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You are here: Home » Book Review » Three Stars

Rivals in the City by YS LeeRIVALS IN THE CITY by Y.S. Lee Book Review
Series: The Agency, #4
Publication Date: March 10th 2015 by Candlewick Press
Rating:  – Acceptable

Book Summary: In a tale steeped in action, romance, and the gaslit intrigue of Victorian London, Mary Quinn’s detective skills are pitted against a cunning and desperate opponent.

Mary Quinn has a lot on her mind. James Easton, her longtime love interest, wants to marry her; but despite her feelings, independent-minded Mary hesitates. Meanwhile, the Agency has asked Mary to take on a dangerous case: convicted fraudster Henry Thorold is dying in prison, and Mary must watch for the return of his estranged wife, an accomplished criminal herself who has a potentially deadly grudge against James. Finally, a Chinese prizefighter has arrived in town, and Mary can’t shake a feeling that he is somehow familiar. With the stakes higher than ever, can Mary balance family secrets, conflicting loyalties, and professional expertise to bring a criminal to justice and find her own happiness?

Book Review Overview:

  • I like how the series comes to a full circle and revisits the Thorold family
  • Not a lot of Mary and James in this book
  • Least favorite book in the series

After years of waiting, I finally had a chance to read Rivals in the City, the last book the the Agency series by Y.S. Lee. The Agency series is one of my favorites; I love the combination of history, romance, and mystery.

I really enjoyed how the series came to a full circle in this final installment. When Mr. Thorold falls deathly ill in jail, Miss Treleaven solicits Mary one last time to track down Mrs. Thorold. Mrs. Thorold has been living abroad for the past few years to evade authorities for the crimes linked to her husband’s cargo ships. Because Mrs. Thorold is a master at deception, Mary is the person most likely to track her down and uncover her plans.

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You are here: Home » Book Review » Three Stars

Homeland by Cory DoctorowHOMELAND by Cory Doctorow Book Review
Series: Little Brother, #2
Publication Date: February 5th 2013 by Tor Teen
Rating: – Acceptable |

Book Summary: In Cory Doctorow’s wildly successful Little Brother, young Marcus Yallow was arbitrarily detained and brutalized by the government in the wake of a terrorist attack on San Francisco—an experience that led him to become a leader of the whole movement of technologically clued-in teenagers, fighting back against the tyrannical security state.

A few years later, California’s economy collapses, but Marcus’s hacktivist past lands him a job as webmaster for a crusading politician who promises reform. Soon his former nemesis Masha emerges from the political underground to gift him with a thumbdrive containing a Wikileaks-style cable-dump of hard evidence of corporate and governmental perfidy. It’s incendiary stuff—and if Masha goes missing, Marcus is supposed to release it to the world. Then Marcus sees Masha being kidnapped by the same government agents who detained and tortured Marcus years earlier.

Marcus can leak the archive Masha gave him—but he can’t admit to being the leaker, because that will cost his employer the election. He’s surrounded by friends who remember what he did a few years ago and regard him as a hacker hero. He can’t even attend a demonstration without being dragged onstage and handed a mike. He’s not at all sure that just dumping the archive onto the Internet, before he’s gone through its millions of words, is the right thing to do.

Meanwhile, people are beginning to shadow him, people who look like they’re used to inflicting pain until they get the answers they want.

Fast-moving, passionate, and as current as next week, Homeland is every bit the equal of Little Brother—a paean to activism, to courage, to the drive to make the world a better place.

Homeland by Cory Doctorow Book Review Overview:

  • Super nerdy book full of Internet factoids and cameos from famous Internet pioneers
  • The book is long and didactic and almost preachy
  • Inspires me to fight for my rights on the Internet

I listened to the audiobook version of HOMELAND by Cory Doctorow after really enjoying the first book, Little Brother. The book in general is super nerdy, full of Internet factoids, and even some cameos from pioneers of the Internet. (For the record, I knew none of them and had to Wikipedia to double check that they were in fact Real People.) But as much as I wanted to really enjoy HOMELAND, I found the book a little too didactic and wanted a speedier plot.

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You are here: Home » Book Review » Three Stars

My Last KissMY LAST KISS by Bethany Neal Book Review
Publication Date: June 10th 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Rating: – Acceptable |

Book Summary:What if your last kiss was with the wrong boy?

Cassidy Haines remembers her first kiss vividly. It was on the old covered bridge the summer before her freshman year with her boyfriend of three years, Ethan Keys. But her last kiss–the one she shared with someone at her seventeenth birthday party the night she died–is a blur. Cassidy is trapped in the living world, not only mourning the loss of her human body, but left with the grim suspicion that her untimely death wasn’t a suicide as everyone assumes. She can’t remember anything from the weeks leading up to her birthday and she’s worried that she may have betrayed her boyfriend.

If Cassidy is to uncover the truth about that fateful night and make amends with the only boy she’ll ever love, she must face her past and all the decisions she made–good and bad–that led to her last kiss.

Bethany Neal’s suspenseful debut novel is about the power of first love and the haunting lies that threaten to tear it apart.

My Last Kiss by Bethany Neal Book Review Overview:

  • Mystery that keeps you guessing
  • Convoluted ending that made it a little unsatisfying for me as a reader

The last thing Cassidy remembers is her birthday party. But when she wakes up, she realizes that she is no longer living. Trapped as a ghost in the living world, Cassidy tries to piece together the events that led up to her death. MY LAST KISS by Bethany Neal is a page-turning mystery about lies and first love.

I wasn’t really a fan of the romance in MY LAST KISS by Bethany Neal. I just have a hard time with the fact that Cassidy cheats on her boyfriend of three years. I don’t think she ever justifies the fact that she cheated, but it was hard for me to like her as a protagonist. I like the chemistry between Cassidy and Ethan, but I can’t forget what Cassidy did. I feel bad for both boys who were affected.

I found the mystery to be really enticing at first. Bethany Neal kept me guessing throughout the entire book. But the mystery got a little too convoluted in the end. I can’t believe I’m saying this but there were just too many twists and turns towards the end, and it got tiresome. I just wanted to know who was behind the murder. I think that the red herrings were too close together, and I think I would have liked them spaced out throughout the book instead of all in one go at the end.

The ending felt a little abrupt, and I would have liked to see a little more resolution. Unfortunately, because the book is told from Cassidy’s perspective, the story ends when her friends solve the murder. The secondary characters are never fully realized and we are left hanging in the middle of their grieving process.

The mystery in MY LAST KISS by Bethany Nealis a page-turner, but the ending left more to be desired.

 

About the Author

Bethany NealBethany Neal writes young-adult novels with a little dark side and a lot of kissing from her Ann Arbor, Michigan home. She is obsessed with (but not limited to): nail polish, ginormous rings, pigs, pickles, and dessert.

You can find her locked in her Writertorium for insane amounts of time. But, hey, insanity is fun! My Last Kiss is her first novel.

Find the Author

Website | Twitter | GoodReads



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Permalink Permalink Category Book Review, Three Stars - , , , , , | Words 923 words



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