Saturday, December 16, 2017

Four ARC Mini-Reviews

Getting behind again!  So here we go with some mini-reviews of ARCs I either won or were unsolicited.

Men and Dogs by Marie-Eva Chopin and Alice Chaygneaud:
Published:  September 26th, 2017
Source:  ARC from publisher - won through Shelf Awareness
Genre:  Humor
My rating:  3 stars

Cute little book, although maybe something more to each page.  The dogs and men were both nice to look at.  For different reasons of course.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

From the authors of Men & Cats comes this delightful follow-up, featuring 50 new pairs of gorgeous men and candid canines When the world has you down, there's no better way to instant happiness than with handsome men paired with cute puppies. In this new book from the creators of the popular website Des Hommes et des Chatons, you'll find an original collection of 100 clever photo match-ups, with a heartthrob human on one page and a pooch in a similar pose or with a similar expression on the next. 
Wearing a tux.
Taking a walk.
Playing catch.
Toweling off after a bath. 

Can't decide between man or man's best friend? Well, with Men & Dogs, you don't have to choose.

Monster (Gone Series #7) by Michael Grant:
Published:  October 17th, 2017
Source:  ARC
Genre:  YA science fiction
My rating:  5 stars

The Gone series has always been one of my favorites, so when I saw there was another one coming out, I was excited, yet a little leery.  I was worried it would mess up where the story had left off.  Fortunately, I was wrong.  I loved how at the beginning the author gave a shout out to some other awesome YA authors.  The book was very action packed and while mostly we had all new characters, there were a few from before, and that made the story even better.  I look forward to where this story will go in the next book, and will be eagerly awaiting the next installment.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

In the stunning follow-up to the globally bestselling Gone series, Michael Grant continues the story of the teens who morph into superheroes—and supermonsters—when they ingest an alien virus.

Four years after the events of the FAYZ, new meteorites are hitting Earth, and the whole world is exposed to a strange alien virus that gives humans unique superpowers. 

As some teens become heroes and others become dangerously out of control with their new powers, the world will become more terrifying than the FAYZ—and only a monstrous battle between good and evil can save them.

Year One (Chronicles of the One #1) by Nora Roberts:
Published:  December 5th, 2017
Source:  ARC
Genre:  Science fiction/post-apocalyptic
My rating:  5 stars

I feel like this is my first Nora Roberts book, although I think I've read one or two under another pen name she has.  While I don't know that this has made me want to go read all her other books, it definitely was a good read, and I am probably going to read on in the series, if I have time when the next ones come out.  It reminded me a lot of my favorite post-apocalyptic stories Swan Song by Robert McCammon, and The Stand by Stephen King.  There wasn't really a lot that was that unique compared to other stories, but the story itself was still good.  This one tied in both magical beings along with some kind of disease.  And it is this mixture that makes me want to read on and find out just what caused all of it to happen.  If you like post-apocalyptic or the other titles I mentioned, you should give this one a try.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

It began on New Year’s Eve.

The sickness came on suddenly, and spread quickly. The fear spread even faster. Within weeks, everything people counted on began to fail them. The electrical grid sputtered; law and government collapsed—and more than half of the world’s population was decimated.

Where there had been order, there was now chaos. And as the power of science and technology receded, magic rose up in its place. Some of it is good, like the witchcraft worked by Lana Bingham, practicing in the loft apartment she shares with her lover, Max. Some of it is unimaginably evil, and it can lurk anywhere, around a corner, in fetid tunnels beneath the river—or in the ones you know and love the most.

As word spreads that neither the immune nor the gifted are safe from the authorities who patrol the ravaged streets, and with nothing left to count on but each other, Lana and Max make their way out of a wrecked New York City. At the same time, other travelers are heading west too, into a new frontier. Chuck, a tech genius trying to hack his way through a world gone offline. Arlys, a journalist who has lost her audience but uses pen and paper to record the truth. Fred, her young colleague, possessed of burgeoning abilities and an optimism that seems out of place in this bleak landscape. And Rachel and Jonah, a resourceful doctor and a paramedic who fend off despair with their determination to keep a young mother and three infants in their care alive.

In a world of survivors where every stranger encountered could be either a savage or a savior, none of them knows exactly where they are heading, or why. But a purpose awaits them that will shape their lives and the lives of all those who remain.

The end has come. The beginning comes next. 

The Girl in the Tower (Winternight Trilogy #2) by Katherine Arden:
Published:  December 5th, 2017
Source:  ARC won on Goodreads
Genre:  Historical fantasy
My rating:  4 stars

As with the first one, while it took me a minute to get into the story, once I got into it a little bit, I was sucked in and had trouble putting it down.  The characters were very well written, and I loved all the Russian folklore and history.  The scenes were all written very vividly, in such a way that you felt you were there.  My only issues were kind of the same that I'd had with the first book in the series.  The fact that there would be more than one name for the same person, and sometimes that was confusing as to who was being talked to.  Or who was doing the talking.  And then, there was a character that said his house name or his name or something was ironic, but even after googling the name, I could not find what reason made it that - Bashnya Kostei?  If you can figure it out, I'd love to know.  Anyway, I'll definitely be interested to see what the final book includes.  

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

The magical adventure begun in The Bear and the Nightingalecontinues as brave Vasya, now a young woman, is forced to choose between marriage or life in a convent and instead flees her home—but soon finds herself called upon to help defend the city of Moscow when it comes under siege.

Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya’s options are few: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both doom her to life in a tower, cut off from the vast world she longs to explore. So instead she chooses adventure, disguising herself as a boy and riding her horse into the woods. When a battle with some bandits who have been terrorizing the countryside earns her the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow, she must carefully guard the secret of her gender to remain in his good graces—even as she realizes his kingdom is under threat from mysterious forces only she will be able to stop.