy these books so much. I honestly didn’t think I would like this series at all, and didn’t see how these retellings would work in any way, and yet here I am loving these books and looking forward to reading the next one.

Am I the only one that was disappointed that Cress’ hair got cut so early in this book? I get why it happened, but I was hoping to see more Rapunzel-ish action.

Overall, this was a really good book. I only wish I could have read it in more of a one sitting fashion instead of it taking weeks to complete. Even so, I loved it and am really looking forward to finishing off this series, and yikes the end is so close I almost don’t want it to end. If you haven’t read this series yet, I would recommend checking it out, as it has great characters and a wonderful story line.