I've skipped a lot of TTTs lately, but I really wanted to do this prompt so I put life aside and here I am!
My first Goodreads reviews were mostly crap, but the books weren't. In fact, when I first started posting reviews on Goodreads, I generally only went to the effort when I enjoyed the book. There are some exceptions, but most of these books were good.
Balloon Animals by Jonathan Dunne
A pilgrimage and road-trip of unusual dimensions.
Follow me, Jonny Rowe, on a wild goose-chase from Ireland to the USA with my American grandfather's remains in my red birthday balloon. I use 'remains' in the loosest sense of the word: my grandfather, 45, puffed his last breaths of air into my birthday balloon before suffering a massive heart attack right there at my birthday party which becomes his deathday party.
Feeling responsible for 45's death, and as a thank-you for filling Clinical Dad's void after leaving that questionable suicide note, I make it my quest to return 45 to his birthplace amongst the corn of Iowa, USA, suspended inside his soul-bubble. This journey might also help me with my identity-crisis ... I'm a genealogy student, by the way. And who knows, maybe I'll find love - I tend to find things when I'm not looking for them.
Join me on a desperate race against time to unveil the truth as my birthday balloon begins to deflate and loose 45 forever to the wind
Hilarious novel, I gave it 5 stars
Birth of the Firebringer by Meredith Ann Pierce
Jan, the prince of the unicorns, is high-spirited, reckless-and the despair of his mighty father, Korr. Reluctantly, Korr allows Jan to accompany the other initiate warriors on a pilgrimage. Soon Jan's curiosity leads him, along with his friend Dagg, and their mentor, the female warrior Tek, into the greatest dangers-deadly gryphons, sly pans, wyverns, pards, and renegade unicorns. Yet time after time they are rescued, leading Jan to wonder: Am I the heir to a special destiny?
An amazing unicorn fantasy that shows how fierce these mythical creatures can be, again, I gave it 5 stars
Divergent by Veronica Roth
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
Still one of my favourite books, still don't talk about Allegiant, gave it 5 stars.
Spirit by Brigid Kemmerer
With power comes enemies. Lots of them.
Hunter Garrity just wants to be left alone. He’s learned the hard way that his unusual abilities come at a price. And he can’t seem to afford any allies.
He’s up to his neck in hostiles. His grandfather, spoiling for a fight. The Merrick brothers, who think he ratted them out. Calla, the scheming psycho who wants to use him as bait.
Then there’s Kate Sullivan, the new girl at school. She’s not hostile. She’s bold. Funny. Hot. But she’s got an agenda, too.
With supposedly secret powers rippling to the surface everywhere around him, Hunter knows something ugly is about to go down. But finding out what means he’ll have to find someone he can trust…
These covers are ridiculous and fugly but the story is awesome, 5 stars
Sacrifice by Brigid Kemmerer
Earth. Fire. Air. Water.
One misstep and they lose it all. For the last time.
Michael Merrick understands pressure. He's the only parent his three brothers have had for years. His power to control Earth could kill someone if he miscalculates. Now an Elemental Guide has it in for his family, and he's all that stands in the way.
His girlfriend, Hannah, understands pressure too. She's got a child of her own, and a job as a firefighter that could put her life in danger at any moment.
But there are people who have had enough of Michael's defiance, his family's 'bad luck'. Before he knows it, Michael's enemies have turned into the Merricks' enemies, and they're armed for war.
They're not interested in surrender. But Michael isn't the white flag type anyway. Everything is set for the final showdown.
Four elements, one family. Will they hold together, or be torn apart?
The last in the Elementals series and it was so good, but it hurt so much too. 5 stars
The Ghost and the Graveyard by Genevieve Jack
Grateful Knight isn't looking for love when she moves into a rent-free house on the edge of a graveyard. At twenty-two, all she wants is to recover financially so she can move back to the city where she belongs.
But sparks fly when the gorgeous cemetery caretaker, Rick, introduces himself and mentions his suspicion that her new house might be haunted. Her attraction to him seems supernatural, and despite her resolve to not get involved, she literally can't keep her hands off him.
When things in Grateful's house start moving on their own, another man enters her life, Logan, a sexy ghost with a dark secret. He says Rick isn't what he seems, and indulging her passion for him could cost her soul.
One thing's for sure, magical forces are at work in the tiny town of Red Grove, and they're converging on Grateful. Life will never be the same once she's forced to choose between the ghost and the graveyard.
Weird af novel that I gave 3 stars
Angelbound by Christina Bauer
Eighteen-year-old Myla Lewis is a girl who loves two things: kicking ass and kicking ass. She’s not your every day quasi-demon, part-demon and part-human, girl. For the past five years, Myla has lived for the days she gets to fight in Purgatory’s arena. When souls want a trial by combat for their right to enter Heaven or Hell, they go up against her, and she hasn’t lost a battle yet.
But as she starts her senior year at Purgatory High, the arena fights aren’t enough to keep her spirits up anymore. When the demons start to act weird, even for demons, and the King of the Demons, Armageddon, shows up at Myla’s school, she knows that things are changing and it’s not looking good for the quasi-demons.
Myla starts to question everything, and doesn’t like the answers she finds.
What happened seventeen years ago that turned the quasi-demons into slave labor? Why was her mom always so sad? And why won’t anyone tell her who her father is? Things heat up when Myla meets Lincoln, the High Prince of the Thrax, a super sexy part-human and part-angel demon hunter. But what’s a quasi-demon girl to do when she falls for a demon hunter? It’s a good thing that Myla’s not afraid of breaking a few rules. With a love worth fighting for, Myla’s going to shake up Purgatory.
Formulaic but fun 4 star read.
AlterWorld by D. Rus
A new pandemic - the perma effect - has taken over Earth of the near future. Whenever you play your favorite online game, beware: your mind might merge with the virtual world and dump its comatose host. Woe be to those stuck forever in Tetris! And still they're the lucky ones compared to those burning alive eternally within the scorched hulls of tank simulators.
But some unfortunates - the handicapped and the terminally ill, shell-shocked army vets, wronged crime victims and other society misfits - choose to flee real life willingly, escaping to the limitless world of online sword and sorcery MMORPGs.
Once a seasoned gamer and now a terminal cancer patient, Max grasps at this final chance to preserve his life and identity. So he goes for it - goes for the promise of immortality shared with a few trusty friends and the woman he loves. Together they roam the roads of AlterWorld and sample its agony and ecstasy born of absolute freedom.
This book is great, except for the awesome-at-everything, never loses, MC. 3 stars.
The Warriors of Balance by Tito Martinez Barberi
The secret society of the Selected has successfully eradicated all folk born with a strong, latent Spark of Connection . . . but for a few exceptions.
Determined to destroy any and all potential threats to his rule, the Great Master of the Selected has commanded his followers to hunt down and destroy all folk born with a strong, latent Spark of Connection who escaped Kyros Draksas’ program to quench the Kanazanda.
The Adi’vardikhar has also ordered for the Selected to sow and spread chaos and terror upon the land, as the next step in his plan to bring all of Akaladia to heel.
Oblivious to the Selected’s chilling plans, Earlyan Marnes has returned to the Desert Continent of Ocrecia, where he will find that things are about to change radically. Training as a warrior is about to come to an end, the Selected are closing in on Earlyan and his mentor, and the young warrior is about to face a stiff test of character in the shape of an enigmatic, mysterious, young beauty.
Lúnembril Police Inspector Danowain Raksika is about to find out that his questionable actions to save the life of mighty Móira Vinard have done nothing other than turn him into a target of the Selected’s elite spies and assassins.
Young Alsbeth Mattis has passed her Loyalty Trial as a member of the secret society of the Selected. There is little to celebrate, though, as Alsbeth’s actions have only led to an unbelievable set of events that might just bring powerful House Mattis to an end.
Unbeknownst to all, a menace rises from the depths of the jungle, a threat to the whole world at large that will change the face of Akaladia in one searing, fleeting flash, as the Warriors of Balance come forth to fight the evil rule of the Hall of the Selected.
Immensely fun novel with intriguing world mythology. 5 stars
Irkadura by Ksenia Anske
"My mama became a catfish when I was two, on the day I stopped talking."
Neglected since birth by her mother, Irina Myshko hasn’t spoken a word for most of her short Soviet life. Outcast as a mute idiot and abused by her mother's boyfriends, she escapes into an alternate reality where true natures show and people are revealed as the beasts they are. Pregnant, homeless, and penniless, Irina has to make a choice — learn to live in this splintered world or descend into madness.
This book is amazing and fucking traumatic and important and you'll probably be triggered and definitely need a recovery period after this roller coaster. 5 stars