Friday, April 19, 2019

Audiobook review: The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare and Wesley ChuSo

Book Summary
From #1 New York Times bestseller Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu comes the first book in a new trilogy featuring the centuries-old High Warlock Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood after they survive the Mortal War.

Magnus Bane, a centuries old High Warlock, has taken possession of one of the great relics of the supernatural world, a powerful spell book of dark magic known as The Book of the White and there are many who want to claim it for themselves.

After the Mortal War where the part-human and part-angel Shadowhunters teamed with the part human-demon Downworlders to fight against the incursion of an army of demons, Magnus and his new lover, the mortal Alec Lightwood celebrate their survival and victory by escaping the supernatural battlefield of New York City by touring the world, but the world won’t leave them alone.

The first adult novel set within #1 New York Times bestselling author Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter series, written with award-winning science fiction author Wesley Chu, is a fantasy thriller that will give new readers a great way to enter the Shadowhunters world and give the millions of readers across the globe answers they’ve been looking for in this start of The Eldest Curses trilogy.

Flo's Review
Okay, this is going to be rambling and gushing in likely non sequential order. Hang on for the ride!

I ADORED THIS BOOK. ADORED. An easy, easy 5 out of 5 stars. I love Magnus and Alec so much. Together and individually. First -- individually. I will admit that I have not read The Bane Chronicles. Thus, I haven't really spent much time just in Magnus' head and with his thoughts. It was so nice. There is so much depth to him. Even as he doubted himself, I found that I saw him as Alec saw him and loved him because of it. Always ready to help. Trustful. Trustworthy. Loyal. Life of the party. Deep. Wise. Fun. This story was like taking time to really get to know someone who was just an acquaintance before, and now you feel like they are a dear friend. Alec, too. He's just so cute! Which, I mean, yes he's a fierce warrior. But being inside his head is so cute and endearing. I want to give him a big, long hug. He too has so many great qualities, and a lot of them are the same at Magnus'. Like attracts like. Now them together? They are my new favorite ship! I love them so much more, guys! I mean, I loved them before, but now I am truly swoony. They fit together so well, compliment each other so well, work together so well. I loved reading about them loving each other. I held my breath in fear toward the end because I wanted nothing to run their feelings for each other. 

And knowing how they end up at the end of Queen and Air and Darkness made this even more beautiful, because their scene at the end of QOAD is one of my most favorites ever.

The thing about Cassandra Clare is that you really leave each book feeling like you personally know the characters intimately. Like they are good friends of yours. Even though the books are fast paced and action packed, she really slows down to give you detailed, detailed descriptions of how the characters look in different scenarios. And she doesn't just tell you. She paints a picture. She sings you a song. She creates art. I love it, I love it, I love it.

This was interesting because it took place after the Mortal War. I don't think I realized that until about 1/3 way in. I knew it, but I was mixing it up with the end of Book #6 instead of Book #3 of the Mortal Instruments, so then I had to go back and adjust my thinking. But it was so fun to see so many of the characters from TDA in this story and to be able to smirk at all the foreshadowing. This book was also straight funny. I listened to the audiobook and there were several times that I just straight laughed out loud. Naturally, there a little twisty twist at the end to leave us intrigued and wondering all kinds of questions about how things went down. 

I flew through this audiobook. Overall I liked the reader, though I don't know...I didn't really connect with how he did some of the voices. Magnus was on point. The girls were fine. Shinyu (sorry if I'm misspelling -- I listened) and Alec kinda had weird voices, though.

So, in conclusion:

1) All the feels
2) Alec + Magnus 4EVER
3) Looks like I'm sucked into another trilogy

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Book Review: King and Maxwell by David Baldacci

Goodreads Overview:

It seems at first like a simple, tragic story. Tyler Wingo, a teenage boy, learns the awful news that his father, a soldier, was killed in action in Afghanistan. Then the extraordinary happens: Tyler receives a communication from his father . . . after his supposed death.

Tyler hires Sean and Michelle to solve the mystery surrounding his father. But their investigation quickly leads to deeper, more troubling questions. Could Tyler's father really still be alive? What was his true mission? Could Tyler be the next target?

Sean and Michelle soon realize that they've stumbled on to something bigger and more treacherous than anyone could have imagined. And as their hunt for the truth leads them relentlessly to the highest levels of power and to uncovering the most clandestine of secrets, Sean and Michelle are determined to help and protect Tyler--though they may pay for it with their lives.

Jacque's Review:

Sean and Michelle are planning a relaxing vacation away from the office when they come across a teenage boy running in the rain carrying a gun.  He seems frightened, so Michelle insists Sean follows him.  Michelle chases him down, but he is reluctant to share his story with them.  They discover the Army was at his house and had notified him and his step-mother that his father had been killed in the line of duty.  Tyler was distraught and simply couldn't believe this was the truth.  Michelle gave him their card in case he needed anything, but they figured that was pretty much the end of things until Tyler contacted them shortly thereafter.  He received a message from his father after he was supposedly dead.  Now the Army is backtracking and has all sorts of excuses as to why they can't return the body.

As Sean and Michelle dig deeper into this case their lives are increasingly more endangered. The Army and Pentagon have shut down all communications involving Sam Wingo and are clearly involved somehow.  When the President becomes the next target via leaks in the press, he reaches out to Sean and Michelle and offers his support in their investigation.  They are making far more progress than the FBI, Homeland Security or any other government agency and may be his last chance at saving his political reputation and preventing an impeachment.  Little did he know, his relationship with King and Maxwell would ultimately save his life.

This was another action packed adventure involving a slew of characters from all aspects of the government.  I love all of the secret service elements and sincerely hope Baldacci is planning on releasing additional books in this series.  It certainly seems like he left things open for the possibility of another book and even had a lead in for a new employee in their firm.  If you enjoy mysteries and thrillers, this is a great series that I would definitely recommend.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Book Review: Never Never Part 2 by Colleen Hoover

Jacque's Review:

This is actually a continuation of the same story that began in Never Never Part 1.  In the previous book we learned that Silas and Charlie have been losing their memories every 48 hours. They have no idea why this happening or how to stop the cycle.  They have been gathering information about themselves and keeping meticulous notes to use as a starting point each time the clock resets. 

At the end of Part 1, Charlie leaves in a taxi and Silas heads home on his own. We pick up pretty much where we left off and discover Charlie never returned home.  When Silas wakes up, the first note that he sees is that Charlie left in a taxi and he needs to find her.  She doesn't have any notes with her and will not have a clue who or where she is. 

The story alternates between the two, so we can follow both of their struggles.  Silas gathers quite a bit of additional information and may be getting closer to the source of their problem.  Charlie on the other hand, was basically left struggling to survive the better part of this installment.  The two ultimately reunite, but are nearing the end of their 48 hours again.  Silas finally tells his brother what has been happening, so they will have some additional support in the final part of this story.  

These are very fast and highly entertaining stories with a great mix of characters. I don't think Silas or Charlie were the nicest people in their previous lives, but they have come a long way while dealing with their struggles.  They have been best friends since a very young age and were the perfect couple until their fathers' business problems tore them apart. The families now hate each other and the two were continuing a Romeo and Juliet type of forbidden romance until the pressure ultimately became too much. They were spiraling out of control until the day they both lost their memories.  By working together and getting to the bottom of their personal and family issues, they may finally be able to achieve their happily ever after.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Book Review: The Reckoning of Noah Shaw

Goodreads Overview: 

Noah Shaw confesses all in this second novel of a chilling new companion series to Michelle Hodkin’s New York Timesbestselling Mara Dyer trilogy!

Noah Shaw doesn’t think he needs his father’s inheritance.
He does.

Noah believes there’s something off about the suicides in his visions.
There is.

Noah is convinced that he still knows the real Mara Dyer.
He does not. 

Everyone thought the nightmare had ended with Mara Dyer’s memoirs, but it was only the beginning. As old skeletons are laid bare, alliances will be tested, hearts will be broken, and no one will be left unscarred.

Jacque's Review:

As I have said before, you really need to read the Mara Dyer series before beginning the Shaw Confessions series.  Readers would be at a complete loss without the knowledge gained in the Mara Dyer books.

In this installment, Noah and his friend Goose are being led on a quest by Mara's grandmother across England.  Mara is not in this book, with the exception of a very brief appearance at the very end, which is a lead in to the next book.

We aren't sure what the grandmother's motives are exactly or who's side everyone is really on, but the ultimate goal is apparently to save Mara.  How Noah is supposed to do that is not exactly clear. Noah has to dig deep into his family history to find the clues he needs.  There are some flashbacks to some of Noah's ancestor's memories, which Noah seems to witness as if they were his own memories.  This is explained because the apparent memories are passed down from generation to generation along with the gift. 

This book was a bit different for me.  Noah Shaw is one of my all time favorite characters, but he is not the same person he was in the Mara Dyer series or the first book in the Shaw Confessions. Without his gift, he can feel the effects of his vices and seemed to be drunk the better part of this novel. Gone was the confident, witty, and charming boy I loved. We can see the struggles he is going through to save the girl he loves, but it is clearly at his own detriment.  Hopefully the old Noah will return in the next book in this series or I'm not sure it will be worth reading.