Rummanah Aasi
 With the school year coming to a close in a couple of days, I thought I would catch up on some reviews of books that I read earlier this year.

Description: Gwen has a destiny to fulfill, but no one will tell her what it is. She’s only recently learned that she is the Ruby, the final member of the time-traveling Circle of Twelve, and since then nothing has been going right. She suspects the founder of the Circle, Count Saint-German, is up to something nefarious, but nobody will believe her. And she’s just learned that her charming time-traveling partner, Gideon, has probably been using her all along.

Review: I thought Emerald Green was a solid ending to a great time traveling series. We get a lot of our answers regarding Gwen's birth and a shocking revelation that the other characters have been dancing around but haven't officially addressed it. Gwen is still a delight, full of sass, wit, and handles her problems with ingenuity. It was lovely watching her grow throughout the series. The romance is still prevalent as Gideon sorts out his own issues and feelings for Gwen. I liked Gideon though I wanted to smack him upside the head for being an idiot for most of this book. Overall, I definitely felt satisfied with this ending though I'm sad the story is over and I have to say goodbye to these characters.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong violence and minor language. Recommended for Grades 7 and up.

If you like this book try: Paranormalcy series by Kiersten White, Gemma Doyle series by Libba Bray,

Description: Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.
  Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was: a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.
  Being a Keeper isn't just dangerous—it's a constant reminder of those Mac has lost, Da's death was hard enough, but now that her little brother is gone too, Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself may crumble and fall.

Review: I loved the premise of this book and intrigued me right away, however, much of the book felt unfinished. I had many questions that weren't addressed such as why does the Archive need the actual bodies and what happens when the Archive gets full? Though these unanswered questions didn't stop me from reading and enjoying the book, they did nag and bother me. While we are taken to the various layers of the Archive, but I didn't really have a firm grasp on the image in my head.
  Mackenzie is an interesting character, who is forced to lead a double life due to her role in serving the Archive. In order to make her approachable and human, we watch as she wrestles with how to grieve the death of her little brother, which was fine but I'm a bit surprised that she didn't mourn heavily for her grandfather as they had a very close relationship. Though I liked seeing the vulnerable side to Mackenzie, I thought it took too much page time and slowed down the book's pace for me. I wanted to get to the action, which finally happens when Mackenzie stumbles upon an old murder mystery and befriends a dead boy named Owen who shouldn't exist outside of the Archive. There is also plenty of humor provided by the a great secondary character named Wes that also works for the Archive and is Mackenzie's peer. I would have loved to get to know Wes better as his personality and stories intrigued me. Though the action moves the plot along, more questions keep popping up which makes me wonder if the author intended this to be a series. I know there is a companion book to The Archive which I'm interested in reading in hopes that some of my questions will be answered. Overall, I do recommend picking up The Archive if you are looking for an unique fantasy with a mystery that discusses the afterlife without any supernatural forces and beings.  

Rating: 3.5 stars

Words of Caution: There are some disturbing images and minor language. Recommended for Grades 7 and up.

If you like this book try: The Unbound by Victoria Schwab, In the Shadows by Kiersten White

Description: An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions.
 Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP. For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.

Review: Ashes is a book that I wanted to DNF after I made the 100 pages mark, but I continued because this was my student book club's pick for our dystopian read. While the book had an okay start with an adventure/survival story as an electromagnetic pulse that may have taken out the entire world and have solved Alex's brain tumor that was deemed incurable by her doctors. Alex soon meets new companions- an obstinate eight-year-old orphan named Ellie and a young soldier named Tom-as they try to make sense of things. While I was getting interested in watching how this group interacts with one another and find out what had caused the electromagnetic impulse, the book then takes a horror turn with the appearance of zombies that are soon called the Changed. I'm not a zombie fan so this part of the "action" and gore was not my cup of tea.This is why I wanted to DNF the book, fortunately this portion of the book didn't last long. Soon the book morphs yet again into a weird cult novel leaving the questions and plot threads in the first two sections of the book unanswered and/or completely ignored. Overall, this was my least favorite book club pick and I can definitely see why I was hesitant to pick it up. I honestly can't recommend this one nor am I interested in continuing this series. 

Rating: 2 stars

Words of Caution: There is some gruesome and gory scenes along with some strong language. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: Maze Runner series by James Dashner, Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Mayberry, The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
6 Responses
  1. Kindlemom Says:

    Believe it or not, I have every single one of these in my TBR pile! Gah. I really need about 30 hours in each day to get more reading time in. ;)
    I might pass on the Ashes but the other two do sound really good!

  2. I read Ashes a long time ago, Rummanah, and remember being turned off by all the gore. I also remember liking the first half of the book a lot more than the second.

    I still need to give The Archived a try. I've only read Schwab's The Near Witch but I loved it so I need to read some of her more recent novels.

  3. I am curious about the first two. I recently read Kiersten's new book and liked it. I have the Archived on my list, but I am disappointed that it felt unfinished. I have no desire to read the last one.

  4. Oh I haven't read any of these but want to read them all. Too bad the last was a dnf but I don't mind zombie novels so perhaps I'll have a better time than you did. I will be cautious about not wanting answers right away though. Brilly reviews!

  5. Jenny Says:

    YAY EMERALD GREEN! I so enjoyed that series as well Rummanah, even if I did want to smack Gideon a time or two as you did:) And I'm thinking Ashes is definitely not for me, I'm not a zombie person either and gruesome/gory are two words that will always keep me from picking a book up. No, thank you on the horror!

  6. Aylee Says:

    Ah yes, I wasn't really into Ashes either. I remember the plot being all over the place, just like how you described it. It's too bad though because I think it had some elements of potential.

    And I agree with you on The Archived as well. SUCH a unique concept - I was totally blown away! Lots of questions though. I haven't read the second book yet.

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