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Tammie's Reading Reviews

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The Bloodforged
Erin Lindsey
Susan Dennard

The Young Elites

The Young Elites - Marie Lu After reading The Young Elites I had to think about the way I felt about it for a while before I could rate or review it. I went into it a little unsure because the lead character is rather dark, I guess you would say an anti-hero. This is not usually my cup of tea, but I found myself really enjoying this book despite that. I was able to understand why Adelina is the way she is, but that didn't make me altogether like her. She practically wallows in being a victim which is why she is the way she is, and I just wanted her to get over it already and make herself a better person.

I got a little tired of reading about the way her father treated her. This is a theme I've read too many times before: the cruel, unloving father; the loving but dead mother; the seemingly perfect sister. The relationship Adelina had with her sister and the way she felt about her reminded me a little of Cruel Beauty. But while the main character in Cruel Beauty makes changes for the better, Adelina progressively gets worse in this book. In the end I'm not sure how I feel about her or any of the other characters in the book. None of them are real likable, but for some reason despite not feeling a solid connection to any of them I still really want to find out what happens to them. I was incredibly disappointed that Enzo died. I didn't necessarily like him any more than the others, but he was the love interest and I wanted to see where his story arch would go

One other small thing; the title of the book is kind of cheesy. It's what the group of malfettos with special powers are called in the book, but like another reviewer said, that title is too modern sounding and doesn't fit in with the style of the writing in the book. I think simply titling the book The Malfettos would have been a better title.

Leave the Window Open

Leave the Window Open - Victoria Schwab This is a very short story told from Wesley's point of view and definitely worth the read. There is a nice little surprise that I won't spoil here.

The Unbound

The Unbound - Victoria Schwab I found The Unbound to be a very good follow up to The Archived and I had a really hard time putting it down. I do have a couple of small complaints. One would be that Mackenzie keeps one bit of information from everyone including Wesley and Roland and there was no real reason for her to except to create drama later in the story. Another is that there just doesn't seem to be any reason for Sako to dislike her so much, or Agatha for that matter. And I also disliked that Mackenzie kept wanting to protect Wesley like he was some fragile flower. Other than those things I liked the book. and I'm looking forward to reading the third book in the trilogy.

Cover of Snow

Cover of Snow - Jenny Milchman Nora Hamilton wakes up one morning and finds her husband dead from an apparent suicide. He was a police officer in the small town they live in and Nora can't help but ask the question of why her husband would take his own life when he had appeared to be happy.

I found Cover of Snow compelling even though there were some issues with it. The writing took getting used to at first. In the beginning, I didn't care for the way the characters broke off their sentences while talking to each other. This primarily happened between Nora and her family and I think it was supposed to illustrate the state of Nora's mind after losing her husband. She was having a hard time putting sentences together, but it was annoying to read. This stopped later on and I enjoyed the writing a lot more.

The problems I had with the overall story were plot threads that were never tied up, and things that didn't really make a whole lot of sense. Also conclusions were jumped to a couple of times that were far-fetched or too easily reached, and the fact that Dugger, the autistic man had everything so conveniently on film or recorded was too much of a coincidence to be believable. How was he there for all of that and no one noticed? The only conclusion I came to was maybe he was there because the police used him as their tracker. It was mentioned several times in the book that he was a good tracker, but never explained. Did they mean he was helping the police track suspects? I also couldn't figure out why the recording of the childbirth was included in the book. As far as I could tell it served no purpose.

I enjoyed this mostly despite the problems I had with it and I found it hard to put down. What I did like about the book was the relationship between Nora and her sister and the way the author described the surroundings and made you feel like you were there in the cold, winter weather right along with Nora.

There is one thing that I was hoping for that didn't happen. That her husband hadn't actually killed himself. Going into the book, I was sure he had been murdered.

The Kiss of a Stranger

The Kiss of a Stranger - Sarah M. Eden 3.5 stars. I would have given this 4 stars if the characters in the book would have just communicated with each other about their feelings. I thoroughly enjoyed the book except for the bi-polar behavior of the main couple concerning those feelings. I don't think I've read a Regency romance yet that doesn't employ this worn out trope to some degree, but I'm still looking for one.


The Perilous Sea - Sherry Thomas The Immortal Heights was one of my most anticipated reads this year and one of the few books I pre-ordered. I enjoyed it very much but it did drag in a couple of places, and I found it harder to get into than the previous two books. I did feel like the battle with The Bane was done just right. It wasn't over long, but it also wasn't too easy. This trilogy ended up being a favorite of mine and I'm happy that it had a satisfying ending.

Crocodile on the Sandbank

Crocodile on the Sandbank - Elizabeth Peters I'm having a hard time with this one. I don't know if it's just my mood, but it isn't holding my interest and to be honest I find Amelia's personality a little off-putting so far. I'm going to put it aside for now and maybe come back to it later.

Veronica Mars: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line

Veronica Mars: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line - Kristen Bell, Jennifer Graham, Rob Thomas The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line was an enjoyable but not spectacular continuation of Veronica Mars. I really liked that Kristen Bell was the narrator. It made listening to the audio book kind of feel like watching the TV show. This was set after the TV movie which took place 9 years after the TV show ended. I honestly miss the teenage Veronica and am not crazy about reading about her as an adult. I would like to know what would have happened next if the TV show had continued. Some fill in books for that time period would be great. I just wish that after 9 years there had been more character growth for Veronica and her friends. Why is Wallace working as a teacher/coach? What happened to Wallace's dreams of becoming an engineer? He gave up basketball for it after all. With the exception of Weevil they are 28 years old and none of them are married or even engaged. Dick Casablancas is still acting like a teenage idiot at 28. Weevil went back to the motorcycle gang for some reason that isn't explained. Keith is still not remarried. And I know I am definitely in the minority here, and will probably have people coming after me with pitchforks for saying this, but I wish that Veronica had moved on from Logan and not gone back to him. I was never a huge fan of that relationship. Multiple viewpoints like the TV show would have been nice too, especially since the book is written in third person. Overall it wasn't a bad read, just a little lack luster.


Illuminae - Jay Kristoff, Amie Kaufman 4.5 stars. In the year 2575 a colonized planet is invaded. Several thousand people escape on three different ships. One is a battle ship, one a science vessel, and the third is a cargo ship. While being pursued by one of the enemy ships it is discovered that a pathogen was used to subdue the people on the planet and the people on one of the ships are infected with it. You can probably guess where this is going...space zombies, or something like that. There are a few minor differences in the infected in this story. These are smarter than the average zombie and don't hunger for brains, but are paranoid and violent.

Illuminae really blew me away with how visually beautiful the book actually is. It's probably the best YA space opera I've read so far. This story is told in epistolary form through IMs, emails, journal entries, recorded video feed footage, an AI's recorded "thoughts", schematics, military files, medical reports, and interviews. Because of this I wasn't sure how I would like the book. I wondered if it would seem too impersonal and be too hard to get into the characters. That wasn't the case at all and it ended up being a fun and unique read. The writing style actually kept me turning the pages.

This book evoked quite a few emotions as I read it. There was a twist I didn't see coming that really threw me for a little while. Looking back now, there were clues that I probably should have noticed, but I was so into the happenings in the book that I didn't. I was on the edge of my seat for quite a while as I read this. The protagonist, Kady was likable. The boyfriend Ezra was ok. The AI, AIDAN was altogether creepy, sympathetic, and insane. The book left me wondering what in the world would be the right thing to do if there were thousands of infected people who are turning violent and no known cure. Do you try to help them or put them out of their misery before they infect more people?

The only things I disliked about this book were the blacked out curse words. All the little blacked out words got annoying and distracting because they kind of interrupted the flow of the sentences they were in. It would have been better to just leave the cursing out all together in my opinion. I also wasn't crazy about how a couple of the characters always seemed to add sexual connotations to everything they talked about. This was the main reason Ezra was just an ok character to me.

This looks to be a series so I will be reading the next book. It's one that I will be looking forward to.

Mercury Retrograde

Mercury Retrograde - Laura Bickle At the beginning of Mercury Retrograde it has been 2 months since the events in Dark Alchemy. This time around Petra Dee finds herself battling a basilisk and a female motorcycle gang/cult who call themselves The Sisters of Serpens. I'll give you one guess what they worship. It's also been 2 months since Gabe last spoke to Petra. The ending of Dark Alchemy was rather heart wrenching as far as Gabe went and was the main thing that kept me reading this series.

While I did not find this book as good as Dark Alchemy I did enjoy it. What I enjoyed about it were the parts about Gabe and The Hanged Men. If there had been more focus on The Hanged Men and less on the giant snake I might have given this a higher rating. I'm not even sure I really liked the overall plot of this book. The parts with the giant snake felt like watching one of those Syfy channel B movies at times. I also kind of felt like the motorcycle gang/cult was a little pointless, and I never really cared about Cal or what happened to him. But I was very happy that Gabe got some resolution to his story line. I kind of wish this had just been a duology instead of a trilogy or series or whatever it's going to end up being, but I will probably stick it out and read the next book because I don't mind continuing on with Petra's and Gabe's story.

The Raven King

The Raven King - Laura Bickle 3.5 stars. Petra Dee is a geologist looking for her father who disappeared in the town of Temperance, Wyoming twenty years ago. Why she waits so long to look for him, I'm not exactly sure, but she has just come from a traumatic experience where she lost the man she loved because of an accident and blames herself for it. Petra doesn't believe in anything she can't prove through science. Little does she know how much her world view is about to change. While in Temperance Petra discovers that there is a whole lot of weirdness there involving alchemy and magic. I liked Dark Alchemy quite a lot aside from the fact that there is a whole lot of cursing in it that I could have done without. I can ignore it to an extent, but I felt like it was excessive here.

There is a lot of mystery to unravel in this book and it kept me turning the pages. There is a bit of a wild west feel to the story, mixed with the whole "somethings not right in this small town" theme. Petra and Gabe were probably my two favorite characters. Gabe had me feeling all warm towards him, yet repulsed at the same time. Not repulsed by his personality, but by his secret and what it entailed. I did feel like the scene in the trailer after Petra "rescued" Gabe was a little odd and kind of came out of nowhere. Petra feeling attracted to him suddenly and kissing him while she thought he was unconscious But other than that I liked the way their uneasy relationship progressed.

This is the first adult novel I've read by Laura Bickle. I read her YA duology The Hallowed Ones and really liked it. I was expecting this to be on par with The Hallowed Ones as far as creepy horror goes, but it wasn't really that creepy at all. The ending left me feeling sad for one character, but there is a sequel, so I'm hoping that part of the story continues.


Lockstep - Karl Schroeder The synopsis for Lockstep sounded really interesting, but unfortunately it turned out to be rather dull. It took me far longer to read this than I thought it would and I really pushed myself not to DNF it a couple of times. What I did like about the book was the concept of the Lockstep worlds where people who had colonized different planets slept for 30 years at a time in a frozen state, and were awake for only a month at a time. This allowed them to live for thousands of years and to travel to far off places. That's the main reason I gave this 2 stars instead of 1.

This being a space opera I was expecting adventure and excitement, but instead there was mostly a lot of talking, sleeping, waking up, philosophizing (a lot of which annoyed me), and hiding. There was also a lot of telling instead of showing. The characters could have been a lot more fleshed out. Mostly they felt pretty cardboard. The little romance in the story left me feeling nothing. There was no real spark between the characters, it was like they decided they cared for each other, but none of the feelings were written on the page, we were just told they did. Also lets find a new reason for people to have left Earth to explore new worlds other than some giant corporations took over the world and global warming damaged or destroyed it.

In the After

In the After - Demitria Lunetta I was really glued to In the After during the first part of the book when it was sort of like reading a mash up of I am Legend and Falling Skies. Amy is left on her own after everyone around her has been killed by Them. The news has reported that they are aliens who have landed to take over the earth. Soon there is no more news and as far as Amy can tell no other people. She observes how the aliens behave and figure out how to hide from them and get around them. I thought it was different that they were day time creatures instead of night time creatures and I liked that about the story.

One day while scavenging for food in a grocery store Amy finds Baby who is 3 or 4 years old. There is never an explanation as to how Baby got there in the first place, although we learn some other important things about her later. I kind of thought this was a hole in the story. I loved Amy and Baby and I think their relationship is one thing that made the book work so well. However, in part two the post-apocalyptic survival story turned into a dystopian society story. From then on I thought it lacked something. The interaction between Amy and Baby became sparse and we are introduced to a lot of other characters that I really didn't care about.

I saw the origin of Them from a mile away, but was really hoping that I was wrong. I wish they had really been aliens and not infected humans. In that aspect it was a lot like the creatures in I am Legend, only these were green with big claws and fangs. It was also like a million zombie stories that are already out there. I just really wanted to be reading an alien book. I thought some of the explanation for how they came about was kind of stupid, and a bit of a stretch that someone would have been dumb enough to cut themselves on a slide that contained a virus like that. I'm pretty sure they take all kinds of precautions when dealing with things like that.

Amy was mostly pretty smart while she was living on her own, but after she was brought to New Hope I thought she kind of stopped being smart and started doing some really stupid things. Knowing that the doctor didn't trust her and had his eye on her, you would think she would have been quieter about her suspicions and rebel in a more covert manner. Unfortunately she makes stupid mistake after stupid mistake for the whole rest of the book. Even in leaving at the end she is making a stupid mistake, because she doesn't take Baby with her, and the doctor had already pretty much told her he knows baby is the one thing she cares about. Amy could have just walked out of New Hope at any time, there are no walls to keep any of them in, but she doesn't because she convinces herself that giving up some of her freedom is worth the safety that New Hope gives her, which of course brought to my mind the famous quote by Benjamin Franklin. "They who give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Unfortunately Amy doesn't leave when she should and then she is unable to until her friends finally break her out.

While I liked this book ok, I wish it had ended with this one instead of being a duology. At this time I feel like one book is enough so I'm not planning on reading the next one.


Nightingale - Sharon Ervin Nightingale is a Victorian romance and was free to borrow on Kindle so I took a chance on reading it when there are not that many reviews here on Goodreads or on Amazon. The few reviews that do exist are mostly 4 and 5 stars so I thought it might be worth reading.

The story begins with the main character, Jessica trying to save her hens from being trampled by a horse. The hens are a source of income for Jessica, who assists her mother as a scullery maid at a manor house. Her mother has recently become bed ridden and depends on her help. While I really liked the main character Jessica, I can't say the same for Devlin, the love interest. I'm not sure why this book has gotten so many high ratings. I usually love Victorian and Regency romances, but I found this one to be a somewhat awkward read with some rather weird descriptions, and a confusing and not so bright love interest that came across rather like a pedophile at times, because he couldn't make up his mind if he believed the main character was a child or an adult.

Devlin first meets Jessica after he's been injured during an attack and robbery on the road. As a result he has lost his eyesight, so he mistakes her for a much younger girl of between 10 and 12 instead of 18. He calls her a child from the beginning and she tells him she is not a child, but a grown woman. She helps him back onto his horse and then he insists she ride with him to his home, so she climbs into the saddle in front of him. I will add here that she is in a very baggy dress that is much too big for her and she is very thin and small so maybe at first he would think she is younger than she is just by feeling her waist, but other than that I'm not sure why he wouldn't believe her.

Throughout the book Devlin seems to go back and forth on whether he thinks she is a child or a grown woman. At one point he tells her that he knew all along she was 18 but was pretending not to, only to continue to refer to her as a child again over and over and behave as if he thinks she is a child half the time and the other half he believes she is an adult. This back and forth was really annoying and confusing. I'm sure some of the time he was just goading her on by calling her child, but not all the time. The thing that made this worse is that there are several times when he acts in an inappropriate way for someone who believes he is interacting with a child which came off as kind of creepy to me.

As far as the weird descriptions go, I think the most ridiculous one in the book would have to be this gem of a paragraph, which happened after she was knocked unconscious while fencing. Keep in mind that Devlin, the love interest is blind at the time:

"Devlin shifted to lay her over his arm and turn her, giving him access to the last tie, freeing her. As he lifted the shield, her breasts, confined in a chemise and a man's shirt buttoned to her throat, exploded into his hands."

Her breasts did what? I really got a good laugh out of that one. I'm including this paragraph in my review because so much of the book actually hinges on it. The love interest in this book doesn't truly consider Jessica a woman until this paragraph, and that is just cringe worthy while being completely infuriating, and also funny because it's so ridiculous at the same time. Yes, this is when he finally takes her seriously as an adult. He asks his mother why no one told him that Jessica was a fully grown woman. By this point in the story his mother had actually told him that Jessica was 18, and I guess he completely forgot that Jessica had told him herself countless times. I just could not believe how dumb this guy really was. And the fact that big breasts are what finally convinced him she was a fully developed woman irked me. Up until this point it seems like he believed she was 18 but since she seemed small and thin he didn't consider her a fully grown woman? Someone should have informed this idiot that fully grown women come in all shapes and sizes.

I finished this book feeling mostly annoyed. This is a stand-alone and even if it weren't I would not be able to make myself read another one of these.

The Archived

The Archived  - Victoria Schwab The Archived is kind of like Warehouse 13 with dead bodies. The bodies are copies of dead people that contain the history of those people. Or picture a library with stacks of morgue type drawers containing these bodies instead of books. Sometimes these bodies wake up and escape and it's the Keeper's job to return them to the archive. The younger the body, or the more recent the history, the more restless they are and the more prone to waking up they are. The older the history the deeper asleep they are. Most of the time the older histories do not wake up. I liked that the older histories were asleep and kind of forgotten; a lot like real history is to a lot of people. How many times do we really think about things that happened a long time ago? Mostly we think about more recent events.

I liked the main character and I also liked Wesley, even if I could have done without the guyliner. The biggest weakness of the book to me is that there is no real reason given for why the archive exists, other than it's the Keeper's job to protect the histories. It's kept a secret from everyone but the people who work in it or for it, so who really uses it and why are all of those histories stored there? It just kind of seems to exist for no reason. This book could have been a stand-alone because everything is wrapped up nicely in the end, but there are at least two more. I enjoyed reading this so I am planning on reading the next book. Maybe the reason the archive exists will be explained in it.

Loving Helen

Loving Helen - Michele Paige Holmes 3.5 stars.