Friday, February 5, 2016

Review of The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz

TitleThe House of Silk
AuthorAnthony Horowitz
Pages: 296
Publication Date: Oct. 2, 2012
Source: Birthday Present (Thanks Chris!)

Quick Summary
London, 1890. 221B Baker St. A fine art dealer named Edmund Carstairs visits Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson to beg for their help. He is being menaced by a strange man in a flat cap - a wanted criminal who seems to have followed him all the way from America. In the days that follow, his home is robbed, his family is threatened. And then the first murder takes place. The House of Silk brings Sherlock Holmes back with all the nuance, pacing, and almost superhuman powers of analysis and deduction that made him the world's greatest detective, in a case depicting events too shocking, too monstrous to ever appear in print... until now.
Opening Lines
"I have often reflected upon the strange series of circumstances that led me to my long association with one of the most singular and remarkable figures of my age."

My Thoughts
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Anthony Horowitz is a genius! I've never read a Sherlock story that is written as closely to the originals as his. If you missed my review of Moriarty by Horowitz, definitely check it out. I read these two books out of order, but they stand alone as stories so it was fine. Comparing the two, I actually prefer Moriarty to The House of Silk because I've always loved the Moriarty/Sherlock rivalry. But The House of Silk is just as good in its writing style, its capturing of the characters of Sherlock and Watson, and its suspense and intrigue! 

Once again, I couldn't figure out what was going to happen in the end - the mark of a truly good mystery story. I think this is especially true of a Sherlock mystery because some of Sherlock's charm is that he is so incredibly intelligent that no one else could possibly put clues together the way that he can. The story has to outsmart us as readers. And it does! This story is a brilliant addition to Sherlockian canon. I think the way that Horowitz wrote this book as an untold tale by Watson was beautiful. We see Watson reflecting on his time with Holmes as he leaves us this final story. It highlights all that we love about Sherlock and Watson, while adding something new to their narrative. 

There isn't a whole lot that I can mention about the plot that hasn't been said in the summary without giving anything away about the ending, so I apologize for leaving the details vague. But you can trust me. If you like Sherlock in any form (original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories, BBC Sherlock show, Elementary TV show, Robert Downey Jr. adaptation, etc.), then you will love The House of Silk and Moriarty as much as I do! 

Rating
Overall, 5 out of 5 hearts!!!
Absolutely loved it!

About the Author
Anthony has been writing since the age of eight, and professionally since the age of twenty. In addition to the highly successful Alex Rider books, he is also the writer and creator of award winning detective series Foyle’s War, and more recently event drama Collision, among his other television works he has written episodes for Poirot, Murder in Mind, Midsomer Murders, and Murder Most Horrid. Anthony became patron to East Anglia Children’s Hospices in 2009. On 19 January 2011, the estate of Arthur Conan Doyle announced that Horowitz was to be the writer of a new Sherlock Holmes novel, the first such effort to receive an official endorsement from them and to be entitled The House of Silk.

Follow Anthony Horowitz at the links below:

Support the non-profit I work for (Family Life Services of Washtenaw County) or one of your choice by purchasing a copy of The House of Silk on Amazon Smile here

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Wine About Wednesday: Annabeth Neverending with Milwaukee's Best

In this feature I will pair a wine (or other beverage that fits the story) with whatever book I am currently reading. I'll give some thoughts on the book while I am still reading it, hopefully some reason (however ridiculous) that the beverage I am drinking goes with the book, and pose a few questions to you or the author. I would love for this to be interactive and fun, so please leave your thoughts in the comment section about the book or the drink. Or let me know if you have a good pairing of your own! The only thing that I ask is that you don't ruin the ending of the book for me!! I will be talking about books that I haven't finished yet, and one of the greatest sins is ruining the ending of a good book. Don't be that guy. 

Quick note: I received this book from Leyla Kader Dahm (the author) for review. 

My Current Read
Annabeth Neverending is about Annabeth who picks up an Egyptian ankh at a flea market and begins seeing visions of a past life in ancient Egypt. At the same time, she is juggling a pair of hot brothers that both seem interested in her and both feature in her past-life visions. Talk about boy drama! Phew! Better her than me. I have enjoyed reading this book so far. I can't decide which brother I want Annabeth to end up with. It's a toss up right now. I'm sure as I get further into the book, I'll have a stronger opinion. 

Why This Drink?
I chose Milwaukee's Best to pair with Annabeth Neverending because it actually goes with the story. Unfortunately, I didn't have any Milwaukee's Best in the fridge, and I'm cheap because I don't exactly make money blogging. So, I am officially pairing this book with Milwaukee's Best; you'll just have to pretend that's the beer in the picture!
The reason that I chose a beer to go with this book is because each time Annabeth has a vision from a past life, she comes out of it with side effects. The first time this occurs, she comes home with a hankering for beer, even though she's 15! When her parents leave the house, she grabs a Milwaukee's Best from the fridge and drinks it. 

"'We're going to the grocery store. Want anything?' Dad asks as he jingles the keys in his pocket. 'How about some beer?' My parents look at each other and laugh. I join in. But it's forced. Because I'm not kidding. Ever since the flea-market vision, I've been insanely parched. For some reason, I feel like the only thing that will quench my thirst is beer. Even though I can't stand the stuff, or it's smell... After what feels like an eternity, they're finally gone, and I take the stairs two at a time, the box containing the ankh in one hand and a Milwaukee's Best in the other."  
- excerpt from Annabeth Neverending (pg. 13, 14)

"She pulls out a large volume on ancient Egypt and flips through it. 'According to this, the Egyptians loved beer. Sometimes they even settled debts with it.'" 
- excerpt from Annabeth Neverending (pg. 35)

Apparently, the Egyptians really loved beer. Who knew? (This is what I get for acquiring my knowledge of ancient Egypt from Stargate SG-1!) Beer was a refreshing beverage to complement this intriguing book. Be sure to check back soon for my review and a giveaway!

Discussion Question
So, I have to ask: If you had two hot brothers that were into you and you could see into a past life with them, would you want to know what they were like? Or would you prefer to make up your mind about them in this life alone? 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Review of Echoes by Laura Tisdall

Title: Echoes
Author: Laura Tisdall
Pages: 291
Publication Date: Sept. 8, 2015


Quick Summary
Volatile mathematical genius Mallory Park is living two lives. In one, she is balancing senior year with looking after her little brother and troubled ex-Marine father; in the other, she spends her nights glued to her laptop, breaking into some of the world’s most secure systems as the hacker Echo Six. As part of a corruption-exposing cyber network called the Forum, Mallory is far more at ease among the codes and hidden identities of her online world than she has ever been in the real one, but when other hackers start to go missing, she finds herself caught up in a web of secrets that could have repercussions far beyond both. When anyone can be a name on a screen, how do you know who to trust?
Opening Lines
"Mallory Park hunches forward over the desk, icy blue eyes glued to the screen of the laptop, a single glow in the otherwise darkened room." 

My Thoughts

This is the first international book that I've received from an author! I was so excited when I got it in the mail with it's beautiful British stamp. This may have happened awhile ago for my fellow book bloggers, but it was very special to me. It made me feel like this blog might actually be read by someone. Call me crazy, but that's the truth of it! But enough about my emotional moment with my book mail. On to the review! 

My first contact with Echoes was an email from the author requesting a review. But it was the cover that caught my attention. Yeah, yeah. Don't judge a book by it's cover and all that. But let's be real. We all do it. And this cover was very compelling to me. It's got hints of The Matrix, a girl with a clever smirk, and a spy-esque vibe. I just had to know more. When I read the synopsis and discovered it was about a teen computer hacker, I was sold. Maybe it's my girl crush on Chloe Sullivan from Smallville or my love of the computer nerds in Chuck, but I have a thing for hackers. I find them to be thoroughly fascinating. Probably because I wouldn't know the first thing about it, and it all looks like magic to me! Needless to say, this book was worth the fancy postage. 


Mallory Park is a compelling main character too. She leads two lives. In one, she is a quiet girl just trying to get through life without anyone noticing that she is the one taking care of her brother and father. In the other, she is a smart kick-ass computer hacker who can make anything happen with a few lines of code. This juxtaposition of a shy girl going through the motions and a risk taker illegally hacking in her bedroom is so poignant for teen culture today. Having been a teacher, I've seen so many kids who live double lives, even if they aren't quite this extreme. So many teens are one person at school and then completely different at home. They have secret ways of expressing themselves that they are afraid to share with their peers for fear of ridicule or rejection. They hide who they really are behind a tough exterior. I know students don't think that teachers/adults notice or understand these shifts, but the good ones do. This split within Mallory adds a lot of depth to her character and makes her more real to us as readers. She expresses herself and her individuality in computer code and hacking finesse. She's a math genius, but consciously does just enough to get average grades in school so as not to draw unwanted attention to herself. She is a messy character. And I love that about her. 


She is also the one holding her family together. Her dad deals with PTSD and her mom left awhile ago. She takes care of her brother. She makes sure they eat healthy. She runs interference with her dad and makes sure that he gets himself to work. She takes her brother to school and worries about him when he gets picked on. She holds down a steady job. She is the adult in her household. But she is just a kid. I think people would be shocked how often this is the case in families across our nation (and probably the world). I had so many kids in my classes at school that dealt with this kind of family drama. So many kids who had to grow up too fast. I think Laura Tisdall really hits home on some valid issues in American culture. These are feelings that many American kids have. These are real issues in our communities. And this adds reality to Mallory Park's character and her background. 


Now, that being said, there were also some parts of this story that were pretty far-fetched. I can get past teen genius computer hacking. That I can believe. I can believe a friendship turned romance over the internet. I can believe a hacker ring leaking info to the public. But I doubt Warden (love interest) would be able to convince his parents to let him fly out to the east coast alone to "visit a college." Or that these two high schoolers would be able to sneak into a nightclub with the computer equipment necessary to perform an on-site hack. I doubt Mallory's brother and dad wouldn't ask more questions. Sure, the dad is checked out most of the time. But I think he would notice if his caretaker was missing for long periods of time. These are all things that made me say, really? but they aren't deal-breakers. I really enjoyed this book. I loved the interactions between Warden and Mallory. Their flirting and witty banter is wonderful. I love the social commentary about teen hardships in America. And I still have an unhealthy love for computer hackers. 


My Rating

Overall, I give it 4 out of 5 hearts.
Really good.

About the Author
Laura grew up in Woking, England, and studied music at the University of Surrey. She has written two musicals. The most recent is fantasy story The In-Between, the concept album for which featured performances by nine leading West End stars. Since it's release, it has been played on BBC Radio 2, performed at West End Live and received hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube and Facebook. Laura's first musical, Faerytale, was showcased by the Guildford School of Acting at the Electric Theatre. She has also written the scores for two nationally touring plays, The Haunting and The Perfect Murder, and been Music Advisor for a third, Dead Simple. Echoes is her first published novel.

Follow Laura Tisdall at the links below:
Twitter: @LauraTisdall 

Support the non-profit I work for
(Family Life Services of Washtenaw County) or one of your choice by purchasing a copy of Echoes on Amazon Smile here!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

On My Wish List: Bloodlines by T.K. Roxborogh

On My Wish List, you might find tidbits about books that caught my attention, authors I adore with new books out, or simply the next book in a series I've been reading. Please feel free to weigh in with your own additions and recommendations! I know y'all have excellent taste.

Title: Bloodlines
Author: T.K. Roxborogh 
Publication Date: Jan. 5, 2016
Quick Summary
(from Goodreads page)
The rebellion is over, Scotland has its rightful king, and the battlefields lie still—for now. Fleance, son of Banquo, has brought a new dawn to Scotland, and in the process become a very different man from the lowly huntsman who rode north to save his country. A generation has passed since Macbeth, but still there are evil forces at work across the land. Civil war is imminent, and there are traitors at the castle gates. The witches who foresaw Fleance’s rise to power are watching and scheming once again. And there is turmoil, too, within the king’s own soul: urged to marry a princess and strengthen his claim to the throne, he must choose between Rachel, of royal bloodline, and his first love, Rosie, whom he left behind. With the rebels circling and his crown starting to slip, the time has come for Fleance to prove that Scotland is in his heart as well as in his blood.

About the Author
(from Goodreads page
T. K. Roxborogh lives in New Zealand and has been a teacher since 1989. She is the author of over twenty-five published works across a range of genres: novels, plays for the classroom, Shakespearean texts, English grammar books, and adult non-fiction. She teaches English at a secondary school, writes and reads at every opportunity and, with her husband, runs around after her family – both the two- and four-legged kind. Roxborogh loves watching movies and TV shows, and staying in her pajamas for as long as possible.

Why is Bloodlines On My Wish List?
There are a few reasons that this book made my Wish List. First, I love Shakespeare. The man was genius with the written word. 'Nuff said. *mic drop*

Second, I love it when authors take stories (like Macbeth) and go further with them. What happens after the play ends? How do the characters react to all of the change right at the end of the story? How is the world different now that the climax of the play has been reached? I think it's fascinating and has so much potential. Assuming that it is done well, of course. "There's the rub" (to quote Shakespeare!). There are many authors who attempt this kind of thing and completely butcher it. These tend to be the kind of books that I love or I hate. There's not a whole lot of room for mediocre in this style if you ask me. Needless to say, I'm willing to take a gamble and try Bloodlines. So far, I've only heard good things about it, but it is still relatively new.

Now, as I was preparing this post, I discovered that this is the second book in this series! Darn. So I suppose that I also need to add Banquo's Son (book 1) to my Wish List as well. But I can put this as my third reason it made the Wish List. It's nice when the story continues past one book. It allows me to stay in that world a little longer and get to know the characters a little better. Obviously, some authors milk their stories for all they're worth, adding a lot of unnecessary fluff. But I think this story will have enough political, magical, and romantic intrigue to warrant a trilogy. 


If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Bloodlines, support the non-profit that I work for (Family Life Services of Washtenaw County) or one of your choice on Amazon Smile here! 

If you'd rather read the books in order, like a normal person, you can find Banquo's Son on Amazon Smile here! 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Review of The Young Elites by Marie Lu

TitleThe Young Elites
AuthorMarie Lu
Pages: 355
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Source: Purchased myself at Literati Bookstore


Quick Summary
Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites. Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all. Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen. Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

Opening Lines
"I'm going to die tomorrow morning. That's what the Inquisitors tell me, anyway, when they visit my cell." 


My Thoughts
The most compelling thing about this book for me is the concept and the way that the author came about it:

"The Young Elites began as a hero's journey - a boy takes on the task of mastering his powers and vanquishing the villain. The story didn't work, though, and I was left struggling... I mulled this over with my agent, Kristen Nelson, and she said, 'Hey, what about this Adelina girl? She's an interesting side character.' 
Sometimes, all it takes to see the right path is a flash of brilliant insight from someone else. I realized the problem was that I didn't want to tell a hero's journey; I wanted to tell a villain's." 
- from the author's Acknowledgments at the end of The Young Elites.

I think this is a fascinating process. I never really thought about telling a story from the villain's perspective first. Sometimes we see novels, like Fairest by Marissa Meyer, that give us background about the villain of the story. But in those novels, we aren't sympathetic towards the villain. We may understand the motives behind their atrocities better or even feel a bit bad for the villain, but the villain never trumps the hero in our sympathies. The Young Elites was written entirely from the villain's point of view. We are sympathetic to Adelina and her cause. We care about the horrors that she's endured in her short life. And we want her to have the happy ending. We actually view the villain of this story as the hero. I've never read a book like that before, especially not one that was written before the hero's story. That is why this book is so compelling to me. It's totally new. 

And Lu's agent is right: Adelina is an interesting character. She was touched by the blood fever as a child, which marred her face and turned her hair silver. But it also gave her the power to create illusions. She is a Young Elite, a malfetto with powers, perhaps the most dangerous of them all. She is vulnerable and afraid, but she has a darkness inside of her that protects her and lashes out at those that try to harm her. She is definitely not a hero. She makes a great villain. But turning the story on its head affects all of the other characters too, making their roles ambiguous. Teren is very religious, works for the government, is a rival/threat to Adelina, and is in love with a princess. By all rights, he would be a good hero. But he is also a zealot with a mean streak. He's too messy to be the universally accepted hero of this story. Then there is Enzo - handsome, roguish, a crowned prince with a sexy rebellious streak. He is definite hero material, but his role also becomes ambiguous as the story progresses. And we can't be sure who the hero of the story is. We may not know until the end. We care about Adelina, even though we don't always want to. I don't know what is going to happen, and I love it! 

Marie Lu is one of the most creative YA authors that I've read. She comes at stories and characters in a unique way. She's unpredictable. I can't wait to see what she will do next. 


My Rating
Overall, I give it 4 out of 5 hearts.
Really good.

About the Author
She writes young adult novels, and has a special love for dystopian books. Ironically, she was born in 1984. Before becoming a full-time writer, she was an Art Director at a video game company. Now she shuffles around at home and talks to herself a lot. She graduated from the University of Southern California in '06 and currently lives in LA, where she spends her time stuck on the freeways.

Follow Marie Lu at the links below:
Support the non-profit I work for (Family Life Services of Washtenaw County) or one of your choice by purchasing a copy of The Young Elites on Amazon Smile here

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Wine About Wednesday: Smart Girl with Champagne!

In this feature I will pair a wine (or other beverage that fits the story) with whatever book I am currently reading. I'll give some thoughts on the book while I am still reading it, hopefully some reason (however ridiculous) that the beverage I am drinking goes with the book, and pose a few questions to you or the author. I would love for this to be interactive and fun, so please leave your thoughts in the comment section about the book or the drink. Or let me know if you have a good pairing of your own! The only thing that I ask is that you don't ruin the ending of the book for me!! I will be talking about books that I haven't finished yet, and one of the greatest sins is ruining the ending of a good book. Don't be that guy. 

My Current Read
So, this wasn't supposed to be a review post, but I did actually finish the book before writing this... so I'll give it a rating at least. I originally wanted to use Smart Girl for Wine About Wednesday because it paired so well with a beverage! I guess I'll just be stubborn and do both. 

Smart Girl is actually the third book in Rachel Hollis's Girls Series. I haven't read the other two (though I've since added them to my Goodreads page), but this book is completely understandable on its own. There was some definite back story on a few characters and relationships for which I'm sure it would have been helpful to read the other books, but I got along okay without them. This book is a fun romance, and Miko, the main character, is definitely someone that I identify with. We had very similar approaches to love back when I was in high school/college (though, it is definitely not the way I met my husband!). She is a go-getter. She knows what she wants and goes after it - even to the point of scheming and studying fictional romantic relationships in the books she loves so much to try to get tips on how to woo her man. While I was thankfully never that desperate, I did share some of her feelings of loneliness and frustration at feeling unnoticed by the guys I liked. 

This was a really fun read. I described it to my husband as a "beach book", meaning its engaging enough that I wanted to read it to see what would happen, but I didn't have to concentrate or think too hard about the plot or any hidden meanings or mysteries. It's perfect for taking to the beach. If you fall asleep in the sun, you can pick up where you left off and not miss anything. But you also care what happens to the characters. If you're interested, maybe start with Party Girl and Sweet Girl before moving on to this one. I think the added character development will give it some depth and make this book even more enjoyable. 

Quick note: I received this book as an eARC from NetGalley. The book will be released to the public on January 26, 2016. 

My Rating
For the record, I'd give this book a 3 out of 5 hearts. 

Why This Drink?
Miko and a bunch of her friends all share champagne on New Years at midnight. This is a definite turning point in the story: exciting things happen, new discoveries are made, there is even a moment of self-enlightenment. Now, that being said, the champagne itself isn't bringing about these changes, but it is present for all of them. Unfortunately, I am not particularly partial to champagne, so I went for a mimosa instead. I know that's like a "brunch" beverage or something, but it was the only way I could order the champagne and still want to drink it! 
Orange juice + champagne = delicious... 
and add some Smart Girl on the side for a little kick! 


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Review of Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz

Title: Moriarty
Author: Andrew Horowitz
Pages: 285
Publication Date: December 9, 2014
Source: Christmas gift (Thanks Chris!!)


Quick Summary
Anthony Horowitz's nail-biting new novel plunges us back into the aftermath of the fateful struggle at the Reichenbach Falls. Days after Holmes and Moriarty disappear into the waterfall's churning depths, Frederick Chase, a senior investigator at New York's infamous Pinkerton Detective Agency, arrives in Switzerland. Chase brings with him a dire warning: Moriarty's death has left a convenient vacancy in London's criminal underworld. There is no shortage of candidates to take his place—including one particularly fiendish criminal mastermind. Chase is assisted by Inspector Athelney Jones, a Scotland Yard detective and devoted student of Holmes's methods of deduction. The two men join forces and fight their way through the sinuous streets of Victorian London in pursuit of this sinister figure, a man much feared but seldom seen, who is determined to stake his claim as Moriarty's successor.
Opening Lines
"Does anyone really believe what happened at the Reichenbach Falls? A great many accounts have been written but it seems to me that all of them have left something to be desired - which is to say, the truth." 

My Thoughts
Moriarty is absolutely brilliant! Anthony Horowitz really knows how to write a mystery. I was completely taken by surprise at the end! This is one of the best mystery novels I've read in a very long time. It was even sanctioned as canon by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's estate! That is a huge honor. I was giddy with excitement when I learned this, as I am a huge Sherlock fan. This is actually Horowitz's second Sherlock novel accepted by the estate, but I'm posting my reviews out of order because I read them out of order. The novels stand alone anyway, but if you would like to read them in order, the other book is called The House of Silk.

Some might say that this book is a bit hard to read, as Horowitz uses the same English dialect that we see in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories. I think this voice gives it authenticity and really paints the image of the world Holmes lived in. Unlike The House of Silk and the other tales of Holmes' adventures, this book is not written from the perspective of Dr. John Watson. Frederick Chase of the Pinkerton Detective Agency is our narrator instead. He is an American brought to Reichenbach Falls on his own investigation who teams up with a student of Sherlock's, Inspector Anthelney Jones. Jones is mentioned in other stories about Holmes and has come to the Reichenbach Falls to see for himself if Sherlock and Moriarty are truly dead. The two become unlikely friends and aid each other in the investigation of a nasty crime ring in London. Anthelney exhibits many of the deductive skills we've come to associate with Holmes, and Chase willingly takes on the role of Dr. Watson as chronicler. This story has everything you love in a Sherlock mystery (aside from Sherlock and Watson of course!). 

Horowitz does an amazing job of bringing out that special Sherlock/Watson vibe from two characters that aren't Holmes and Watson. I wouldn't have thought it possible without having read it myself, but it's true! If you love the works by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the Sherlock movies starring Robert Downey Jr., or (my personal favorite) the BBC show Sherlock, then you will LOVE this mystery. It's bloody brilliant (as the British would say!). 

My Rating
Overall, I give this book a very strong 5 out of 5 hearts! 

About the Author
Anthony has been writing since the age of eight, and professionally since the age of twenty. In addition to the highly successful Alex Rider books, he is also the writer and creator of award winning detective series Foyle’s War, and more recently event drama Collision, among his other television works he has written episodes for Poirot, Murder in Mind, Midsomer Murders, and Murder Most Horrid. Anthony became patron to East Anglia Children’s Hospices in 2009. On 19 January 2011, the estate of Arthur Conan Doyle announced that Horowitz was to be the writer of a new Sherlock Holmes novel, the first such effort to receive an official endorsement from them and to be entitled The House of Silk.

Follow Anthony Horowitz at the links below:

Support the non-profit I work for (Family Life Services of Washtenaw County) or one of your choice by purchasing a copy of Moriarty on Amazon Smile here

Friday, January 15, 2016

Review of The Lunar Chronicles, Book 3: Cress by Marissa Meyer

TitleCress
Author: Marissa Meyer
Pages: 550
Publication Date: February 4, 2014
Source: purchased myself at Barnes and Noble

Quick Summary
In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who's only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice. When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.
Opening Lines
"Her satellite made one full orbit around planet earth every sixteen hours. It was a prison that came with an endlessly breathtaking view - vast blue oceans and swirling clouds and sunrises that set half the world on fire."

My Thoughts
Okay, I think my husband is actually getting jealous of the amount of time I have spent reading this series over the past few days! Sorry, babe. But these books are fan-freaking-tastic! I don't know how I made it until Christmas for Winter (I read the first three books in April last year)! In all seriousness though, these books are superb examples of fractured fairytales. 

Cress, much like Scarlet, continues the wider story of both Cinder and Scarlet, but focuses on the Rapunzel-like story of Cress. Instead of a tower with no exit, Cress is imprisoned in a satellite with no way to get to Earth or Luna. Her only human interaction is with her handler, the Lunar Queen's head thurmaturge. She is Luna's secret weapon - the way they hack Earth's surveillance and get the upper hand. She is also a shell. Shells can't be glamoured or controlled by Lunars, and they have no Lunar gifts themselves. Through a series of crazy circumstances, Cress is rescued from her tower only to find herself in the company of the most wanted criminal in existence. 


The characterization, the voice, and the plot of this tale are all solid. I've gone into a bit more detail on these concepts in my first two reviews (Cinder, Scarlet) and Cress is just as good if not better than the first two books. There isn't a whole lot more for me to praise, but if I missed something, please bring it to my attention. All I can say is that Marissa Meyer is an excellent writer, and I want to read everything that she ever writes. This is one of my new favorite series of all time. No joke. It's that big of a deal!


Rating

Overall, I give is a very strong 5 out of 5 hearts!!

About the Author
Marissa Meyer lives in Tacoma, Washington, with her fiancé and their two cats. In addition to her slight obsession with books and writing, she's big on road-tripping, wine-tasting, and hunting for antiques. She is represented by Jill Grinberg. Cinder, her debut novel, is a futuristic re-envisioning of Cinderella in which Cinder is a cyborg mechanic.

Follow Marissa Meyer at the links below:
Support the non-profit I work for (Family Life Services of Washtenaw County) or one of your choice by purchasing a copy of Cress on Amazon Smile here
 
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