Review: The Chess Queen Enigma by Colleen Gleason

23565495In the third book of the Clockwork Scarab series, Mina Holmes and Evaline Stoker are asked to become bodyguards for Lurelia, the princess of Betrovia, who is carrying a letter that has important information about the whereabouts of a chess queen that has been lost for centuries. Later on, when the princess is attacked and kidnapped, she reveals that someone has been blackmailing for the letter about the chess queen. As part of a scheme to find out more about the blackmailer and Pix’s shady dealings, Mina and Evaline go to a men’s club. Although the girls do not find Pix, they learn that he has been kidnapped and make plans to find him. The girls find Pix strapped to a chair connected to electricity by the Ankh from book one of the series. Will the girls save Pix and discover the secret of the chess queen? Or will they fall into the trap that a devious enemy set for them with the help of someone who they considered their friend?

I would recommend this book to readers interested in fantasy and who enjoy plot twists. Before reading this book, check out the Clockwork Scarab and Spiritglass Charade, Book 1 and 2 of the series.The book has paranormal elements such as time travel and vampires, and parts of romance. Though the book is filled with many plot twists as people who were thought to be friends reveal their true image, the ending of the book is perhaps the biggest plot twist of all as it goes against the entire story. However, the identity of their enemy from Book 1 is still not revealed, despite Mina’s firm conclusions.

This reviewer rates the book 4.5/5

Review: Hunter by Mercedes Lackey

24397041Hunter follows the story of Joyeaux Charmand, a girl who is sent from her home to a city called Apex to fight monsters in a futuristic world. Joy is a hunter, a person with magical powers that access the spirit world. Joy travels from her home to keep the city from finding the other hunters on the mountain. She discovers that hunters in the city are viewed as entertainment rather than protectors of the citizens. When her mentor gets killed in a territory that was meant for Joy, she is determined to figure out who would want to get her killed.

I would recommend Hunter to anyone who enjoys fantasy books without a lot of romance. This book is action packed with plot twists and monsters flying our of sewers at every turn. Joy is constantly on the move fighting monsters and defending herself against her rival hunters. There was never a moment when I felt like the book was moving at a slow pace. However, as a fan of romance novels, I would have liked to see her relationship with Josh better developed.

This reviewer rates the book 4.5/5

Cassandra’s review of The Reader by Traci Chee

25064648“If anything could be a book, there was no telling what you could learn, if you knew what to look for. Smooth river stones spelled out across a mossy floor. Lines drawn in the sand. Or inscribed on the side of a fallen log, half-obscured by twigs and mulch: This is a book.” The Reader by Traci Chee begins with Sefia, who escapes to the forest with her aunt Nin after her father is viciously murdered. The two of them are able to survive in the wilderness together until Nin gets kidnapped. Suddenly on her own, Sefia will do anything in her power to rescue Nin. Her only clue is a strange rectangular object left behind by her parents, something she comes to realize is a book. Sefia slowly learns how to read, unearthing the Book’s secrets, which could explain the cause of all of her misfortune. With the help of legendary pirates and a boy-soldier, Sefia sets out on a dangerous adventure to rescue her aunt. Through the journey, she learns more about the world around her and the power she has to change it.

I loved The Reader!!! It took me a while to get into it (especially when the point of view switched from Sefia to Lon), but after I got through a slight reading slump, I breezed through the book. The characters are wonderful! Sefia is a tough girl with a strong moral conscience. I loved how there are multiple story lines that run through The Reader, which eventually intertwine in a plot twisting way. The balance between character development (the “slow” moments) and action was perfect. Also, it is hard to pinpoint an evil character, because you get an idea of how everyone is thinking [omniscient narration]. I would recommend The Reader to anyone who likes fantasy. (The Reader kind of reminds me of Six of Crows.) I can’t wait till the second book comes out!!

Cassandra rates this book 5/5

Review: Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason

41f0anc74bl-_sy344_bo1204203200_Mina Holmes and Evaline Stoker are not as different as they seem. Although Mina possesses mind blowing powers of deduction and Evaline is constantly searching for new vampires to kill, both are committed to discovering the connection between the mysterious death of two girls and Egyptian scarabs even if it means putting their own lives at risk. As they reluctantly join forces to solve this mystery, both of them develop romantic interests in two extremely intriguing men. The plot of this story is filled with a few twists and can be interesting to the reader. I liked that the female characters had desirable traits such as courage, passion and even empathy. However, the ending did not reveal the true identity of the woman who had referred to herself as the Ankh and who had been highly involved with the mystery of the Egyptian Scarabs.

The Clockwork Scarab is the first in a series of four captivating books. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy mysteries with some elements of romance. Although some romance is involved, the mystery and the setting is the main focus of the novel. Details of Evaline’s encounters with a man named Pix and Mina’s encounters with Dylan are smoothly integrated into the plot of the story.

This reviewer rates the book 4.5/5

Cassandra’s Review of The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

25812109“You see it in all animals- the female of the species is more deadly than the male.” The Female of the Species is a thrilling novel told in three different perspectives: Alex Craft, the mysterious and violent girl whose older sister was brutally murdered three years ago; Jack Fisher, the “perfect” high school guy who wants to see through Alex’s mysterious shell; and Peekay, the preacher’s kid who works with Alex in an animal shelter. Circumstances bring Alex, Jack, and Peekay together during their senior year. Together, they undergo a “dark and riveting exploration of what it means to be the female of the species.”

CAUTION: The Female of the Species is not a book for those who can’t handle violence. It contains the most severe teenage problems (i.e. drug and alcohol use) in the EXTREME. The uncensored description of life in a small town in Ohio adds complexity to the story. The truth is not painted over with a black sharpie but left out in its raw form with a touch of glitter to bring attention to the gruesome details. I enjoyed The Female of the Species, especially the three main characters. Alex, Jack, and Peekay are all very unique and multifaceted. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes realistic fiction. I loved it so much that now I am in a realistic fiction reading phase.

Cassandra rates this book 5/5

Sahana’s review of Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

23174274“Mare of the Stilts died the day she fell onto a lightning shield. Mareena, the lost Silver princess, died in the Bowl of Bones. And I don’t know what new person opened her eyes on the Undertrain.” Glass Sword is an interesting addition to the bestseller Red Queen. While most sequels are bland to say in the least, I would prefer that to this. Set back in this world, Mare realizes the Scarlet Guard will not help her with her mission to save and recruit people of her race from both fear and the innate belief the power of Reds can end this reign of terror. Mare disagrees with the latter and decides to take this mission upon herself and with the help of a few allies sets out to recruit newbloods before Maven exterminates the race. Through this journey to fulfill the improbable, Mare has personal struggles of her own. Mistrust, guilt and pain from the months in the castle haunt her as she takes the firsts steps to become a powerful leader. Whether her leadership would only begin a new reign of terror or end the current cycle of inequality, is the constant question echoing beneath the words in the Glass Sword.

While this book was an interesting read, many things about it bugged me. Throughout the book, I found myself constantly disagreeing with Mare’s views and her disregard for Reds. Maybe this was intentional, maybe not. If you are someone who is vested in loving the characters, this book is not for you. Besides, the fact that the main character is so unlikeable, the other thing that annoys me is how she treats her friends and family. She thinks her family is absolutely defenseless-her brothers who survived the wars are brainless with only brute strength, only Shade is acknowledged as he is newblood- and all her friends, except Calore, are useless as they have no supernatural powers. When she is off in one of her adventures, she forgets they exist. If you are someone who needs meaningful relationships, this book is not for you. I know I’m not successfully selling this book to you, and that is kinda the point. However, if you are someone who reads for the plot, do give this book a read as it does highlight some interesting concepts.

Sahana rates this book 2.7/5 Stars

Cassandra’s review of Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

24934065The world makes things for each place. Fish for the sea, Rocs for the mountain skies, and girls with sun in their skin and perfect aim for a desert that doesn’t let weakness live.” The setting of Rebel of the Sands is a fusion between Arabia and the Wild West. The story takes place in the desert nation of Miraji where mythical beasts and djinn roam the lands. Amani Al’Hiza is an orphaned female and gifted gunslinger who wants to escape from Dustwalk, the back-country town where she is destined to end up wed or dead. Just when Amani is sick and tired of Dustwalk, she meets Jin and sees him as the perfect escape route. However, the world out there might not be the paradise she imagined it to be. “Rebel of the Sands reveals what happens when a dream deferred explodes- in the fires of rebellion, the smolder of romantic passion, and the all-consuming inferno of a girl finally, at long last, embracing her power.” – quoted passage that beautifully describes Amani’s story.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy and action. Rebel of the Sands is an action-packed page-turner. (I finished this book in almost one sitting.) I LOVE all of the characters. They are super powerful and COOL! I can’t wait to read the next book in the series!!

Cassandra rates this book 4.77/5 Stars.