Tag Archives: fantasy

Book Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Razorbill Published April 28, 2015 446 Pages
Published April 28, 2015
446 Pages

After losing her grandparents and with her only brother sent to jail for treason, Laia does the unthinkable . . . become a slave in order to spy on the Empire’s military academy and in return her brother will be freed. 

Freedom is something Elias, an unwilling but finest soldier of the Empire, wants more than anything.  When Elias and Laia realize that their fates are joined, the two begin to change the empire as they know it.

This was a long read. But I stayed up til 2 a.m. to finish it. It was worth it but by the skin of its teeth.

Laia has no common sense and for most of the book she is this fragile girl and then when she realized she was completely screwed over it was like a switch went off and she became a slight bad ass. My issue with this is there was no progress in her character. Yea, she can take some pain and yes that made her mentally strong but she wasn’t the brightest thing in the shop. Also for the most part she was boring. If it wasn’t for the fact that everyone wanted a piece of her she would have lost my interest sooner.

Elias was a interesting character because he really wasn’t sure what role should he play. Should he kick everyone’s ass in order to become the emperor in order to make change or should he complain and try to leave or should he fall for his best friend? I understood the dilemma and I applaud the author for his complexity but it went on for way too long in the 446 pages.  But I did like Elias better than Laia.

Another issue I had with this book . . . the love triangle. . . . . not necessary; not even close.

There was predictability in this book.

There was too much downtime and too much whining in this book.

However, I finished and liked this book. Tahir (the author) has a way of captivation. Not the ‘I can’t turn my face away from a train wreck’ but she weaves the words in a way that is almost like television. I love and appreciate that so much.  The imagery in this book was wonderful and it is what tied everything together.

Finally, although I liked this book something isn’t fully clicking with me and I can’t be sure if I will read book two (duh there is a book two). It took me a day after reading this book to process it and something still isn’t generating in my heart with this book. Not because there isn’t passion, not because there isn’t love. Maybe its the characters? *shrugs* I will give it time.


3 Pickles


Impatiently Waiting For: Six of Crows (The Dregs #1) by Leigh Bardugo

Henry Holt and Company To Be Published Sept 29, 2015 320 Pages
Henry Holt and Company
To Be Published Sept 29, 2015
320 Pages

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.- Goodreads

NetGalley Review: Chimera (Chimera #1) by Phil Gomm

Troubador Publishing Ltd Published Oct. 15, 2014 100 Pages (ebook)
Troubador Publishing Ltd
Published Oct. 15, 2014
100 Pages (ebook)

After running away from his impostors posing as his parents, Kyp Finnegan is lost in Chimera. Chimera a dangerous world where lost things are placed and evolve into dangerous creatures. 

With the help of Atticus, a sock snake, Kyp must avoid the biggest danger of them all Madame Chartreuse, who wants to imprison him in Chimera forever.

This wasn’t for me . . . at all.

This book reminded me of the Chronicles of Narina, which I didn’t appreciate at all.  The story just jumped right into Kyp and him becoming lost. The back-story didn’t show up until almost the 6th chapter which causes confusion. I was literally in awe at how I know nothing about the character other than the fact that his parents aren’t really his parents.  Eventually I do come to know about the character but at that point I was just disappointed with the book.

The author doesn’t completely explain Chimera. Yes, I am aware it is a place for lost things and they evolve but something huge was missing and I felt that the author didn’t develop his ideas enough,  The imagination was there and I felt a passion within the author’s words but it felt like a rip off.

Overall, I didn’t enjoy this book. This is not to say that someone else may not like it. It lacked complete originality, character development and a consistent flow and order of ideas.

2 Pickles.

Book Review: The Nightmare Dilemma (The Arkwell Academy #2) by Mindee Arnett


        Tor Teen Published March 4th 2014 384 Pages
Tor Teen
Published March 4th 2014
384 Pages

Dusty Everhart thought things would get a little easier after book one. But she was terribly wrong. When one of her mermaid friends is attacked and left for dead, Dusty’s bully, Lance is accused of the crime and it is up to Dusty to prove his innocence. 

But when Dusty enters Eli’s dreams for answers she only gets nightmares and not to mention her ex-boyfriend is being released from prison, which complicates things for Dusty and Eli.

Not only does Dusty have to put her own nightmares and Eli’s together to see the bigger picture, but she also needs to decide who to give her heart to.  

If you haven’t read the first book look at the review here. If you also haven’t checked out the interview with Mindee Arnett check here.

Although this is the second book Dusty is doubting herself even more. It seems like she still hasn’t found her footing and I am not sure how many books need to happen for her to get it through her head not only is she the most important person at the school but she is also great at what she does. It was a bit disappointing to see that Dusty still doesn’t have any faith in herself. She was way too nervous (for a lack of better term).

However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t like her. I actually love Dusty but no person or character is perfect. Eli was a too much of a jerk and I can honestly say I didn’t like his character. He was very immature about his feelings that I really couldn’t bare reading his words. What bothered me most about their “relationship” is that Eli refused to tell Dusty why they couldn’t be together. It wasn’t as if he was being a jerk every time they were together. I would have accepted that not the I’m going to kiss you this day and ignore you all tomorrow.

Also Mindee (author), I love your creative writing skills but you seriously think these kids need another added drama in their life. *Spoiler* The fact that I am pretty sure you are going to add into book three a way for Eli and Dusty can be together and break the curse. I think that is too much going on. But hey! I trust ya!

Anyway beyond the characters the story was great. The fact that the story doesn’t take the time to bore readers with a recap is great. The mystery from the beginning to the end was great as well. I just didn’t understand why the adults didn’t believe Dusty when she said things were going on or why her best friend was keeping secrets.  I really didn’t appreciate her besty either; something is very shady about her now.

None the less, the story was a great read and despite the character flaws this gets 4.5 Pickles


Book Review: The Last Dragonslayer (The Chronicles of Kazam #1) by Jasper Fforde

Jennifer Strange is 15 years old that runs Kazam, an employment agency for magicians. Back in the day magic was

    HMH Books for Young Readers        Published Oct 2, 2012                287 Pages
HMH Books for Young Readers
Published Oct 2, 2012
287 Pages

easy to get by but now magic is fading and modern technology is cheaper than using a spell. But one day visions and rumors begin the spread; predicting the death of the last dragon. The trick is no one knows who this dragonslayer is but what truly is know Jennifer is involved and everything is going to change.

I thought this book was whimsical and extremely creative. You begin the book of knowing about magic; knowing that Jennifer is in charge of many magicians and that things are complicated and they are broke. You understand that Jennifer is very collected and cool and a lot there are a lot of things going on, she is taking it pretty easy. She was also sarcastic, honest and just warming.  I liked that about Jennifer and I appreciate what Fforde did. She was a likeable character. . . . actually all the characters were.

The story itself wasn’t predictable. However, you weren’t left in the dark either. I wouldn’t also say there are completely blown away scenes either but that doesn’t mean the twist and turns weren’t good either. Was the book a bit slow because of it? Yes, but I am going to let that pass because it wasn’t a killjoy.

Overall this book gets 9 out of 10. I consider this book more for children 12- 14 than for young adults. Even though the main character is 15, two weeks away from 16, there was still a very “childish” feel to it. Not in a bad way it just was there.

Love, Pickles.

Book Review: Ink by Amanda Sun

Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Before I even begin to explain this book let me tell you about this cover. IT’S BEAUTIFUL! Also it’s a paperback book not the cheap packbacks but nice and thick. I loved touching the book (stop judging).

So anyways . . .

Japanese-American Katie Greene moves to Japan after her mother’s death. She hates it. She can barely speak Japanese; she misses her friends, and would rather be in Canada with her Grandparents. But due to the fact her Grandfather has cancer; she is unable to be there.

Ink by Amanda Sun (goodreads)
Ink by Amanda Sun (goodreads)

But every dark cloud has a silver lining and Katie meets Tomohiro; the handsome, mysterious star player of the school’s Kendo team. Instantly there is something there between them and as much as Tomohiro tries to fight it, Katie stalks him. Yes, she stalks him and he finds that there is a connection deeper than just an attractive girl.

What I loved about this book was it was straight to the point. Katie knew there was something going on with Tomohiro and instead of waiting for it to blow up; she took matters in her own hands and did her thing.

Tomohiro was being a butt but I ended up liking his charm. He was a funny and a sensitive guy. I wasn’t expecting their relationship minus the whole ancient God thing, to be so easy. They really were into each other purely.

What I also liked was the lack of a love triangle. The author, Sun, had me worried for a moment because there is another guy who really likes Katie and although she found him cute she wasn’t pushing up on him, even when Tomohiro was being a butt.

What I didn’t like in the book was how Katie was always unsure of herself. From the beginning of the book til the last page she just couldn’t figure herself out. I understand you’re in a new country, you have to learn the language and friends but she was just a nervous wreck and her whining was killing me UGH!

The author did a great job of wheeling me in; mainly because she jumped into the story pretty fast and there was no looking for it. I loved it.  I most importantly loved the fact that the main character was not a white female. There are not many young adult supernatural, fantasy books that involve someone that isn’t white or someone in which it isn’t clearly defined what ethnicity that are. I thought it was great.

This book gets a 9 out of 10; Can’t wait for the second book.

Series Spotlight: Midnight for Charlie Bone (The Children of the Red King) by Jenny Nimmo

I could never get into the “Harry Potter” series. *GASP!* I tired reading it when I was ten and just couldn’t do it. It will probably be a different

Midnight For Charlie Bone #1
Midnight For Charlie Bone #1

story now but I haven’t had the time to pick it up. The purpose of me telling you this is to highlight a series I read when I was 16 working at the library.

“Midnight for Charlie Bone (The Children of the Red King)” is my FAVORITE wizard, witch, save the world series. Written by Jenny Nimmo in 2003 this story is pretty close to the “Harry Potter” series. Bone is sent to Bloor’s Academy by his aunt and there he discovers that he is the descendant of the powerful Red King, along with a few other kids.

What I loved about this book was Nimmo (the author) was able to get me to like fantasy. The twist the turns, the details are perfect and I fell in love with the entire series. This series came well after “Harry Potter” which was released in 1997. But I couldn’t understand why this series never got the attention it deserved. Even if some people consider it a water down version of “Harry Potter” it still is a pretty damn good series.

In this week’s series spotlight “The Children of the Red King” gets a 9 out of 10.