Book Review – City of Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

Thank you, Netgalley, for an opportunity to read and review this book. My views are entirely my own.

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The much anticipated sequel to Royal Bastards is almost here! I absolutely loved this follow up and fans of Shvarts’s  series opener will love this one too. It’s got romance! It’s got action! It’s got intrigue! And it gave me so many damn feels!

It is pretty evident throughout that  Shvarts is a Star Wars fan, as City of Bastards shares many of the same themes and elements throughout it’s thoroughly fun ride. It is hard to say more about the sequel without spoiling too much, but it is safe to say that A) nothing is ever black and white, and B) to quote Luke Skywalker “This is not going  to go the way you think.” Intrepid heroine/anti-heroine Tilla the bastard is back, with friends Zell and Lyriana by her side, and for their herculean deeds in the first book, they are given spots at the prestigious Lightspire University. As all three still suffer the effects of the dark endings of their friends in the previous books, they are soon swept along another wild ride.

Shvarts manages to bring everything you could want to this book, and more, while remaining loyal to the characters and their natural progressions. I think fans will be thoroughly satisfied with this sequel.

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2123720674

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Book Review – The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas

Thank you Netgalley and Random House Children’s Publishing for an arc of this book. My views are entirely my own.

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Okay, let’s try this again. I wrote out a long, beautiful review yesterday, only for my computer to gobble it up. It has now disappeared into the nexus never to return again, and I doubt I will be so eloquent this time. I will try though!

Let me start by saying that this is a fantastic book! It is moving, intense, heart breaking and gripping! You won’t be able to put it down, and even when you turn the final page, you’ll wish for more. The story follows Monica, the sister of one of five cheerleaders that died in quick succession five years before the story took place and all under mysterious circumstances. Driven by a sudden urge to get to the bottom of her sister’s death, Monica begins down the rabbit hole with a nose dive, discovering secrets that would have perhaps been better buried and forgotten.

Author Kara Thomas quickly soars to one of my new must reads with her thorough and realistic examination of a teenager at the height of her high school career, and all it’s associated tribulations. Monica isn’t likable, and that is fine by me. Not only do women not have to be likable, they very rarely were in high school. Best of all? She’s also slightly a badass. I don’t want to spoil anything, but she gets whatever she wants done whenever she wants it to be done. Another character that stood out would be Monica’s departed sister, Jennifer, keenly felt through all-too-few flashbacks and the memories she left behind with Monica. Though I would have loved to see more of Jennifer, so too would Monica I’m sure, and the few glimpses into the departed cheerleader’s life were angst and heartbreak-filled enough to make the reader keenly feel the pain left in her absence.

As for the overall mystery? Thomas deftly weaves a story that will keep you turning the pages long after the sun has set and risen again the next day. All I can say is that to, like Monica quickly learns, trust nobody you meet in this book. Just twisty and turny enough to keep the pages turning, building to a heart breaking and tremendous climax. Was the end satisfying? Was the mystery solved? Well to answer those questions would be a bit of a spoiler too! Trust me when I say that you won’t be disappointed, either way!

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2198984264

Book Review – Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

Thank you, Netgalley and Wednesday Books, for the opportunity to read and review this book. My views are entirely my own.

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I cannot gush over this book enough! Sky in the Deep is breathless, vivid, and badass, with a heroine you’ll at once want to scream at and for. Debut Adrienne Young has created a book you’ll never want to leave, with characters you’ll instantly love.

Step into a Viking-inspired world, fully-realized and beautiful, heart breaking and wonderful. Here, Eelyn is a young woman of war, having spent her entire life fighting with and for her people, having felt the sharp pain of war and has emerged the most hardened warrior. After years of honing her body into a weapon, her heart and mind into unforgiving stone, Eelyn mirrors the unyielding surroundings and people of Aska. But her world is turned upside down when she discovers her brother – a brother she watched die on the battlefield – fighting alongside her enemies, the ruthless Riki.

The writing in this debut is beautiful and confident, the characters fully realized and unique. Young has proved herself a confident and adept writer, and has easily become one of my must-buy authors. Fans of Renee Ahdieh’s lushly painted world in The Wrath and the Dawn and the badass, self-sufficient heroine of Marie Rutkoski’s Winner’s Series will love this book!

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1955887791

Book Review – Unearthed by Meagan Spooner and Amie Kaufman

Thank you, Netgalley, for the opportunity to read and review this book. My views are entirely my own.

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Where do I start?

This was a wild ride of a book. Comparisons to “Lara Croft and Indiana Jones in space” (though I would also add a bit of Doctor Who and Arrival) are spot on, the two main characters are pretty much teenage versions of Lara and Indy, and I fell absolutely in love with both of them. Their chemistry was off the charts, their depths endless. I’m curious how Spooner and Kaufman wrote this one. Did they each pick a character and write their own chapters? Or did they alternate? Because they really did a great job varying the two characters, creating fully-realized teenagers on an adventure in space.

Each chapter twists and turns, leading you on the adventure so that you feel like you’re actually riding deeper and deeper into Gaia (the mysterious planet Jules and Mia are exploring), creating the effect of a narrow tunnel, the walls closing tighter and tighter around you as you barrel towards the light at the end. The world-building is astounding, so meticulously crafted, the history woven together in a way that is both realistic and deliciously sci-fi.

Overall, I recommend this to anyone who claims to love sci-fi, and fans of the Da Vinci Code, need to pick up this book! It won’t disappoint!

Book Review – Warcross by Marie Lu

Hey friends! I know, I’m terrible about posting on a regular basis, but I’ve got a special review for you guys today!

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I was recently lucky enough to get ahold of an arc of Warcross by the wonderful Marie Lu! Consider me blessed by the book gods!

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And where do I start? This book was everything I wanted and more! Lu’s storytelling ability grows with each book, and Warcross did not disappoint. Everything from the intricately painted setting, filled with flourishes of color and rich with detail, to the engaging characters, fully-realized and just as vibrant as their setting, Lu’s Warcross is painstakingly brought to life.

Our heroine, the brilliant Emika Chen, is both a hacker and a bounty hunter. When she accidentally hacks her way into the biggest game of the century, a virtual reality competition called Warcross, she catches the eye of its creator, the enigmatic and mysterious Hideo Tanaka. Assigned by Hideo to complete a bounty hunt in the game, Emika brings the reader along a whirlwind adventure.

I adore each and every one of the characters, from brilliant Hammie to the mysterious Ren. The games will enthrall and dazzle you like a carnival ride you never want to get off of. Lu also excels at crafting yet another excellent plot twist, one that will make you fall from your seat.

With stakes and games akin to The Hunger Games, and a wonderfully diverse cast, Warcross is a delight in every way. I recommend it to everyone! Also, can I have the sequel RIGHT NOW?!

Book Review – The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

Thank you Disney Book Group and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book. My views are entirely my own.

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Sumptuous, lovely and evocative, The Belles is the kind of novel that begs you to dig in like a midnight snack. With careful strokes of her pen, debut Dhonielle Clayton has created a world both dangerous and beautiful, intriguing and daring. Our MC, a wide-eyed, courageous ‘Belle’ named Camellia dives right into the world of Orleans, where beauty is bought and prized above all else, and discovers secrets in the cities depths.

Fans of Roshani Chokshi and Victoria Aveyard will love the stunning writing and brilliantly crafted world Clayton has created.

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2014436798

Book Review – Gray Wolf Island by Tracey Neithercott

Thank you, Netgalley and Random House, for the opportunity to read this book. My views are entirely my own.

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Let me just start this review by saying that I LOVED EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS BOOK! My favorite read of 2017 so far, Tracey Neithercott’s stunning debut was everything I wished for.
I can’t share much of the plot without spoiling any of Neithercott’s carefully threaded story, but I will share the basics. MC Ruby leads a motley assortment of characters (each a mystery all their own) on an adventure across the Gray Wolf Island, in search of treasure. Right from the start, Neithercott proves she’s willing to make sacrifices and tug on your heartstrings, which sets the tone for the entire book – will all of our heroes finish this adventure with their lives? Fantastic writing, fleshed-out, lovable characters, adventure, mystery and suspense, Neithercott does a fantastic job weaving together all the pieces for a breathtaking journey. I could rant on and on about the beautiful prose, the nostalgia inducing adventure (a la The Goonies), or the collection of swoon-worthy book boyfriends.
Gray Wolf Island’s MC, Ruby, is fantastic, her cast of supporting characters so wonderful that they reach from the pages and drag you on the adventure with them each step of the way, brought further to life by Neithercott’s remarkable writing (See? I told you I could go on and on about the writing). Not only are the characters fleshed-out, as is the setting, Gray Wolf Island a character in itself, an enigma, a piece of land waiting to be conquered by Ruby and her friends, taunting her in that spit of sea.
Fans of Maggie Stiefvater and Laini Taylor will absolutely love the whimsical, lyrical writing, and unique settings and characters! If you loved Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races, or Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer, don’t pass up this book!