Books, Reviews

Book Review – Conspiracy of Ravens

Book – Conspiracy of Ravens
Author – J.C. McKenzie
Genre – Paranormal Fantasy
Release Date – 21 October 2019


Rating


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I received an advance review copy in return for an honest review.


Book Review

“I fly upon the blackest of wings,
I soar through the dark night sky,
I answer to no call but my own,
I alone forge my reality,
for I am the Raven,
Child of Odin.”

I’m back with another great read.  It seems right now the Fantasy books are just what I’m craving more than anything else.  And this one had me enjoying every moment.  First off, this book is not for younger readers, as sex is present in this story.  Please be advised.

Now, Raven, the main protagonist, is not a model or perfect.  She is, however, very real and very flawed.  For once, I enjoyed the fact that we did not get the perfect main character.  We got to learn and grow with her, fight through her fears.

We also see some great family dynamics and ‘bacon’!  Who doesn’t love bacon?

The world was well thought out and we only got to learn as much as Raven needs to know at any given time, so there was no info-dumping or overloading.  I enjoyed seeing a different take on the ‘heaven’ and ‘earth’ and ‘hell’ scenario that we see so much of.

The plot had me guessing at a lot of things, and most of it only fell into place at the last bit, which suited me just fine.  Having kept me guessing, I liked seeing how this story played out.

Also, there was a great romance in this book.  I don’t want to spoil anything, but you’ll enjoy seeing the relationship growth in this one…


In Short

  • A great world I want to learn even more of.
  • Raven was sassy and broken and strong.  Also, #familygoals here!
  • There is so much more to read here, I’m sure of it…

 

 

Books, Reviews

Book Review – The Fire Unseen

Book – The Fire Unseen
Author – Andrew C. Jaxson
Genre – YA Fantasy
Release Date – 28 November 2017

 


Rating


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I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.


Book Review

“At the end of everything, hope remains.”

In this story we follow Ari, who has incredible abilities she only learns of in her teens, throwing her entire world off-balance.  After the initial shock of learning there is more to her world, she loses someone, who saves her life in the process.

She places her trust in a group of people, learning more about the Kindred and Unseen and what each faction stands for.  But, for her, there is more to this world.  Darkness that seems to follow her around after the accident she lived through.  But why?

Ari is an interesting character, and I’ve been enjoying her journey.  Although there are some parts of the first half of this book that felt stretched unnecessarily, I kept at it, and in the end, enjoyed the second action-packed half of the book a lot more.

What I did not like was the instant romance, feelings and ‘love’ between Ari and Noah.  And then there was Josh, her best friend for years who had secretly had a crush on her.  By the end of this book, she still has no idea who she wants, which frustrated me to no end.

The world was interestingly portrayed, with blurred lines between good and evil.  There was also some underlying themes in this story that you cannot miss.  I hope for some more diversity in the second book, since I didn’t see as much as I’d hoped for.

If given the chance, I would definitely pick up the second book, to see where Andrew takes this story.  There is so much potential for growth and plot development, that I really want to explore alongside Ari and the gang.


In Short

  • Plot-driven, just hold on through the first half, it’s worth it!
  • Insta-love and best friend to possible lover…  If you like that sort of thing…
  • Interesting enough that I’ll continue the series in the future.

Blog Tours, Books, Reviews

Book Review – Alfheim Academy

Book – Alfheim Academy
Author – S.T. Bende
Genre – YA Fantasy
Release Date – 14 October 2019


Rating


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Book Review

This story follows Aura, a light elf, and her journey from Earth (Midgard) to her homeworld.  She gets thrown into a role, given a prophecy to which she needs to live up to or choose to change.  There are assassins after her, wanting to kill her to ensure a different outcome for their world.

I feel like my great reading streak will end soon, and I don’t want that to happen.  Luckily, this was another wonderful book, and I cannot wait to pick up the second installment.  S.T.’s writing captured my imagination, I felt like I was right there with Aura.

This world is filled with everything I like about fantasy, a captivating and strong world, realistic characters, and a plot interwoven with subplots – not overwhelming, but enhancing the main plot just enough to entice the reader to invest all their time in this story.

Aura is thrust into a world and role she doesn’t know she can handle.  Learning about Alfheim and the intricacies of this planet made every part of this story feel much more real – reminiscent to me of walking the halls of Hogwarts.  In the second half of the book, you will hardly want to breathe for fear of missing details of this enticing new world, and you learn alongside Aura.  I didn’t once feel overwhelmed by information, making this a much more enjoyable fantasy to get lost in.

I felt like I fought, stumbled, raised and ran with Aura.  This was an incredible rollercoaster ride I would love to reread for years to come.


In Short

  • a fantastic world, build beautifully with the scenery
  • characters that leap off the pages
  • a prophecy that turns you inside out, you won’t know what you want to happen next

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

I leaned forward, trying to see who Viggo was talking to, but my balance shifted unexpectedly. As I sidestepped to avoid a fall, a branch cracked loudly beneath my feet. I quickly scooted behind a tree and held very still as Viggo called out in a threatening voice, “Show yourself.”

I could take him if it came to it. I’d pinned him in five out of nine sparring matches that week. Or was it three? I couldn’t remember.

“I know you’re behind that tree.” Leaves crunched as Viggo stormed closer.

I inched around the trunk as my training partner’s footsteps grew louder.

“Last chance,” Viggo growled. He was unnervingly close. My eyes locked in on the thickest part of the tree line, and I rose onto the balls of my feet, preparing for escape.

Before I could make my move, a thick hand whipped around the tree to clutch my neck. Viggo yanked me from my hiding spot, wrenching my body into view. He held his arm perpendicular to his six-plus-foot frame, so I dangled in his grasp. In his other hand, he gripped a thick dagger. Crêpes. My hands flew to Viggo’s wrist and I dug in my fingernails, intending to break his hold before my air supply ran out. But as I clawed against his grip our eyes locked, and Viggo opened his palm. I fell to the ground in a heap, then leapt to my feet, brushing broken branches off my pants as I stood.

“You.” Viggo’s normally charming tone had an edge. “What did you hear?”

“I heard enough.” I widened my stance in case I needed to deliver a roundhouse. Or worse. “You broke into Alfheim? What are you doing here?”

“You don’t know what you heard.” Viggo took a step to his right. I mirrored him.

“Fine.” We continued our dance, two animals squaring off for a fight. “Then why don’t you tell me. Because it sounded an awful lot like you broke into the realm, and you’re planning something dangerous.”

“Is that so?” Amusement danced across Viggo’s eyes as anger percolated beneath my skin. I took deep breaths until the emotion stilled.

“What would you call what you’re doing?” I pressed.

Viggo’s features hardened as he took another step. “How was your meeting with the queen? Lots to catch up on, I’m sure.”

My eyes narrowed. “What do you care?”

“I care when someone strips my realm of its freedoms. Not that you’d understand anything about that.”

The anger bubbled again, fiercer. Hotter. “I’ll ask you one more time. What were you doing just now?”

“If I thought you’d understand, I’d tell you.” Viggo’s hand flexed, and his dagger glinted under the filtered light of the forest. My hands balled into fists and I took a step forward. I didn’t have a weapon, but if that jerk thought he could silence me, he had another thing coming.

Viggo stepped into my space, his chest inches from mine. I ignored the piney scent wafting off his training clothes and focused on perfecting my glare.

“Go home, Glitre,” Viggo spoke softly into my ear. “Keep your perfekt little life in order.”

Laughter tickled my throat. “Perfekt. Right.”

Viggo leaned back just enough to meet my eyes. “Someone looked out for you from the minute you were born. From where I’m standing, that’s a pretty good deal.”

“You don’t know the first thing about me.”

Viggo shifted so our foreheads practically touched. Butterflies burst into flight in my stomach and at my shoulder blades. What the hell is wrong with me?

“I know you’re the heir to the throne,” he growled. “I know you met with the queen. And I know you haven’t stepped up to challenge her. I can connect the dots as to which side you’re on.”

A low whistle pierced the forest as I sucked air through my teeth. Viggo Sörensson had no freaking clue. “You know I’m going to tell Signy about this.”

Viggo shrugged. “Go ahead. But for the record, I’m warning you to stay out of it. If anything happens, it’s on you.”

“Noted.” I took another breath as Viggo leaned forward again. His shoulder brushed against mine as he walked by, and the nudging at my back became so adamant, I was positive something was about to crawl right out of my skin. But the jabbing ebbed as Viggo marched forward. He didn’t turn around until he reached the thicker tapestry of trees.

Even at this distance, I caught the pop of his dimple. “See you around, Glitre.”

Then he turned and disappeared into the forest, leaving me with a litany of questions.

What was Viggo Sorenssön up to?


Author Bio:

Before finding domestic bliss in suburbia, S.T. Bende lived in Manhattan Beach (where she became overly fond of Peet’s Coffee) and Europe… where she became overly fond of McVitie’s cookies. Her love of Scandinavian culture and a very patient Norwegian teacher inspired her YA Norse fantasy series’ (Viking Academy, Elsker Saga, Ære Saga, and Night War Saga). And her love of a galaxy far, far away inspired her to write children’s books for Star Wars. She hopes her characters make you smile, and she dreams of skiing on Jotunheim and Hoth.

Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook Page / Facebook Group / Instagram / Newsletter


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Blog Tours, Books, Reviews

Book Review – Marrow Charm

Book – Marrow Charm
Author – Kristin Jacques
Genre – YA Dystopian Fantasy
Release Date – 1 October 2019


Rating


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Book Review

CHARACTERS

Azure (Azzy) – main protagonist
Armin – brother, having magic inside him growing stronger
Brixby – guardian of the pair, after their mother died
Wolf (Kai) – protector of Azzy, after she saved his life
Safiya – witch in the woods

WRITING

“The sun-soaked day to your brother’s storms.”  – a beautiful quote from the book to describe brother and sister.  The first half of the story is read through Azzy’s eyes.  Then we switch to other character’s views of the story.  Jumping from one character’s view to another can get confusing, but I didn’t get lost once, reading til the very last page.  Reaching the fevered climax where the plot takes an unexpected turn, jumping between character narrations, was infuriating and made each page that much more intriguing as we wait to find out what will happen next, blending past with present.

PLOT

There is the main plot, Azzy’s search for her brother, seamlessly woven with subplots that feel both realistic and possible in this world.  Losing myself in this fantastical world was unexpectedly easy.

Azzy Character Aesthethic

WORLD

There are creatures in this world, warped and changed by magic.  I loved learning more about how this world was changed.  There are cities above and below ground, very different from one another.  My only wish here was to learn more about how magic came to exist in this world, and why it tainted humans and animals alike.

OVERALL

I wished there were more history and flashbacks into the pasts of the characters in this book.  I don’t want to wait for the second installment.  I need to know where this journey will end, and whether everything will end well…  There are so many routes open to this ending that there’s no way I can wait to read more!


In Short

  • a dark, twisted and extraordinary world filled with imagery woven with words
  • a love so deep, it transcends space and time
  • captivating characters you will long for and root for until the bitter end

 

Books, Reviews

Book Review – One of Us is Lying

Book – One of Us is Lying
Author – Karen M. McManus
Genre – YA Contemporary Mystery
Release Date – 30 May 2017


Rating
4_star


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Book Review

Went into this book without any spoilers, which is how I like to approach my mysteries.  This means that I had no idea how this book will progress, or who was the ‘murderer’.  What surprised me is that this book as been nominated for a few awards, like the Evergreen Teen Book Award Nominee for High School (2020), Lincoln Award Nominee (2019) and the Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Young Adult Fiction (2017).

CHARACTERS

Bronwyn (the geek), a stereotypical straight A’s student who made some choices.
Nate (the criminal), a bad boy turned good(-ish) with a past that shaped him into thinking people won’t ever care about him.
Addy (the princess), a hair obsessed shell turned pixie cut bad ass.
Connor (the jock), a baseball player with a bright future and beautiful girlfriend.
Simon (the victim), a ‘Gossip Girl’ style blogger, ruthlessly exposing the truth.

WRITING

Karen has a straight forward writing style, adding suspense, mystery and just enough red herrings to keep you doubting your theories.

PLOT

I suspected some of the plot resolutions, the main culprit’s involvement when the murder took place.  But there was a lot more to that day and the reasons for how it went down goes much deeper than just one thing.

OVERALL

The characters changes throughout the story, growing into themselves and getting stronger.  They form a lasting bond, and lifelong friendship after realizing who their true friends are.  Had me reading late, because, even though I had figured some of it out early on, I still needed to know exactly how it went down and it was worth every single page!


In Short

There’s two sides to every story, or five in this case
Princesses can fight for themselves
Breaks stereotype molds in YA writing
LGBTQ representation


 

Book Spotlight

Book Spotlight

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Book – If I’m Being Honest
Authors – Austin Siegemund-Broka & Emily Wibberley
Genre – YA Contemporary, Retelling

Publisher – Viking Books for Young Readers
Release Date – 23 April 2019


Synopsis:

Mean Girls meets The Taming of the Shrew in this romantic follow-up to Always Never Yours

High school senior Cameron Bright’s reputation can be summed up in one word: bitch. It’s no surprise she’s queen bee at her private L.A. high school—she’s beautiful, talented, and notorious for her cutting and brutal honesty. So when she puts her foot in her mouth in front of her crush, Andrew, she fears she may have lost him for good. In an attempt to win him over, Cameron resolves to “tame” herself, much like Katherine in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. First, she’ll have to make amends with those she’s wronged, which leads her to Brendan, the guy she labelled with an unfortunate nickname back in the sixth grade. At first, Brendan isn’t all that receptive to Cameron’s ploy. But slowly, he warms up to her when they connect over the computer game he’s developing. Now if only Andrew would notice…But the closer Cameron gets to Brendan, the more she sees he appreciates her personality—honesty and all—and wonders if she’s compromising who she is for the guy she doesn’t even want.

Goodreads Link!


 

Blog Tours

Blog Tour – In The Neighborhood of True

Journal of the Lost One - Blog Tour

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Book – In the Neighborhood of True
Author – Susan Kaplan Carlton
Genre – YA Historical Fiction

Publisher – Algonquin Young Readers
Release Date – 9 April 2019

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Synopsis:

A powerful story of love, identity, and the price of fitting in or speaking out.

After her father’s death, Ruth Robb and her family transplant themselves in the summer of 1958 from New York City to Atlanta—the land of debutantes, sweet tea, and the Ku Klux Klan. In her new hometown, Ruth quickly figures out she can be Jewish or she can be popular, but she can’t be both. Eager to fit in with the blond girls in the “pastel posse,” Ruth decides to hide her religion. Before she knows it, she is falling for the handsome and charming Davis and sipping Cokes with him and his friends at the all-white, all-Christian Club.

Does it matter that Ruth’s mother makes her attend services at the local synagogue every week? Not as long as nobody outside her family knows the truth. At temple, Ruth meets Max, who is serious and intense about the fight for social justice, and now she is caught between two worlds, two religions, and two boys. But when a violent hate crime brings the different parts of Ruth’s life into sharp conflict, she will have to choose between all she’s come to love about her new life and standing up for what she believes.

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