Book Review: Court of Fives (+Poisoned Blade) by Kate Elliott

18068907.jpg31226229.jpgTitle: Court of Fives + Poisoned Blade

Author : Kate Elliott

Publisher : Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Release date : August 18th, 2015

Rating : 2/5

☯ Synopsis (from Goodreads) :

Jessamy’s life is a balance between acting like an upper-class Patron and dreaming of the freedom of the Commoners. But away from her family, she can be whomever she wants when she sneaks out to train for the Fives, an intricate, multilevel athletic competition that offers a chance for glory to the kingdom’s best competitors.

Then Jes meets Kalliarkos, and an improbable friendship between the two Fives competitors—one of mixed race and the other a Patron boy—causes heads to turn. When Kal’s powerful, scheming uncle tears Jes’s family apart, she’ll have to test her new friend’s loyalty and risk the vengeance of a royal clan to save her mother and sisters from certain death.

In this imaginative escape into an enthralling new world, World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott’s first young adult novel weaves an epic story of a girl struggling to do what she loves in a society suffocated by rules of class and privilege.

⚜ Review :

After I finished reading The Mortal Instruments series, I vowed to myself that I wouldn’t ever read again an entire book in which I hated the main character. That’s exactly what happened with Court of Fives: after the first 4 chapters, I had to stop.

I know, I know: how could I review a book that I haven’t even finished? Well, since I know that it will worsen the more I read it, I decided to give it the best rating it will ever get from me, and that’s the one from the beginning. So, there you go: a nice, juicy 2/5.

Let’s start with what I liked, shall we? The world building was good: Elliott went for a patriarchal society, but I really liked the mystical feel I got from it. There are oracles, and curses, and priests, and wars. It was like reading about Greek mythology! There were also underlying themes, like race and discrimination. Although they weren’t well-handled, I appreciated that Elliott included them in her book.

Now, let’s go to what I didn’t like: the characters. Two-dimensional, the lot of them. Kal, Amaya. The perfect one, and the spoiled little brat. I couldn’t stand Amaya, she was just so entitled and self-centered in an obvious way. But Jes… Oh god, JES. Harsh but true: I wouldn’t mind if she was killed. She is incredibly stupid and selfish. She’s self-centered, but in the worst way, the way that people would think she wasn’t. She can’t seem to understand how lucky she is that her father would want to show her off, despite the fact that he should have been ashamed of her. Her happiness, and her goal, literally lie on the fact that her family could be destroyed by it. There is no valid reason that she wants so bad to participate in a competition that she *gasps* has to lose anyway! For real, I haven’t witnessed one bit of common sense coming out of this girl.

NOT recommended.

Book Review: Lost Souls by Katie Jaros

27213336Title: Lost Souls

Author : Katie Jaros

Publisher : Bonne Chance Books

Release date : October 12th, 2015

Rating : 3.5/5

☯ Synopsis (from Goodreads) :

As a hard partying senior at Sacred Heart High School, Christa Nichols was used to people telling her she was bad at making choices. But when a car accident awakens her to the secret world of Angels and Demons, she realizes for the first time the weight her decisions truly have.

Now caught in the middle of a life-long rivalry between a classic-rock loving Guardian Angel and a Demonic club promoter, Christa won’t just need to use her wits to survive… she’ll need them to save her mother’s soul.

Lost Souls takes you on a journey through a world where Guardian Angels masquerade as the homeless and business-savvy Demons trade souls like they’re on the NYSE.
Full of romance, horror, and food trucks; Lost Souls is fun at its most Divine.

⚜ Review :

Lost Souls was definitely an entertaining read, although not an unforgettable one.

I haven’t read a lot of Angels vs Demons novels in my life… I don’t know why; maybe because it’s too religious a subject for me, or because I assume it’ll be a typical Good vs Bad story. I really don’t know. And truthfully, Lost Souls isn’t the book that will make me change my mind. But the world Jaros created, which includes angels and demons, was indeed very cool, and exciting! The world building was the best part of her novel! Sure, there was the “typical Good vs Bad story”, but somehow, Jaros made me like it. It was a new-ish take on the subject, also, which helped.

The characters could have been more complex, or more unpredictable, but unfortunately, I’ve read all about their kinds already, and I knew exactly what to expect from them. It doesn’t mean I didn’t like Daniel, though (hihi). The love triangle, again, was a cliché tool. But the suspense and mystery did keep me on the edge of my seat, with just enough action to balance the character problem.

Okay, I know I don’t have much to say about Lost Souls, and I’m really sorry about it. I would have expected to have much more to say, but… it just didn’t click for me. It was entertaining, sure, but I’ve had the same kind of entertainment many times before already. But you guys could go check it out, if you want! I suppose there’s a reason it has a 4.17/5 rating on Goodreads!

Book Review: The Whiskey Sea by Ann Howard Creel

29003443Title: The Whiskey Sea

Author : Ann Howard Creel

Publisher : Brilliance Audio

Release date : August 23rd, 2016

Rating : 3.7/5

☯ Synopsis (from Goodreads) :

Motherless and destitute, Frieda Hope grows up during Prohibition determined to make a better life for herself and her sister, Bea. The girls are taken in by a kindly fisherman named Silver, and Frieda begins to feel at home whenever she is on the water. When Silver sells his fishing boat to WWI veteran Sam Hicks, thinking Sam would be a fine husband for Frieda, she’s outraged. But Frieda manages to talk Sam into teaching her to repair boat engines instead, so she has a trade of her own and won’t have to marry.

Frieda quickly discovers that a mechanic’s wages won’t support Bea and Silver, so she joins a team of rumrunners, speeding into dangerous waters to transport illegal liquor. Frieda becomes swept up in the lucrative, risky work—and swept off her feet by a handsome Ivy Leaguer who’s in it just for fun.

As danger mounts and her own feelings threaten to drown her, can Frieda find her way back to solid ground—and to a love that will sustain her?

⚜ Review :

The air is warm, the couch is comfortable, the sun is shining, and I am currently in the mood for a nice, street-risky bike ride. That’s kind of how I felt while I was reading The Whiskey Sea.

Now, you might be asking yourself: Huh? Let me explain it to you. The Whiskey Sea, from the title to the plotlines, is a quietly brooding storm. Everything seems to be in their right place, everyone is going on their business, but you just know there’s a spark somewhere waiting to be ignited. And it does!

The setting of this book is in a coast town, but it isn’t the usual, quiet one we hear about. This is in the time of the Prohibition, liquor and money, pirates and rum runners, coastal fishing life and sea. Throughout my reading, I fully appreciated the historical details that the author put her mind into, the research she’s obviously had to do. Creel balances all of those hazardous elements in a captivating tale about two sisters, who fight to make a life of their own. I really liked Bea, and Frieda, and even Silver! The characters were interesting, fully developed, with their admirable qualities and their awful flaws. This is the first Ann Howard Creel book I’ve read, but from what I’ve seen of other reviews, she really has a talent for writing characters.

The novel was fast paced! It felt like an adventure, although it isn’t anything like The Hobbit or Red Rising. The combination of Prohibition and strong-willed women really mixed well in this case. The romance was an underlying theme; it wasn’t the cheesy, obvious kind some people would like to read. This one was all about struggles, and bitterness, but it wasn’t sad and unpleasant: it was actually quite fun to read, the interaction between the characters involved.

The Whiskey Sea was a read I expected to be great, and it didn’t disappoint me!

 

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