The Pilots

The Pilots by Juliana Marguerite

My rating: three stars

Genre: YA Dystopian

Edition: ebook/ARC

Goodreads Summary: LILY is top of her class and ready to accept a Government position in Safe Zone One. Her whole life is turned around when she’s handcuffed and thrown into The Pilot, a series of challenges she must complete before a Government position is offered. Who knows, this may be just another test. But, why are kids not making it past trials and why is this happening right before the end of her senior year?

JACKSON is chosen as a junior to embark on a mission outside the confining walls of Safe Zone Two. A mission of discovery called The Pilot. His designated trek will have him testing the environment for traces of MX, a deadly biological weapon used in the drug trade. Jackson will find himself tested by the land once sprawling with people. What will be found along his path?

A chilling tale of discovery and finding strength in one’s self. Take the plunge into, The Pilots.

First off, I would like to thank Juliana Marguerite for giving me the opportunity to be a beta reader/ARC reviewer. I was so happy to be able to read this book early and help her find any major errors before publication, it was a great opportunity! I will say that even though I was given the ARC of this book to review, everything I say in this review will be my honest opinion. Juliana did not ask me to give a good review, a certain number of stars, or anything like that. All she wanted was people to read her book and give her honest feedback, so that is what I will be doing!

Likes: This is such an interesting world with interesting storylines (there are two separate stories going on within The Pilots)! I was constantly intrigued about what was going to happen next, especially within Lily’s story. I liked the different tests that Lily had to go through, they were challenging but crazy and unexpected at times. I also liked the characters. They were smart, fun, and came together in a way that was inspiring. I was interested in almost every character so much, I wanted to know more – unfortunately one of the negatives is that I didn’t feel like I got to see the deep inner workings and thoughts of the characters. I also liked the way the two stories were related, though I wish we could have seen more of Jackson’s story – I think that would have made me even more invested. The mystery that comes about makes me wish the second book was out already so I could see what happens.

Dislikes: I feel like this story has such good bones – a great world, storyline, and characters, it just needed a few more rounds of deep editing. There were grammatical instances that I found strange, and interactions between characters that I found awkward and confusing. I think that she did a good job explaining the surroundings, I had an easy time picturing what was happening, but as for character feelings and interactions, they were lacking. The only way I can think to explain is that it felt like the story was missing a sentence/paragraph every once and a while (if you are techy, then it was like frames were dropping). A character would go through something traumatic and wouldn’t seem too deeply bothered, relationships would be created or destroyed without much explanation, etc. This made me not able to immerse myself in the story because I was frequently being pulled out of it by some strange interaction or wording. There were definitely instances where she had wonderful interactions, but overall, I think that there could have been some more editing to improve this.

The Pilots had an extremely good foundation. The characters and plot had great “bones” and I enjoyed them. However, the main problem that I had, and why I gave it three stars, is that the book felt like it needed some more editing to improve the grammar, character interactions, and character depth. I look forward to reading the sequel. I truly believe this story has the potential to be incredible, and with the ending of The Pilots, I can’t wait to see what is going on!!

Red Rising

Red Rising (Red Rising, #1) by Pierce Brown

My rating: five stars

Genre: YA Dystopian

Edition: paperback

Goodreads Summary: Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children. But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies… even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

Red Rising is one of my friend’s favorite series in the world, so of course I had to pick it up and see what it was about. Let me just say I am so glad that I went into this book not knowing very much about it. It completely went in a direction that I did not expect, and I will not spoil that in this review.

Likes: The main thing that I appreciated was how crazy it got. I did not expect the book to go in the direction it did, and I love that! I wish I could say more about it, but I think it is best for people to go into this book not knowing much. I also liked the characters. Pierce Brown wrote the characters in such a way that they are both likable and not likeable at the same time. There are some villains that I couldn’t help but like, and there were some “good” people that had to do terrible things. This is a wonderful aspect to the story, I love complex characters. This book goes into the fact that not everything is black and white in life, there are a ton of shades of grey. Darrow went into life thinking a certain thing (that I can’t really talk about), but towards the end of the book he discovered that what he thought he knew was not completely correct. I love this growth and the philosophical aspect to the story.

Dislikes: There is a feud that starts between Darrow and another character later in this book and it makes no sense to me. It is hard to explain without giving spoilers, but basically this person tries to destroy Darrow’s life for something that Darrow could not control. It just seems so outrageous and completely out of character. It seems to happen for no other reason than for the plot. Another problem that I had with this book is that Darrow seems to always have a solution to everything. He is usually always smarter than everyone else around him and it just seems illogical and improbable. It is hard to imagine that he could be that much smarter than everyone else, to a point where it seems like he can read their minds.

Overall, I loved this book! I gave it five out of five stars because, even though there were some aspects that I did not enjoy, I still had a wonderful time reading it and think that it is a well written book. I wish that the feud had come about differently to where it made more sense, and I wish that Darrow’s level of intelligence didn’t seem completely illogical. However, I am still so excited for the rest of the series, the ending left me having no clue where the next book is going to go, and I love that!

Cruel Crown

Cruel Crown (Red Queen, #.1-.2) by Victoria Aveyard

My rating: three stars

Genre: YA Fantasy

Edition: paperback

Goodreads Summary: Two women on either side of the Silver and Red divide tell the stories no one else knows. Discover the truth of Norta’s bloody past in these two revealing prequels to #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestseller RED QUEEN.

Queen Song: Queen Coriane, first wife of King Tiberias, keeps a secret diary—how else can she ensure that no one at the palace will use her thoughts against her? Coriane recounts her heady courtship with the crown prince, the birth of a new prince, Cal, and the potentially deadly challenges that lie ahead for her in royal life.

Steel Scars: Captain Farley was raised to be strong, but being tasked with planting the seeds of rebellion in Norta is a tougher job than expected. As she travels the land recruiting black market traders, smugglers, and extremists for her first attempt at an attack on the capital, she stumbles upon a connection that may prove to be the key to the entire operation—Mare Barrow.

Plus a Glass Sword sneak peek!

I have been loving the Red Queen series, and since I read King’s Cage, I decided to read this one next. I was most excited to read about Queen Coriane since what happened to her is a huge secret so far, though I do like Captain Farley so I was interested in her story as well.

Likes: I did like that the secret of Queen Coriane was finally talked about and looked at. I was so engrossed with this story, I honestly wish that it was a whole book. I loved the characters and the suspense. I also liked the second story about Captain Farley, though it did seem unnecessary. It was okay, but I didn’t feel like there was a point to it, or that there was a need for it.

Dislikes: Let me just say that I did not expect the Glass Sword sneak peek to be so long, it seemed like it was half the book! (I know it wasn’t, but I think it was an absurdly large part of it.) I don’t understand why there was such a huge chunk of Glass Sword in this book, I wish we had gotten another short story. This really upset me so much, because I feel like the other two short stories were so short that I could not enjoy them as much. I wish that they were longer and/or that there was a third short story instead of the Glass Sword preview. Also, the Captain Farley story just seemed to be put in there for content, which is annoying. Sure, I like her character. However, it just didn’t seem necessary. I would have much rather had the entire book about Queen Coriane instead of having a strange pointless story about Captain Farley and an extremely long preview to Glass Sword.

Overall, I did like the short stories. I thought they were fun and finally gave some answers to questions that I have been asking for the entire series so far. However, they seemed way too short and not flushed out at all, when they could have been longer and more complete if the Glass Sword sneak peek was not there! I took off two stars because there was the Glass Sword sneak peak that took up so much space that the other two short stories needed because they were lacking depth. The first short story was so good, which makes the other two seem so much worse. I just wish the whole story was about the Queen…

The Hidden Power of F*cking Up

The Hidden Power of F*cking Up by The Try Guys

My rating: five stars

Genre: Nonfiction

Edition: Audiobook

Goodreads Summary: The Try Guys deliver their first book—an inspirational self-improvement guide that teaches you that the path to success is littered with humiliating detours, embarrassing mistakes, and unexpected failures.

To be our best selves, we must become secure in our insecurities. In The Hidden Power of F*cking Up, The Try Guys – Keith, Ned, Zach, and Eugene – reveal their philosophy of trying: how to fully embrace fear, foolishness, and embarrassment in an effort to understand how we all get paralyzed by a fear of failure. They’ll share how four shy, nerdy kids have dealt with their most poignant life struggles by attacking them head-on and reveal their – ahem – sure-fail strategies for achieving success.

But they’re not just here to talk; they’re actually going to put their advice to work. To demonstrate their unique self-improvement formula, they’ll each personally confront their deepest insecurities. A die-hard meat-lover goes vegan for the first time. A straight-laced father transforms into a fashionista. A perpetually single sidekick becomes the romantic lead. A child of divorce finally grows more intimate with his family. Through their insightful, emotional journeys and surprising, hilarious anecdotes, they’ll help you overcome your own self-doubt to become the best, most f*cked up version of yourself you can be!

I have been watching the Try Guy’s videos for many years – basically since when they started at Buzzfeed. I think they are hilarious and put out content that is both entertaining and informative. I went to one of their tour stops and my goodness it was so good! I hope that they go on another one, because it was phenomenal. This book is basically a bunch of stories about their life, and how they got to where they are. As soon as I heard what it was about, I had to get it. I love self-help books, and one written by some of my favorite Youtubers was a must-read.

Likes: If you are planning on getting this book, I recommend the audiobook. The Try Guys are the narrators which is so funny! They are honestly great at it, and they add little comments and sound affects that add to the book. I am so glad that I decided to get the Audible version. The book is full of a bunch of short stories where each of the Try Guys try something new. Some of them were lighthearted, and some of them were deep, but most of them had a great wisdom that they passed on. I loved that they got so vulnerable in some of the stories, it showed how difficult it can be to put yourself out there and try new things. This story gave so much hope and so many good life lessons, I really enjoyed it.

Dislikes: Even though there were several stories that were vulnerable, I felt like some of the stories were just put in there for content. Sure, I liked hearing about them trying something new, however, I didn’t feel like I had as much fun listening to those stories, and there didn’t seem to be a lesson to them. I just wish some of the Try Guys had been a little more vulnerable, instead of trying something just for content’s sake.

Overall, I gave this book five stars. I loved listening to the Audiobook, I thought it was creative and fun to have the Try Guys narrate it. It was a unique listening experience that I have never had before. I loved the lessons that came out of the stories. I appreciated the vulnerability, and I enjoyed hearing more about their lives. Even though I wish some of the stories had more content and meaning to them, I am not going to deduct a star simply because I love this book so much.

Soul of the Sword

Soul of the Sword (Shadow of the Fox, #2) by Julie Kagawa       

My rating: five stars

Genre: YA Fantasy

Edition: Hardback

Goodreads Summary: One thousand years ago, a wish was made to the Harbinger of Change and a sword of rage and lightning was forged. Kamigoroshi. The Godslayer. It had one task: to seal away the powerful demon Hakaimono.

Now he has broken free.

Kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko has one task: to take her piece of the ancient and powerful scroll to the Steel Feather temple in order to prevent the summoning of the Harbinger of Change, the great Kami Dragon who will grant one wish to whomever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. But she has a new enemy now. The demon Hakaimono, who for centuries was trapped in a cursed sword, has escaped and possessed the boy she thought would protect her, Kage Tatsumi of the Shadow Clan.

Hakaimono has done the unthinkable and joined forces with the Master of Demons in order to break the curse of the sword and set himself free. To overthrow the empire and cover the land in darkness, they need one thing: the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. As the paths of Yumeko and the possessed Tatsumi cross once again, the entire empire will be thrown into chaos.

Shadow of the Fox left at such a cliffhanger I wanted to start Soul of the Sword as soon as possible, I just needed to know what happens! Especially since the last book just recently came out in hardback, it would be great to read the whole series this year.

Likes: In this book Yumeko seems to have matured and grown from the events that took place in Shadow of the Fox. I like seeing this change in her, it shows how seriously she is taking this quest she is on, and how seriously she is taking what happened to Tatsumi. She is not only more mature outwardly, she is also trying to look inward and come to terms with who she is. I love that we see this internal struggle and how she is trying to become more comfortable with who she is. That was a beautiful aspect to the story. Another thing that I liked was how much was shown of the other character’s backstories and thoughts. Relationships form and growth happens in these side characters and I love that. This book has continuous world building and goes more in-depth about the history and magic of the land. The new creatures that are shown are awesome, I loved that we got to see more!

Dislikes: In this book there is a character that is shown every once and a while and this character is a complete mystery. They were a mystery in the first book and still are throughout this second book. I like that we get to learn more about them, however, I wish that more would have been shown. This is just a personal preference that I feel like there was a lot left out that should have been added about this character, however, I am guessing that this character will become more prevalent in the last book which is why I am not that upset about it.

Overall, I enjoyed this book a ton. The characters are so much fun, and I love that this story has a lot of growth and self-reflection for each character. I love the new creatures that we see, and I like how we get different POVs that weren’t shown previously. I do wish that a certain character would have been flushed out more, but I am hoping that they are in the next book.

The Last Wish

The Last Wish (The Witcher, #.5) by Andrzej Sapkowski

My rating: three stars

Genre: Adult Fantasy

Edition: Kindle

Goodreads Summary: Geralt the Witcher — revered and hated — holds the line against the monsters plaguing humanity in this collection of adventures in the New York Times bestselling series that inspired the Netflix show and the hit video games.

Geralt is a Witcher, a man whose magic powers, enhanced by long training and a mysterious elixir, have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless assassin. Yet he is no ordinary murderer: his targets are the multifarious monsters and vile fiends that ravage the land and attack the innocent.

But not everything monstrous-looking is evil and not everything fair is good…and in every fairy tale there is a grain of truth.

I have been playing through The Witcher 3 on my PC for a while, and watched and loved the TV show recently, so I just had to pick up the books. It seemed like everyone had the same idea because when I went to buy them The Last Wish was sold out and the first three books sold out right after I bought them!  That’s why I read the Last Wish on my Kindle, though I would have preferred the physical version.

Likes: I like that since these short stories take place with large time gaps between them we get to see vastly different portions of the world and Geralt’s life. There is a ton of worldbuilding, so many different characters and character relationships, and a bunch of magical creatures that are shown. There is also so much history to this world that I love. I can tell that the author put in a lot of time and effort creating this world and the characters in it. I also liked the magic in this story. I think I might have been confused about it if I had not played the game before reading this because it is not really explained. However, I still like how Geralt uses magic and potions in the story.

Dislikes: I don’t know if it is just because I am not used to Andrzej’s writing style or what, but the book seemed disjointed to me. It would skip from story to story so quickly and with no introduction to the new story, that I was left confused at times. I did like that this book showed so much in terms of worldbuilding because it was made up of short stories, however, I think they could have had a smoother transition. I also feel like some of the short stories weren’t that exciting to me and served no purpose. Some of them I was just not interested in the entire time, and I didn’t see what I was gaining out of reading them.

Overall, I rated this book three out of five stars because I was left confused at times and that decreased my enjoyment of the story. I would have to backtrack sometimes to figure out what was going on, and that wasn’t enjoyable. The confusion that I felt, the dull short stories, and my lack of enjoyment made me deduct two stars for this book. I still look forward to the other ones because I did love the world, the characters, and the magic so much, I was just a little disappointed in this book.

March 2020| Reading Wrap Up

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder
Author: Holly Jackson
Genre: YA, Mystery
Rating: ★★★★★

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is a YA mystery about a highschooler named Pip. In her town a high school senior, Andie, was murdered and the whole town believes it was Andie’s boyfriend Sal – who ended up committing suicide – who killed her. Pip, however, does not believe that Sal killed Andie and is determined to find who really did. One of the biggest things that surprised me about this book was how wrong I was the entire time. I was so sure that I knew who did it and I was hating the book because I thought it was so easy, and it turns out I was wrong! I love those type of surprises and that was one of the main reasons I loved it. I also really liked the characters in this story. Pip was so determined, and I really respected that. I won’t talk about any other characters because I don’t want to spoil anything, but I liked a lot of them too. The central thing that I disliked was that I felt like the Pip wasn’t as thorough in her investigation as I would have liked. There were so many events and people that I thought she should have checked out but she didn’t. However, since I guessed wrong, maybe it is a good thing no one investigated what I thought they should have.

Pros: well laid out mystery, fun characters.
Cons: investigation didn’t feel thorough.
Full Review:

Author: Andy Weir
Genre: Sci-fi
Rating: ★★★★★

Artemis is a story about Jazz, a smuggler and porter, who lives in the only city on the Moon – Artemis. She is hired to commit a seemingly impossible crime, but accepts because of how huge the reward is. This story is full of conspiracies, political intrigue, drama, and supposedly impossible tasks. I loved that this story went in depth into the science of things, while at the same time keeping it easy to understand. The story also continuously gets more and more complex, which kept me wanting to read more. I liked Jazz, but I found her relationship with an ex-friend to be confusing and annoying. This best friend had betrayed her and yet acted like he didn’t do anything wrong and like it was outrageous that she didn’t want to be friends with him anymore. This seemed unrealistic and unnecessary.

Pros: The story went more in-depth scientifically than I am used to seeing, Jazz was an interesting main character, the story was complex, and the political aspect was fascinating.
Cons: Unrealistic relationship with ex-friend in my opinion. It seemed not only unrealistic but also unnecessary.
Full Review:

The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Rating: ★★★★★

The Hunger Games is about a girl named Katniss Everdeen who has to participate in The Hunger Games – a fight to the death between one girl and one boy from each of the 12 districts that make up their nation Panem. I think the government in this world is fascinating. The Capitol is so strange, and how all the people act and treat the districts is horrible, but I still like reading about it because I want to know what made them that way. Katniss is inspiring, she goes to so many lengths to keep her family alive and safe even though she is only sixteen. I liked that the Games wasn’t just kids killing each other, there was a lot that went on beforehand in terms of training, interviews, and such. This shows how truly horrid the Capitol is because the Games are a show to them, a form of entertainment. This aspect just goes deep into the differences between the Capitol and the Districts. The thing that I did not like about this book was the love story. Katniss was just so cruel to Peeta at points, and this seemed unrealistic for her character. I understand that she would do whatever she could to save her family and herself, but at the same time I don’t believe she would keep so many secrets from Peeta. I believe she would have talked to him more about the plans and so this aspect just exhibited a side of her that was difficult to believe because it seemed to go against her core personality.

Pros: Descriptive writing, interesting government and affect the war had on the Capitol and the Districts, the Games seemed well thought out in terms of the events surrounding it.
Cons: Love story seemed to have unrealistic drama surrounding it because of a lack of communication that seemed to go against Katniss’ character.
Full Review:

Shadow of the Fox
Author: Julie Kagawa
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★

Shadow of the Fox is a book about the quest to find all three parts of the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, for whoever gets all three parts can summon the Kami dragon and have a wish granted. Yumeko is a half human, half kitsune (nine tailed fox) who was raised by monks. Suddenly her home is burned down and she is forced to flee with one part of the scroll. The other main character is Tatsumi, a samurai of the Shadow Clan, who is tasked with finding all parts of the scroll. I found the world in this book to be fascinating because it is so like our own except with mythical creatures. I loved the main character Yumeko. Even though she was really naive because of how she grew up, I still loved seeing how easily she made friends and convinced people to help her because of how nice she was. I found all of the other characters who Yumeko came to meet and travel with interesting as well. Their backgrounds were usually kept a mystery at first and it made me more intrigued by them and wanting to know more. The storyline seems like a simple one – Yumeko needs to protect this scroll and take it to another temple – and yet there were so many different antagonists and “side quests”, that it made for a full story. I did not really have anything that I disliked. One thing that confused me though is why Tatsumi couldn’t see that Yumeko was part nine tailed fox even though some other people could.

Pros: I loved all the characters, the story was full of adventures, and the magical creatures were fun to learn about.
Cons: I’m just confused at why Tatsuki couldn’t see Yumeko’s ears and tail.
Full Review:

Forest of Secrets
Author: Erin Hunter
Genre: Middle Grade
Rating: ★★★★★

Forest of Secrets is the third book in the original Warriors series, so this will have spoilers for the first two books.

This book is about Fireheart trying to figure out and prove what happened to Redtail – a Thunderclan deputy who was killed. This book had significantly more happening than the first two books which was nice. There were a lot of secrets that came out, not only about Redtail but about other warriors as well. I liked delving into the backstory of some of the other cats, it shed some light as to why they acted the way they did. I also liked that the relationship between Greystripe and Fireheart mended pretty well. The ending was upsetting but at the same time, I understand why a certain cat made the choices they did. I also liked the themes of this book, the story really went into clan loyalties versus blood loyalties and I appreciated that. The main thing that I disliked was that Bluestar had such a closed mind. She wasn’t willing to accept anything Fireheart was telling her and this seemed to go against her personality.

Pros: The themes of the book were nice, more backstory for events and characters, mended relationships, there were several sub-plots, and the ending was believable.
Cons: Bluestar was more close-minded than I believe her character is usually.
Full Review:

The Assassin’s Blade
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★

The Assassin’s Blade is the prequel to the Throne of Glass series, and contains five novellas, each one following a different adventure that Celaena – the most feared assassin in her country Ardarlan – goes on. I read this book after reading Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight (because I decided to read it in the publishing order), and so this book gave a lot of insight into why Celaena acts the way she does in the Throne of Glass books. I loved seeing more into her background, and these books really opened my eyes to her personality and even to why she uses some of the expressions that she does. There are wonderful characters in this book. I did not expect to get attached to any since these were short stories, but I ended up loving a large portion of the characters. This book eliticted so much emotion from me. I was amazed by the different adventures that it had, heartbroken at times, and joyous at others. I honestly can’t think anything that I did not like.

Pros: full of incredible adventures, great cast of characters, eye opening to what made Celaena the way she is in Throne of Glass, great world building, and the writing style really pulled the emotions out of me.
Cons: Not a single thing I can think of. I love this book!
Full Review:

Siege and Storm
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★

Siege and Storm is the second book in the Grisha Trilogy, so this will have spoilers for the first book.

Siege and Storm is about Alina trying to stay in hiding with Mal so that the Darkling can not find her. However, since their battle at the end of Shadow and Bone, the Darkling has gained a mysterious new power that makes escaping him harder than ever. I really like that this book takes place in a bunch of different areas that weren’t shown in the first book, so there is a lot of world building. I have always found the magic system and world interesting, and so I liked that there was more of that in this book. I also liked that there were new characters introduced in this story who I actually enjoyed. We meet a few bands of people who are fascinating and who I want to learn more about. Though I liked the new characters, I started to like Alina less and less. I understand the struggle that she was going through, however I believe she started doing things that went completely against who she is as a person and I don’t believe that she would have been capable of doing any of it. Also, I still don’t like the relationship that this book is trying to force between Alina and the Darkling. It just doesn’t make any sense that she would feel an attraction to him at all in a romantic way. They may be connected emotionally because they are similar, but that doesn’t mean that she has any reason to find him attractive romantically. It is just something that I don’t believe is realistic.

Pros: world building, magic system, fun new characters.
Cons: there were just a bunch of things I struggled to believe would have really happened.
Full Review:

Catching Fire
Author: Suzanne Collins
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Rating: ★★★★

Catching Fire is the second book of The Hunger Games series, so this will have spoilers for the first book.

It is difficult to explain this book without spoiling it, but it is basically about Katniss and Peeta going through the ramifications of them both winning the Hunger Games. There wasn’t supposed to be two winners so they have to prove that they are helplessly in love, or else they could be harmed. This book shows a lot of what happens after someone wins the Hunger Games, and I liked seeing a different aspect, rather than just seeing the Games again. The arena in this book was fascinating and I liked it more than the first one because of how dynamic it was. There are also many new characters in this book and I liked meeting them and learning about the different people that were in the Games. Similar to the first book, I did not like the romance in this book. There were so many secrets, and like in the first book, the secrets just hurt people. I also thought that the beginning of the book was slow. I liked that it showed some background to the Games, but it did seem to drag on.

Pros: new characters, shows a new side of the Games, and the arena was interesting.
Cons: beginning was slow and romance was annoying.
Full Review:

A Dangerous path

A Dangerous Path (Warriors, #5) by Erin Hunter

My rating: four stars

Genre: Middle Grade

Edition: Paperback

Goodreads Summary: ShadowClan has a dark new leader, but will he be satisfied with his power now — or does his desire for revenge burn even more strongly? Fireheart fears that there is a connection between the rise of Tigerstar and the terrible dreams that haunt his nights, murmuring of danger and death.

Meanwhile, a mysterious and vicious threat unlike any other has invaded the forest, placing every cat’s life in peril. Fireheart’s beloved leader has turned her back on their warrior ancestors, and Fireheart can’t help but wonder if she’s right. Has StarClan abandoned them forever?

I low-key wasn’t looking forward to this book too much because of how the last book went, but it surprised me in how much I liked it! I had completely forgot all of the crazy things that happened in this book.

Likes: The previous book was not my favorite in terms of plot progression, and so I really enjoyed this one because it had a lot happening in terms of the tension between Fireheart and Tigerstar. This book does have a good amount of suspense that left my heart racing. It made me worried about the characters, and afraid of what was going to happen to them. This story had good pacing. It never seemed to lull, and there were several plot points that were happening at once, and they were all interesting. The end of this book had me crying. It wasn’t necessarily unexpected, it was just destressing and yet felt right.

Dislikes: It still seems so unrealistic that all of these clans are putting up with Tigerstar’s crap. Like seriously, he is killing cats and doing all of these terrible things, and yet almost no one is doing anything to try and stop him. That is just frustrating. Bluestar’s character also continues to go downhill for most of this story and I am over it. I understand what is troubling her, but at the same time I don’t think that she would have this type of reaction based off of what she had to go through in her past. She went through very traumatic times in her past without breaking like she did in the past couple books, and so I don’t think it is realistic that she became so unstable in these books.

Overall, this book was a great read! Bluestar’s character confused me, and the clan’s actions frustrated me. However, I loved the pacing, the plot progression, and the suspense enough to get over those dislikes. I gave it four out of five stars because of the frustrations that I had, but I still did love this book.

Heir of Fire

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass, #3) by Sarah J. Maas

My rating: five stars

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Edition: Paperback

Goodreads Summary: Consumed by guilt and rage, Celaena can’t bring herself to spill blood for the King of Adarlan. She must fight back…

The Immortal Queen will help her destroy the king – for a price. But as Celaena battles with her darkest memories and her heart breaks for a love that could never last, can she fulfil the bargain and head the almighty court of Terrasen? And who will stand with her?

OH MY GOSH can I give this book a million stars?? The Assassin’s Blade was my favorite book in the series before I read this one and I did not think it could get any better. Boy was I wrong! This book is my new favorite and took this series in a direction I did not expect.

Likes: There are so many new characters in this book, and I love them! We finally meet characters that are magical, and it is so interesting learning about their culture and abilities. And this book doesn’t only introduce “good” magic characters, it also shows morally grey (if not evil) characters. The witches and elves are so cool, I really hope that they are in the next book often! This book also goes more in depth about Celaena’s background and powers. She is forced to learn more about them, and I loved seeing that side of her. There are also a ton of sub-plots in this book which made for a fast paced story. There always seemed to be something important or fascinating going on somewhere. Even though the book was quite long, it didn’t seem like it because of the pacing and because of how well it was written.

Dislikes: The only dislike I have – and I am really reaching here – is that some of the “immortal” characters seem more immature than I would have thought. There are characters that have been alive for hundreds of years, and I assumed they would have been more in tune with their emotions and more wise than they were. I don’t even know if I would consider it a dislike though because of how much the characters have been through to make them the way they are. I suppose it was more of a surprise than a dislike.

Overall, this book blew me away. I loved it so much and hope that the next books are just as good. The new characters are incredible, the sub-plots were fascinating, and the magic is mind blowing. I loved it through and through.

Rising Storm

Rising Storm (Warriors, #4) by Erin Hunter

My rating: four stars

Genre: Middlegrade

Edition: Paperback

Goodreads Summary: Fireheart’s traitorous enemy Tigerclaw has been vanquished and exiled from Thunder Clan — but Fireheart can’t shake the feeling that he’s lurking in the forest, waiting for his chance to strike.

That’s not the only problem facing the young warrior in these blazing summer months, as he struggles to handle sinister omens, an apprentice with a shocking secret, and a devastated Clan leader who is a shell of her former self.

Meanwhile the forest gets hotter and hotter … and everyone braces for the coming storm… Ages 10+.

Continuing with my re-read of the series, we have gotten to one of my least favorite books of the original six book series. It is still an enjoyable read, I just think that it had a weaker storyline than the rest in the original arc, and I think the characters themselves didn’t go in a great direction.

Likes: I did like the growing relationship between Yellowfang and Cinderpelt. It was heartwarming and I love learning more about the medicine cats. I also enjoyed that there were more dangers to the clan than just Tigerclaw. There are some natural disasters and humans that come into play, and this opened up my eyes to see how the cats not only have to worry about troubles in the clans, they also have to worry about outside forces hurting them. There is also a relationship development between Fireheart and another cat that I found that to be adorable. 

Dislikes: Though I did like that this book includes other types of dangers, Tigerclaw is the main villain and he seems to barely be in this book. There is little progression in the plot because of this. I also did not like the direction Bluestar’s personality is taking. I understand that she is shocked by Tigerclaw’s betrayal, but at the same time she has endured much worse than that and I feel like she would not have been as broken as she is in this book. The naivety of the other clans also surprises me. I recognize that they are having their own troubles, however, I don’t think that they would allow the things that they do just because they are having a difficult time. It seems very unlikely that they would allow Tigerclaw to do the things he does.

Overall, this isn’t as strong as a book as the other ones in the original series, but I still enjoyed it immensely. The relationships that develop in this book are heartwarming, the natural disasters that happen are shocking, and this book did wrench my heart which is a sign of a well written book. Because this story was relatively stagnant in terms of plot progression, and the actions of most of the cats weren’t believable, I am going to deduct a star. However, I still recommend this book and this whole series!