The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

33380869Rating: 3.5 stars

I have mixed feelings about this. It wasn’t face paced, but I didn’t want to stop reading either. The writing was good enough that I still liked it despite being aggravated at some of the things going on. The first half was so good. I wanted to know what would happen next because it was obvious whatever goal Hector was trying to achieve was going to blow up in his face. Nina was so innocent. I felt bad for her. I didn’t like what Hector was doing, but I understood it.

Things changed about halfway through. I liked Nina and Hector much better then. They both grew and matured. The amount of drama that ensued was too much. It was frustrating and not in a good way. The one thing this story had not needed was another love triangle thrown in in the second half especially since it was obvious Nina did not have feelings for the other guy. Nina’s behavior was aggravating at times and seemed somewhat OOC compared to the earlier part of the novel. She had always been the type to do what she wanted regardless of whether or not others approved. Some of that defiance disappeared. Most of the truly dramatic parts towards the end could have been completely avoided if Nina would have been honest with herself and spoke her mind. The end was satisfying, but I wish there had been less angst in the process of getting there.

Thanks to Netgalley for giving me this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Advertisements

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

51jpv68vvzl-_sx333_bo1204203200_Rating: 4 stars

New York City was surrounded by a barrier called the brink. It prevented anyone with magic from leaving the city. It would strip them of their magic and at best cause considerable pain and at worst cause death. The order, a group of humans, created the brink. Those with magic wanted to be free and were trying to find a way to take down the brink and the order.

It took a little while to get into it, but it was so damn good. Esta had the rare ability of being able to travel through time. Her guardian used her ability to go back in time and steal items from the order. There was a bit of an info dump in the beginning. It complicated matters more that Esta was sent back to the past and the world building of that time period had to be introduced also since what was going on in the world magically was quite different.

The whole cast of characters was interesting. I liked Esta. Her ability was useful and got her out of a few tricky situations. Her actions in the past were important because the butterfly effect was a major possibility. She was loyal and trustworthy which made her more unpredictable as the story went on because it was hard to tell if she’d be loyal to the people of her time or to the ones in the past she’d grown close to. I loved Harte Darrigan. He and Esta had good chemistry from the first time they met. For most of the book I wasn’t sure how to feel about him. I genuinely felt that he was a good guy at heart, but part of him was incredibly selfish. His main concern was always getting the best possible outcome for himself even if it screwed everyone else over. It was his connection to Esta that made him think of others more, but I hadn’t been sure where his loyalties would lie in the end. Dolph was the leader of a magical mafia. It was obvious he was trying to do the right thing all along. He had a rat in his midst and was going to get screwed for trusting the wrong person. I wanted him to be more proactive and figure things out.

The end was shocking! I was really surprised at how far the bad guy was willing to take things to achieve his goal. I did not see that coming at all. The truth about Esta’s past was revealed. I probably should have pieced that together, but so many other things were going on that I didn’t even give it any thought. The only thing that truly disappointed me with this book was that I didn’t know it was the first in a series. A lot of things still need to be resolved, but I can’t wait to read the next one!

Odd and True by Cat Winters

28078791Rating: 3 stars

Clearly I’m in the minority, but I didn’t love this. It’s a well written story that’s highly character driven. It wasn’t what I was expecting. I thought it would have a stronger fantasy element to it and a bit more action. The magic was so slight I wouldn’t even call it paranormal. Most of the book was spent revealing whether Od knows magic is real or is delusional and thinks it’s real.

It alternated between Od and Tru’s POV. Although they were sisters, there was a lot Tru didn’t know about her family. Tru’s POV was necessary but very boring. Practicality does not make an exciting character trait in a main character. The problem with Tru was that I didn’t care about her one way or the other. Od’s POV was better. What she experienced in life was difficult. It was the magical element she brought to everything that annoyed me, and yes I know that is the point of the book. It was clear early on about what was really going on with Od.

Most of the side characters weren’t interesting. I liked Uncle Magnus. He was the only side character who really seemed to care about Od and Tru. In the end he disappointed me a little. I flat out didn’t like any of the other characters. They were self absorbed or more concerned with propriety than being descent people.

I liked this book enough that I wouldn’t mind reading another book by Cat Winters. I’ve had some on my TBR list for a while. This story isn’t something that will stick with me for a while. Honestly it’s surprising I even bothered to finish it. To be fair I’ve been in a book funk and have had a hard time getting into almost any book.

I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn

30008834Rating: 2.5 stars

Series: Veronica Speedwell #2

A tedious undertaking would have been a more apt title. The pacing was so slow. Every 50 pages or so they’d get some minuscule clue. They had to do a lot of socializing to get these clues too. The worst part was that I didn’t care about any of the characters other than Victoria and Stoker. All of them were obnoxious and self absorbed. The mystery was too simple. The occam’s razor theory definitely applies here.

The main reason I read this was because I wanted to know more about Stoker’s past. Well none of that was revealed. Something about him was revealed but nothing that was alluded to in the first book. Stoker’s okay. I like the guy but I don’t love him. He’s too much of a pushover. He always gives into what Victoria wants.

Victoria is still just as cold as ever. It’s hard to feel a deep connection between her and Stoker because she’s emotionally detached. Every man she meets falls over themselves to get her attention. It irritates the hell out of me because she’s not that charming. It’s odd that Victoria thinks about sex often. I would think some as unfeeling and practical as her would find it to be a useless endeavor especially since she doesn’t want a committed relationship or children. For a book with sex alluded to often, there certainly wasn’t any of it to be had. All I know is this book needed something to spice it up, and sex would have been a great place to start.

A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

51nzmckldsl-_sy346_Rating: 3 stars

Series: Veronica Speedwell #1

Veronica wasn’t believable as a character. This is a historical mystery. Women didn’t traipse all over the world by themselves in 1877 especially for the sake of science. She was forward thinking for modern times let alone the 1870’s. She would have been ostracized by almost everyone. At first I thought she was refreshing and different, but herself righteous attitude aggravated me as the book went on. She always had to have the last word. Her blunt nature often made it seem as if she was talking down to everyone. I didn’t like her much. She was so unfeeling and logical that she may be a sociopath.

Stoker was okay but a little rough around the edges. I am interested in his back story. It’s apparent a romance will blossom between him and Veronica, but I don’t really care for them as a couple. Sometimes opposites attract but that was not the case here. They are too different.

The mystery was okay. Nothing happened for most of the book. Once Veronica’s parentage was revealed it seemed too far-fetched. The resolution to her problems was far too simplistic. As intelligent as Veronica was, she was quite dumb when it came to figuring out why people were after her. Every instinct she had about what was going on was wrong. I’m not sure if I want to read the next book or not. I want to know more about Stoker, but I’m not in the mood for more of Veronica ATM.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

28862387Rating: 3.5 stars

It’s hard for me to rate this book. On one hand I really liked it and didn’t want to put it down once I got past the 25% mark. OTOH it’s one of those books where something is always happening yet nothing is. It had to be taken as it was without looking deeper or cracks began to emerge. There weren’t gaping plot holes or anything like that. Many things were alluded to but were never explained in any depth.

The writing was beautiful. It was captivating and made the book worth reading. Many people will love this book, but I wanted more. I didn’t even realize how much more I wanted there to be until the end which is odd considering how much I liked the ending.

There wasn’t much of a plot. One event stumbled into the next without much direction. It fascinating enough that I wanted to know what would happen next. Vasya was unique. She could speak to the gods of old but did not fear them. Many had moved onto Christianity, and unknownst to them was causing chaos in the world. Vasya tried to right things, but there was little she could do alone.

The characters aside from Vasya had no depth. Determining who was good and bad was easy. Several characters were included just to move the plot forward. In hindsight some had no purpose at all. Vasya wasn’t close to anyone which is part of the reason why none of the characters were fleshed out. I felt like I knew the characters but only a certain side of them.

What bothered me more than anything was the lack of answers. Obviously Vasya was special, but what was she capable of? It was insinuated by many that she had powers, but other than speaking to animals and old gods, I’m not sure what they were. The purpose of the necklace was vague. The mythology was explained on a need to know basis, which surprisingly little was imperative to know for the story to unfold.

I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.