Category: Reviews

Poison or Protect: A [Novella] Review


Poison or Protect by Gail Carriger
Published: 2016
Format: Ebook
Source: Amazon/B&N/Gumroad

Poison or Protect is the first novella in Gail Carriger’s Delightfully Deadly novella series. The series is a spin off of her YA Finishing School series. This story follows one of Madame Geraldine’s girls, Preshea Villentia (Buss), as she is pursuing her life in espionage after finishing at Madame Geraldine’s.

After school Preshea has found herself a four-time widow with a title, considerable wealth, and a nickname, the Mourning Star. Now the Mourning Star has another mission. This mission will require her to attend a multi-week house party in the country side. Enter Captain Ruthven, a handsome, gentle Scotsman blocking her path. Now the true test is if Preshea is willing to risk her heart or the job.

Gail Carriger has quickly become one of my all time favorite authors. Her stories are all compelling, her characters are memorable and relatable, and her world is engrossing. I’m absolutely in love with her frank writing style and her dedication to the fashion and customs in her stories.

This story definitely does not stray from all that I expect a Gail Carriger story to be and I’m so glad. It’s a pretty quick read, which can be a nice change of pace. I often find longer books, Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series, to leave me with a difficulty remembering how we got from beginning to end (not that that’s necessarily a bad thing). This was a refreshingly short story that still managed to tell and entire story.

The cast of characters, old and new, were definitely great in their diversity and their comedy. The story itself was perfect, not drawn out longer than needed but not rushed to fit the “novella” restraints. If you like Carriger and/or liked the Finishing School Series, take a moment to catch back up with Preshea and you will not regret it!

5/5 stars!

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Not A Book Review

At the beginning of this semester, I read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for a class. I was very excited to read a contemporary novel in a class and I just knew I’d be dying to review it. About 3 months later, that review hasn’t happened. So what did happen?

I didn’t love it. I didn’t hate it. I was a good book, but that’s all I have to say about it. It is outside of my normal genre, but that shouldn’t mean I can’t review it. I have, in the past, reviewed novels of all different types, so why not this one?

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is about a journalist, Blomkvist, who is called to an island by a rich, old company head. His formal reason for being on the island is to write Mr. Vanger’s biography. In reality, Mr. Vanger has asked Blomkvist to use his investigative techniques to look for the person who killed his granddaughter, Harriet. In the course of thinks Ms. Salander comes to work with Blomkvist and the two find a few too many skeletons in the closets of the Vanger family.

This book really didn’t make me have any lasting feelings. It sounds enthralling, and it is. The beginning is kind of miserable because of the vast amount of exposition and the lack of action, but it’s survivable  When the action picks up, the action is fun. I felt satisfied with the climax and resolution and the ending is perfect for a sequel. These are the types of books I love, surprising, well-developed, and well-written. But this one just didn’t do it for me. I don’t know why, but I simply do not and have not felt moved to review or even write about this book.

Perhaps you’ve had better luck with this novel or series. Have you read this book/series? What did you think? Did it make you feel anything?

Lets Talk: The Evolution of the Mockingjay

— This discussion post is created assuming readers have read all three of the books in the Hunger Games trilogy all the way through, thus it contains spoilers below the cut —

If you remember back a few months ago, we had our first discussion about A Moveable Feast. For our second chat, I thought we’d discuss something that kind of pushes my buttons. Many people across the internet have read the Hunger Games Trilogy. I’ve reviewed both Catching Fire and Mockingjay. One big thing that is often critiqued in these books is the evolution of Katniss’s character. I have my own thoughts, which are found below the cut, but I’d also love to hear some of your thoughts on the subject.


Mockingjay: A Book Review

Mockingjay is the second book in The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins. I haven’t reviewed the first book because I wasn’t reviewing at the time I read it, but you can find millions of reviews on Goodreads. That being said there are spoilers to the first two books in this review!

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Published: 2010
Format: Hardback
Source: Borrowed
If you’re coming directly into this book from the last, Catching Fire, you’re a little confused and completely hyped up. This book doesn’t slow down too much from the ending of the last. It’s nothing compared to the arena, but it remains interesting. I really enjoyed this as the finale and I was, mostly, happy with the direction Ms. Collins chose to take her trilogy.
Katniss Everdeen has survived the arena, not once, but twice. But going in, she couldn’t have known how far reaching the rebellion she sparked was. Saved form the arena during her second Hunger Games, Katniss is pulled into District 13, the center for the rebellion against the Capitol. She’s accompanied by a few other victors, some friends from home, her family, and Haymitch. But Peeta was left in the arena and in now being held captive in the Capitol! Katniss has a decision to make and many things to learn.
With this book, I didn’t feel the initial slow, dragging feeling I did with the beginning of the second book. This one comes nicely directly out of Catching Fire. It picks up a time after Katniss is pulled from the arena, but not too long. She’s still struggling with her injuries and confusion. A bit after that, action picks up, but nothing to rival the action in the arena. This book is, largely, about the people in the districts and about the rebellion, not so much the war. There are a few nice “war” scenes, so that’s something I liked.
The characters in this book are lovely continuations of their previous selves. I adore the development of Finnick and getting to see him and Annie. Peeta in this book, I thought, was unlikable (all be it with good reason…). I’m not a big fan of Gale, but he, eventually, turned out a bit better. Katniss, herself, is still interesting. I don’t like the way her character is taken in the end, but I’ll handle that issue in another post.
Despite how much I disliked the epilogue, I give this a 4 star review. The plot continued wonderfully. The characters developed interestingly. The writing was wonderful, as always. If you enjoyed the first two books, I can’t see how you’d not want to finish the series! It’s a wonderful end, if you ignore the painful epilogue.

How did you like the finale of this trilogy? What did you think of Peeta’s character in this one? Do you think this book provided the ending the trilogy deserved?

Catching Fire: A Book Review

Catching Fire is the second book in The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins. I haven’t reviewed the first book because I wasn’t reviewing at the time I read it, but you can find millions of reviews on Goodreads. That being said there are spoilers to the first book in this review!

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Published: 2009
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed

Assuming you’ve read the first book, you have some idea of what’s going on and what to expect. I adored the first book and couldn’t wait to continue the series. This one slows down a bit at the beginning, compared to the first book, then picks right back up. Many people complain about the characters changing, but I didn’t have a problem with it. In fact, I liked the developments between characters and seeing them change over time. Over all, I really enjoyed this book and it made a lovely sequel.

After winning the Hunger Games in the first novel, Katniss returns home to her family and settles into a new life in Victor’s Village, next door to both Peeta and Haymitch. Returning home after the games is difficult on Katniss as she contends with possible feelings towards Peeta and working to understand the new relationship she has with her long time friend, Gale. Before she can really work anything out, she and Peeta are taken on their Victory tour around the districts, but it’s nothing like Katniss imagined. She and a handful of berries set a spark of rebellion in the districts. Snow warned her a fire’s hard to control, even for the Girl on Fire.

As I said, the beginning of this book is rather dull and it takes a while to actually get into it. I would say Collins’s strongest point in the first book is the action within the games and the high stress situation. The Victory Tour is neither exciting nor high stress. I suppose for Katniss it’s high stress knowing a rebellion is brewing at her feet, but it isn’t nearly as exciting as the first book. That being said, when the action does pick up it’s great, as always. I love Collins’s style of writing action scenes. The main action scene (if you’ve read it you know what I’m talking about 😉 ) is amazingly done and I loved the new characters!

Speaking of the characters, I was happy with them. Ever present minded and caring Peeta is there in all his glory.You get to see a lot more of Gale, who is extremely interesting and one of my favorite males. The other Victors you meet are lovely. Beetee, Finnick, just, ah! I love them so much! Now Katniss, everyone says that Katniss’s character changes, becomes weaker, but I kind of disagree. I’m planning a whole post on this one after my review of Mockingjay, so I’ll talk more about it there.

Over all, I give this book a 4 star review. It was wonderful for a sequel, though the action was missing in the beginning, I understand the necessity of it. The new characters are beautiful and wonderful. The returning characters are as I expected them to be. The writing was very well done and I recommend it highly!

Have you read Catching Fire? What did you think? Was it a good sequel to The Hunger Games?