Posted in Dystopian, Fantasy, Horror

Wayward Children (1-4)

Goodreads Synopses:

Every Heart a Doorway:

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost

Down Among the Sticks and Bones:

Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you’ve got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

Beneath the Sugar Sky:

When Rini lands with a literal splash in the pond behind Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, the last thing she expects to find is that her mother, Sumi, died years before Rini was even conceived. But Rini can’t let Reality get in the way of her quest – not when she has an entire world to save! (Much more common than one would suppose.)

If she can’t find a way to restore her mother, Rini will have more than a world to save: she will never have been born in the first place. And in a world without magic, she doesn’t have long before Reality notices her existence and washes her away. Good thing the student body is well-acquainted with quests…

A tale of friendship, baking, and derring-do.

Warning: May contain nuts

In an Absent Dream:

This fourth entry and prequel tells the story of Lundy, a very serious young girl who would rather study and dream than become a respectable housewife and live up to the expectations of the world around her. As well she should.

When she finds a doorway to a world founded on logic and reason, riddles and lies, she thinks she’s found her paradise. Alas, everything costs at the goblin market, and when her time there is drawing to a close, she makes the kind of bargain that never plays out well

My (very positive) Thoughts:

Alright ya’ll. Here we go. Seanan McGuire. Where do I begin? These books are incredibly short, yet so thorough in their completion that it is very hard for me to find a true complaint about them.

Each tale connects to the first book by giving the back stories of the favorites mentioned from the first, and it explains how they all came to Eleanor’s home for Wayward Children.

Children that are unloved, unwanted, or simply don’t fit, have the capability to find doors to the land where they truly belong. Some lands are nonsense, others are logic, some evil, some kind. Not every land is sunshine and rainbows, some are underworlds with dancing skeletons, but every child finds their true home in a twisted reality.

Jack and Jill by far have my favorite back story. They live in a twisted land of werewolves and vampire, where Dracula, Vanhelsing, and Dr. Frankenstein come to life, yet they thrive.

I am not inclined to spoil these books. They are SUCH SHORT READS. SO JUST READ THEM AND BE ENTHRALLED ALREADY.

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Posted in Dystopian, sci-fi

The Girl in Red

Post apocalyptic Little Red Riding Hood? I’m so down.

Goodreads Synopsis:

From the national bestselling author of Alice comes a postapocalyptic take on the perennial classic “Little Red Riding Hood”…about a woman who isn’t as defenseless as she seems.

It’s not safe for anyone alone in the woods. There are predators that come out at night: critters and coyotes, snakes and wolves. But the woman in the red jacket has no choice. Not since the Crisis came, decimated the population, and sent those who survived fleeing into quarantine camps that serve as breeding grounds for death, destruction, and disease. She is just a woman trying not to get killed in a world that doesn’t look anything like the one she grew up in, the one that was perfectly sane and normal and boring until three months ago.

There are worse threats in the woods than the things that stalk their prey at night. Sometimes, there are men. Men with dark desires, weak wills, and evil intents. Men in uniform with classified information, deadly secrets, and unforgiving orders. And sometimes, just sometimes, there’s something worse than all of the horrible people and vicious beasts combined.

Red doesn’t like to think of herself as a killer, but she isn’t about to let herself get eaten up just because she is a woman alone in the woods….

I loved the idea behind this book, Aliens vs Predators recreated into Little Red Riding Hood AND mixed with the Hot Zone, what more could a person want?

Red is an exemplary female role that refuses to let anybody boss her around, including her parents and snotty brother.

After the news showed that people were coming down with a mysterious sickness, Red began packing her survival pack to be prepared to leave once the apocalypse hit. Her family scoffed at her, but she ended up being the lucky one.

Her mother contracted the Cough, but was murdered along with her father by a band of racists for them being an interracial couple. They sacrificed themselves so Red and Adam (snotty brother) could escape into the woods.

Oh, and did I fail to mention that in addition to being an absolute boss, Red is also an amputee and wears a below the knee prosthetic? Even more boos-like, right?

Anyways, Adam ultimately dies from his hive mind mentality and Red is left alone in the woods with only her small axe, her back, and her own determination left to get to her grandmother’s cabin 300 miles away.

Along her journey she discovers that the Cough isn’t the only thing killing people, that the CDC had engineered a parasite that lives in a humans stomach until it is ready to burst out and kill everyone,(here’s where Alien vs Predator comes in). She also takes in 2 children (8 & 10) and kicks some fake militia butt and she eventually finds Grandma’s house.

Now, for the criticism. Henry ended the story very abruptly as if she all of a sudden tired of writing and was like “OH, here’s a nice spot to wrap it all up 25 hiking days away from grandmas in which I will supply no detail or story as to what happened! Let’s do this!” So while the book was amazing, the ending fell short. I felt as if the story could have continued on for several more chapters, maybe by getting Sirois (which sounds like Cirrhosis) to spill the beans on what the stupid “classified” information about the Cough and the alien parasite bursting out of people’s chests were? Like COME ON, HOW ARE YOU GOING TO LEAVE THAT UNEXPLAINED!? *crying face*

I give it a 3.5 flower review.

Posted in Dystopian, sci-fi

The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t With Her Mind

Ok. SO. I need to start this off with the fact that this book had SO much potential and it went straight to the crapper in the last 3 chapters. INFURIATING. I read that entire book about a bad ass feminine heroine, for it to end like THAT?!

I HOPE YOU HAVE A PROFESSIONAL RACING LICENSE BECAUSE YOU’RE ABOUT TO ENCOUNTER SO MANY PLOT TWISTS.

Per NetGalley, I cannot quote the book before final publication, but let me just say this. Don’t read this book if you are a feminist. I am so bothered by one paragraph that it diminishes every other amazing thing about this book, and I’m not even super feminist.

NetGalley Synopsis:

Full of imagination, wit, and random sht flying through the air, this insane adventure from an irreverent new voice will blow your tiny mind. For Teagan Frost, sht just got real.
Teagan Frost is having a hard time keeping it together. Sure, she’s got telekinetic powers — a skill that the government is all too happy to make use of, sending her on secret break-in missions that no ordinary human could carry out. But all she really wants to do is kick back, have a beer, and pretend she’s normal for once.
But then a body turns up at the site of her last job — murdered in a way that only someone like Teagan could have pulled off. She’s got 24 hours to clear her name – and it’s not just her life at stake. If she can’t unravel the conspiracy in time, her hometown of Los Angeles will be in the crosshairs of an underground battle that’s on the brink of exploding

Super intriguing, right? Yeah, I thought so too, who wouldn’t want super powers? Also, in the book it’s only every referred to as psychokinetic, so I’m not sure if this is a mistake in the synopsis or what.

Jackson Ford,

Never again make a book end with a woman this powerful deciding she should wait around for a man to love her. Talk about a REALLY crappy ending to an otherwise phenomenal book. This is also written at a wrong time for women who are actively having their rights taken away. I doubt the publication time was intentional by any means, but as a woman, I suggest that entire paragraph be taken out before publication. Because it is crap. Teagan has survived so much that she can be perfectly content without a man in her life that cannot accept her for who she is.

I am not a big enough person to move past this issue, so I give the book a 2.5 flower rating of 5.

Posted in Dystopian

Four Dead Queens

Holy cow. Amazing.

Goodreads Synopsis:

A divided nation. Four Queens. A ruthless pickpocket. A noble messenger. And the murders that unite them.

Get in quick, get out quicker.

These are the words Keralie Corrington lives by as the preeminent dipper in the Concord, the central area uniting the four quadrants of Quadara. She steals under the guidance of her mentor Mackiel, who runs a black market selling their bounty to buyers desperate for what they can’t get in their own quarter. For in the nation of Quadara, each quarter is strictly divided from the other. Four queens rule together, one from each region:

Toria: the intellectual quarter that values education and ambition
Ludia: the pleasure quarter that values celebration, passion, and entertainment
Archia: the agricultural quarter that values simplicity and nature
Eonia: the futurist quarter that values technology, stoicism and harmonious community

When Keralie intercepts a comm disk coming from the House of Concord, what seems like a standard job goes horribly wrong. Upon watching the comm disks, Keralie sees all four queens murdered in four brutal ways. Hoping that discovering the intended recipient will reveal the culprit – information that is bound to be valuable bartering material with the palace – Keralie teams up with Varin Bollt, the Eonist messenger she stole from, to complete Varin’s original job and see where it takes them.

Scholte has created a world like no other. While giving off Hunger Games and Divergent vibes due to the separation of the countries people, Scholte allowed for pure motives in the Queens that rule, rather than the typical conniving nature seen in the previously mentioned series.

Keralie is the daughter of sailors who’s hearts belong to the sea, but she hates it with every fiber of her being and chooses instead to become a famed pickpocket and thief, the very best Mackiel has ever seen. Too bad Mackiel is a literal piece of crap.

Mackiel manipulates Keralie and then proceeds to frame her for the murder of all four queens. Brilliant, but stupid. You don’t mess with Keralie.

With the help of Varin and an investigator, they uncover that comm disks that Keralie swallowed were ones from the black market that allow the person who ingested them to be controlled like a puppet.

I don’t want to give away too much more, BUT this book is incredible. It kept me on my toes and genuinely surprised me with it’s twists and turns. After reading so many books, it becomes easy to predict where the plot will go, but not Four Dead Queens.

5 Flower Rating. Just read it.

Posted in Dystopian

“Extinction is the saddest word.” -Benjamin

I recently finished The List by Patricia Forde. Forde creates a brilliant dystopian atmosphere in which a society has survived the Melting of the world as they know it.

The main characters to be mentioned are Letta, our young, fiery protagonist, Marlo, an adventurous Creator-outcast from Ark, John Noa, the novels antagonist and leader of Ark, Benjamin, Letta’s mentor/father figure, and Leyla, a color catcher.

According to John Noa the dwindling society, amusingly named Ark, having the ability to use language is what lead to the desecration of man kind, and language should be limited to the bare minimum to preserve life. But let’s be real, he’s nuts. He believes that language should be confined to “List” speak. List consists of 500 words each person is allowed to learn in order to speak in short, stunted sentences. Me speak list. Make blog post. Is good, no?

Letta, our protagonist, lost her parents who went to find new lands after the destruction of the world and is now a wordsmith apprentice (person who collects words to add to their collection.) You may be thinking, “why would she be collecting words for a society in which words aren’t allowed?” Well Noa wants to destroy every new word he can come across and erase it from humanity. Smart, huh?

Letta, which ironically enough sounds like “Letter”, is the spark of the rebellion within Ark after helping Marlo, a “Creator,” hide within the Wordsmith shop from the evil Gavvers (police) trying to take him to the holding cells to be punished for being an outsider. Letta eventually befriends Marlo after saving his life and Marlo returns the favor by helping her bring down Noa.

Noa has devised a plan and kidnapped Letta’s mentor, Benjamin, who has raised her from a young age. Noa has him tortured and Letta later finds him dumped in the woods where he uses his last breaths to warn her about Noa’s plan to eradicate language completely with a chemical called NICENE. NICENE damages the temporal lobe and takes away the users ability to form new words, understand them, speak, or communicate. They often die within a few months from the shock of their newfound state. They are always stuck in the present, never able to look back or to the future. What a stagnant way to live.

But, ya wanna know the real kicker? Noa saves himself and a select few from being issued the drug. He equates himself to a savior and believes he should still be trusted to use language. How screwed up is that? Who made him God?

In the midst of all of this, Letta meets Leyla, a musician, a color catcher. Letta is troubled by music as she has never been around music, and has had it ingrained in her that music is evil. She confronts Leyla for playing a sad tune and cannot understand why it is affecting her the way it is. Later it is discovered that Leyla is Letta’s aunt, and that the song was her mother’s favorite. Knowing this information only served to bolster Letta’s determination to destroy Noa and Ark.

Ultimately, Letta, with Marlo’s help, kills Noa and saves the day.

Now that this not so brief synopsis has been told, let’s get down to it. Noa and the Ark. I think this allusion is pretty obvious. Even the reason for the world ending is an allusion to the Bible. The polar ice caps all melt due to global warming and flood the earth, in Forde’s story this is known as ‘the Melting.’ Of course, Noa creates Ark and saves them all from the flood, while the rest that survived the Melting, the ‘non believers’ that did not choose to originally follow Noa into Ark, were forced live outside of Ark with no fresh water and are essentially lepers to society.

Outside of Ark are the non believers, they are known as descretors to Noa, but Creators among themselves. There are also the scavengers that live in Tintown that speak List and live off meager findings within woods ravaged by dangerous animals. Last there are the Wordless, these individuals lost the ability to speak by either NICENE, having their tongues cut out, or forms of mental torture that made them never want to speak again. The Creators and Letta strive to bring down Noa and Ark knowing that life is made for freedom outside the bounds of strict laws rules that have no true foundation other than that of opinion.

Escape the norm. Challenge society. Stand out. Be different. Don’t blindly follow. You are not a sheep. You are an individual allowed thoughts and feelings. Take advantage of that to the fullest and be wary of those trying to influence you to their point of view ‘just because they say so.’ Like Letta, you are your own savior, and it is up to you to decide if you would destroy or if you would create.

Benjamin always said “Extinction was the saddest word”. This is not just the end of a life, but the end or eras, traditions, thought processes.