Stolen: Review

Published January 22nd 2019 by The Parliament House

I am incredibly lucky enough to know such great authors and be able to connect with them via social media. I mean, social media is great in this aspect…you know, if you ignore the comments on news articles. (Sometimes I don’t, and it’s a problem). This is how I won an advance copy of STOLEN by Marlena Frank. Well, not through a news article, but on FB during a launch party for publishing house sister. I’m rambling, so I’ll get to it.

Sixteen-year-old Shaleigh is the heroine of this story. She loves photographing old buildings and landscapes and spends most of her time with her best friend and taking care of a mentally ill father. When she discovers a strange mark on her back, things begin to unravel. She is suddenly kidnapped and taken to a world unlike her own-to a place called the Garden. In this strange land, she comes to know it’s inhabitants. From a stone lion named Mawr to a High Faerie named Teagan, she realizes that keeping allies close is just as important as keeping your enemies in the same proximity.

Pros:

This book is led by a PoC protagonist, but the amazing diversity doesn’t stop there. What I loved is that each character is not identified by their race or sexual orientation, but by their strengths and heart. We also have mental illness play into the story. There are also other things that surprised me, but I won’t ruin it. Let’s just say I identify with a stone lion that has bad eyesight more than any fictional character ever.

The writing was smooth, and the plot flowed perfectly.

Cons:

I needed more Mawr, and the ending (this is the first in a series btw) had me screaming for more. Marlena, we talked about this, and I’m still not happy :p

I recommend this book for fans for books such as The Narnia Chronicles, Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland and more recently, The Hazel Wood and upcoming Waking Forest. For movies, it’s akin to Spirited Away and Pan’s Labyrinth.

Spin the Dawn: Review

, 400 pages Expected publication: July 30th 2019 by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

This was seriously the best surprise ever. I didn’t have high hopes of being approved to get such an anticipated novel, so I resigned myself to sobbing into a printed out copy of this cover. I mean, look at this COVER!

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing to read this in advance and let you all know about this stunning debut novel. They made it so I did not have to sob into paper any longer.

This novel follows Maia, who is the daughter of a tailor and a pretty good tailor in her own right. When the chance to work in the royal palace comes to her door, she impersonates one of her brothers in her sick father’s stead. This is where the Mulan similarity comes in. Once she arrives, she discovers that she has actually to compete to win the title of the imperial tailor. This is where the Project Runway aspect comes in.

And then it becomes it’s very own story.

The first half is what the pitch described. We have competition. We have a girl disguised as a boy. But wait…oh wait. Maia has some magic scissors, yo, and grapples with using them to create the clothing the would-be-queen wants. And just when you think the love interest is going to be obvious…I am suddenly GOD SMACKED.

The second half is almost an entirely different book, which I loved. I felt like I was getting two in one. Maia sets off on a journey with someone (I won’t say who because I am not about that spoilers stuff) and learns that she may not be who she thought she was. Holy crap, this half of the book was intense and filled with so much action and so much romance; I was drooling onto my Kindle. I was utterly shocked at the turns Elizabeth Lim took me through. Make more books like this and I shall fill my shelf with them.

This story took me by surprise. I was expecting something cool and ended up with something extraordinary. Lim’s writing is fluid and easy to read. There were next to no info dumping and flowery descriptions that made me want to roll my eyes. It was all so perfect. The character of Maia was determined and prone to faults but knew just when to make amends with that and move the eff on with life. She reminded me a lot of Fallon from The Valiant series; strong and devoted.

Ignite the Stars: Review

It is really, REALLY hard to get good sci-fi nowadays. This was a sleeper hit. WHY ARE YOU ALL SLEEPING ON THIS?

This story follows Ia, Brinn, and Knives so three povs. Ia is a teenage assassin (think Throne of Glass) who is captured and sent to a military academy where she meets timid half-Tawny (a discriminated group of people) Brinn and Flight Master, Knives.

This book takes its time with the romance and the warming up to friendship between Brinn and Ia. The romance was kind of a throwaway, but it’s the friendship aspect this story shines on. The character arcs for each are the highlight of this book. They do so much growing and learning from each other that I wished it were like that in real life.

The political aspect of the novel mirrors real life, though. There’s unapologetic racism, the celebration of “fake news”…it was all too familiar.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. The only thing I wished I had more of was Ia’s backstory. It felt a little thrown together when we first meet her and jarred me a bit. Otherwise, I cannot wait for the sequel!

Amber and Dusk-Review


I seem to have a pull toward subpar fantasy which is a talent of mine. Needless to say, this one had me up and down in my rating so I’ll leave it at around 3.5.

Things I didn’t like:

The writing style. As pretty as the descriptions were, the world building seemed to go overboard. Is hat possible? Anyhow, the words “ambric” and “kembric” appeared 3,568 tines and I found myself making a game out of it. A game in which only I benefited. Or not, depending how you look at it.

The way I was thrown into a debut novel feeling like I was reading a sequel. I questioned it before realizing Owlcrate doesn’t put sequels in their boxes. So, I plodded on. The beginning confused me. Once things picked up it was ok. Then it just started to feel like The Ambric Queen. That was a Red Queen joke. Whooooosh

The plot device death. I will say no more.

What I liked:

Sylvie was a redeeming factor. Her attitude and outlook was relatable. She didn’t do stupid crap for the sake of the plot. While her intentions were pretty clear I felt like I needed to know more of her but that didn’t affect my rating.

The magic or “legacies”. Even know some things weren’t fleshed out, I thought the powers were neat and a tad fresh.

Overall, I will probably read the sequel because of Sunder who is smoking hot. So there’s that. Plus, I bet the cover will be delicious.

Let me Hear a Rhyme-Review

HOW DARE THIS BOOK COME INTO MY HOME. How dare it put me through a torrent of feelings. In the place where I sleep. Where I watch Netflix and eat jalapeno Cheetos.

Thank you Edelweiss and publisher for the honor of reviewing this title ahead of its release date.

This is the first book I’ve read by the author, but believe me, I’m scooping up her other titles shortly. This book follows three friends who, after the murder of their friend, set out to 1.find out who killed him and 2. Show the world his music. Set in the late 90’s in Brooklyn, Jackson throws into a world of hip hop, the daily struggles of teens and that of black families and in the injustices they face. It hit me emotions like the ones I got reading THE HATE YOU GIVE and DEAR MARTIN.

This story is told by three points of view as well some past third person throw backs. I’ll usually feel overwhelmed by so many alternating perspectives, but this one didn’t bug me much at all.

Read this book if you love:

Old school hip hop references to make you feel old (or discover new ones if you’re not as old as I am)

Strong friendships

Amazing writing

Don’t read it if you’re heartless and prone to shedding your snake skin at night.

The Devouring Gray-Review

A few things first. I left my laptop at a TSA checkpoint in Boston so I’m writing this year’s first review on the notes app in my iPhone. Grammarly does not work on here so if there’s mistakes, give a girl a little break. My laptop is somewhere over the ocean on its journey back into my loving arms. It’s been a rough few weeks.

But I got my greedy hands on this book from the lovely Netgalley so that right there is hope. Also I’m getting sushi tonight so I guess that’s two good bright spots.

Here we have the town of Four Points where generations of founding families have acted as protectors against an ancient evil they’d banished. But like most towns, this ones got secrets. Also I great cast of characters. One also wields a sword.a

Violet is a jaded teen who’s mother, Juniper forces her to move to a town Juniper grew up in after the death of their daughter and sister, Rosie. It doesn’t take long for Violet to find out her founding families history. I loved violet for her formidable persona and wit. She’s also described as bisexual which was also rad. She’s a girl filled with hope and pain and anger. I wanted to hold her, but was also really scared of her.

Justin is another offspring of a founding family who’s looked as a certain king of the school as well as admired by the town. He has a tumultuous relationship with Harper (daughter of a third founding family) who had failed her ritual (a coming into power thing)and is sort of a pariah in Four Points.

Let me take a minute to talk about Harper. When we first meet her, shes wielding a sword. With one hand. She’s practicing swordplay with one hand-the other having been torn off after her ritual gone wrong. I mean, this girl is a force. I knew it from the start. Lordy lord.

Christine’s writing is stunning. It flows right along with the quick, easy pacing without sacrificing the prose. There were some things that I wished had been expanded on but it wasn’t too much of a bother. So in closing, we have a diverse, engaging cast and a wonderfully spooky atmospheric world. It flowed through the vein of such recent books like Sawkill Girls and The Waking Forest. If you like those things, this book is for you.

Dragonfell: review

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.

Echo North: review

Wow. Just wow.

I have forever loved the tale, East of the Sun, West of the Moon, especially after reading East by Edith Pattou, which introduced me to the story. Not only did the cover of this novel draw me in, but the review of an author of a debut novel which I just adored. The synopsis did me in, and I had to request it. Thank you to NetGalley and Page Street for allowing me the wonderful chance to review this title ahead of its release date.

This story follows Echo, a seventeen-year-old girl who lives with her bookseller father and brother. An encounter with a white wolf when she was young, left one half of her face scarred. This led to a life of cruelty which did not end even when she grew. Her father marries an equally cruel woman who forces her father to venture off to make money for his family. When he does not return, Echo goes off to look for him and finds not only her father but the white wolf she’d rescued as a child.

The wolf tells Echo that he will save her father if she comes to live with him for a year. Fearing for her father’s weak state, she agrees and is whisked away to a magical house. The only rule the wolf has is that she cannot look upon him after midnight.

The house in which Echo finds herself was simply amazing. All the different rooms and the idea that the house stitches itself together was so cool. When Echo comes upon a magical library in which she can step into stories through mirrors and meets the handsome Hal and the pretty girl, Mokosh, her adventures becomes so much more engrossing. There are surprises and magic at every turn and kept me reading way past my bedtime.

This book takes East of the Sun, West of the Moon and spins it into something unique. It gave me a lot of Howl’s Moving Castle vibes, which is one book I adore. The character of Echo grows into a meek girl wanting to hide her deformity to a brave woman finding her strength. The writing was gorgeous and kept excellent pace with the story. There is not one thing about this novel that I did not dislike.

I love when I stumble upon books like this. Echo North was fresh and imaginative. If you love retellings, fairy-tales, books that give you all the FEELS and drown you in magic, this is the one for you. I will be buying a copy to have on my shelf.

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.