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Book Review: The Retribution of Mara Dyer

retribution of mara dyerTitle: The Retribution of Mara Dyer
Series: The Mara Dyer Trilogy (Book #3)
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Pages: 470
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Mystery
Summary: Mara Dyer wants to believe there’s more to the lies she’s been told.
There is.

She doesn’t stop to think about where her quest for the truth might lead.
She should.

She never had to imagine how far she would go for vengeance.
She will now.

Loyalties are betrayed, guilt and innocence tangle, and fate and chance collide in this shocking conclusion to Mara Dyer’s story.

Retribution has arrived.” ~from Goodreads.com

OH. MY. GOD.

My brain is still spinning. Let me just say that waiting extra time for this book was so, so, so worth it. It’s just…so incredible and such an amazing ending. So many things happen. There is death and blood and emotions and love and lots of feels and I’m rambling BUT OH. MY. GOD.

Honestly I’m not even sure I can give a coherent review here, but I’ll give it my best shot. This book is even more intense than the others, and I mean it is intense. This is not for the weak of heart. There is a lot that happens in the book, and there are twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. Lots of ups and downs. People leave, people die, people change.

I loved the growth of Mara. Over the whole series, but definitely in this book Mara comes into her own–and with a vengeance. She is unapologetic about it and I loved it. Mara is such a great character because she doesn’t really follow the rules. She’s definitely not a heroine but she’s the heroine of her own story and that’s what counts.

We find out a lot more about why Mara is the way she is and most of the questions that are brought up in the first two books are wrapped up–sometimes shockingly. It makes for a thrilling story, and it’s intense and scary at times but Hodkin makes sure to throw in her usual humor–especially because we have Jamie the whole time (yay!) and I mean, he’s the funny guy. The banter between him and Mara is great.

I liked the way things were resolved. I think it’s a great way to end the trilogy and it answered a lot of the questions I had, although obviously not everything is answered but that’s okay.

I’m hoping Michelle Hodkin writes more books because Mara Dyer was such a great ride.

My rating: ★★★★★

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Book Review: Sabriel

sabrielTitle: Sabriel
Author:
Garth Nix
Series:
Abhorsen Series (Book 1)
Pages:
292
Genre:
Fantasy, Young Adult
Summary: 
Ever since she was a tiny child, Sabriel has lived outside the walls of the Old Kingdom, away from the random power of Free Magic, and away from the Dead who won’t stay dead. But now her father, the Mage Abhorsen, is missing, and to find him Sabriel must cross back into the nine Gates and Precincts of Death. Though her journey begins alone, she soon finds companions: Mogget, whose seemingly harmless feline form hides a powerful-and perhaps malevolent-spirit, and Touchstone, a younger Charter Mage imprisoned two centuries in a wooden ship-head, still trapped by painful memories. With threats on all sides and only each other to trust, the three must travel deep into the Old Kingdom, toward a battle against vicious Hands, Mordicants, and the evil Kerrigor.” ~from Goodreads.com

I think I have read this book about 50 times since I first got it. I love this book to death. I love this series to death. I am really stoked about reading Clariel although I am re-reading the series before I get to that.

Anyway, Sabriel is a great book. I love Sabriel as a character and I love her progression throughout the book. I love Garth Nix’s writing style, because it’s vivid and intense and there are moments that are genuinely very scary. Nix has created such an interesting world and I love going back to it again and again.

All of the characters are interesting and lively, and not only do I love Sabriel, but I love Mogget. I love their interactions. I also like Touchstone, and I like the chemistry between him and Sabriel as well. What I like most though is the descriptions of the Precinct of Death. It’s such an interesting idea to begin with, but Nix makes it so real (which is kind of scary at times but makes for such a thrilling book!) and I loved the portions that took place in Death. You can just feel the chill while reading. It’s so well done.

I just love this book and this series and if you haven’t read it yet, you’re missing out on a wonderful story in a fascinating world.

My rating: ★★★★★

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Book Review: Rooms

roomsTitle: Rooms
Author: Lauren Oliver
Pages: 320
Genre:
Paranormal, Mystery
Summary: 
“Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance.

But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb.

The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.” ~from Goodreads.com

I completely loved Lauren Oliver’s Delirium series, so I was really excited about getting my hands on her next book–and a ghost story no less! I was not disappointed. This book has a wonderful complexity to it, an incredibly interesting plot, and fascinating characters. It’s very, very intense, and there were times when I admit I had to put it down for a few days because it was getting to be too much. This didn’t make it a bad book by any means. It’s a very good book, but it deals with a lot of emotional things (such as there is a character contemplating suicide) so it can be difficult to read at times, especially if you are triggered by such things.

What’s actually kind of funny is that thinking back on it, I don’t think I really liked any particular character. Meaning that they did not have many redeeming qualities but their stories were interesting. Alice and Sandra were probably the most likable and I liked how they interacted with the family through the house. I think what was most interesting was seeing how this dysfunctional (living) family were brought together by the death of Richard Walker. Each member of the family is pretty miserable in several meanings of the word. However, seeing their progression and how they change (for better or worse) makes for a really interesting book/plot.

I think what I loved most was the way the ghosts were described. They are not actually “ghosts” in the sense that they appear as apparitions or the like. Instead they are described as being a part of the very walls of the house. They are the floors, the air: they make up the rooms. It’s a fascinating take on a ghost story.

Emotional, intense at times, but a very good read.

My rating: ★★★★★

 

 

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Book Review: Shouldn’t You Be In School?

shouldn't you be in schoolTitle: Shouldn’t You Be In School?
Author: Lemony Snicket
Series: All The Wrong Questions (Book 3)
Pages: 325
Genre:
Mystery
Summary: 
“Is Lemony Snicket a detective or a smoke detector?
Do you smell smoke? Young apprentice Lemony Snicket is investigating a case of arson but soon finds himself enveloped in the ever-increasing mystery that haunts the town of Stain’d-by-the-Sea. Who is setting the fires? What secrets are hidden in the Department of Education? Why are so many schoolchildren in danger? Is it all the work of the notorious villain Hangfire? How could you even ask that? What kind of education have you had? Maybe you should be in school?” ~from Goodreads.com

By now I’m sure everyone knows how much I love Lemony Snicket’s books, so it will come as no surprise to learn how much I loved this book. I just love this series in general. This book again brings in Snicket’s unmatchable wit and humor and creates an intriguing mystery that keeps you guessing until the very end.

There are still questions left unanswered, but it’s such a fun book filled with lively and lovable characters. I loved the progression of the mystery and as usual I loved Snicket’s style.

I will be very sorry when this series ends because it’s such a great one and it makes me remember how much I loved A Series of Unfortunate Events. I just completely inhaled this book, and yes it is a quick read, but it’s an incredibly fun one. If you haven’t read Lemony Snicket yet, you are seriously missing out.

My rating: ★★★★★

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Book Review: A Discovery of Witches

discovery of witchesTitle: A Discovery of Witches
Author: Deborah Harkness
Series: All Souls Trilogy (Book 1)
Pages: 579
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery
Summary: “Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.” ~from Goodreads.com

I first read this book a couple years ago, and absolutely loved it. It’s a magical book and there’s so many great things about it. Not only does Deborah Harkness’s writing pull you in immediately and keep you there, but she uses a blend of fantasy, history, science, and romance to create a captivating story.

Diana and Matthew are fabulous characters and I loved their chemistry. I loved Diana’s progression through the book, and I liked the way their relationship developed. The world of daemons, witches, and vampires was really interesting and I liked how Harkness made it fresh without changing the basics of the creatures/myths.

I loved the literary aspects of the book, as well as the historical and scientific bits. Harkness definitely knows her stuff and she explained everything wonderfully, making everything incredibly vivid. I felt like I was completely transported into the book and like I was actually at Oxford.

Even though the book is very long, it doesn’t feel like it. It keeps moving and I loved dipping into the book every chance I could get. I didn’t want to put it down. It’s definitely one of my favorites and I can’t wait to finish off the series with the next two books.

My rating: ★★★★★

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Update

Hi there. So I sort of disappeared because I got caught up with school and finals and I just generally had zero-to-no time to read anything that didn’t have to do with French or Genetics. BUT! I’m back. I had my last final yesterday (woo-hoo) so I FINALLY had time to read for pleasure. I missed it. Anyway, I’ve got a backlog of reviews that I’ve been needing to write, so that’s going to happen. I’m going to queue them up and they’ll post over the next week or so. I’m also going to make a couple changes, specifically to my personal reading challenge goal. Because I wanted to read 150 books, and I’ve only read 56 and I can’t read 94 books in three weeks. So, I’m making a new goal of 60 books, and I’m going to try and read four in particular. If I get to any more than that, great. But that’s my goal.

So, the books I want to read before the year is out are:

1. Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger
2. Lirael by Garth Nix
3. The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
4. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Anyway, I hope everyone is having a good holiday season and that you’re enjoying whatever it is that you’re reading.

~The Small Nerd

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Abhorsen Series Readalong

So the readalong for the Abhorsen series (leading up to the release of Clariel) starts this month. There are two schedules depending on if you want to read Across the Wall as well or not. I personally will be reading it, so I’ll be following the first readalong schedule, but do whatever you want. You can post stuff wherever you want (tumblr, wordpress, instagram, etc) just be sure that you tag it #abhorsenreadalong so that those participating can see it. :) For more information on this and other readalongs I’ll be hosting across the next few months, read this post

Abhorsen readalong schedule #1:

Sabriel: September 15 – September 22
Lirael: September 23 – September 30
Abhorsen: October 1 – October 7
Across the Wall: October 7 – October 13
Clariel: October 14 (release date) – October 21

Abhorsen readalong schedule #2:

Sabriel: September 22 – September 29
Lirael: September 30 – October 6
Abhorsen: October 7 – October 13
Clariel: October 14 (release date) – October 21