Monday, October 14, 2013

Sekret (Sekret, #1)Sekret by Lindsay Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an early release eArc of Sekret by Lindsay Smith through Netgalley.com. I made an update post when I was about 1/3 of the way through Sekret because I was really struck by how trapped these kids were and all I could think is this could really have happened. I remember reading a lot about the Cold War because I was always fascinated by covert operations and espionage books and movies even as a kid and a lot of the things I read always gave me the impression that there were a lot of people standing in line for rations of food and though they were being provided for by the government they were still starving. People were jailed for just disagreeing with the government which was against the law there. I read that different governments invested in supernatural studies to try to get an advantage over other governments. This book strikes me as delving into those rumors and giving the reader a good story about how this could have happened. She also goes one step further to show how genetic studies could have been exploited and played a part in the use of psychics and other supernaturals.

The one thing that prevented me from giving this book 5 stars is that I was sometimes confused by how some of the supernatural gifts worked for a couple of the students. I also was a little confused by how things went with her family because the story was told in a bit of a disjointed manner. Despite that I was really invested in Sekret and read for hours so that I could see how things would end. There were some great displays of the use of the gifts during training and live exercises. It was sort of bittersweet especially when it was hard to determine who could be trusted. As some of them developed other skills we saw more, but I wish there was more information about how things worked. Like if someone was scrubbed was that back to tabula rasa? There were some great surprises in this book also and I am glad to see there is a sequel and look forward to reading it.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Stonecast (The Spellmason Chronicles, #2)Stonecast by Anton Strout
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh Stanis, how do I love thee? Stonecast is the second installment in the Anton Strout very cool series about a Spellmason and the grotesque or as we call them gargoyle that has watched over the Belarus family since her great-great grandfather. Although you might enjoy Stonecast by reading it alone you would miss out on a lot of history that was given in the first book, Alchemystic. I really was looking forward to this follow-up and it did not disappoint. We begin the story where things left off in the first book where Alexandra is still under threat from Stanis' father who wants materials that Alexandra's great-great grandfather, Alexander Belarus hid very well. But, now she is under threat from another front in this book, someone that has been highly trusted by her father, who unfortunately plays quite a small role in this book. Stonecast focuses mostly on Alexandra and her friends, Marshall and Rory with an addition, someone she meets that might just be able to help her learn more of her craft.

We get to see the story told in alternating points of view between Alexandra and Stanis. Sometimes I forgot he was telling the story in his chapters and I was a bit confused. Other than that I loved seeing things from his eyes and also when there was a cross-over in the telling of a scene from both Alexandra's and Stanis' point of view. It was quite interesting to see how oblivious she was to some things but, hey, he's a big stone guy, so it is quite understandable. The thing is that every once in a while his humanity still shines through in his thoughts and feelings. It was great seeing how he felt about some things and how he wanted to respond versus how he did respond.

We are treated to some great scenes with Marshall and Rory being their hilarious selves. I have to say that it was a bit disconcerting that Lexi placed so much trust and faith in someone she did not know and over the objections of the people and grotesques closest to her, especially someone who had been her friend since childhood and the grotesque that had watched over her family for centuries. She kept justifying it in her head but asking them to risk their lives based upon the word of someone they did not know or have any of the same interactions with that she did. If it had been just money or something not so important it would not have stood out as much to me. But, she risked their lives by doing it and it just did not sit well with me. She tried protecting them but she knew she needed them but instead of protecting them when she needed them she exposed them and I have to say it was different then giving them the choice so we hit upon something that made me not be on her side as much as I had been in the first book. Well, she's a bit arrogant there as well but she didn't seem to grow much from that. She approaches this new friendship more like a teenager than an adult. That was my one problem with how things went though it is not a flaw in the book moreso just something I do not like about Alexandra now that I recall she had the same issues in Alchemystic. There were some good stone man on grotesque battles and some great scenes with Lexi and her friends as they used their own skills to battle. I'm ready for book 3!

Review can also be seen at http://LadyTechiesBookMusings.blogspo...

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