The Smoke Thieves: Review

smoke

 

400 pages
Published May 1st 2018 by Viking
First off, this book was not 400 pages. It was 531 some odd pages so don’t believe the lies.
Second off, this book has five POV’s. Count them with me. FIVE. Though multiple POV hasn’t turned me off in the past, this one almost did. Even though I bought the book and was holding in my trembling hands, asking myself WTF I got myself into.
530 pages
Okay, so when a book is compared to Game of Thrones, I used to find myself squealing like a little piggy. Each and every time though, the book has disappointed me. Maybe because it was marketed incorrectly or maybe nothing can be compared to GoT. Fight me.
I am going to go with what I didn’t like first:
Too many POV’s. It didn’t have to be that way.
A tedious plot where nothing happens for quite some time and when it does, it’s jarring.
Too many POV’s.
The demons and the smoke could have had a bigger bearing on the story than they did.
The ending was too abrupt and so clearly set up for a sequel.
What I liked:
Great writing
Awesome cover
That I probably could have stopped at page 300 and got the gist of it
Somehow I felt myself hooked and even though I finished this two days ago, I can’t figure out why. I mean, the characters were well fleshed out save for Ambrose or whatever, he was boring AF and the love between him and the princess Catherine didn’t seem too believable. But that was all right because it didn’t really need it. Especially for her character arc. March wasn’t any better. I think the only character I truly loved for the gay rep and the Arya Stark wannabe, Tash, who is a demon hunter and you can’t really go wrong there.
I don’t know. I mean, I might read the second one only because I am anxious to see what happens. Please don’t let it be as long as this one. I swear I lost muscle tone and gained some cataracts while reading this book.

Grace and Fury: review

gracefury

 

320 pages
Expected publication: July 31st 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Thank you to NetGalley for the e-arc of this title.
This story was so addicting. Not only was the world inspired by Italy (where I currently live) but the characters themselves reeled me in. I was so thankful that there wasn’t magic in this fantasy, as with most YA’s nowadays. Even though this is a fantasy there are some underlying tones to situations in the world right now. The feminism is strong with this one.
Two sisters, Nomi and Serina grow up in a world where women are suppressed. Serina vies for a chance to become a “Grace” which is basically a courtesan to the king and future kings. As fate and misunderstanding have it that Nomi, the defiant of the two, is chosen and Serina is spirited away to an island prison. Nomi, who has learned how to read, which is against the law, and Serina, who has trained all her life to become a servant to the future king, find themselves at odds with the worlds around them and take on roles neither had ever dreamed of choosing.
It was so funt o see each character grow and fight against the world around them. Serina, having always been the docile one is forced to overcome her fears and finally understand where Nomi was coming from when she questioned the roles of women in their country. Circumstance also changes Nomi when she is forced to play the role of Grace, a role she abhors with all her heart. Both of fighting different battles. They realize the choices they make not only affect themselves but the future of women everywhere.
I recommend this book. Highly. It has fist pumping feminism and high stakes and also some love, but not quite the way you think. If you’re looking for a YA fantasy that will hook and captivate you, this is the one. Also, if you’re sick of magic, give this one a try. It was a breath of fresh air for me.

FuryBorn: Review

furyborn

 

512 pages
Published May 22nd 2018 by Sourcebooks Fire

Follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world…or doom it.

When assassins ambush her best friend, the crown prince, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing her ability to perform all seven kinds of elemental magic. The only people who should possess this extraordinary power are a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light and salvation and a queen of blood and destruction. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven trials to test her magic. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.

A thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a mere fairy tale to bounty hunter Eliana Ferracora. When the Undying Empire conquered her kingdom, she embraced violence to keep her family alive. Now, she believes herself untouchable–until her mother vanishes without a trace, along with countless other women in their city. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain on a dangerous mission and discovers that the evil at the heart of the empire is more terrible than she ever imagined.

As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world–and of each other.

*******
I received a free copy of this book for an honest review from Edelweiss.
Okay so this me a stupid amount of time to realize that this book jumps from past to present. When I finally figured it out, it made more sense. But somehow it was still strange, to me. I found myself skimming through scenes because of how daunting the book was. Even though I did that, I still got the gist of it. Feel bad, I did not. There was also too much (GASP) world building and with the magic and war and everything, it seemed just too much for me to keep track of. The thing is, I wanted to REALLY love it, but when I broke it down, it just seemed like another cliche fantasy. I mean, the two timelines were literally a thousand years apart.
Rielle and Eliana were both pretty awesome characters, don’t get me wrong. I did prefer Eliana’s plot over Rielle’s (which I did skim over a lot). It was such a long book, I couldn’t wait to get through it. It was like I was in a trial of my own. I feel like I continue to have high hopes for these books and find myself disappointed in the end.
On a personal note, I need to find some stories without magic. I am getting so sick of it.

Ash Princess: review

ash

32 pages
Published April 24th 2018 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Theodosia was taken prisoner after her mother, the queen was conquered by the Kaiser who stole her land and her future. For years he beat and shamed her and dubbed her “Ash Princess” and even made to wear a crown of ashes on occasion. For ten years she suffers this until an old ally appears and gives her hope of reclaiming her title and her people.
I very much enjoyed the writing in this book. Even though some of the themes were familiar, they didn’t impede me from immersing into the world. There is magic in this book, though it doesn’t take over the main theme, as well as romance, which is also in the background of the main plot.
There is a bit of violence done to both Theo and the people around her. The world is harsh and Theo must adapt or become downtrodden herself. She is forced to do some things that she refuses to let define her.  To come back from the misery she endured and to find herself is a hard, hard road. Unlike a lot of fantasy with the same plotlines, this one is genuinely darker and more violent.
The pacing of the book was quick and can be a bit depressing and the love triangle (if you can call it that) was complicated and teetered on cliche, but the author steered it into a different direction which I loved. This book may not be for everyone. Theo sort of lacked a connection for me and her personality was questionable at times, but it only took away from the story a little bit. Could there have been more? Yes. Could Theo have been more relatable? Yes. But I’ll read the second.

 

Ship It: Review

shipit

 

384 pages
Published May 1st 2018 by Freeform
For fans of Queens of Geek, Eliza and her Monsters, Fangirl and Geekarella, this book is for you.
Thank you to NetGalley for the e-arc.
Meet Claire. She writes fanfiction about a show called Demon Heart so when she finds out her favorite actors are coming to her home state for a convention, she races for the chance to go. Using her platform, she asks the show’s writer and actors whether they think the two main characters, Smokey and Heart are romantically involved (which is mostly what she writes her fanfiction about) and is sad to learn that Forest, the actor who pays Smokey is less than enthused about the subject of his character being gay.
Meet Forest. He got his big break in Demon Heart and has dreams of becoming a big actor, playing a lead in a movie based on one of his favorite video games. After causing steam after Claire’s question at the convention, he is even more disappointed to find that she’s coming along for the convention tour.
Claire and Forest both grow as characters. Claire isn’t so sure that she’s queer, even when she falls for a girl she met while touring with the show and Forest needs to tone down his ego and border-line homophobia. These two are great in their banter and their growth as people and eventually friends.
What I loved:
The fandoms
The character arcs
Supportive and funny parents
Great inner dialogue
The diversity
Satisfying ending
I cannot wait to buy it when it releases.

The Wicked Deep: Review

wicked

 

 

320 pages
Published March 6th 2018 by Simon Pulse
Quick info dump: This book is about curses and witches and love and loss. It is only 329 pages, making a quick read. The writing is fantastic and the twist and turns just the same. Every character has a purpose and the setting was amazing.
My experience: I read this book in one day. I was hooked from the first chapter, not only because of the plot but because of the beautiful writing. I am also a sucker for books set on islands, which is weird, but it’s my thing. There is certainly some mystery in there and if you don’t pay attention to little details you may not make a correct assumption like I did. Even though I sort of knew one of the outcomes, I still enjoyed it.
The story follows Penny who lives on an island off Oregon that suffers from a 200 year-old curse where three young girls were put to death after being charged as witches. Every summer the Swan girls return and inhabit a body of a woman in order to drown the boys of the island. It’s their revenge on those who killed them. This in itself is a story within a story. A new comer comes to the island, looking for work so Penny offers him a job working the lighthouse on the island she shares with her mother. Bo holds some secrets, but so does Penny and eventually both come to a crashing conclusion.
Having called the Pacific Northwest home for eight years, I am drawn to books set there. The grey skies and constant drizzle just sets my heart afire. Many people don’t understand the draw of living in such a so-called dreary environment, but people like me thrive there. We leave part our hearts there. It’s in books like these that I get to find that piece again.
In closing, read this book is you love mysteries, witches, curses, rainy islands with secrets and gorgeous writing. I look forward to whatever else Shea Ernshaw has to offer in the future.

Heart of Iron: review

heart

 

480 pages
Published February 27th 2018 by Balzer + Bray
*** 1/2
It pains so badly to write this review because this was one of the most anticipated reads for me. Unfortunately the stars did not align.
Seventeen-year old Ana is a space pirate who doesn’t remember much of her past. She was found with a Metal named DI, basically a robot, floating through space after a massacre at the Iron Kingdom. Those who know the story of Anastasia will know that she was the missing missing survivor, but lived her life without any memory of her past.
What bent me out of shape from the start was the disconnect I felt from almost every POV and there are several. After the first 100 pages I decided that I probably won’t be caring much about these characters at all because I didn’t feel as though I was taught to. The one I felt the least connected to was Ana, which was the most disappointing to me because SHE IS THE PROTAGONIST. ugh
So, being disconnected to the people I wanted to care about, I fell into a mode where nothing truly made a lot of sense and it was sort of jumbled for me. I didn’t feel as though anything was really that exciting. I felt as though a lot needed to be fleshed out and never got the chance to.
This, as well as the numerous typos I found throughout the book just through me for a loop. I mean, i expect that from indie books, not from something like this.
I did like the diversity and it was a breath of fresh air for me. The cover and stained pages in the Owlcrate edition are gorgeous.

The Astonishing Color of After: review

color

, 480 pages
Published March 20th 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
The writing in this debut novel was just exquisite. This could easily be one of the best book I have read this year.
This story follows Leigh, as she navigates through life with he father and best friend, Axel, after the suicide of her mother. After, she travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents. Not long after, her father leaves her to unravel the mystery surrounding her family history all while learning her own heritage.
Leigh is an artist and sees the world and everything in it as a color. She also begins to see a strange bird that she believes is her mother trying to communicate with her. As the story progresses, things begin to happen that make you question whether it is real or not. There were times when I feared that Leigh was getting sick (her mother suffered from depression and was the main reason for her suicide).
The message was clear to me, that sometimes there isn’t a reason why someone commits suicide other than succumbing to a hash and unforgiving disease and when Leigh keeps seeing the bird, I felt as though it was saying that her mother was finally free. And that is so heartbreaking.
Basically my heart was put into a vice and squeezed until it stopped beating. Other than the immense sadness I felt reading this book, there was also joy as Leigh traverses the path to love and finding out who she really is. Oh and the food. I was constantly hungry reading this book. I am still really glad I did.

 

Love, and Other Train Wrecks

love

 

 

368 pages
Published January 2nd 2018 by Katherine Tegen Books
If you’re looking for a cute read, this one is for you.
This book is told by the POV of both Noah and Ammy, two teens stuck on a train, both emotionally wracked with their own woes. Adventure and love ensues. Duh.
Here are the things I liked:
Duel POV- I have developed a love for this.
The backstories
The love of books (though the Hunger Games hate was a tab irritating)
The character arcs
The twist that even I didn’t call!
Things I didn’t like:
Ammy-she came off very snobby from the start. I didn’t feel as though she developed as much as Noah did. There was room to grow and she just didn’t.
Basically, if you’re looking for a quick, fun read, this one is for you. I read almost all of it in one night and I admit, I swooned a little for Noah and all of his imperfections.

Risen: Review

risen

 

300 pages
Expected publication: March 27th 2018 by Entangled: Teen
Huge thanks to Netgalley and Entangled Teen for the e-arc for this book.
It has been a long time since I have read a vampire novel and just as long since I read one as original as this one. It was compared to Twilight which, (gasp!) I loved (you wanna fight about it?) so here we go…
We start the story with Charlie, who live with her aunt in a remote cabin the woods in Illinois. When her aunt is kidnapped, she teams up with a vampire named Sebastian, who may not be what he seems…other than a vampire of course. He wants to know about his past life and Charlie seems to be the key to him remembering and likewise, he is the key to saving her aunt from her kidnappers.
The first thing that drew me in was that in this novel there are three types of vampires, Corpus, Mentis and Anima, each with their own unique powers and…lifestyle choices. The second thing that kept me reading was the sassy attitude of Charlie. Even though she finds out vampires exist in her world, she still doesn’t take any crap from them. The third thing was the vampire hunter, Opal, who turns out to be a key friend in Charlie’s life.
The writing was breezy and easy to read making it a rather quick read (I finished in 3 1/2 hours total).
You can see the influence of other novels in the plot, but it didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would and some of the dialogue was cheesy, but I wasn’t even mad, though. This book was a quick enough read that I didn’t lose interest so basically if you’re looking for something supernatural with a little cheeseball effect, this is the one for you and I am pretty sure there’s going to be another with how it ended and I am also not mad about that.