Tag Archive | YA

REVIEW: Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

Series: Book #1

Read: May 9-11, 2017

Format: E-ARC (NetGalley)

My Book Rating: 5 Stars

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Release Date: May 30, 2017

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 352

Reading Challenge(s): Flights of Fantasy, 2017 YA

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Being a bastard blows. Tilla would know. Her father, Lord Kent of the Western Province, loved her as a child, but cast her aside as soon as he had trueborn children.

At sixteen, Tilla spends her days exploring long-forgotten tunnels beneath the castle with her stablehand half brother, Jax, and her nights drinking with the servants, passing out on Jax’s floor while her castle bedroom collects dust. Tilla secretly longs to sit by her father’s side, resplendent in a sparkling gown, enjoying feasts with the rest of the family. Instead, she sits with the other bastards, like Miles of House Hampstedt, an awkward scholar who’s been in love with Tilla since they were children.

Then, at a feast honoring the visiting princess Lyriana, the royal shocks everyone by choosing to sit at the Bastards’ Table. Before she knows it, Tilla is leading the sheltered princess on a late-night escapade. Along with Jax, Miles, and fellow bastard Zell, a Zitochi warrior from the north, they stumble upon a crime they were never meant to witness.

Rebellion is brewing in the west, and a brutal coup leaves Lyriana’s uncle, the Royal Archmagus, dead—with Lyriana next on the list. The group flees for their lives, relentlessly pursued by murderous mercenaries; their own parents have put a price on their heads to prevent the king and his powerful Royal Mages from discovering their treachery.

The bastards band together, realizing they alone have the power to prevent a civil war that will tear their kingdom apart—if they can warn the king in time. And if they can survive the journey . . .


REVIEW

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

 I honestly wasn’t sure if I even wanted to read this book when I requested it from NetGalley. I’ve read quite a few YA fantasies in the past year or so and they sort of start to blur in my head. This book though? I’m so glad I read it!

Royal Bastards was a unique fantasy read for me. The dialogue is often very contemporary and comical – which I love. The overall feel is like a watered down Game of Thrones—but without the dragons, and significantly less pages.

I love that this book really emphasizes the gray areas — as in, the world isn’t just black and white, good and evil. Tilla and Jax have a conversation about whether they’re doing the “right thing” by betraying their land and their people, and what it boils down to is, there is no right thing.

I loved the characters in this book.

Tilla is the bastard daughter of the Lord of Kent, his firstborn. She spends most of her time with her stablehand half brother, Jax (same mother, different father). She’s often crass and unladylike—especially in her internal dialogue—but secretly wishes to be legitimized and fully accepted by her father.

Jax is a stablehand, built like an ox, and quite the ladies man. He’s full of inappropriate things to say. He’s loyal and funny and charming. It’s hard not to love him.

Lyriana is the princess and though at first she comes across as very boring, prim, and proper, as she begins this adventure with her newfound friends, we realize very quickly that there is much more to her than meets the eye.

Zell is a “barbaric” warrior from a land not ruled by Lyriana’s kingdom. He’s incredibly sexy, tough, and though he’s everything she shouldn’t want, Tilla finds herself trying to prove herself to him. I have a little book crush on Zell.

Miles is a wussy pain in the ass. He’s a book nerd, but not in a cool way. He’s kind of annoying, but begins to get better. He’s also completely hung up on Tilla, even though she wants nothing to do with him.

There’s danger everywhere.

Some authors are afraid to put their characters in any real mortal peril. That’s so not the case here. There were a few times where I seriously worried that someone would die. There are creepy gross monster bug things, too.

Another cool thing this book does is represent diversity. Lyriana is described as having dark skin and hair, while I believe Tilla and Jax are described as more fair. I remember, as I read her description, being pleasantly surprised that the author decided to make the ruling people dark skinned. Such a nice change from the traditional choice of making dark skinned people either slaves or evil! I imagine the Zitochi (Zell’s people) as ancient Asian warriors, like Ghengis Khan. I could be completely off base with that though. I don’t always remember exactly how characters are described and instead come up with my own visualizations in my head.

The pacing of this book was excellent. There were no dull points in the plot and I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next.

There’s also a really cool magic system that has its own twists in the story as well.

And finally, THE FEELS.

That’s right, this book had me full of feels. I was rooting for some things to happen, almost in tears over other things that happened. A book that makes me feel and/or really think like this one did, is a book that’s going to STAY with me.


So, should you read this?
YES. A loud and resounding yes. At this point in time, this is my top read of 2017 so far. I may even go out and actually purchase a hard copy to have on my shelf to re-read in the future and to have my daughters read (when they’re old enough – this is definitely an upper YA book with the language, violence, and insinuated—not graphic in the least—sexual content.)


Royal Bastards is on sale May 30, 2017, but you can preorder at the following sites:

Amazon | Nook | iBooks

~ Add to Goodreads ~

 


QUOTES

(NOTE: Quotes are from an advanced release copy of the book and MAY be changed in the final printing.)

(NOTE 2: There are a lot of quotes here. This book is SO quotable, I couldn’t trim my favorites down anymore!)

 

“I was…um…” I scrambled for a plausible excuse. Bathing? I was too dry. Riding? I was too clean. Studying? No one would ever believe that.


You know that awkward silence where someone has committed a horrible social blunder, but no one knows how to react, so everyone is just staring at their feet? Imagine that, but in a hall with two hundred people.


The message was clear. Bow to the King or die by the Ring.


Lyriana Volaris, Princess of Noveris, was genuinely excited to sit with a bunch of bastards. That was just about the craziest thing I could thing of, on a day that was already feeling pretty crazy.


Jay shrugged. “I mean, Whitesand Beach is the perfect place to bring a girl if you’re looking to get laid.” Lyriana gasped. “Or…so I’ve heard some guys say. I, uh, wouldn’t know anything about that.”

I let out an amused snort. Zell just shook his head.


“Jax,” I said softly, “I’m so sorry…”

He glanced at me, one eyebrow cocked, the same sweet, goofy brother I’d loved my whole life. “Shut your face, sis,” he said, and walked off toward the outcropping.


I hadn’t paid much attention to my etiquette lessons, but I was pretty sure there wasn’t a standard expression for Sorry my dad killed your uncle.


I blinked. “You don’t know how to put on pants.”

“I’ve never had to. No woman in Lightspire would!”

Jax snorted.


Training with Zell that day consisted of him honing my reflexes by having me attempt to catch rocks. Mostly I just got hit with rocks.


With a particularly mushy smack, the orifice in the center of the starling’s head puckered open, drooling a yellowish gunk that sizzled against the stone. Four spindly tendrils shot out.


Holy shit. We’d been so focused on our disguises and backstories, we’d completely forgotten about money. We had to be the dumbest fugitives who’d ever lived.


My mind had been resisting what my body had wanted, but I’d been through way too much hell to give it that power anymore. He held me close and I pressed in closer, and damn if this didn’t just feel so, so right.


“Holy frozen hell,” Jax said. What happened to you guys?”


I was starting to think that Miles’s mom was a huge bitch, but that wasn’t really the point.


Mile’s face had never looked more punchable.


Was he hitting on me? That would be weird, right?

 

 

REVIEW: Secret Vampire by L. J. Smith

Secret Vampire by L. J. Smith

Series: Night World #1

Read: April 6-8, 2017

Format: Paperback

My Book Rating: 5 Stars

Publisher: Archway Paperbacks / Simon Pulse

Release Date: June 1996

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Pages: 242

Reading Challenge(s): Beat The Backlist 2017, 2017 YA

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

The diagnosis for Poppy was death. there was no hope—until James, her best friend and secret love, appeared in the hospital. But this was a James she didn’t know. He offered Poppy eternal life. Only he could open the door to the Night World. They’re soulmates—but can she follow him into death and beyond?

THE NIGHT WORLD isn’t a place. It’s all around us. The creatures of Night World are beautiful and deadly and irresistible to humans. Your best friend could be one—so could your crush.

The laws of Night World are very clear: humans must never learn that Night World exists. And members of Night World must never fall in love with a human. Violate the laws and the consequences are terrifying.

These are the stories about what happens when the rules get broken.


REVIEW

This is actually a re-re-re-re-re-etc-read for me. Its been roughly 20 years since I first discovered L. J. Smith and her Night World series. (Did I just age myself???) Unlike another favorite series from those days, which I re-read in recent years and then questioned my middle grade taste in books, this series is still as amazing as the day I read it.

Smith doesn’t waste time with describing every little nuance that her readers honestly aren’t going to care about, but within 2 pages I had a solid sense of who the heroine, Poppy, was as a person and how she felt about James, the hero of our story.

I was always a huge fan of the whole Soulmate trope and this series executes it perfectly. For me, there needs to be some kind of supernatural reason for Soulmates to exist, and in a world of vampires, witches, and shifters, it’s very easy to buy into that reasoning. Add in forbidden love and what teen girl could resist! Certainly not this one, even now that I’ve said goodbye to my teen years ages ago.

This is a short read, but it is utterly satisfying. There’s the star-crossed lovers, the villain, and vampires and witches galore! I seriously can’t wait to dive into the rest of these books. Who knows, maybe by the time I re-read the last of them, there will finally be a new release date set for the final book in the series. It’s only 17 years past due.

So should you read this one? YES. This was the book for the generation before Twilight. (And the author also created The Vampire Diaries – though the TV series took great liberties with the story. For the better IMO. But that’s a whole other book review!) So, what are you waiting for? Go sink your fangs into this amazing series!



Get the Book here:

Amazon | Nook | iBooks

~ Add to Goodreads ~

OR GET THE FIRST 3 BOOKS IN 1 VOLUME

Amazon | Nook | iBooks

~ Add to Goodreads ~


QUOTES

Looking at him, Poppy felt a pang—as always. It didn’t matter that she had seen  him every day, practically, for the past ten years. She still felt a quick sharp throb in her chest, somewhere between sweetness and pain, when first confronted with him every morning.

 

Until today she’d assumed it was her unconditional right to live. She hadn’t even been grateful for the privilege.

 

You don’t love a girl because of beauty. You love her because she sings a song only you can understand…

 
“There are two cardinal rules in the Night World,” he said steadily. “One is not to tell humans that it exists. The other is not to fall in love with a human. I’ve broken both of them.”

REVIEW: It Started With Goodbye by Christina June + Recipe Link

Wow, it’s been a LONG time since I’ve had a chance to post a review. Sorry about that! I am woefully behind. I’m actually feeling like I might need to take a brief reading break, both to give my brain a break and to give myself time to post my backlog of reviews. (Maybe it’ll help me focus on my Super Secret Group Project Short Story too…)

Anyway, anyone who knows me knows that I have a problem with going to bed at a decent time. My FitBit tells me to start getting ready for bed every night at 11pm. And there I am at 2 am saying, “Just one more chapter!”

This past week I’ve been working really hard to fight my bad habits though. I managed to go to sleep at a semi-normal hour like a real grown up. (Except for the night I had to be at work until 12:30 am.) Fingers crossed I can keep this up and establish a good routine!

Also new this week? I tried a new recipe, using an ingredient I hate (Balsamic Vinegar) and ended up loving it! WHO KNEW!

You can check out the recipe for Honey Balsamic Chicken Breasts and Veggies on DamnDelicious.net (1o year old LOVED the chicken, and liked the asparagus and potatoes. She wouldn’t eat more than a bite of the rest. 5 year old LOVED the potatoes, tolerated the chicken, and wouldn’t touch the rest. Husband said I put in too many tomatoes – which were one of my favorite parts of the recipe!)

We’ll definitely make this again. I added the red bell pepper for extra color (it was on sale). This was my first time cooking asparagus and I think it turned out pretty well. The Husband was shocked at how big (fat) the asparagus was…. but I’ve only ever eaten it once before so I didn’t even realize it was huge until looking back at the original recipe’s photos! Oh well, it was tasty!

Without further ado, enjoy today’s book review!


It Started With Goodbye by Christina June

Read: March 2 – March 7, 2017

Format: eBook ARC

My Book Rating: 4.5 Stars

Publisher: Blink/HarperCollins

Release Date: May 9, 2017

Genre: YA Contemporary

Pages: 304

Reading Challenge(s): Retellings 2017, 2017 YA

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she’s stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night (which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client). When Tatum discovers she’s not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela-slash-fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way.


REVIEW

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

It Started With Goodbye is a charming, modern adaptation of Cinderella. When sixteen-year-old Tatum finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time, she ends up arrested and sentenced to a summer of community service and a hefty fine. Shortly thereafter her father leaves on a business trip, leaving poor Tatum alone with her overbearing and impossible-to-please stepmother and her perfect step-sister, Tilly.

Worst. Summer. Ever.

Or is it?

Despite being forced into manual labor and iced out by her bff, Tatum finds new friends and learns a lot about her family, friendships, and herself over the summer. With the encouragement of her “fairy godmother” (aka her stepmother’s mom), she starts a secret online design business. And begins flirting online with a client, her very own prince charming.

I loved the dialogue in this book. I would love to hang out with Tatum. I loved all of the characters actually, I thought they were very well rounded. The “evil stepmother” wasn’t really evil, she always meant well and just didn’t see eye to eye with Tatum. Neither of them communicated with each other very well. I loved the “fairy godmother”, she was a real gem, offering just the right advice when Tatum needed it. I even loved Tilly, the step-sister—the perfect daughter—who Tatum comes to realize maybe isn’t all that bad after all.

I’m not sure this is a book that will stay with me forever, but I truly enjoyed this story and the characters and would absolutely recommend it for fans of young adult fiction, and especially modern fairy tale retellings.


Get the Book here:

Amazon | Nook | iBooks

~ Add to Goodreads ~


QUOTES

I stared blankly at him, still trying to process what he was saying. My head was spinning, and it sounded like he was speaking Greek while his cheeks were stuffed full of mashed potatoes.

“Yes, I know exactly what I’ve done. And that would be a big fat nothing wrong. The only thing I’m guilty of is trying to protect my friend from her sketchy boyfriend, and failing. No, I didn’t know he was going to steal that stuff. No, I didn’t help him. My plan was to go to Mason’s, buy some pencils, maybe help Ashlyn pick out some nail polish, and come home. Contrary to popular belief, a field trip to our city’s finest was not on my agenda today. So can everyone please calm down?”

None of them had on eyeliner or showed bare knees, two things every parent knew were gateways into delinquency.

“My leprechaun actually got deported. He brought illegal “items” into the country when he arrived, and DHS sent him right back. Such a shame.”

Abby’s sympathetic face was on, and she looked itchy to give me a hug, but also wary, like she was afraid that if she touched me, I might cry or break or punch her. Maybe all three.

Sometimes I was rage. Sometimes I wallowed. Most of the time, though, I felt defeated.

I sucked in a breath. Flirting in person was so much better than over the internet.

 

REVIEW: The Inconceivable Life of Quinn by Marianna Baer

The Inconceivable Life of Quinn by Marianna Baer

Read: December 21-28, 2016

Format: ARC Kindle Book

My Book Rating: 4.5 Stars

Publisher: Abrams / Amulet Books

Release Date: April 4, 2017

Genre: YA Contemporary / Magical Realism

Pages: 384

Challenges: 2017 YA

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Quinn Cutler is sixteen and the daughter of a high-profile Brooklyn politician. She’s also pregnant, a crisis made infinitely more shocking by the fact that she has no memory of ever having sex. Before Quinn can solve this deeply troubling mystery, her story becomes public. Rumors spread, jeopardizing her reputation, her relationship with a boyfriend she adores, and her father’s campaign for Congress. Religious fanatics gather at the Cutlers’ home, believing Quinn is a virgin, pregnant with the next messiah. Quinn’s desperate search for answers uncovers lies and family secrets—strange, possibly supernatural ones. Might she, in fact, be a virgin?


REVIEW

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I acquired an ARC of this book from NetGalley and read it pretty quickly. The cover was what first attracted me to this book.  It’s just so… pretty with the blues and pinks and stars. I love the text and the imagery (which is entirely appropriate for the story) and… everything. The second thing that hooked me was the story concept, teen girl is pregnant… but she’s also the the daughter of a politician. I wanted to see how this drama unfolded. And honestly, it was not at all what I expected.

This is kind of an odd book. Not odd bad, just… hard to put my finger on how exactly to describe it.

16 year old Quinn is pregnant and has no recollection of ever having had sex. Sure, she’s messed around with her boyfriend, but nothing that could result in a baby! But there she was, pregnant.

This book follows Quinn throughout the nine months of her pregnancy while she tries to figure out when and how she ended up pregnant. She’s convinced it was rape and she has blocked any memory of the event. Until she discovers a secret about her grandmother.

I seriously can’t say much else about what happens without spoiling the story! I can say that I could not put this book down. I devoured it. I needed to know what happened next. At 76% I updated my reading progress on Goodreads with: “I still have no clue where this is going! And I’m loving it!” and my final thoughts were: “Wow! What a beautiful book.”

The only negative I have about this one aren’t really negatives about the story, just personal hatred for Quinn’s father. He just rubbed me the wrong way. I liked the rest of the family, but her dad is kind of a jerk.

So, I guess I’ll just tell you to give this book a chance and go into it with an open mind and be prepared for ambiguity.



Get the Book here:

Amazon | Nook | iBooks | Kobo

~ Add to Goodreads ~


QUOTES

 “But I’m not lying. I don’t know how it happened! How am I supposed to figure it out if I’m telling the truth and none of you want to hear it?”

“…but I wanted to mention that my daughter had . . . an active imagination when she was younger. If she says anything that seems upsetting or unusual, please let me know . . .”

Because something was wrong, and if she could figure it out, maybe she could help.
Maybe she could save her.

If she hadn’t happened to go to the doctor, would she have been one of those girls who went all nine months without knowing? Because, clearly, there was something really wrong with her.

“…But you realize my boys would have to be superheroes? Like, wearing tiny little capes and doing impossible things.”

The words crept under her skin and stayed there, crawling around like maggots. And what other things had people said? What else did they think about her and her baby? The curiosity worked up into a frenzy inside of her. She didn’t care if the people were insane. She needed to know what they were saying.

Too many questions.
All she wanted was for someone to give her the answers.

“Seriously?” Jesse said, breaking into a jog. “You get to be friends with the ocean, and I get a pigeon?” 

 

REVIEW: Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

Series: White Rabbit Chronicles #1

Read: March 9 – 13, 2017

Format: Kindle

My Book Rating: 4.5 Stars

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Release Date: September 25, 2012

Genre: YA Paranormal

Pages: 416

Reading Challenge(s): TBR 2017, Beat The Backlist 2017, 2017 YA, Retellings 2017

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

If anyone had told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real.

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies.


REVIEW

I can’t remember where I first heard about this book, but from the moment I saw the cover I was in love. It sat on my TBR list for a few months, then I received a sale alert email and it was only 99 cents. You can bet I pounced on that one! The book sat there on my Kindle, alone and neglected, for almost 10 months before I finally decided that this would be a good choice to dig into my backlist with and earn some points for Hufflepuff in the Beat the Backlist 2017 challenge.

Let me tell you, this was $1.07 (after tax) well spent.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t in love with the beginning of this book. It was slow to start and felt very info dumpy. Then Kat showed up and the story picked up pace. The narration sort of glossed over Ali dealing with the aftermath of her family’s death, but it was done in a way that worked, so that we weren’t bogged down with her depression before the meat of the story were revealed.

I loved the characters in this book. Kat is absolutely over the top and amazing. She reminds me a little of Janice from Mean Girls. The other girls in her posse were sort of forgettable, their personalities overshadowed by the more important characters. Cole was an utter ass most of the time, but I still found him absolutely charming. I was intrigued by the strange connection he and Ali share. The clues about their connection that are dropped later in the book really make me want to continue this series.

There is definitely a Twilight vibe to this book, but it’s not a bad thing. Unlike Bella who needs someone to save her most of the time, Ali is a totally kick ass chick she doesn’t really need someone to save her, but will accept the help.

I absolutely loved this world that Gena Showalter has created. Zombie’s that can only be seen by a special group of people? Because they’re on the spiritual plane? Um, yes please! This whole world is so unique and creative, I want to know more. And to add a secondary baddie for Ali to have to fight on top of the zombies? Perfection!

I feel the need to add that this isn’t a traditional retelling of Alice in Wonderland. I’m actually not an Alice fan, so this was perfect for me. There were certainly parallels to the classic tale though, so I would still consider this a retelling – though a very loose one.

 

So, should you read this book? If you’re looking for a YA book featuring a kick ass heroine, a steamy bad boy love interest, a completely new and unique spin on zombies, AND a satisfying ending that still leaves the door open for more books in the series, then YES. This is the book for you.



Get the Book here:

Amazon | Nook | iBooks | Kobo

~ Add to Goodreads ~


QUOTES

 

The forced incarceration at night drove me to spend as much time as possible outside during daylight hours, whether I burned to lobster-red or not.

 

A scream ripped from my throat, followed right on the heels of another and another. I lost track of everything around me, clutched my ears to stop from hearing the utter horror in my voice, and fell to my knees.

 

My thinking on the matter: Mr. Buttle—whom I would forever call Mr. Butthole—was on a power trip, but whatever.

 

“When she and Cole get married in a beautiful prison ceremony, because we all know that’s where Cole will be, she’ll be able to help your cause.”

 

“Have you ever been in a fight?” With his free hand, he pinched a lock of my hair and rubbed the strands together. “Because you look like something out of a fairy tale.”

“The wicked witch?” I couldn’t help but ask.
“Please. The princess.”

 

She battered her lashes at me and lowered her voice to a smoky rasp. “Cole, you big strong minimal. I know the boogeyman thinks you’ll jump out of his closet, but I think you’re—Hey, are you listening to our private conversation, Marcus?” she ended in a shout. “Yeah, that’s right. Run.”

 

Someone so egotistical shouldn’t have been so charming. But then, I loved Kat, so there you go.

 

Because I hadn’t been on an evening drive since the accident, and couldn’t help but clutch the seat, my stomach a writing vomit bubble ready to burst.

 

He’d be doing the world a favor if he never wore a shirt again, but I wasn’t going to tell him that part.

REVIEW: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

Wow. Time got away from me. I’ve had this book read and reviewed for months, waiting to be posted. And then life happened and before I knew it, this release day had come and gone!

Well, better late than never, right?


The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

Series: The Bone Witch #1

Read: January 8-15, 2017

Format: E-ARC (NetGalley)

My Book Rating: 3.5 Stars

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Release Date: March 7, 2017

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 400

Challenges: 2017 YA, Flights of Fantasy 2017

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

The beast raged; it punctured the air with its spite. But the girl was fiercer.

Tea is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy makes her a bone witch, who are feared and ostracized in the kingdom. For theirs is a powerful, elemental magic that can reach beyond the boundaries of the living—and of the human.

Great power comes at a price, forcing Tea to leave her homeland to train under the guidance of an older, wiser bone witch. There, Tea puts all of her energy into becoming an asha, learning to control her elemental magic and those beasts who will submit by no other force. And Tea must be strong—stronger than she even believes possible. Because war is brewing in the eight kingdoms, war that will threaten the sovereignty of her homeland…and threaten the very survival of those she loves.


REVIEW

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

Oh Bone Witch, where do I start? Where do I start….

I expected this book to be about a young woman who discovers her powers as a necromancer after accidentally raising her newly dead brother from his grave. I expected her to go on and learn to use her powers and have adventures along the way.

What I got was a book about geisha training.

Seriously. At least half of this book described all the lessons our heroine, Tea, had to endure on her road to becoming an Asha. (Asha = Geisha. They even sound similar.) During this large portion of the book very little happens. I wish I was kidding.

If I wanted to read a book about geisha’s, I would have read a book about geishas.

Now, all that said, there were a lot of good things about this book. You just have to wade through the boring geisha—sorry, Asha—lessons to get there.

For starters, this book is dual POV in a very unconventional way. We start with a nameless bard finding Tea on a seashore full of bones. He convinces her to tell the story of how she came to be there. The other POV is Tea, the Bone Witch on the beach, telling the bard the story of how she came to be there. So, that was cool.

I also really liked the lore in the book. I liked the idea of the False Prince and his Daeva (monsters that never truly die). I liked the magic and powers. I thought all that was developed nicely… it was just overshadowed by too much geisha-Asha mumbo-jumbo.

On the other hand, the “big twist” near the ending sort of came out of nowhere. There really wasn’t any direct build up for it and it took me a moment to figure out what the heck was really going on. There were clues throughout the story, but they read more like backstory than anything that was actually relevant. It was…. strange.

I also had a hard time connecting to any of the characters. The servant girls at the Asha house were pretty interchangeable in my head. I couldn’t tell you the name of most of the other characters either.

The very end of the book leads me to believe there may be a promising sequel. If the author can cut down on the training and get to the action, I think it could be a good book.

So, should you read it? If you are looking for a good dose of magic and action and adventure you will be sorely disappointed. If you are looking for an interesting and unique world and can look past long periods of nothing happening while our heroine goes through training, then you might just like this one. Oh, and if you’re really into geisha you’ll probably love it!



Get the Book here:

Amazon | Nook | iBooks | Kobo

~ Add to Goodreads ~


QUOTES

Had I known the color of my heartsglass sooner, I might have been better prepared.

They said bone witches gave sleeping sicknesses to innocent princesses with the prick of a finger, and they said bone witches ate the hearts of children who strayed too far into forests.

Asha means two things in old Runic. The first is ‘truth’; the second, ‘spellbinder.’ That is what we must do—we bind the magic and force it to do as we command.

“You knew; still you were affected by the charms I wear. Now imagine the subtlety it can wreak on an unsuspecting world.”

I was trapped between two minds, and at that moment, I was a part of the creature just as it was a part of me.

“If there is one thing I have learned from both our trades, it is that we must always be in the business of forgiveness, lest we become consumed by our anger.”

REVIEW: More Than Friends by Monica Murphy

More Than Friends by Monica Murphy

Series: Friends #2

Read: February 20 – March 2, 2017

Format: Paperback

My Book Rating: 3 Stars

Publisher: Self Published

Release Date: November 14, 2017

Genre: YA Romance

Pages: 320

Reading Challenge(s): 2017 YA, Beat The Backlist 2017, TBR 2017

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

He’s not perfect, but he’s all I want…

I’m your average girl at your average high school, trying to figure out my place in life. After catching my now ex-boyfriend messing around with my now ex-best friend, I’ve made some big changes. No more band, no more backstabbing friends and no more boring old life. Now I have new friends, a new job and new interests.

But there’s a certain someone who’s interested in me, and I don’t get it. Jordan Tuttle could have anyone he wants. He’s the most popular boy in school. Rich, gorgeous, smart and the star quarterback, he’s perfect. Yet he acts like he wants no one else but…me.

So despite my fears and doubt, I let him get close. Probably too close. I discover that he’s not so perfect after all, but it doesn’t matter. I’m falling for him, even though he runs so hot and cold. I know someday he’s going to break my heart.

And I’m going to let him.


REVIEW

I received a copy of More Than Friends from Goodreads First Reads. I took one look at that cover and wanted it. It’s so pretty!

Alas, I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I’d hoped. I read through it fairly quickly, it was a page turner, but I guess I just prefer books with less teen drama and different plot devices.

As far as the characters go, I liked them. Both Amanda and Tuttle. They both had depth and character flaws. They felt real. Tuttle in particular. He comes across as the perfect golden boy, but once you get inside his head you realize he has a lot of baggage. A LOT of baggage!

It’s been a while since I was in high school, and perhaps I just wasn’t / didn’t hang out with the kinds of kids in this book, but I was surprised that a book with such a tame cover would contain so much sexual content! As a parent, I would not be happy to catch my own young adult reading this book, which seems to glorify sex in high school and make it seem as though everyone is doing it. And yeah, maybe I’m letting my prudish side show, but those are my feelings. I prefer my teen fiction to remain clean. If anything happens it’s behind closed doors/fade to black, as well as being between two characters who actually know where they stand with one another, because throughout this entire book Amanda didn’t know if she was actually with Tuttle or not.

As a whole, this is a well written book filled with teen drama drama drama, but there is far too much sexual content IMO for a YA book. I’d have much rather seen them at least in college.


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QUOTES

It’s like I’m always waiting for the bomb to drop. For the joke to be on me. No one in a million years would ever match me with Jordan Tuttle. Not even me.

 

Ugh. I’m actually pissed people aren’t noticing me when I don’t want them to notice me. I make no sense.

 

“Wait a minute. You apologized to her?” Livvy shakes her head. “Why.”

“Because what I said to her was wrong. It bothered me all night. I had to tell her I was sorry.”

“You’re too nice.” She’s still shaking her head.

Maybe you’re not nice enough, I almost tell her, but I don’t. That’s opening a whole new bag of trouble.

 

Whispering “sorry” under my breath—because yes, I do talk to my car sometimes, thank you very much—I turn the key and the engine starts right up.

 

I have no photos of Jordan and me together. None. And in this social media driven world we live in, if there’s no photographic proof, then it didn’t happen.

 

“Passion only lasts so long, especially with those two. They are a prime example that you cannot sustain a relationship based merely on passion.”

REVIEW: Some Boys by Patty Blount

Some Boys by Patty Blount

Read: January 27 – February 4, 2017

Format: Paperback

My Book Rating: 5 Stars

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Release Date: August 5, 2014

Genre: Contemporary YA

Pages: 339

Reading Challenge(s): 2017 Beat The Backlist, 2017 YA Reading Challenge, 2017 TBR Challenge

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Some boys go too far. Some boys will break your heart. But one boy can make you whole.

When Grace meets Ian she’s afraid. Afraid he’ll reject her like the rest of the school, like her own family. After she accuses the town golden boy of rape, everyone turns against Grace. They call her a slut and a liar. But…Ian doesn’t. He’s funny and kind with secrets of his own.

But how do you trust the best friend of the boy who raped you? How do you believe in love?

A gut-wrenching, powerful love story told from alternating points of view by the acclaimed author of Send.


REVIEW

Some of the books I win from Goodreads I’m pretty meh about. I’m like, “Oh, cool, I won a book.” But this book? This book I was excited for! I mean, LOOK at that gorgeous cover! The high contract, the beautiful background color, what’s not to love? And then I open it, and on page one I’m in tears. Okay, I didn’t actually cry, but only because I was sitting outside my kids preschool classroom waiting for the class to be released. I held back, but I wanted to cry. I really did.

I’ll be honest with you, I don’t read a whole lot of contemporary YA. I’m a paranormal/fantasy kind of girl, but I’m working on branching out. The book this most closely relates to from my catalog of books read is Girl on the Brink by Christina Hoag. Both books deal with very tough subject matters. In this case, we’re talking not only rape, but bullying and slut shaming.

I love Grace so much. Grace has had to put up with so much shit since her rape. She’s been called a liar, a slut, and worse. She’s had her property damaged. She’s had her own parents blame her for what happened to her. There were so many times I wanted to cry for Grace, but you know what? Grace is badass. She’s not the kind of girl who is going to just let people get away with this stuff, especially not her rapist. She kept fighting even when she was told it was hopeless.

Then there’s Ian. Ian liked grace before she dated his BFF Zac. But friends don’t date friends exes. Despite acting like an idiot for most of the book, Ian is a good guy. He has good parents who raised him right. It takes a really long time for him to step up and do the right thing and from other reviews I’ve read, a lot of people hate him for that. You know what I think? I think that makes him real. It takes a lot of courage to stand up against your friends and team, especially as a teenager. If Ian were to drop his best friend just because the girl he liked cried rape, I wouldn’t buy it. So yeah, while it’s frustrating at times to read some of the things Ian did/said, it made sense. And in the end, we see him grow and change into a better person.

As for Zac, it was so easy to hate him from Grace’s POV, and at times question her story and almost sympathize with him from what he tells Ian in his POV. (Did I mention this is dual POV alternating between Grace and Ian? I love dual POV!) I mean, I never liked Zac. He was always a sleaze ball, but the author was able to really help me understand why Ian felt the way he did for Zac based on his interactions and conversations with Zac.

There were a couple of times in this book where it bordered on After School Special territory, but even with those way too cheesy moments, this book is a 5 star read. Every girl should read this. Every boy should read this. Hell, every parent and teacher and human being should read this!

This will not be my last Patty Blount book. She is an author to watch out for.


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QUOTES

 

I want to turn to look at him, look him dead in the eye, and twist my face into something that shows contempt instead of the terror that too often wins whenever I hear his name so he sees—so he knows—he didn’t beat me.


She always wants me to run with her, but I strongly believe if God had intended man—or woman—to jog, he’d have scaled way back on breast size and sent some of that padding to the soles of our feet. Just sayin’.

 

“Everybody says it’s my fault because I got drunk, and you know what? That doesn’t count! Everyone was drinking that night. There’s only one thing that counts, but nobody wants to hear it.”


Maybe the whole female sex is worse than the males, the way they turn on each other, transforming from bat-shit crazy into straight-up vicious over some guy.

 

I just want to shatter so I never have to feel anything again.

 

REVIEW: Pan by K. R. Thompson

Pan by K. R. Thompson

Series: The Untold Stories of Neverland #1

Read: February 2017

Format: Kindle

My Book Rating: 3 Stars

Publisher: Magic Quill Press

Release Date: August 10, 2015

Genre: Fantasy, Retelling

Pages: 103

Reading Challenge(s): 2017 YA, Retellings 2017, Beat The Backlist 2017, TBR 2017

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Neverland has always been their sanctuary—until now.

Magic is dying in Neverland—and so are the pixies. Only one is brave enough to search the human world for someone to believe. Tink finds a desolate boy flying in the night, peering in windows, searching for the life he once knew. But can she convince him to abandon his quest and save Neverland?

Discover the untold story of the boy destined to become Peter Pan.


REVIEW

A while back I had an idea for a story I wanted to tell and as this story tossed and turned in my brain I realized it might make a good Peter Pan retelling. But then I remembered I’ve never read Peter Pan, and I’ve only read one story based on it. So I went on a downloading binge, snagging every free fairy tale and Peter Pan related book I could find on Amazon. I promptly forgot about them, and there they sat on my Kindle, until I was motivated to read them by the retelling and backlist challenges I recently signed up for. (Two birds with one stone!)

This particular book, while well written, didn’t really capture my full attention. I actually mostly had my Kindle read it to my 5 year old daughter and me over the course of a few days while we ate lunch. The whole of the book was broken into smaller stories. The first is the tale of how Peter Pan came to meet Tinkerbell and find his way to Neverland. Another is Peter finding the Lost Boys and bringing them to Neverland as well. There’s interesting bits about the fairy’s and why Tink brought Peter. The Nyad’s were interesting as well and I think I’d like to read more about them. As a whole though, I didn’t connect to the characters. I never really cared what happened to them. I’m blaming that on the length of each of these small stories and would assume that the full length novels would have better character development. As of right now I would not pay to read the first full length book, but should it become free I would give it a chance and if I liked it, perhaps go on to purchase the others in the series.

As for my initial quest which led to me downloading this book? I’ve got some fresh inspiration tossing around in my head now, so mission somewhat accomplished.


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QUOTES

 

The pixies in Neverland were dying, and without someone to believe in them, Neverland would soon cease to exist.

 

The crocodile was the only one who hadn’t tired of his games, the only one who returned the attention given to him, and was the only one who seemed worthy of the adventure Peter sought.

 

She would listen because they were a part of him, such an important part, he would sit for long periods of time and replay the memories in an effort to never forget them.

 

“Then the snow came, just as Mother said it would. I kept thinking I had to be close. If I could go just a bit farther, then I would find them and I could duck inside and be safe. But the snow fell faster, and it got cold… so, so cold…”

 

“It wasn’t life I was offered. It was an existence of death. I couldn’t go home and I couldn’t be a boy anymore.”

REVIEW: Island of Exiles by Erica Cameron

Island of Exiles by Erica Cameron

Series: The Ryogan Chronicles #1

Read: January 17 – 28, 2017

Format: E-ARC (NetGalley)

My Book Rating: 4 Stars

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Release Date: February 14, 2017

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 400

Reading Challenge(s): 2017 YA Reading Challenge, Flights of Fantasy 2017

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

In this diverse, gritty survival fantasy, a girl warrior turns against her island clan to find the brother they claim died, uncovering secrets. Perfect for fans of Graceling and Snow Like Ashes.

In Khya’s world, every breath is a battle.

On the isolated desert island of Shiara, dying young is inevitable. The clan comes before self, and protecting her home means Khya is a warrior above all else.

But when following the clan and obeying their leaders could cost her brother his life, Khya’s home becomes a deadly trap. The only person who can help is Tessen, her lifelong rival and the boy who challenges her at every turn. The council she hoped to join has betrayed her, and their secrets, hundreds of years deep, reach around a world she’s never seen.

To save her brother’s life and her island home, her only choice is to trust Tessen, turn against her clan, and go on the run—a betrayal and a death sentence.


REVIEW

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

Island of Exiles fits in well with the popular YA titles of current times, but at the same time, it is unique enough to set it apart.

If you look at my reading progress comments on Goodreads you can see that up until halfway through the book I was confused and struggling, but by around 50% I was completely sucked in. This book is worth the struggle in the beginning.

What I had the most trouble with was all of the new vocabulary words in this world that Khya lives in. They have an entire caste system (mostly based on magic) that is easily confusing, plus a few other words that are substitutes for what we would say and honestly, I don’t see the point in the author changing them.

For the longest time while I liked Khya, I didn’t really care about her. I blame this on the above vocabulary issue. It took me a while to really engage. Once I really committed, I discovered I did like her. She is a strong female character and her personal growth throughout the story was wonderful. I loved where her character ended up by the end and I look forward to seeing how she continues to grow and change throughout the series.

I give the author credit for this unique desert world she’s created, as well as the Miriseh people. All very cool, especially once I let go of trying to keep track of the ranks and titles and what it all meant.

A cool thing bout this particular community is that they’re part militia-part hippie commune. Parents don’t raise their kids, they’re all put together and raised together. Blood siblings are rare, and Khya is fortunate enough to have one. Sexuality is also very open and free, everyone is allowed to love whomever they want. Khya has has multiple relationships with her peers, both male and female. In this world, that’s the norm. There are no boundaries on love.

Tessen is my favorite in this book. His undying loyalty to Khya, even when she doesn’t entirely deserve it, is wonderful. I don’t even remember how he was described in the book, but in my head he’s pretty dreamy. Definitely book boyfriend material!

 

SHOULD YOU READ IT? Readers who enjoy unique fantasy worlds that are somewhat similar to our own will probably enjoy this book. The new vocab can be a bit intense, so my advice is to let it all go and just enjoy the story being told, don’t even worry about trying to keep track of the ranks.



Island of Exiles releases February 14, 2017
Get it here!

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QUOTES

Animals can be outsmarted. Enemies can be fought. Storms can only be survived.

…on Shiara, death is the one think that’s inevitable.

Heat, dirt, blood, death. Life is made of these things.

“I don’t want to talk,” I warn him. “About anything.”
“That’s fine.” His grin spreads across his face like the first glint of sunrise. “You know I can talk enough for the both of us.”

“You know me.” Tessen’s smile grows, like he knows he’s won this argument. “I’ve always been too curious for my own good.”

There’s at least an inch of space between us, but I can feel him in a way that makes my skin seem sunburned—warm and prickly to the point of painful.

I’ve never allowed myself to have this. I’ve never let myself trust anyone enough to dare let my guard down enough to have this. No one else has pushed past my walls persistently enough to earn this.