Our Dark Duet Review

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Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity, Book 2) by Victoria Schwab

Synopsis: Kate Harker is a girl who isn’t afraid of the dark. She’s a girl who hunts monsters. And she’s good at it. August Flynn is a monster who can never be human. No matter how much he once yearned for it. He has a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.

Nearly six months after Kate and August were first thrown together, the war between the monsters and the humans is a terrifying reality. In Verity, August has become the leader he never wished to be, and in Prosperity, Kate has become the ruthless hunter she knew she could be. When a new monster emerges from the shadows—one who feeds on chaos and brings out its victim’s inner demons—it lures Kate home, where she finds more than she bargained for. She’ll face a monster she thought she killed, a boy she thought she knew, and a demon all her own.

About the Author: Victoria “V.E.” Schwab is the product of a British mother, a Beverly Hills father, and a southern upbringing. Because of this, she has been known to say “tom-ah-toes”, “like”, and “y’all”. She currently lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, and when she is not wandering in search of buried treasure, fairy tales, and good tea, she’s tucked in a cafe, dreaming up monsters.

Genre: young adult, fantasy, dystopia

More Info: hardcover, 528 pages, published by Greenwillow Books on June 13, 2017

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Kate has become a monster hunter in Prosperity. August has become a leader in Verity. Both of them have grown in the six months they spent apart, but while Kate has discovered herself, August has only become more lost.

August has been fighting small battles against the Malchai, Sloan and Alice (Kate’s Malchai), and Fangs (collared, vicious humans). Kate has been fighting small battles against the Heart Eaters (the only monster in Prosperity). That is, until Kate encounters a new monster—the Chaos Eater. She inadvertently leads the new, intangible monster to Verity. So, she heads home.

There she finds a city still separated between north and south: humans vs monsters. She also finds a divided group of FTF councillors and people who are fighting, but making minimal progress.

With new threats to face, the FTF fighters must come together to defeat monsters, before they are pitted against each other by the Chaos Eater.

 

First, I would like to say that I am so happy the cover for This Savage Song and Our Dark Duet match. They are both pretty and look great together. I really don’t like when the cover art changes between books in a series.

Schwab’s writing has captivated me again. Our Dark Duet did not have the same impact on me as This Savage Song, but it was still a great read. The sequel/conclusion to the Monsters of Verity duology was very well handled.

The content, such as details and information, was very consistent with the first book. This consistence applies to the characters as well. (Except for Emily Flynn. To me, she was timid in book one and suddenly became a commanding—almost harsh—presence in book two.) However, the characters still underwent significant character development. For Kate, without her father hanging over her head, I believe she found herself. She still struggles with making connections, but she is a fierce yet less distanced person. August became more monster than human (he wasn’t even keeping track of his tallies!). He seemed numb to me as he attempted to be someone the people needed, but someone who wasn’t himself.

On that note, I was so amazed by Kate’s concern for August. The way that she pushed him to face himself made their relationship so much more powerful. I missed their witty banter, and wanted more scenes between the two. But I think exploring their friendship was one of the best parts of Our Dark Duet. As a result, I loved the evolution of August’s music, and the changes in August and he figured out his identity.

Besides the two stars of the novel, there were new characters introduced into the story. While Kate is in Prosperity, she reluctantly teamed up with a group of “hacktivists” called the Wardens. They are kids her age who find patterns of violence, which helped Kate discover and get rid of hidden monsters. I was sad Riley, Bea, Liam, Teo, and Malcolm weren’t more involved in the book after the first few chapters. I was hoping they would make some miraculous appearance in Verity.

Another new character was Alice. Kate’s distorted look-a-like monster is twisted. Strong, violent and determined, she goes after August, and eventually Kate.

The other new character was Soro. Soro is another Sunai, born from a suicide mission to kill Corsai after Harker fell and the monsters took over. Soro uses ungendered pronouns they/them/their! Despite the fact that Soro is a monster, not a human, I was still very happy to see gender-neutral representation in Our Dark Duet. I did think they were a little too serious. They were so convinced of their purpose to reap sinners, that I was intimidated by them. But they were a good soldier and a good addition to the Flynn family.

This is the final book and I felt some of the plot points were skimmed over. I was left with a few questions, like the creation of the Chaos Eater and a definition of Henry’s illness.

Also, the finale felt somewhat rushed. To me, the climax was in the final chapters. The only falling action came from the elegy with no resolution; it felt short. For all of the reveals in the end, I just felt numb…like I didn’t have time to process what was happening. The end was left open. Verity still had problems, just like real life where there aren’t always happy endings. To mimic August, the conclusion went out “Not with a bang, but with a whimper.”

Buy it here:

amazon

 

 

Barnes-and-Noble

Waiting On Wednesday

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Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Break the Spine where bloggers can feature anticipated upcoming book releases.

I am waiting to read The Color Project by Sierra Abrams.


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Bernice Aurora Wescott has one thing she doesn’t want anyone to know: her name. That is, until Bee meets Levi, the local golden boy who runs a charity organization called The Color Project.

Levi is not at all shy about attempting to guess Bee’s real name; his persistence is one of the many reasons why Bee falls for him. But while Levi is everything she never knew she needed, giving up her name would feel like a stamp on forever. And that terrifies her.

When unexpected news of an illness in the family drains Bee’s summer of everything bright, she is pushed to the breaking point. Losing herself in The Color Project—a world of weddings, funerals, cancer patients, and hopeful families that the charity funds—is no longer enough. Bee must hold up the weight of her family, but to do that, she needs Levi. She’ll have to give up her name and let him in completely or lose the best thing that’s ever happened to her.


First, the cover is simple, but beautiful. Second, I’ve heard many amazing things about this book. Many are squealing for the realistic, slow-burn romance. People keep saying her writing is quick and charming. Sierra also fills the pages with emotion and cuteness. There are close relationships between family and friends, something you don’t always see in YA. According to readers, the ending wraps up the book very well. The only downside I’ve seen from reviews is consistency issues in the novel. Therefore, I’m so excited to give this book a place on my bookshelf! July 18, 2017 is coming up fast, and I can’t wait!

Ways of Creating New Words in English

Compounding – word-formative process where two or more free morphemes are combined into a single term.

Ex. blue + bird = bluebird.


Prefixing – word-formative process where an affix is attached to the front of a word.

Ex. un- + happy = unhappy.


Suffixing – word-formative process where an affix is attached to the end of a word.

Ex. build + -er = builder.


Infixing – word-formative process where an affix is inserted into a word at a morphophonemic boundary.

Ex. fan-freaking-tastic.


Alphebetism (Initialism) – word-formative process where a word is formed from the initials of a phrase and the word is pronounced as a sequence of letters.

Ex. FBI or Federal Bureau of Investigation. 


Acronym – word-formative process where the initial sounds of a phrase make a word.

Ex. scuba or self-contained underwater breathing apparatus. 


Clipping – word-formative process where a word is shorted  from a larger one.

Ex. net from Internet, cell from cellular.


Backformation – word-formative process where a word is derived by removing an affix to form a new word.

Ex. editor – -or = edit


Blending – word-formative process where blends are created by joining two or more words, at least one of which must be clipped.

Ex. smoke + fog = smog


Shifting (Functional shift) – word-formative process where a word form employed in one lexical category moves into another category.

Ex. noun e-mail (I’ll check my e-mail.) shifted to verb e-mail (E-mail me!).


Source: How English Works by Anne Curzan and Michael Adams, 3rd Edition, Pearson Education Inc.

The Love Interest Review

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The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich

Synopsis: There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets.

Caden is a Nice: The boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: The brooding, dark-souled guy, and dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose a Nice or the Bad?

Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be – whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die.

What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.

About the Author: Cale Dietrich is a YA devotee, lifelong gamer, and tragic pop punk enthusiast. He was born in Perth, grew up on the Gold Coast, and now lives in Brisbane, Australia. The Love Interest is his first novel.

Genre: young adult, romance, LGBTQIA+, adventure

More Info: hardcover, 384 pages, published by Feiwel & Friends on May 16, 2017

3.5

Young adults live in a mirrored, white-walled facility for many years and are trained to be successful, lifelong infiltrating spies. They are chosen based on an algorithm to match with subjects. Their purpose? Make the target fall in love with them and then spend the rest of their life spying on their mark.

When the main character is chosen for a last minute project, he becomes Caden: a blue-eyed, blond-haired, chiseled good boy. Although he doesn’t fully fit the good boy mold, Caden pretends to be the perfect student for the institute members, so that he can finally go into the outside world.

He is paired against Dylan: a tall, dark, and handsome bad boy. They connect instantly and end up spending nights together: drinking, talking, driving. They’d rather spend their time in the real world without excessive worry…until the fight for Juliet becomes very real, and one of them is about to die.

They’re both competing against each other for Juliet’s love and attention. Juliet is a girl genius who has the potential to make new advanced weaponry and technology. She lives her life like a normal teenager, going to high school and starting to fall for boys, except she has wealthy parents and her own lab.

When secrets are exposed, the trio must find a way to escape the endless watch of the Love Interest organization.

 

I loved the premise of the book. Two spies—the bad boy and the good boy—fight for the girl. One will win, one will die. But they fall for each other instead!

This was one of my most anticipated reads of the year. It was a good read, but it fell short of the hype.

I think this book would have benefited from multiple point of views. I understand why it was kept to Caden only, to protect secret plot point and surprise the reader. However, I found Caden’s cold-hearted-ness hard to connect to. I didn’t establish any relationship with any of the characters. I had no idea what the other characters were thinking, which made it hard to understand context and links between them. When the characters state something through their mouth or in their mind, I’m like…really? Are you sure? Because I’m not. I have no idea what anyone is feeling or thinking.

This book was corny, clichéd and filled with YA tropes. In the meantime, it skipped over some of the developmental aspects, such as the boys’ transition from the facility to the real world. They’ve never even seen grass before, yet they seem to blend in seamlessly. Yes, they were taught pop-culture references, but seeing and doing are two different beasts entirely.

Caden’s “parents” were also an interesting turn. I thought that they would have more of a purpose than just being annoying dead-beats.

Also, I personally felt like this was two shortened books in one. I almost wish it was separated so that the second half of the book could have been expanded on. The first half was character based and the second, plot based; they were so separated that they felt disjointed. Part one seemed to go nowhere and part two went everywhere in too short a time. The finale felt rushed. And for me, there was no closure at the end in terms of the Love Interest organization. I thought, that was it?! What happened? Where was the fallback?

The book fell flat for me despite its incredible potential. I was somewhat disappointed with character development and plot devices. This book was entertaining, but it’s not in my top favorites.

Buy it here:

amazon

 

 

Barnes-and-Noble

 

Top Ten Tuesday

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TTT: Top Ten Tuesday. Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish blog. They give weekly prompts for a bookish list of 10 items (more or less). The topic for this week:

Father’s Day Related Freebie

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Step-In Fathers In YA Books

  • Sirius for Harry in Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
  • Carlile for Edward in Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer
  • Jim for Evie in Premonition Series by Amy A. Bartol
  • Maxim for Kell in Shades of Magic Series by V.E. Schwab
  • Callum for Ella in Royals Series by Erin Watt
  • Vaughn for Rhine in Chemical Garden Series by Lauren DeStefano
  • Kadam for Ren and Kishan in Tiger Saga by Colleen Houck
  • Vasile for pack in Grey Wolves Series by Quinn Loftis
  • Nate for Sara in Relentless Series by Karen Lynch
  • Stephen for Quinn in Dusk Gate Chronicles by Breeana Puttroff

Let’s face it. Dads in YA are about as frequent as moms (TTT: Dead Moms in YA Book). However, I took a different turn for this Top Ten Tuesday. While this post has an undercurrent of Dead Dads in YA Books…I wanted to honor the father figures, whether they be step-fathers, father-in-laws, or male guardians.

The step-in fathers in this list are not all good or bad. Vaughn is a horrible father-in-law. Some, like Stephen and Vasile, are kings and care for all under their jurisdiction. Callum and Maxim are guardians and make mistakes where their charges are concerned. Jim, Nate, Sirius, Kadam, and Carlisle are all amazing father-figures, no matter their status and relation.

 

{From: The Broke and Bookish}

Truthwitch Review

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Truthwitch (The Witchlands, Book 1) by Susan Dennard

Synopsis: In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.

Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.

Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she’s a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden-lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult’s true powers are hidden even from herself.

In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls’ heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

About the Author: Before she settled down as a full-time novelist and writing instructor, Susan Dennard traveled the world as marine biologist. She is the author of the Something Strange and Deadly series as well as the forthcoming Witchlands series, and when not writing, she can be found hiking with her dogs, exploring tidal pools, or earning bruises at the dojo.

Genre: YA, fantasy, magic,

More Info: hardcover, 416 pages, published by Tor Teen on January 5, 2016

4.5

Summary – In Truthwitch, readers follow the pov of four main characters: Safi, Iseult, Merik, and Aeduan. Safi and Iseult get into trouble with a Bloodwitch. Safi’s truthwitch powers are discovered so she has to flee a marriage to the Emperor. Iseult comes into trouble with her Nomati people. Merik’s country is devastated and he is desperate for resources to help his people. His sister is against him at every turn. Aeduan is hunting the Truthwitch and the girl without a blood scent. These characters meet and race across sea and land to accomplish their own ends.

Review – The world is so fluidly built and introduced that I felt as if it were real. The fantasy elements were so flawlessly incorporated that they didn’t need extra explanation, and, thankfully, no over-explanation was provided. I can’t wait to see the expansion of this already beautiful but vicious realm. There are various types of witches, threads that connect people, and Origin wells that provide for the realm.

The main drawback for all aspects of the book is missing information. I want more of Safi and Iseult. I want more about the political tension. I need more background. Too much background can significantly drag a story, but I feel that this book is so expansive that I have more questions than answers about the culture, politics, friendships, territories, wars, history, etc..

The plot and characters in this book were also amazing. Dennard focused on the plot at hand in book one, while also hinting and creating tension for other issues in book two. There is a purpose for each mission and the characters act upon the situations to make more chaos. For having multiple third person POVs, the characters are all distinct and developed throughout the book.

Yes to female friendships and girl-power! Safi and Iseult are Threadsisters. They are family. Safi usually gets them into trouble and then Iseult gets them out of trouble. And they always have each others backs. Separation is hard for them, but they promise to find their way back to each other. They might even be the chosen pair (not the chosen one). Whether they are the special Cahr Awen is not defined. And while the twisted trope may be mentioned, it is thankfully not the main plot point of the story.

There is no love triangle. Yay! One is the obvious Safi and Merik. She’s impulsive and he has a temper, what could go wrong? They have an explosive relationship, that builds over time through verbal and physical sparring. There are other pairings to ship, as well. But all romantic relationships are on the back-burner to heighten main plot points/action.

The ending leaves a lot open. While it is a version of a cliffhanger, it doesn’t leave reader’s worried, confused or desperately left on a ledge.

Buy it here:

amazon

 

 

Barnes-and-Noble

 

Waiting On Wednesday

waitonwed

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Break the Spine where bloggers can feature anticipated upcoming book releases.

Can I please have Now I Rise by Kiersten White, now?


nowirise.jpgLada Dracul has no allies. No throne. All she has is what she’s always had: herself. After failing to secure the Wallachian throne, Lada is out to punish anyone who dares to cross her blood-strewn path. Filled with a white-hot rage, she storms the countryside with her men, accompanied by her childhood friend Bogdan, terrorizing the land. But brute force isn’t getting Lada what she wants. And thinking of Mehmed brings little comfort to her thorny heart. There’s no time to wonder whether he still thinks about her, even loves her. She left him before he could leave her.

What Lada needs is her younger brother Radu’s subtlety and skill. But Mehmed has sent him to Constantinople—and it’s no diplomatic mission. Mehmed wants control of the city, and Radu has earned an unwanted place as a double-crossing spy behind enemy lines. Radu longs for his sister’s fierce confidence—but for the first time in his life, he rejects her unexpected plea for help. Torn between loyalties to faith, to the Ottomans, and to Mehmed, he knows he owes Lada nothing. If she dies, he could never forgive himself—but if he fails in Constantinople, will Mehmed ever forgive him?

As nations fall around them, the Dracul siblings must decide: what will they sacrifice to fulfill their destinies? Empires will topple, thrones will be won . . . and souls will be lost.


The first book in the Conqueror’s Saga, And I Darken (review), got me interested in YA historical fiction. I’m not much of a history gal, but the character driven book caught my full attention. Lada is bada$$ and Radu is her opposite, which makes them a perfect pair—filling one another’s strengths and weaknesses. The idea of a female Vlad the Impaler in the 1400’s Ottoman Empire is very unique. I will have to reread book one, but I am so ready for this next installment. The cover is gorgeous, the characters are compelling and distance may tear them apart.