Seven-Sided Spy by Hannah Carmack

seven sided spy.jpgGoodreads Synposis:

In the midst of the cold war, the CIA’s finest and most fatal female agent, Diana Riley, vanishes. Kidnapped by the KGB and taken to the backcountry of North Carolina, she and her team of unsavory partners are forced to undergo illegal experimentation.

But, when the experiments leave them horribly deformed and unable to reenter society without someone crying monster, the previously glamorous and high-maintenance spies must escape KGB captivity and avoid recapture at the hands of Nikola, a ruthless KGB agent with an intense and well-justified grudge against her former flame.

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Commentary:

Historical Fiction is my favorite genre, I don’t read as much anymore, but I get highly invested in periodic pieces. So, this is a LATE review…I was asked to review this book way back in 2017…like I said…I have been busy with my job and school, I don’t get many opportunities to really take the time and blog. So, here is a short and ranty review.

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Initially, I thought this was going to be an epic spy drama set in the Cold War Era. I agreed to review this book because of the synopsis. The author really sold her pitch. This has been the weirdest book I’ve read in early 2018.

I don’t know how to explain it to you….I didn’t even know what I read. This was definitely a spy drama. It involved government experimenting, and mutations…a lesbian relationship, and hardly any action.

So, the romantic relationships were random..and not well thought out. There was a love/hate relationship between Diana and the Russian Nikola. I didn’t feel the chemistry between the women..nor did I suspect that they had a history with each other. The relationship wasn’t fleshed out. Nor was the other one between the interracial couple.

Seven Sided Spy had far less action…the stakes were high, but it took me a good WHILE to finish this book. This book was not as how I imagined it to be. There were some creative choices that hindered this book from being a 3 star for me. I have no idea who this book is aimed for, what audience? Even to this day, I am still confused about what I read, and can’t understand the rave reviews for this story. The plot is confusing, and the synopsis makes the book seem far more exciting, when that is far from the truth. This book was a choice…

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Final Rating: ⭐⭐

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

Labyrinth LostAuthor: Zoraida Cordova

Website: zoraidacordova.com

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis: Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…

Praise for Labyrinth Lost:

“Zoraida Cordova’s prose enchants from start to finish. Labyrinth Lost is pure magic.” -Melissa Grey, author of The Girl at Midnight

“Magical and empowering, Labyrinth Lost is an incredible heroine’s journey filled with mythos come to life; but at its heart, honors the importance of love and family.” -Cindy Pon, author of Serpentine and Silver Phoenix

“A brilliant brown-girl-in-Brooklyn update on Alice in Wonderland and Dante’s Inferno. Very creepy, very magical, very necessary.” -Daniel Jose Older, author of Shadowshaper

“Labyrinth Lost is a magical story of love, family, and finding yourself. Enchanting from start to finish.” -Amy Tintera, author of Ruined.

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I received Labyrinth Lost in exchange for an honest review on Netgalley.

When it comes to young adult books, there is a lack of diversity when it comes to the main characters. I was so thrilled that I finally encountered a Hispanic, urban fantasy, young adult novel that not only has a diverse set of characters, but is also LGBT! Let me just say that the book community needs more diversity! I cannot stress that enough. Also, it’s Hispanic Heritage Month and Labyrinth Lost was the perfect choice for me, a Latina.

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Alex is a bruja who loathes her magic, and she is one of the most powerful brujas in her family, but she hides her magical abilities from everyone. Many say that it is a blessing, but not for Alex. Alex wants to live a normal life, but she hates the complications of having to live a double life of being a bruja and a teen. An event triggers Alex to use her magic, and she can no longer hide her magic from her family. Preparations start for Alex’s Deathday, which is similar to a quinceañera. Alex tries to get rid of her magic, and it all backfires on her. She instantly looses her family to another dimenison by using her magic.

Alex grew on me. I’ll admit it.  I didn’t like her early on, but the more I read, I noticed how much changed Alex for the better. She’s responsible and studious, and only wants a normal life. She doesn’t want to be seen as a freak in school and tries her best to conceal her magical ability. She learns to become powerful from the event she faces, especially when she crosses to Los Lagos. Alex does whatever it takes to save her family. She wants to redeem herself from her mistakes. On the journey she learns to accept her fate, and she becomes far more wiser because of it.

Moving on to the love triangle. Alex is best friends with Rishi, and has romantic feelings for her. Rishi has no idea that Alex is a bruja. Rishi is makes Alex feel comfortable and safe. There is also Nova, a brujo, who has a love-hate relationship with Alex.  Nova is the opposite of safe. He’s somewhat of a bad boy. What I loved is how the love triangle reminded of Pearl and Greg from Steven Universe.

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I loved how Rishi and Nova didn’t get along at all. They seemed to be competing over Alex which I loved. Personally, I preferred Rishi over Nova, but that’s just me.

One of the best aspects of the book is not the romance, but the love Alex has for her family. I loved how Alex’s family plays a huge role in her life. They weren’t just background characters. Throughout Alex’s whole journey, they helped her in any way they could. I loved how all the women in Alex’s family were strong. Especially the part where Alex was speaking to her dead great-grandmother. Also, may I just say that Alex’s family was very accepting and forgiving.

Reasons to read Labyrinth Lost:

  • Diversity. Diversity. Diversity.
  • LGBT
  • Brujas
  • Awesome mythology
  • Good character arcs
  • Strong female characters
  • Fantastical creatures

As for the whole journey, I loved it. Labyrinth Lost reminded me of Alice in Wonderland and Pan’s Labyrinth. A perfect spooky package. If possible, I would love this book to get adapted into a movie, preferably an animated movie. I had high expectations for Labyrinth Lost and I was so pleased that I loved the book. It has a special place in my heart, and this is the book that has helped me get out of my book slump! This book is ideal to read for Halloween and Hispanic Heritage Month!

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4.5)

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell: Book Review

Just when you think you’re having a scene without Simon, he drops in to remind you that everyone else is a supporting character in his catastrophe.

☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆ Goodreads Synopsis: Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story—but far, far more monsters.

Commentary: When I first heard about Carry On getting published, I was a bit worried about it. I was not a big fan of the Simon chapters in Fangirl. For some reason, I thought she was going to write as Gemma T. Leslie (author of the Simon Snow series), but this book is Rainbow Rowell’s take on Simon Snow. I really enjoy reading Rainbow Rowell’s works, but I was hesitant to read Carry On. I waited for reviews of the book and all I can say is that this book is everywhere. Seriously. Almost everyone I follow on Booktube or Goodreads gave Carry On a five out of five. I did enjoy the book, don’t get me wrong, but I felt it a bit lacking. ₍₍ ◟(•ૅ ॄ •ૅ๑)◞ ₎₎

First of all, I enjoyed the romance between Baz and Simon. The romance was absolutely perfect. Simon and Baz really were equally matched. I love the build up of their relationship, but I would have liked it more if there were flashbacks of Baz falling for Simon. Initially, I thought Simon was going to be my favorite character, he is supposed to be the fictional Harry Potter. Simon Snow was extremely angsty and stubborn, he can’t control his power like the others. I did not like him as much as I liked Penelope and Baz. I really loved Penelope!! I enjoyed her parts of the book. I like how supportive she was of Simon’s relationship with Baz and how she didn’t “hate” Agatha just because Simon and Agatha broke up.

Also, I loved the friendship between Simon, Penny, and Baz. Agatha was not really included in the book. She was just there compared to the other characters. I wished she were more involved with her circle of friends, but the breakup made everything awkward for her. She wanted to live her life with nonmagical people. She was the one to get away from everything. Luckily for her, she gets a happy ending. ~(^з^)-☆

The Mage was the most interesting character to me. I knew he was a shady from the moment he was introduced. There was something about him that was off. I do respect the reforms he did for the school such as allowing everyone with magical abilities to attend Watford. It used to be a school for the elite before he became headmaster. Other than that, he is a bit of a maniac. He is obsessed with the prophecy of the greatest mage. He must have been really charismatic for Lucy to stay with him. He also isolated himself and Lucy from society, if that’s not a sign of a madman, then I don’t know what is. He also used Lucy, he wanted their child to become The Chosen One. He also abandoned Simon, and never told him that he was his father. He also made a deal with the vampires to attack Watford. I can’t forget to mention how he made his men raid other wizards. I really did not like the Mage. He did get what he deserved in the end. (ꐦ°᷄д°᷅)

To be honest, I don’t understand why the book was divided into four parts. I found it really unnecessary. Also, the first 180 pages were hard were dragging. I did consider dropping this book, but I didn’t want to fail my November tbr. Everything becomes more exciting once you keep reading. Now, I felt as if I missed out on an experience. I would have loved to read more about Simon Snow’s world. I would have loved if there were more books, and it doesn’t seem that there will be a sequel. I know that there are several points of view in this book, but it will all make sense near the end of the book. The ending was satisfying for me. I really did not expect that ending. Why couldn’t Simon Snow about his parents! That part made me upset. I thought he was going to find out the identity of his parents at least, but that did not happen!! (ꐦ ಠ皿ಠ )

Compared to her other works, I did not enjoy Carry On as much as I enjoyed Fangirl and Eleanor and Park. Even though this book was not for me, I will still recommend it because it had fun moments, and I did like the silly spells as well. The reason why I give this book a 3.5 is because exciting, but it was still missing a certain something. Would I reread this? I don’t think so.  ต( ິᵒ̴̶̷̤ ﻌ ᵒ̴̶̷̤ )ິ ♬

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ ☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆