Perfect (Flawed #2) by Cecelia Ahern

28116714Celestine North is Flawed.

Ever since Judge Crevan declared her the number one threat to the public, she has been a ghost, on the run with Carrick, the only person she can trust. 

But Celestine has a secret—one that could bring the entire Flawed system crumbling to the ground. A secret that has already caused countless people to go missing. 

Judge Crevan is gaining the upper hand, and time is running out for Celestine. With tensions building, Celestine must make a choice: save just herself or risk her life to save all Flawed people.

(via Goodreads)

Perfect is book two in the Flawed series by Cecelia Ahern. Directly following on from book one, Perfect rejoins Celestine on her mission to have her brands removed and sentence overturned. There is not much telling when catching us up on the story, which was good. Despite the events of the first novel, I feel like Celestine is still naïve. She is still relying on others to tell her what to do. And it takes until two thirds of the way through the book before she starts relying on herself.

Celestine’s feelings for Carrick are slightly obsessive. And her feelings for Art interfering in her relationship with Carrick just turned it into a somewhat love triangle, which I loathe. I got tired of her constantly saying Art was a good person, when his actions consistently showed he wasn’t. The last minute turn in his character was too convenient. I think Celestine would have grown more as a character if Art had been a bad guy.

During the book we meet a number of evaders who are in hiding from the Whistle-blowers. I got a ‘Stepford Wives’ vibe from them. The confessions of the flawed, and Carricks’s parent’s admission that they were found flawed because they were anti-vaxxers, I didn’t feel endeared to them or sympathetic. I perceived the author put this in there to make a point about accepting people’s different opinions, but it failed for me. It is a stupid and dangerous thing to even be perceived as supporting.

I felt the end was too neatly wound up. For something so big, it just seemed to end with a wrap up and it was over. With that said, I don’t think there would be enough material for a third book, unless the guild kept going, or there was an uprising. Although, I did like Celestine in the last quarter of the book. I liked that she marched to her own drum and did what her gut told her. It made for a much better character.

3/5

Gemina (Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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The saga that began with breakout bestseller Illuminae continues aboard Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of BeiTech’s assault. Hanna is the station commander’s pampered daughter, Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station crew one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon, Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.

(via Goodreads)

I really enjoyed this book, as much as Illuminae. I think it has a lot to do with the female leads in the stories. Not to say the men aren’t entertaining and relateable, but these books have such a strong female lead that is refreshing compared to some other YA novels I’ve been reading of late (I’m looking at you, Lily from Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares!).

Onto our main Image result for gemina hannah donnellycharacter Hannah Donnelly. The daughter of the Captain, she is thrust into saving her world from infiltrators and a wormhole with it’s own issues. I was very pleased she wasn’t a carbon copy of Kady  Grant (Illuminae). Where Kady was tech-savvy, Hannah has a physicality about her that makes her actions in the book believable.

Her counterpart, Nik Malikov, is an alleged gangster who is always in trouble. But as we expect, there is more to him than meets the eye. Gemina does a good job of unravelling his back story slowly. And I liked the outcome. It wasn’t a cop out, or frustrating.

Kaufman and Kristoff have built an amazing and intricate world for this series. Gemina and Illuminae, though focusing on different characters and ships, do tie in to one another.  And we can’t have a review without mentioning the original text layout, the art work, the dossiers. It makes a very large book a quick read. And it’s always fun to have to turn the book upside down to read the next line 🙂

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I recommend this to lovers of YA and Science Fiction. A well written ‘space opera’ and I am looking forward to Obsidio (what’s going to happen??!!).

4.5/5

Star Wars: Lords of the Sith by Paul S Kemp

When the Emperor and his no23346660torious apprentice, Darth Vader, find themselves stranded in the middle of insurgent action on an inhospitable planet, they must rely on each other, the Force, and their own ruthlessness to prevail.

Anakin Skywalker, Jedi Knight, is just a memory. Darth Vader, newly anointed Sith Lord, is ascendant. The Emperor’s chosen apprentice has swiftly proven his loyalty to the dark side. Still, the history of the Sith Order is one of duplicity, betrayal, and acolytes violently usurping their Masters—and the truest measure of Vader’s allegiance has yet to be taken. Until now.

On Ryloth, a planet crucial to the growing Empire as a source of slave labor and the narcotic known as “spice,” an aggressive resistance movement has arisen, led by Cham Syndulla, an idealistic freedom fighter, and Isval, a vengeful former slave. But Emperor Palpatine means to control the embattled world and its precious resources—by political power or firepower—and he will be neither intimidated nor denied. Accompanied by his merciless disciple, Darth Vader, he sets out on a rare personal mission to ensure his will is done.

(via Goodreads)

Lords of the Sith is set after Revenge of the Sith, and is one of the first missions Vader and the Emperor embark on together. This is also where we see the first rumblings of the resistance.

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I really enjoyed this story for two reasons; we see the struggle between the Emperor and Vader, and the struggle within Vader himself.

When we were first introduced to Vader he was a robotic arch-villain. It was not until Return of the Jedi that we see his human side. He is redeemed, but there was this disconnect of sorts (for me, anyway) as to how he reached this decision to kill the Emperor. With that said, when the prequels were released, we could then imagine. But this story was great to see such human struggles within him. I really enjoyed it.

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The Emperor and Vader don’t have the tight relationship that it seems to be. The Emperor baits Vader, tests him, tries to trick him throughout the whole book. I imagine it will continue throughout the remaining books and into the original movies.

I wanted to see Vader rail back at him more. It made sense why he didn’t, he was new as a Sith, but it would have been good to see some more of that Anakin-esque rebellion come out of his character.

 

I also enjoyed a glimpse into the beginnings of the rebellion in the story. The character of Cham Syndulla was well written and you could really see his influence beginning to trickle down to the others. Very good choice for the story.

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What didn’t I like? Not much, some of the battle scenes were a little drawn out, but that might be just me. Overall, I really enjoyed this story.

4/5

 

 

Star Wars: Dark Disciple by Christie Golden

Image result for dark disciple star warsBased on unproduced scripts from the blockbuster TV show Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

The only way to bring down the dark side’s most dangerous warrior may be for Jedi and Sith to join forces.

In the war for control of the galaxy between the armies of the dark side and the Republic, former Jedi Master turned ruthless Sith Lord Count Dooku has grown ever more brutal in his tactics. Despite the powers of the Jedi and the military prowess of their clone army, the sheer number of fatalities is taking a terrible toll. And when Dooku orders the massacre of a flotilla of helpless refugees, the Jedi Council feels it has no choice but to take drastic action: targeting the man responsible for so many war atrocities, Count Dooku himself.

But the ever-elusive Dooku is dangerous prey for even the most skilled hunter. So the Council makes the bold decision to bring both sides of the Force’s power to bear—pairing brash Jedi Knight Quinlan Vos with infamous one-time Sith acolyte Asajj Ventress. Though Jedi distrust for the cunning killer who once served at Dooku’s side still runs deep, Ventress’s hatred for her former master runs deeper. She’s more than willing to lend her copious talents as a bounty hunter—and assassin—to Vos’s quest.

Together, Ventress and Vos are the best hope for eliminating Dooku—as long as the emerging feelings between them don’t compromise their mission. But Ventress is determined to have her retribution and at last let go of her dark Sith past. Balancing the complicated emotions she feels for Vos with the fury of her warrior’s spirit, she resolves to claim victory on all fronts—a vow that will be mercilessly tested by her deadly enemy . . . and her own doubt.

(via Goodreads)

This was a very interesting read. The story line crosses the Jedi line to see Mace Windu and Yoda enlist the help of “rebel” Jedi Quinlan Vos to assassinate Count Dooku. To do this, the Jedi Council instructs Vos to take on a partner, ex-Sith assassin Asajj Ventress.

And so begins the buddy cop story…well, not quite!

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Paired together, Ventress trains Vos to embrace his dark side and use it to kill Dooku. But his Jedi teachings makes it difficult and the two soon realise that this plan is not as easy as it seems. And the growing attraction between the two further complicates things.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I found it true to the Star Wars universe, and the characters of Vos and Ventress are as complex as they are familiar.

For those who have seen the movies, the outcome will be mostly predicted. However, I did enjoy the subtle character differences, and the extra story that existed outside of the films and tv series. I’d happily recommend this to anyone who is interested to visit the extended Star Wars universe.

For those who follow the chronology of the 2016/17 canon, this story sits in between Insider 159: Kindred Spirits short story, and Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith.

4/5

Nightlord: Sunset by Garon Whited

I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Eric didn’t ask to be a vampire. In fact, he didn’t even believe in them. Then he hooks up with a hot babe, wakes up with a hangover, and bites his tongue with his own fangs.

Which pretty much settles the question.

Now he’s trying to hold down his day job while learning the rules of the Undead — the most important being that bloodthirsty urges and predatory instincts are a real bitch.

Upside; Eric has the beautiful Sasha to teach him the ropes, including the magic he’ll need to survive.

Downside; they’re being hunted by members of the Church of Light, who are determined to rid the world of vampires.

(via Goodreads)

This was a nice surprise.

I saw the blurb and the length and I was slightly disheartened.

But what follows is a fluid, engaging narrative.

It’s conversational, imagined, and while at times can seem to jump in the narrative, overall it was a great story for lovers of the genre.

3.5/5

 

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

NOS4A2 is a spine15729539-tingling novel of supernatural suspense from master of horror Joe Hill, the New York Times bestselling author of Heart-Shaped Box and Horns.

Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country.

Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.”

Then, one day, Vic goes looking for trouble—and finds Manx. That was a lifetime ago. Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son.

(via Goodreads)

Hill’s NOS4A2 (or NOS4R2 if you live in the UK or AUS) is a 690+ story of Vic McQueen, a flawed and broken woman, suffering PTSD and struggling to be a good mum to her son, Wayne.

As a child, Vic found a link (or portal) to other places – and another world. During one of her trips she crosses paths with Charles Manx, a vampiric child killer, and her world is forever changed.

This narrative, despite its size, is a fast read. I found Vic a likeable heroine, real in her pain and passion. Charles Manx is a creepy villain and (unfortunately for the world) believable. Hill does very well in showing us Manx’s pure belief that he is doing good in the world. Manx’s sidekick Bing Partridge is visceral, he has a smell and air about him that is revolting. I am so glad there is no such thing as scratch and sniff novels!

The only disappointing thing about this book was part of the ending. I won’t spoil it, but I wish that part had ended differently. However, the story reminded me of classic Stephen King, which I later found it Hill is his son 🙂

4/5

The Rook (The Checquy Files #1) by Daniel O’Malley

10836728“The body you are wearing used to be mine.” So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down the agents who want to destroy her.

She soon learns that she is a Rook, a high-ranking member of a secret organization called the Chequy that battles the many supernatural forces at work in Britain. She also discovers that she possesses a rare, potentially deadly supernatural ability of her own.

In her quest to uncover which member of the Chequy betrayed her and why, Myfanwy encounters a person with four bodies, an aristocratic woman who can enter her dreams, a secret training facility where children are transformed into deadly fighters, and a conspiracy more vast than she ever could have imagined.

Filled with characters both fascinating and fantastical, The Rook is a richly inventive, suspenseful, and often wry thriller that marks an ambitious debut from a promising young writer.

(via Goodreads)

This was an interesting story, a Supernatural Agency run by a diverse team of humans and supernatural beings, operating within the world’s powers. I liked the history of the Agency and hearing how they came into being. The hierarchy, modeled after chess pieces, was also cool. I would have loved finding out more about the Agency and going through some more cases with them.

Our titular character, Myfanwy, is The Rook of the UK Supernatural Agency, The Checquy.  Her name is pronounced ‘Miff-un-ee’ and the constant reminder of this at the start of the book was annoying. I’m sorry, but did we need to know that? It had no bearing on the story at large, so why did we need such an emphasis on it? Rowling never explained how to say Hermione. We worked it out. Have faith in the reader to figure it out, our let us have the fun of finding out how to say it!! After a while, I said it how I always say it and pretended the start didn’t happen. For anyone interested, I saw ‘miff-ahn-wee’. Why? Because I watched Little Britain.

Our story focusses on Myfanwy and her amnesia. Our opening scenes has her coming to surrounded by a bunch of dead men wearing gloves and she is covered in blood. In her pocket was a letter from the previous tenant of the body, the actual Myfanwy Thomas. And so begins the story of discovery. It was such a strong start. Name emphasis aside and it was a strong ride along. You wanted to know how this memory transference occurred. You wanted to know who was trying to kill her and why. It was captivating.

And then she went clubbing with her (okay the other Myfanwy’s) long lost sister.

Why? I don’t know.

After that time (and some would argue before) the story kind of spiralled from scene to scene, not making a great deal of sense. Things happened to Myfanwy, and when she did break from her static (which was rarely) something stopped her. At times, the letter writing Myfanwy (I need like an Earth-1/Earth-2 naming convention here) or pre-Myfanwy, was far more interesting than the character we were left with.

Our villains, the Grafters, were interesting but seemed two dimensional. I must admit I lost a little interest towards the end.

However, it was a good debut novel from O’Malley and I do recommend it to anyone who loves YA/Paranormal fiction. As I always say, it’s just my opinion and you might think differently 🙂

3/5