So many books, so little time!  This group was a bit of a mixed bag for me.

5.  Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

What it’s About:  The kind boy Midnight, mysterious neighbour girl Wink, and queen bee Poppy get mixed up in a strange and dangerous situation.  What happened?  All three tell their story, but one of them is lying.

What I Thought:  Okay, the main reason I picked this up is that I read that one of the three POV characters was a sociopath.  And this certainly seems to be the case in the beginning, though it feels like the book retreats from that as it goes on.  It’s probably not really fair to hold that against the book, since the blurb doesn’t actually promise a sociopath narration, but it still left me disappointed.  The bigger problem, however, is that there is a twist in the book which, at least in my opinion, makes a lot of what happened before the twist make absolutely no sense. 

4The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

What it’s About:  A futuristic Gossip girl about the teens who live in a huge building in 2118 Manhattan.  And one of the teens will fall, or be pushed, off the top of the building.

What I Thought:  This is basically what you would expect from a book called a futuristic Gossip Girl.  Troubled teens dreaming and scheming.  The big problem with this book for me is Avery, the Serena of the book.  She makes me remember how Cecily Von Ziegesar saying that she meant for Serena to be the main character of Gossip Girl but realized Blair was far more interesting.  It’s a shame that Avery really seems to be the main character of the series, since even at her best she’s utterly unappealing.  Heck, the introduction to her involves her thinking how she hates being called beautiful because everyone says it to her.  My heart bleeds.  She’s also in love with her adoptive brother, which definitely didn’t appeal to me.  And when she finds out that her best friend Leda had a thing with the brother, Avery turns completely passive-aggressive in her treatment of Leda, who has no idea that Avery thinks of Atlas as anything other than a brother.  Yeah, I really don’t care for Avery. 

As for the other characters, Rylin is probably the most likeable.  She lives on one of the lower floors of the building and works as a cleaner for one of the upper level boys, and the two of them get into a relationship which is rather complicated by the fact that he is also her boss.  She does have one bafflingly unappealing moment however.  After calling in sick to her regular job for several days so she can get more money working for the boy, her boss finally says that she needs to either check in to the hospital or get to work.  The boy shows up and gets her to quit and come with him.  All that is fine, but Rylin proceeds to try to shame her boss for forcing her to come to work!  It’s a really bizarre moment where she comes off as ridiculously self-righteous.

3.  Spellcaster by Claudia Gray

What it’s About:  Young witch Nadia and her family move to Captive’s Sound for a new start after her mother abandoned them. , but Nadia immediately senses a dark power hanging over the town.  And then she meets Mateo, who is trying to avoid the family curse that is destined to drive him mad.  Together with Verlaine, a girl who the entire town seems to hate and ignore for no apparent reason, they try to stop the dark power from destroying everything.

What I Thought:  This was basically a middle of the pack read for me.  It was decent enough, and inspired me to pick up the next two books in the trilogy.  But I wasn’t overly connected to any of the characters, other than Verlaine, and it didn’t make any major impression on me.  I should not the unique magic system, as spell ingredients in this world are actually memories.

2.  The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy

What it’s About:  Years ago Stella and her best friend Janine went missing, and only Stella was ever found.  She has never been able to remember what happened.  When another murder rocks their town, Stella wonders if there could be a connection to Janine.  And as she investigates, she begins to wonder if there might be something supernatural going on.

What I Thought:  I was definitely absorbed into this story which leaves the reader wondering if the monster stalking the town is human, or something else.  I see that some reviewers have been less than thrilled that there is also a romance arc to go along with the mystery.  I’m actually a bit surprised that this didn’t bother me when I was reading it, since I’m often not really into the romance arc of any book.  The other main complaint is about the likeability of the characters.  There is no doubt that Stella and her friend Zoey are very flawed characters, but it wasn’t enough to turn me off this book, unlike another entry on this list.

  1.  Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

What it’s About:  On the island of Fennbirn, there is a set of triplet princess each generation.  They are separated and raised according to the style of magic they possess.  In this generation Katharine is the poisoner who can ingest all kinds of poison, Arsinoe is the naturalist, able to control plants and animals, and Mirabella is the elemental, which speaks for itself.  When they turn sixteen the sister must fight to the death for the right to become queen.  This is the way it has always been, but there is something different this time around.  While Mirabella is one of the most powerful princesses ever seen, Katharine and Arsinoe have actually never come into their powers.

What I Thought:  After being one of the most anticipated books of the year, Three Dark Crowns has gotten some mixed reviews, but I really liked it.  I understand that some find it frustratingly slow, especially since the opening of the book makes it seem like the competition is just about to begin when in fact the princesses are only just about to start being approached by suitors, but I was still drawn into the world.  The other main complaint is the love triangle in the book.  I definitely understand this, though I think it should be remembered that everything that happens in that arc is possibly caused by magic, as both island magic and so-called low magic could be at work in that situation.  As for the sisters, I liked both Mirabella and Arsinoe, but was not a fan of Katharine.  She’s the only one of the sisters who at times seems to really enjoy the idea of killing the others.

The one thing that I didn’t like about this book is that I wish Elemantalists and Naturalists had a different counterpart than the Poisoners.  That magic just didn’t really appeal to me.  This might seem like a pretty big problem, but it ultimately didn’t really impact my enjoyment of the book.

Published by Andrew Clendening