book review: School for Psychics by K.C. Archer

School for Psychics has an interesting premise.  The book opens up with Teddy Cannon, a 20-something woman, with a large debt to some Russian mafia types.  She stole money from her parents and decided to go to a casino to win money to pay back her debt.  Unfortunately, she has been banned from every casino on the Strip in Vegas because she won too much.  She ends up being told that the reason she is so good at poker is that she is psychic and she is recruited by someone from a school for psychics.  The school is a secret, but they work with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to help solve crimes with their psychic abilities.  It reads kinda like Harry Potter in that sense.

Despite the age of the characters and the occasional sex scene (nothing graphic, really), I would consider this book to be juvenile fiction.  I found the storyline enjoyable, but the characters were pretty awful.  I wish that the characters were better because the plot has so much promise!  I really didn’t like Teddy.  She is the main character and the book is told through her, but I thought that 1) it was pretty crappy of her to steal her parents’ money, 2) she is irresponsible – I mean, come on, a 20-something who isn’t going to school with no job, 3) the gambling thing is an annoying plot hole (if she’s a psychic, how could she have lost so much money in the first place?), 4) the way she interacted with her friends and others was selfish (I wouldn’t want to have her as a friend), and 5) I really didn’t see any redeeming qualities other than her psychic abilities, which she was born with and did nothing to earn.  She came off as a bad stereotype of a millennial.  It actually detracted me from the plot because I kept thinking that Teddy was such a brat.  Actually, I can’t think of a single character that I actually liked from the book.

Maybe if I was 12-13 years old, I wouldn’t have minded her behavior.  That’s probably the target age for this book.  It was an easy read.  I just wish there had been more substance to the characters.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced review e-book from NetGally in exchange for my honest review.  This book will be published April 3, 2018.


book review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder is a re-telling of Cinderella, but in this version, Cinderella is a cyborg mechanic in a dystopian futuristic society.  Earthlings are dying of a plague called letumosis, for which there is no cure or vaccine.  In addition to thousands dying from letumosis, Earth is in a precarious truce with its neighbors on the moon, the Lunars.  Upon hearing that the Emperor of Earth contracted letumosis, the Lunar queen contacts the young prince, eager to get him to agree to her terms for a peace treaty.  Lunars are reported to have unusual abilities to manipulate or control others’ perceptions and thoughts so Earthlings are suspicious and afraid of Lunars.

Cinder suffered from a car accident in which her parents were killed when she was young.  This explains her cyborg leg and other parts.  She goes to live with a guardian who contracts letumosis shortly afterwards.  Her guardian is taken into isolation so she is left with his wife as her new guardian.  This new guardian plays the role of the wicked stepmother, not wanting Cinder around and treating her as a freak for having cyborg parts.  Cyborgs, in general, are treated as second class citizens in this society so Cinder has a double whammy, being both an orphan and a cyborg.

I think just about everyone knows the Cinderella story, but the story is predictable beyond that, too.  Even though the “cliffhanger” ending didn’t reveal any surprises, it was still a fun read because readers can’t help but to root for the skillful and mistreated mechanic.

This book is geared towards teens and is part of a 5-book series called the Lunar Chronicles.  The other books in the series are: Scarlet, Cress, Fairest, and Winter.