Reading Lately: March 2018 Edition

Hello friends! March was a good month for reading, even though a couple of my reads were duds. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

Reading Lately March 2018 Edition: Book reviews of The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi; A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne; Mark of Fire by Richard Phillips; Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel; A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin; Exile for Dreamers by Kathleen Baldwin; Renegades by Marissa Meyer | Puppies & Pretties

What I’ve been reading lately

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi: I have been looking forward to reading this one for awhile and finally picked it up. It did not live up to expectations at all. The main character, Maya, seems to listen to anyone and everyone and figure they must be right. As in, a weird voice no one else hears says one thing she knows as true so therefore, everything creepy voice says is obviously true. Something similar happened multiple times throughout the book. I almost DNF’ed this, but kept hoping it would turn around. It didn’t. Moral of the story, if you like characters that actually have a brain, skip this one.
2 out of 5 stars

A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne: This is an interesting book and not for the faint of heart. It is told as a story from a bard, so we jump from the current time and then back into the past with multiple POVs. It took a bit for me to really come to grips with how the story was playing out, but once I got farther into it, I was hooked. The worldingbuilding is fantastic on this one and you really feel for the characters. Plus, the magic system is really fascinating. The world is at war on two different fronts, with two different races of giants. Throughout the book, we see stories from people throughout the conflict, not just leaders. We even get some POV from one of the giants. I can’t wait to read the rest of this series.
4 out of 5 stars
c/o Netgalley

Mark of Fire by Richard Phillips: This is a fun coming of age story. Told from two POVs that don’t cross but their histories are intertwined, we get good vs evil, magic and interesting characters. Carol and her warlord father, Rafel, are on the run with all of their people because the new king is a puppet of a bad wielder (magician), even though he doesn’t know it quite yet. When the king sends his assassin, Blade, to kill Rafel he assumes that there is one less threat to his crown. But Blade was raised by Rafel and grew up with Carol so instead he warns them and that sets them on the run. We follow their travels as they try to protect their people. Carol goes through the Trial to become a wielder and succeeds and slowly grows into her immense power. Blade also goes on the run since he didn’t complete his last job and gets entangled in other plots. This book has interesting magic, and decent main characters. The secondary characters are a little flat, especially the main villain but I have hopes that some of them will be fleshed out in coming books. I can’t wait to see how Carol’s and Blade’s storylines interact in the next books.
3.5 out of 5 stars
c/o Netgalley

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel: I know, I know, I’m way late to the game on this one. But woah. SO GOOD. It isn’t filled with action and magic. But what it looks at is the side of humanity that we should all hold on to. When the Georgia Flu wipes out pretty much all of the world’s population, the people that survive now have to learn how to keep living. We follow several different storylines, jumping between 10 or 15 years after the flu and a time right before and during the pandemic.
5 out of 5 stars

A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin: set in 1814, Napoleon is in exile and Europe is in shambles. In England, we meet our main character, Georgiana, is being sent to a new school after setting her father’s stable on fire while doing an experiment. The school is said to mold difficult girls into marriageable material. However, it is really a school of unusual girls that are being trained to be spies. But Georgie doesn’t know that yet. What comes after is a plot that moves at a breakneck speed as the girls and their allies try to help in whatever way they can in the war. And the best way they can help is for Georgie to finish her invisible ink. I always enjoy a book with women that break the molds of their time and this one is full of them. What I found a bit distracting is the love story. While it isn’t bad, it did have me rolling my eyes a bit. I would actually classify this as a YA historical romance, it is that prevalent to the story.
3.5 out of 5 stars

Exile for Dreamers by Kathleen Baldwin: The second book in the series, this picks up right after book one with a different girl, Tess, as the main character. While Georgie is a scientist at heart, Tess has dreams that lets her see the future. However, the dreams come at a cost. Her mother and grandmother both ended up going crazy and dying relatively young. So Tess is a little bitter knowing that her dreams will eventually lead to her death and the dreams are also difficult to interpret. The plot on this one is the girls are trying to help stop the impending Napoleon invasion of Britain, as Tess’s former best friend in the house who turned traitor is in England trying to pave the way. What I didn’t enjoy in this book was Tess herself. I get being bitter that your life isn’t all roses, but my gosh, that doesn’t mean you have to hate life now. The romance in this one is also a little ridiculous, but that could be because I just didn’t like Tess and the way she acted.
3 out of 5 stars

Renegades by Marissa Meyer: This book is set in a world where prodigies (aka people with super powers) are running amok. It is set in a time not long after the Age of Anarchy (where a group of “villains” rose up and said eff you to the “normal” people who discriminated against prodigies.) But now the Renegades (aka superheroes) are in charge after overthrowing the villains for the most part. Sounds pretty fun right? Well, thats about where it ends. Most of the characters are boring. Or you just want to shake them. Plus it tries to be political-ish with the whole, we need to overthrow the government! Except the main character, Nova, reasoning for wanting to overthrow the Renegades is so ridiculous it kind of made my head hurt. And then of course there was the cliffhanger ending that made me want to throw the book across the room. Except I was reading on my iPad, so I couldn’t. If you want a good YA superhero story, check out Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson.
2 out of 5 stars
c/o Netgalley

The Startup Way: Making Entrepreneurship a Fundamental Discipline of Every Enterprise by Eric Ries: Full disclosure – I’m still working my way through this book, but need to post a review for it because Blogging for Books is closing (sad face). This book focuses on applying entrepreneurship thinking at the corporate level. It is an interesting take on how management has to be different to allow for entrepreneurial growth. As someone that works in a larger organization, it really gets me thinking on how we operate and the feeling that you often do need to keep in the track that the company is going and not stray too far. Even though I am pretty low on the totem pole, I can certainly take the insights from the book and apply it to my own thinking.
c/o Blogging for Books

What have you been reading lately?

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