E-arc provided by Edelweiss and HarperCollins ahead of its 2/2019 release date. Thank you so much!

So, I’m a thirty-something woman who, now and again, loves her some MG fiction. Soooo, when I saw this listed, read the synopsis and got a good look at that cover, I knew I had to read it. I’ve been in a dragon mood lately, and this one satisfied my craving.

This story follows Rafi, who is different than other kids with his dark eyes and flaming red hair. When shifty things start happening to neighboring villages, some strange people come to Dragonfell to question Rafi and his father. The strangers accuse Rafi of being dragon-touched and seek to take his “power” from him ultimately. Rafi’s ability to not feel the cold or be able to touch hot coals attract more than baddies. On his hero’s journey to find out who he is and the secret about dragons, he meets a girl named Maud, who aids him. But there is more to her as there is to Rafi, so we’ve got some secrets bouncing around to keep us on our toes.

Oh, and dragons. Lots of dragons.

This story was insanely unique and entertaining. It was written age-appropriately. Rafi and Maud were exciting characters that readers will love. The story brought me back to a time when I thought dragons were real and that they could either be beaten or kept as pets. This is an adventurous and fun read for readers of all ages.

Hanna Who Fell From The Sky: Review

E-book provided by NetGalley and the publisher. Thank you so much!

Hanna lives in a poly society called Clearhaven. As the oldest of many children, she is set to be married off to a man more than twice her age. She meets Daniel soon after and begins to question her place in Clearhaven, as well as the world. Daniel tells her stories of the cities outside of their secluded town, and her mother hints that she wants more for Hanna than to be a fifth wife to a middle-aged man.

Hanna is the epitome of a girl torn between two things: her responsibilities to her family and the powerful pull of her heart. She starts a bit docile and soon her character grows into something brave and beautiful. This story grabbed me from page one. The tension was so high; I sat there with my mouth open reading each word with my heart stuttering, and gripping my Kindle like a lifesaving device. The people around Hanna seem to want to do her harm, and she is in the middle, baring her teeth like a wolf. The one antagonist, Hanna’s father, was the worst of the worst. A villain through and through. With so many things working against Hanna, I worried so hard for her, and that kept me reading well past my bedtime.

This was the most intriguing story I have read all year. Christopher Meades took us into Hanna’s mind, and it was wrought with emotion. The story moved along so well that I felt as though I was in a movie, watching it scene by scene, gripping my chair and shoving popcorn in my mouth, so I didn’t scream at the screen! I was in awe of the way he had drawn Hanna and how masterful he got into the head of a teenage girl. He even threw in a bit of magical realism that was like a light in the dark.

All in all, I loved this story. I was ardently invested in the character and found myself plowing through in a day, as it is a quick read. I was hoping for something a bit more substantial at the end, but it was satisfying nonetheless. I highly recommend and will add Meades to my list of authors to watch.

Descendant of the Crane: Review

400 pages Expected publication: April 2nd 2019 by Albert Whitman Company

Look at this cover. I mean, just look at it. Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for allowing me to review this title ahead of its release date.

This book amazed me. It was different from anything I have ever read. Although it started out a bit slow for me, after I got past that bit, I could not put it down. Obligations caused me to take longer reading this one than usual, but I am sort of glad. I got to savor it.            

This story follows Hesina as she is thrust into power after the death of her father. The mysteries of his death plague her so she takes up the responsibility of finding out what really happened. After meeting with a sooth, whose magic is outlawed, she is told to seek a representative by the name of Akira, who help find whoever, if anyone, killed her father.

Hesina is the strong female protagonist we all dream about. Her path to justice and finding her strengths were incredible. Every character was interesting.

This book was immensely intriguing. Joan’s writing is beautiful and profound and hit every emotion through the book. Usually I have more to say since I find negatives within plots as well as positives, but I cannot think of any for this one.This was a great experience and I am so glad to be able to tell people about it so they can add it to their TBR as soon as possible, if it isn’t already due to this gorgoues cover and blurb.

Joan He is going to be one to watch for future books. We need more stories like this.


Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun

272 pages Expected publication: July 2nd 2019 by Katherine Tegen Books

I’m watching Pan’s Labyrinth as I write this review because it seems like the right thing to do. As one of my favorite movies of all time, I had to request this title from Edelweiss. I told them I would give them a leg to be able to review this title. Since they allowed me this honor, I think one of my legs now belongs to Katherine Tegen. This review may contain spoilers for those who have not seen the movie.

When I first saw Pan’s Labyrinth in the theater, I knew right away that it would cement a place in my heart. Now only did it have the magic, it had the brutality of reality coexisting. Whether Ofelia truly saw all the things she did is up to interpretation. This book made clear some of those things but still left it up to you. It also went into detail some of the histories of the mill where Ofelia and her mother come to live, and tells some tales of Princess Moanna that we weren’t quite aware of in the movie.

“It is said that, long, long ago, there lived a princess in an underground realm, where neither lies no pain exist, who dreamt of the human world.”

The story opens with the short tale of Princess Moanna, who wished to see the world above her own. But upon arriving above ground, she forgot who she was and wandered the world until she died. Knowing her spirit would never die, her father the king never gave up looking for her.

Spain 1944. Thirteen-year-old Ofelia arrives at an old mill with her pregnant mother where they would come to live with Capitan Vidal, a sadist whose only goal is to kill the rebels and deliver a healthy son. Ofelia knows he’s sour straight away, but avoids him for the sake of her mother. Vidal, to me, is one of the scariest villains I’ve ever seen on screen and he is no different in the book. Ofelia stumbles upon a labyrinth on the land where she meets Pan, a faun who tells her that she is the reincarnation of Princess Moanna, but to be sure, she must carry out three tasks. With each task, Ofelia tests the limits of bravery and will. In one of the tensest scenes in movie history, she meets The Pale Man (we find out about this monster’s history in one of the chapters!) on one of these tasks and barely makes it out alive. Having made a grave mistake during her confrontation with the creature, Pan disavows Ofelia.

“Our worst fears are always underneath us, hidden, shaking the ground we wish to be firm and safe.”

All the while, one of the workers at the mill, Mercedes, is aiding the rebels. One of which is her brother. Along with her in betraying Vidal is Dr. Ferreira who works closely with Vidal and Carmen, Ofelia’s mother during her difficult pregnancy. In them, we see another type of bravery, which is far greater than anything seeing who they answer to. Vidal is a monster and to betray such a man is risking your very life.

The story comes together as Carmen dies giving birth, and Mercedes is discovered as a spy. Wrought with sadness, Pan comes to Ofelia, telling her he will allow her one last chance to prove herself. He tells her to bring her baby brother to the labyrinth. Meanwhile, Mercedes is captured and escapes by seriously injuring Vidal. Upon arriving at the labyrinth with her brother, Ofelia discovers that Pain wants her to spill a bit of his blood to open the portal back to their world. But Ofelia refuses to harm her brother. In response, the faun disappears, and Vidal comes to reclaim his son and shoots Ofelia.

“In our choices, lies our fate.”

Mercedes and her brother Pedro await Vidal when he tries to exit the labyrinth and, only after taking the infant from him, shoot him dead, assuring him he would never know his son and his son would never know of him. Ofelia finds herself in a place where her mother and father are well and alive. As are the fairies she had lost to The Pale Man. Pan explains that she had completed the final task and had finally come home.

This book does not gloss over the violent scenes that jarred us in the movie. I found myself skipping one particular. Let it be known that this is not a kid’s story. It is brutal and emotional. To go into further detail of what was real and what was not, I tend to lean in the direction that everything Ofelia experienced was real and the books seem to elude to that, BUT different will see different things and may feel like it leaned more to that everything was in Ofelia’s head. As a child of war, she is overcome by loss and worry. We see it all through her eyes, which is devastating to anyone.

Guillermo, according to an article I once read, says that he hates words, but his collaboration with Funke tells a different story. Nothing can compare to the cinematic wonder that is one of his best works, but this book does a great job complimenting it. The violence of the real world echoes in the tasks Ofelia must complete. There are some great posts online detailing these so it would be good for those who are interested so my review doesn’t get too long-winded. Part of me hopes, GDT reads this review. Since Katherine Tegen has lain claim to one of my legs, I might as well offer the other to know he’s read this and knows that his movies (and books) have touched my life. I hope this one does the same for you, dear readers.

The Disasters: review

disasters

368 pages

Expected publication: December 18th 2018 by HarperCollins

ARC provided from the publisher via Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review

First of all, look at this cover. My son is obsessed with the color purple so when this releases I may have to buy two copies. One for him and one for me.

Ok, so I really loved this book. This was different than all the other spacey books I’ve been reading. I’ll get into what sets it apart. First was the humor. Nax was an exciting character to follow. He reminded a lot of Chris Pratt’s character in Guardians of the Galaxy. He knows what he has to do, but has no issue voicing his complaints along the way. This book throws you into the action right off the bat and doesn’t really stop. Lastly, we have the diversity. There’s a ton of representation in this book. Oh, don’t forget the snippets of pop culture thrown in so quick you can to really pay attention. STOP SKIMMING. I SEE YOU.

Upon reading some of the other reviews before requesting this one, I found myself agreeing with one particular after I have now read it. Multiple POV’s would have been great. Don’t get me wrong, Nax was awesome. I just think it wouldn’t have felt so rushed at some points.

Overall, the entire book was fun. It’s one of those that really sets itself apart from the other space operas. I loved reading a bi-sexual protagonist and not having romance saturate the story. The characters blended together well, no matter how different they all appeared to be at first. Thrown together they made quite the team (coughGuardiansoftheGalaxycough) despite their different religions, sexuality etc.

Please make a movie out of this book. Pretty please.

This Splintered Silence: review

silence

 

368 pages
Expected publication: November 13th 2018 by HarperTeen
Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for a chance to review this title
This book thrusts you into a virus-ridden space station commanded by seventeen-year-old Lindley who is forced into the position after the adults are killed off. This book was fun and exciting and I shall break it down for you.
I really liked the mystery of the story. We’ve got this virus which may or may not is killing the second generation crew aboard the station. BUUUUUUUT we don’t know if it’s the virus. It could be murder. It could be aliens. It could all a bad dream. I feel that, even though I didn’t connect with Lindley at first, I grew to like her character a lot as the book went on. She grew as she strived to maintain a ship and its surviving crew, dealing with food shortages and other real problems. The others main characters were very well done, as well. I felt as though I cared for them which is a must for me in survival stories like this.
The love triangle thing wasn’t necessary, but it didn’t bother me much. It did feel as though nothing really came of it as it should have. With so much going on, I’m not sure that aspect should have been presented if it wasn’t going to be fleshed out.
This was an interesting and quick read for me. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it. It was just okay. It didn’t waste any time thrusting us into the action which, for some, can be jarring. For myself, it did take a minute to settle into the plot, but once I did, I was good to go. As with Sandcastle Empire, the writing style was not my thing, but I liked this one far more.
If you liked books like Illuminae, Contagion, The 100, and Sanctuary, this is the book for you.

The Wicked King: review

wicked king

 

336 pages
Expected publication: January 8th 2019 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Thank you to Little, Brown Books and Edelweiss for the opportunity to review this title. All opinions are my own and not of the publisher or author.
The month is July 2018, and I just finished The Wicked King in less than 24 hours. This book was so good that I’m thinking about rereading it. I also pre-ordered it. Because obsessed. Because Holly Black is the breaker of hearts and taker of my money.
So, Jude is as tough as she was in book one. She takes the stage alone with Aelin and Feyre in terms for bad #$@ery. Though for most of the book she is torn between what is right and what is fair, always seems to follow her heart. She makes mistakes, and pays for them and comes out stronger for it.
We have all the characters from The Cruel Prince making appearances. Vivi, whom I LOVE who is back in the mortal world with Oak, and also The Court of Shadows peeps, Roach, Bomb, and Ghost. There is also Taryn who is still set to marry Locke (seriously hate this guy, and nothing you say will stop me hating him forever and ever)Throughout the entire book it’s like Jude is surrounded by enemies from all angles. Some new and some old, and some betrayals that made me scream at the book. WHHHHHHHHY.
Let me say this so I can get it out of my system. I truly, truly do not like Cardan and probably never will no matter what he does. Jude is an idiot for falling for that face. She knows he’s cruel. She knows he’s not what he appears. Yet she does what she does. Maybe I’m just too protective over her now. I don’t want her to get hurt. MAMA BEAR ALERT. I just don’t see the big deal about them. He is toxic for her, and she deserves far better.
There were so many twists and turns that I could not see where the book was going to go. My only complaint is that I needed to be longer. Regardless, it was addicting, amazing, and excellent in every way. But that cliffhanger….I am so sad that I read this book so darn early. I have to wait so LOOOOOOOOOOONG for the third book.
The world is wicked and cruel.

The Great Unknowable End: review

great

 

84 pages
Expected publication: February 19th 2019 by Simon & Schuster books for Young Readers
Thank you Edelweiss for the chance to review this book.
Wow. This book was weird and fun, and surprising.
This story is set is the 70’s in a town called Slater, Kansas and involves one girl and one boy whose lives could not be more different. Hey, let’s throw in some mysterious phenomena and here we have The Great Unknowable End.
Enter Stella. She lost her mother to suicide and works two jobs, one at an outdoor movie theater and another at a hair salon. She puts her dreams of becoming a space engineer to the backburner to care for her father and little sister when her older brother suddenly leaves for a commune called The Red Sun without a word two years prior. Her family has distanced themselves from a town who associates evil with The Red Sun.
They’re loners, but they’re loners together.
Enter Galliard. He was born at The Red Sun and has little knowledge of the Outside. When he loses a spot as the resident artist within the commune, he seeks answers beyond the commune’s gates. But will the world outside accept his Tourette Syndrome without judgment as The Red Sun?
Strange things begin to happen in Slater. From red rain to eyeless snakes. The town puts the blame on the Red Sun. The Red Sun returns blame to the Outside. Meanwhile, Stella and Galliard meet and strike up an unlikely friendship. In the backdrop of all of these strange happenings, there’s a girl with a weird face and a boy with tics who find each other amongst their secrets and pain.
What this book reminded me of: The Twilight Zone, Donnie Darko, and Stranger Things.
I absolutely loved this book. I loved it because the two main characters were so flawed and so real that I couldn’t stop reading to see what would happen to them. I love magical realism, and I love it more when there’s no explanation for it. For some reason, that mystery is better for me. But you can speculate, and I am sure there might have been something I missed that wrapped it all up together.
What drew me into requesting this book was the magical realism aspect. What I got was the stories of two teenagers whose lives weaved with each other with that desire to be found and understood. It’s about devotion to family, no matter blood-related or not or how blindly it is. There’s a reminder in there about no matter what happens in life, be it a loss or the world coming to an end, that there are opportunities to follow your heart and to never give up on your dreams.
This is the type of book that sticks in your brain long after you’ve read it. When I finish a book, I usually move on quickly, but this one has lingered. I’ve never read a character with Tourette’s, and I’m grateful for the education about the disorder. And a girl who is in love with the stars? GIVE IT TO ME.
In closing, add this to your reading list, preorders, whatever. I am certainly going to add it to my shelves.

To Best the Boys-review

best

 

352 pages
Expected publication: March 5th 2019 by Thomas Nelson
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
To Best the Boys brings into a world where women are expected to be housewives and monsters such your soul out. Let me back up.
Rhen is a girl who wants to make a difference in a society where women are oppressed. She excels in science and to find a cure for an illness that is slowly killing many, including her mother, she enters a competition (I won’t say how) and vies for a scholarship to the best university so that dream of finding a cure can be realized.
WHAT I LIKED: I loved the premise of the book. I loved the writing, and I loved Rhen. She, despite the odds against her, raged against the patriarchy and you know I love me some raging. The dialogue was witty and the characters finely sculpted. I particularly like it when girls are obsessed with the macabre. Especially dead bodies and dissecting and such. I’ve been reading quite a few of those, and I hope there’s more to satiate me.
The labyrinth portion was a fun little romp of death and magic.
WHAT I DID NOT LIKE: What I did not expect was to go almost halfway through the book with nothing of consequence truly happening. I get that we needed the build the world, but it seemed like overkill. The world seemed a bit thrown together, with all the strange creatures and such. I couldn’t get a grasp on it.
Overall, the book was fun and the second half made up for the first. Strong female characters and woman empowerment galore.

Evermore-review

ever

 

368 pages
Expected publication: December 31st 2018 by HarperTeen
Thanks to Edelweiss for providing me with an e-arc. This in no way influences my review
She came off like such a smart gal with a head on her shoulders, but she put herself into some stupid situations for reasons that were not even justified.” Me, from my review of EVERLESS.
Nothing has changed since then.
I had so many problems with Everless, and I am not sure why I opted to read the sequel. Maybe because the ending was all right and maybe things would get a little better. Here we have Jules on the run after Caro did her evil deeds and the like. She makes some idiotic choices, which happen just for dramatic effect it seems. She does nothing of any consequence. She is dry, and her internal monologue is just how she needs to do this and that and never does it. Instead, she does other mundane things that make zero sense. I was really thinking it was going to turn into the queen of dry protagonists, Mare Barrow from The Red Queen, but Jules teetered but did not fall into that Mare-wannabe trap. Good job, Jules. That’s one thing you got right.
The romance was expected and as exciting as a hair in your butt crack. Unless you like pulling hairs from your crack. In that case, think of something else really annoying and awful. The characters came and went with no real effect on just about anything. The blood currency that actually made Everless a bit interesting had little impact on the story at all. The worldbuilding is almost nonexistent. They go here and then there in no time at all. It all seemed so muddled and rushed.
It this had been a trilogy, perhaps it would have worked better for me.