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.


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.