The Edge of the Abyss by Emily Skrustskie

The Edge of the Abyss by Emily Skrustskie

Publication Date: April 18th 2017
Genre: Science Fiction
Soure: eARC from Netgalley
Link to the author: http://skrutskie.com/

Click Here For The Goodreads Summary

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Favorite Quote:
“Today isn’t just about saving the NeoPacific. It’s about proving why it’s ours in the first place.”

Thoughts:

You can read my review of Emily Skrutskie’s first book The Abyss Surrounds Us here.

This is the conclusion to the duet and overall I was pleased with it as a wrap up of the story. I would love to see more books in this world though, it’s so fun and original. I love the water, always have, couple that with monster training, sci-fi, genetics and a messy love story and I swear Skrutskie wrote this just for me.

Warning: there are spoilers ahead!

The Abyss Surrounds Us ended with a bang. A lot of things were left up in the air and unresolved, I think it’s sequel did a good job of answering a lot of my questions and wrapping things up. I especially liked the reconciliation Cas had with her family and previous life as a reckoner trainer. I liked that it didn’t clean up perfectly, it isn’t a long book and for everything to have resolved would have been unrealistic.  Life is messy and things don’t work out the way we think they will and Skrutskie captures that on her pages.

I wasn’t sure where the story would take our main character after the first book but it followed a logical and interesting extension of the original plot. Cas faced a lot of internal struggle, figuring out where she belonged and how to come to terms with her choices. That struggle was reflected on a larger scale in a conflict that effected everyone who lived on the NeoPacific. The pirates were the “bad guys” when Cas lived on shore. In book two she ends up seeing the ocean she has always loved in a very different way, as one of those pirates. She discovers that the morally gray area in life is a lot larger than she ever thought. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel that I had as deep of a connection with Cas in the second book. She was dealing with these heavy emotions and conflicts, but I didn’t feel like there we explored them before the story was wrapped up and over. There was also a lot less action, I didn’t feel a lot of excitement and anticipation until the very end. Everything leading up to that felt very laid back and dialogue heavy. I enjoyed it but it didn’t have me turning the pages till the wee hours if you know what I mean. (Who am I kidding you’re reading a book blog, of course, you know what I mean) I also saw right through some of the authors foreshadowing. I really hate when I can predict things too far in advance – Cas having to face a monkey monster (Simioid) in the end? Hinted at very early on. There also wasn’t enough Bao! I really missed all the training from book one, it wasn’t necessary for the second book but everything about Bao’s return felt too rushed.

The romance though, that was great. It was a little more like a tug O war game than a romance, and often that back and forth really annoys me but this was different. Cas and Swift weren’t being petty and dramatic like you often see in YA romance, there were real, hard issues coming between them. The were drawn together over and over by a strong connection but struggled to leave the hurt and the history behind them. I could feel the turmoil and their anguish and to me, if I’m feeling what they’re feeling, that’s some great writing. I loved these two and I was so happy with their ending. I like to think they’re out on the ocean somewhere, a little bit pirate and a little bit monster trainer, saving the NeoPacific and butting heads. LOL.

I will say that the writing style and the voice felt consistent in both books which is very important to me. And while the first three-quarters of the book might have been less than action packed I was invested in the characters enough that I had to know what happened. Skrutskie writes fabulous characters, so flawed and real, you can’t help but love them and want to see them happy. These books will always remain on my favorites shelf for that reason. This finale may not be everything I had hoped but I will never stop being thankful to Skrutskie for sharing her monster-trainer-turned-pirate with us.

A big thank you to NetGalley for this review copy of The Edge of the Abyss!

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them by Newt Scamander

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them by Newt Scamander

Publication Date: March 14th 2017
Source: Review Copy From Raincoast Books

RATING: 4 Stars

THOUGHTS:

I didn’t read Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them when it was first released. I’ve never really enjoyed companions novels, and my mediocre experience of Beetle the Bard last year only cemented that feeling. However, this book brought me all the warm, fuzzy, nostalgia I had hoped for in a Harry Potter companion book.

I adore Newt’s margin notes and footnotes throughout, little details like that can really win me over in a big way. The illustrations were fantastic (pun intended) as well, they look like what you’d expected to find in a wizards textbook. I only wish there were one for each of the interesting beasts described. Personally, my favorites are the dragons (was there any doubt), the Occamy, the Mooncalves, and the Puffskein. Judging by my love of muggle animals I think I would have been a lot like Newt had I been born a wizard.

MY FAVOURITE BEAST:

OCCAMY

Classification: XXXX

“The Occamy is found in the Far East and India. A plumed two-legged winged creature with a serpentine body, the Occamy may reach a length of fifteen feet. It feeds mainly on rats and birds, though it has been known to carry off monkeys. The Occamy is aggressive to all who approach it, particularly in defense of its eggs, whose shells are made of the purest, softest silver.” (Page 66)

How awesome would it be to carry this guy around in your pocket? Or your suitcase of course. I just love that they grow to their required space. I think I am particularly smitten with the Occamy because it reminds me not only of Harry Potter but a little of The Neverending story as well. Both were a big part of my childhood.

Which is your favorite beast?

Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor

Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor

Publication Date: April 4th 2017
Genre: Contemporary
Soure: ARC from Raincoast Books
Link to the authorhttps://whitneytaylorbooks.com/

Click Here For The Goodreads Summary

RATING: ☆☆☆☆

BUZZ WORDS FROM THE SYNOPSIS:

humorous, depression, Twizzler-chomping, pregnant, re-write the rules

 

THOUGHTS:

I don’t feel that I can review this book in my usual format or critique it for the usual criteria. My reading experience can’t be summed up that way, so I’m going to try something different.

  • I really, honestly enjoyed Definition of Indefinable Things and I think others will too, but I don’t think it will be for everyone. The voices on these pages are so strong and so distinct that they will deeply resonate with the right people.
  • My descriptions aren’t going to do her justice but I can’t wait to read more by Whitney Taylor, and that says something.
  • I laughed often, and for me, that’s always the sign of a good book.
  • There are a lot of parentheses, and I loved them.
  • Reggie’s story is awkward, messy, raw, and beautiful – just like life. That’s why it was so great because it was written like a real experience, organically and without a hard beginning or end. I think it stirred up all my feelings because I could relate to each character in some way. My struggles with depression have never been like Reggie’s but I could still see myself in her and I think others will as well.
  • I’m not a teen anymore but all the stuff about lives intersecting in surprising ways and accepting that we can’t fit life into neat, little, manageable boxes – is still relevant to me now. So don’t write it off as another high school-teen-drama-contemporary! (I’m bad for that)
  • I said I wasn’t going to touch on the regular criteria but for those of you that just need to know… The pace was right, the characters developed over time, and it was only predictable in the way that life itself is predictable. (ie. life is ironic and the universe has a sense of humor, or if it can go wrong it will)
  • Taylors writing is in a league of its own, and I’m going to finish off this review by sharing some of my favorite passages. If they don’t convince you to read this book, nothing I say will.

“It may have just been in my head, but I felt like I was third-wheeling it hard. Like, as hard a girl on New Year’s Eve who watches her friends make out as she drinks tequila and plots what size apartment to rent to fit all twelve of her cats”

“I looked away right as more lighting exploded, rosy hues kissing the gray. The flashes were like light bulbs across the atmosphere, like the gods were paparazzi taking pictures of the lost and broken little humans wandering aimlessly beneath their thumbs”

“How does anyone know they’re depressed? You feel equally alive and dead and have no idea how that’s even possible. And everything around you doesn’t seem so full anymore. And you can’t tell if the world is empty or you are. That’s how I knew. I realized it wasn’t the world that was empty”

And there’s a beautiful part at the bottom of page 225 but I’ll let you find it yourself, it was my favorite. There are many more I’d love to share because they made me laugh or resonated with me but I don’t want to spoil the whole experience for you. How about this, if you read it send me a message and let’s talk about our favorite moments.

Thank you to Raincoast Books for the opportunity to read a book I know I will be thinking about for some time.

Summer of Sloane by Erin L Schneider

Summer of Sloane by Erin L Schneider

Publisher: Disney- Hyperion
Publication Date: May 3rd 2016
Genre: Contemporary
Soure: Library Book
Link to the author: http://www.erinlschneider.com/

Click Here For The Goodreads Summary

RATING: ☆☆☆☆

BUZZ WORDS:

Secrets, Summer, Twins, Hawaii, Beach, Escape, Friends, Betrayal, Love, Forgiveness

THOUGHTS:

I loved this book, and it’s the second time this year that I couldn’t put down a contemporary! I read it in two days and my only regret is not waiting for summer to read this story. I could practically smell the sun screen and it definitely made me want to have a bonfire on the beach and take surfing lessons.

Sloane is about to spend the summer at her mother’s home in Hawaii when her best friend and her boyfriend turn her world upside down. Hurt and confused, Sloane is more than happy to leave Seattle and her problems behind for the care-free fun of a summer spent on the beach. The funny thing about your problems is they find you no matter where you run and soon Sloane has to face her life back in Seattle and ask herself if life can ever be the same again.

This was a fun and fast read. I expected it to have some common tropes, but instead, I found it refreshing and unexpected. I hate high school tropes and often DNF because of them, so I can guarantee you won’t find them here. The whole story read very organically. In some ways, it was a typical fluffy summer read, but I think it asked some very serious questions and had some depth to it as well. What do you do when the person you turn to is the person who hurt you? When someone commits the ultimate betrayal, can you forgive them? Should you?

I like that in the end, everything isn’t fixed. Sometimes things can’t be fixed and we have to deal with that and still find a way to move on.

There was a lot of miscommunication in the story and Sloane learns that you need to get the full story before you act. That you can’t let the past affect your judgment in the present. That sometimes things aren’t black and white, right and wrong. I think a lot of teens Sloanes age are facing those thoughts and dilemmas for the first time so I think the author did a good job of relating to her audience.

Definitely, recommend if you are in the need for summer feels.

The Foretelling by Alice Hoffman

The Foretelling by Alice Hoffman

Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 6th 2016
Genre: Fantasy/Mythology
Soure: Owned (Re-Read)
Link to the authorhttp://alicehoffman.com/

Click Here For The Goodreads Summary

RATING: ☆☆☆☆

FAVOURITE QUOTE:

“The weak are cruel. The strong have no need to be.”

THOUGHTS:

This is a beautiful and powerful story of feminism.

The main character is Rain, and this story is her discovering who she is and what it means to be a leader of her Amazonian tribe.

She faces many trials in her lifetime. She yearns for a connection with her distant mother, strives to be the best warrior, and struggles to feel a part of the whole. She experiences loss, love and betrayal and each shapes and molds her into a strong, intelligent woman worthy of leading her people.

I don’t want to go into a lot of detail about what happens because it is a short story and I worry anything I say will be spoilers. I really feel this is story each person must experience for themselves. I don’t think it matters what your usual genre is either, everyone can enjoy this story if they like strong, independent women. I will say that the romance, if you can even call it that, is very small in this story and not the main theme.

I am so glad that I re-read this book and I plan to do the same in the future. If I was to describe it I would say that it was inspiring, moving, and raw, yet that doesn’t quite capture it at all.

I highly recommend it and I look forward to reading more of Alice Hoffman’s work.