Thursday, November 14, 2019

Book Review: The Dazzling Heights by Katharine McGee



Review:

There is so much drama going on in this book that you can't even imagine. While it has been a while since I read the first book in the series, I did not have any difficulty jumping back into this futuristic world. Everyone's secrets were pretty much revealed in the first book and now all of our main characters have something on someone and nobody is happy.  They are all scheming and plotting and trying to get the upper hand, but someone unexpected is watching and may know more than they think about their lives on the upper floors.

How high up you live in the tower is directly proportional to your financial status. Rylin and Watt are from the lower floors, but have worked their way up the ladder socially. Rylin received a scholarship to attend the prestigious upper floor private school Avery, Leda, and Cord attend while Watt's computer skills helped him integrate into this elite circle. Rylin hopes to patch up her relationship with Cord, but he may never be able to trust her again.  

Watt and his quantum computer, Nadia, are probably my favorite characters in the book. (I'm considering Nadia a character since she has quite the personality.) I feel like his intentions are good and he simply got caught in a bad situation. As events unfolded and certain characters began working together, I felt like he and Nadia may just be the answer to many of their problems. 

Calliope is a disposable character in my opinion.  I don't really care for her or what she and her mother have been doing for years. I wish she would just move onto her next target, but it doesn't appear that will be happening anytime soon. She has been living a lie for so long that I don't think anyone will ever be able to trust her.

I actually like Avery and Atlas and feel bad for them and their situation. Unless they plan on leaving their ritzy high profile lives, I don't see any way things could work out for them. Avery needs to see life for what it is and move on. Atlas seems to have seen the light, but Avery is still in denial.

Leda is the one character that really evolved in this installment. I couldn't stand her for the majority of the book, but she really turned a new leaf towards the end and was a completely different person. She was no longer the self centered ____ she has been for the majority of the series and was actually a civilized human being. I found myself rooting for her, but I'm not sure she will ever be able to overcome her past.

The ending was unbelievable and something I never would have seen coming. I have no idea who is behind the events that unfolded and I can't wait to read the last book in this series to find out.  I read the Thousandth floor as soon as it was released and got hit with the one year wait between books. I ended up waiting until the entire series had been published before picking up book two to avoid this agonizing situation once again. Now I can jump right into the final book to see how everything unfolds.  

Friday, November 8, 2019

Book Review: Death Prefers Blondes by Caleb Roehrig


Goodreads Overview:

Teenage socialite Margo Manning leads a dangerous double life. By day, she dodges the paparazzi while soaking up California sunshine. By night, however, she dodges security cameras and armed guards, pulling off high-stakes cat burglaries with a team of flamboyant young men. In and out of disguise, she’s in all the headlines.

But then Margo’s personal life takes a sudden, dark turn, and a job to end all jobs lands her crew in deadly peril. Overnight, everything she’s ever counted on is put at risk. Backs against the wall, the resourceful thieves must draw on their special skills to survive. But can one rebel heiress and four kickboxing drag queens withstand the slings and arrows of truly outrageous fortune? Or will a mounting sea of troubles end them — for good?

Review:

Margo Manning is the only child of an extremely wealthy business man. She has been in the spotlight and tabloids her entire life (think Paris Hilton), but nothing was really challenging her until she and her drag queen friends begin carrying out various high stakes burglaries.  Margo isn't doing it for the money, but her team definitely is.  They are extremely good at what they do, but one of their jobs hit a little too close to home and the "victim" is now out for blood. 

Margo discovers there was more to her father's death than an incurable disease and is determined to bring down the people responsible. This next job could solve all of their problems, but the risks and challenges may be insurmountable.  They need to recruit an additional team member or the plan will never work, but who can they trust that possesses the skills they need? Margo thinks she may know just the right man for the job.

This was a very entertaining book with unforgettable characters. The dialogue and interactions between Margo and the boys were laugh out loud hysterical at times and I thoroughly enjoyed all of the action during the heists. I also found all of the planning and high tech gadgets to be fascinating.  There was even a little bit of flirting and romance between some of the characters, which also kept the pages turning.  

The one thing I found distracting was the use of obscure vocabulary throughout the book. I am a well educated individual with multiple college degrees and even I felt like I was taking the vocabulary section of the ACT or SAT. Having to look up the occasional word is one thing, but this novel was loaded with terms the vast majority of individuals probably aren't familiar with. I read it on my kindle and could easily click on the word to get the definition, but I'm sure most readers wouldn't take the time and would eventually get frustrated. Especially young adult readers, which is the target audience.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable book with plenty of action, adventure and a little bit of romance that should capture and hold the attention of most readers. I really enjoyed the drag queen twist to the heists. That isn't something you read about every day and would have been hysterical to watch on the surveillance video.  A bunch of above average sized women in flamboyant outfits and wigs taking down some of the most advanced security systems and guards money can buy.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Audiobook review: Slay by Brittney Morris

 Summary
By day, seventeen-year-old Kiera Johnson is an honors student, a math tutor, and one of the only Black kids at Jefferson Academy. But at home, she joins hundreds of thousands of Black gamers who duel worldwide as Nubian personas in the secret multiplayer online role-playing card game, SLAY. No one knows Kiera is the game developer, not her friends, her family, not even her boyfriend, Malcolm, who believes video games are partially responsible for the "downfall of the Black man."

But when a teen in Kansas City is murdered over a dispute in the SLAY world, news of the game reaches mainstream media, and SLAY is labeled a racist, exclusionist, violent hub for thugs and criminals. Even worse, an anonymous troll infiltrates the game, threatening to sue Kiera for "anti-white discrimination."

Driven to save the only world in which she can be herself, Kiera must preserve her secret identity and harness what it means to be unapologetically Black in a world intimidated by Blackness. But can she protect her game without losing herself in the process?

Flo's Review
I enjoyed the heck out of this book! I listened to the audiobook after being in a sort of audiobook slump and it just flew by! I looked forward to listening to it, and before I knew it, I was done. I'm not a gamer, but there were still so many relatable thoughts and conversations in this story. I, of course, did not see the twist at the end and though always felt a little iffy on that character was still like, "Wha?!?" I also really enjoyed the ending; realistic and so, so satisfying. I loved the connections made throughout the story that led the characters there.

Speaking of the connections, the cool thing about the audiobook is that the little player side stories were read by different narrators, making them particularly distinct from the story. Some I thought may have been too specifically detailed, but some were great and when they came back around I was all, "Aww! Yay!" Kiera had some great support. It was, of course, interesting to see the dynamic in her friendship with Harper, but I also really liked how awesome her family was. 

Author Brittney Morris will be at the Miami Book Fair on Saturday, November 23rd on a panel appropriately titled "On the Come Up: Women Who Slay" with fellow YA author Angie Thomas. Here is more information on that: 
https://www.miamibookfair.com/event/on-the-come-up-women-who-slay-2/ . For more information on the Miami Book Fair in general, visit https://www.miamibookfair.com.