Bang Bang Book Blog is No Longer

I will no longer update this site but I will keep it live for people to find spoilers. I will also add spoiler editions for books that I read so that I can remember what happens in the last book.

If you are interested in my opinions, you can read my reviews on Goodreads-Bang Bang Books is also my Goodreads name.

You can also listen to my monthly podcast with Roulette Reader called Novel Universe. We discuss YA fiction.

Thank you to everyone who has read my book rants.

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Top of 2018

We’re midway thru 2018 and if you are looking for one good book before the September books come out, here’s what I suggest.  Some of these books aren’t published yet because I can to include ARCs due to the fact that I couldn’t find five already pubs that I gave a high rating.

Please click the book cover for the full review.

#5

Dance of Thieves_FINAL 9.18

Dance of Thieves takes place a couple of years after the war between Lia and the Komizar.  We follow a new character Kazi who is part of Queen Lia’s special army. Kazi and her three member home girl crew are tasked to infiltrate, locate, and bring back a traitor.

Initial Rating: bombbombbombbomb

Publication Date: August 7th

You can download it on Edelweiss

You do not need to read Kiss of Deception first although you should because it’s amazing. I will warn those of you who do not like a character driven plot. If you didn’t like Kiss of Deception and are thinking, “Everyone else like KOD so maybe I’ll give Pearson’s next book a try,” you probably aren’t going to like DOT either. It’s character driven which means the plot is slow.

Kazi is a good character; she has an interesting backstory and she extremely driven. Jase is similar in his drive to be a great leader and I liked the pair a lot. It did get a little sluggish in the middle and that’s the reason why I didn’t rate it higher.


#4

children of blood and bone

I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of this book but just in case you haven’t…Zelie (Zel) lives in Orisha where the non magical king has made it his mission to eradicate the Maji or magical people and he does so by murder. Zel’s mother was one of the fallen and Zel was born a diviner-magical child of fallen maji. Amari, the king’s daughter, is indifferent until an event forces her to take action against the king. She meets Zel and her brother Tzain, and they set off on a journey to restore magic back to the maji before it is gone forever.

Initial Rating: bang

Zel was a pretty well rounded character. Inan realistically struggled with his demons. I enjoyed the world building and the pacing. One thing I liked was that I didn’t immediately root for the good side. I could understand the revenge driven king.  Is it the most original story? No but this version was well done.


#3

sadie

Sadie is told in two perspectives, West McCray a Serial-type- podcast and Sadie. When Sadie’s grandmother contacts West to investigate Sadie’s sudden disappearance, he tracks her through interviews of people Sadie encountered.

Initial Rating: bang

Sadie can currently be downloaded on Edelweiss.

This was a tough book to get thru because of the subject matter but it was very well written.  Some readers might be put off or get confused by Summers quick transitions but I believe it was done on purpose and it was effective. Get out your tissues.

Because the book is about a podcast, the trailers are podcasts which are very good.


#2

thunderhead

Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes—not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames

Initial Ratingbang

Thunderhead is non-stop all the way to the end. Shusterman went there and that’s all I’ll say. You’ll have to read Scythe first then this book to see what I’m talking about.


#1

furyborn

Furyborn is told in duo POVs. Rielle, the daughter of the king’s commander and Eliana a hired killer living 1000 years after Rielle.  (OMG, there’s so much story I don’t know where to begin).  Okay, let’s go back. The book begins with Rielle giving birth and in the room is her new husband Garver and his seven year old son Simon.  At one point, an angel named Corien comes and that’s all I’ll say.  Rielle’s story is then told two years prior to the birth of her child.  Legrand slowly reveals how Rielle came to be pregnant and married to this Garver guy, what Simon is, and the significance of Corien.

Initial Rating: bang

This is a very polarizing book. The Goodreaders who rated it low was because of the bi representation.  I’m not bi so I didn’t catch that issue.

I did however really like Furyborn and it will end up in the top three of the year because I don’t see me reading much better. I thought the POV’s had different voices and were developed well. Eliana was a conflicted and flawed character who made horrible choices and I enjoyed her character arc. The prologue is basically the middle of the story/series which is different and was intriguing. The world building wasn’t contrived and the story went against trope. There were twists and turns and great secondary characters.

So if you are on the fence because of all the one stars on Goodreads, keep in mind that there are a lot of four and five stars on Goodreads and maybe give it a go.


What have been your faves of 2018 so far.  What did I miss and need to read ASAP?

Grace and Fury

grace and fury

Grace and Fury (Book 1)

By Tracy Banghart

Genre: Fantasy

Publication Date: July 31, 2018

Bang Bang Review

In this fantasy world, women cannot be literate and the most beautiful girl of every village or whatever must compete to be one of the king’s ladies for reasons I don’t know. Serina is the most beautiful and her sister Nomi goes with her to compete as her handmaiden but things happen-The End.

If you love all the tropes, this book is gonna be your jam!

This book has everything- instalove, a love triangle, an unqualified protagonist who prevails among more qualified characters, a gullible martyr, a girl who thinks she’s unattractive but isn’t, a callous king and all of this in a mere 320 pages.  Please note, if a book one fantasy is under 400 pages-RUN, GIRL, IT’S INFO-DUMPED OR UNDERDEVELOPED!

This book started off okay but I soon realized that the pacing was WAY TOO FAST and that’s problem number all of numbers.

I can’t say too much because it’s a spoiler so scroll down but if my intro turned you off and you aren’t going to read it, highlight the following. The Serina is chosen to compete, she gets to the castle where her sister is chosen over her, the Serina  gets accused of reading and is sent to a prison all within the first 30 pages-WHAT THE HELL?  Serina, has no skills and she really believes in subserviency but within three week of fight training, she’s an adequate fighter.  She plotting to escape with the boy she’s fallen in love with in 3 WEEKS and she planned to unite the women against the male guards cause she’s the smartest one in the whole prison-OKAY. Meanwhile her sister Nomi is a dumbass and believes the heir’s brother who tells her the heir is a monster after two weeks or so. She gets duped into a plan to kill the heir and the reader can see it coming a mile away.

Because the pacing is so fast, there’s no world building which would have been appreciated because this is a world where it’s illegal for women to learn to read for cripes sake. Because the pacing is so fast, there’s no character development. Nomi is supposed to be a rebel and she makes attempts but she’s so wimpy and needs help to do everything at no time did I believe her to be strong or independent or clever. The other sister, Serina, has no skills but man did she manage some amazing feats.

I hate to say it but this will probably be at the top of my most disappointing books of 2018. I don’t see myself reading anything worse than this. If I could give it a zero on Goodreads, I would.

Bang Bang Rating-ZERO

The Cheerleaders

cheerleaders

The Cheerleaders

By Kara Thomas

Genre: Thriller/Mystery

Publication: July 31, 2018

Bang Bang Review

So I read this two weeks ago and I’ve forgotten a lot so you can probably see where this review is heading.

The Cheerleaders is about a cheerleader (I forgot her name and don’t care to look it up) who (highlight to see the spoiler) is recovering from an abortion from a much older man. She’s trying to get over a break up while the anniversary of her older sister’s suicide looms.  Her step father was the lead investigator of her sister’s case and she accidentally finds her sister’s belongings in his office which sparks her belief that her sister was murdered. 

The first problema is that there is no reason for the main character to be a cheerleader.  Cheerleading does not impact the plot. These girls could have been on the chess team and it wouldn’t have made a bit of difference.  A book like Exit, Pursued by a Bear nicely weaves cheerleading into the story; this book which is called The Cheerleaders-does not.

Problema numero dos- Thomas missed the opportunity to dive deep into the spoiler I mentioned above and the person it deals with. This book contains a very timely issue that not many YA books discuss and it’s unfortunate that it wasn’t explored.

Third-Thomas tried to make the dead sister an unreliable narrator but it didn’t work.  The sister has her own chapters in the book that are set a couple of days/months prior to her death and she’s written as a virtuous virginal saint but in the MC chapter’s she paints her sister as a major bitch.  There’s no way that this girl who preaches just-say-no-to-drugs to her friends and is seen by EVERYONE as pious girl can be so bitchy to her eleven year old sister. We don’t see it on the page; it’s just told to us by the MC. Sure the MC can have her own perspective but at no time do we see the dead sister being manipulative or devious to the MC so it’s difficult to set up an unreliable narrator if we don’t hate her at some point.

Finally, it’s supposed to be a mystery but the MC just looks for people who just info dumps the clues she needs.  She barely finds info on her own. And the MC is not likable.  She’s not unlikable either; she’s just there.

I enjoyed Thomas’ first book and even her second book was okay but this book-YIKES!  If you are looking for a good mystery, I’d recommend The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes or Agent of Chaos by Kami Garcia.

Bang Bang Review bombbomb

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein

dark decent

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein

By: Kiersten White

Genre: Reimagination/Thriller

Publication Date: September 25, 2018

Bang Bang Review

Our story begins with a despondent Victor already at University leaving a love lorn Elizabeth waiting at the Frankenstein manor. She’s waiting for a letter from Victor after months of silence. She’s waiting for Victor to marry her so she won’t be thrown out of the manor and she reminds us ALL THE TIME.  She’s tired of waiting so the story opens with her and the governess, Justine, traveling to find Victor at his school.

The novel is called the Dark Descent of … but she doesn’t descent darkly enough. She’s jealous and paranoid but that’s about it. She’s worried about her future in the manor because she no longer has her purpose of distracting Victor now that he’s in school and that’s understandable.  White paints the picture of an Elizabeth who is jealous of the governess and friend Justine because she has a purpose and she’s content but White doesn’t go dark enough. If she was truly descending, she would be a manipulative saboteur but White makes her too altruistic. It is possible to make a sympathetic villain-look at Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones.

The writing is too one the nose. White makes is PAINFULLY obvious that Elizabeth is too dependent on Victor and will eventually grow to be independent.  That’s the normal arc of many characters but White pounds it into to reader’s head that Elizabeth is a weak woman who needs Victor to save her. I eventually became bored with the story and just wanted Elizabeth to get a clue, grow a pair, and be her own woman.

White also doesn’t create a creepy atmosphere.  There’s an attempt but I wasn’t transported to the urine smelling mud soaked 18th century German town.

I just wish White had have gone deeper into the mania a person is capable of experiencing. We just get some mild hysteria from a girl we’ve read before.

Bang Bang Rating: bombbomb

Sadie

sadie

Sadie

By: Courntey Summers

Genre: Thriller/Contemporary

Publication: September 4, 2018

Bang Bang Review

Sadie is told in two perspectives, West McCray a Serial-type- podcast and Sadie. When Sadie’s grandmother contacts West to investigate Sadie’s sudden disappearance, he tracks her through interviews of people Sadie encountered.

Right away I was intrigued because we are getting the perspective of Sadie, in first person, and in the next chapters we are getting the perspective of someone five months later. It’s different than most YA contemporary I’ve read and I’m drawn to this.  In Sadie’s chapters, we learn that she’s left to find the killer of her 13-year-old sister. Sadie is erratic and angry and determined. She’s vulnerable at times and very strong at other times which made for a believable character. There were times when I found myself doubting some of her incredible feats but I had to remind myself that she raised herself and her sister which forced her to become an adult at a young age so perhaps she is able to think and act that quickly on her feet.

West does not have much character development. There were times where he doubted the public interest of the story and he sympathized because he had a daughter but other than that; there wasn’t much to him.  However, this story is really not about West, it was about his interviews with Sadie’s acquaintances and I thought it was written well.

Courtney Summers is a very good writer. She was able to convey pain and desperation with very few words.  There were several moments of intensity that were stressful to read because you didn’t know who was around the corner.  Sadie suffered a lot of trauma as a kid and there were times when she would jump from a flashback to current and it was disorientating to read because Summers didn’t provide transitions.  Of course this was intentional because the reader is made to feel what Sadie was feeling at the time and it was effective. I fear some readers will struggle with this but keep in mind that it’s not bad writing; it’s good writing.

This book was tough to read because of the subject matter. I won’t say because it’s a spoiler but there are some serious trigger warnings. I’m not gonna lie; it was a sad book and I don’t like sad books but I’m glad a read it and I recommend you to read it too.

That ending though…I’m meeting Courtney at ALA and I hope someone asks about that ending.

Bang Bang Review bang

 

May Wrap Up

Any bangs in May? Sadly, no.

May was a rough month for reading because there were too many good shows on Netflix so I only read three books.  YIKES!

Please click on the covers for full reviews.

pride

Great setting but the pacing was too quick to get to know the characters.

Bang Bang Rating:  bombbombbomb 1/2


strange fascinations

Too much going on; get to the point, man!

Bang Bang Rating: bombbomb


life like

Started off great but the B story weighed down the main story.

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbombbomb


June TBR

I’ll be at ALA so I won’t be reading much.