Crooked Ravens (Otherworld, #1) [Spoiler Free]

Author: Talis Jones

Publisher: Self- Published

Publication Date: June 26, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, YA

Adventure Rating: 3 Stars

Amazon

“Sometimes you must let go of who you were to 
embrace what you could become.”
“And if that damns me to Hell?” she asked.
He smiled. “Then we shall meet again.”

There is an island that protects the young not because they are lost, but because they were taken. The Island of Oneiroi is not a mere destination for children and dreamers – it’s a sanctuary for the murdered and vengeance has come.

Adrianna Verdandi holds the cooling corpse of her foster brother, Geoffrey Martinez, when a curious stranger turns up with an invitation of passage to an impossible realm. Little did she know that accepting a second chance would bind their fates to the very darkness they flee from.

Time is of the essence, the rebels are rising up, ancient forces stir in the northern woods, and through it all a strange sailor named Titus watches bemused, shrewd, and knowing far more than he is willing to divulge about this ruthless game for power.

The darkness isn’t coming. It’s already there, walking in your shadow.


*Thank you to the author for sending me an e-book in exchange for an honest review!*

Story/ Plot. Peter Pan + Queen of Hearts = Crooked Raven. At least, that’s the vibe I got! It was a really cool, unique take. I liked the adventure aspect, Adrianna travels across Oneroi to help the rightful queen take her throne away from the tyrant. She was tricked into helping but ended up joining the cause anyways. Geoffrey’s story is a little more slow going. I felt as though his point of view could have had more meat to it. 

Characters. I really liked Adrianna. She was relatable in the sense that I felt as though I would make the same choices she did. I liked hers and Sarai’s friendship. Well, most of the time. Sarai was a really fickle person. One minute she was so excited that she was friends with Adrianna, then the next she was calling her dead weight. 

Writing. Okay, here is where I knocked off a couple stars. There were a couple inconsistencies that confused me thoroughout the book.  One of the first ones I noticed was when the group Adrianna was with, was making camp and the said they “should really start training her.” Then someone else was like, “yes! Let’s do that.” And then five minutes later they just went on their merry way. I was like, wait, what? Another thing that was a bit hard to read was that the scenes didn’t flow together smoothly. Like, the group does one thing, then they’re done. Then another. Then done. Ect.. I also felt as though it would have been easier to follow along if it had have been first person POV alternating. However, I just want to end with that Jones’ writing itself was beautiful, it was just the execution that was hard to follow. Here’s an example: “Night winked cheekily with bright stars scattered across the sky.” I love that sentence! 

Final Thoughts. I am definitely still interested in continuing this series! The characters and story were really interesting! I also love supporting small time authors and am very happy I was approached for this! 

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2) Review [Spoiler Free]

Author: Holly Black

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: January 8, 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy

My Rating: 4 Stars

The Wicked King (Amazon)

The Cruel Prince (Amazon)


You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.”

 

*E-ARC provided by the publisher through Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!!*

Plot/ Story. Y’all, this book took me all of two days to read, I think. I seriously love this series so much. It’s just a fun, suck you right in, type of read. In this second book, Jude is trying to juggle many things within Faerie. It’s really interesting to see how sneaky and manipulative she has to be to do it. And maybe Cardan isn’t as dumb as he likes to play… 

Characters. I actually didn’t like Jude as much in this book. While I understood the choices she made, she just seemed smarter than that. Like, she took the wrong risks. She never once trusted anyone. It annoyed me that she didn’t, even when multiple faeries proved themselves to her. Now, Cardan was the surprising character. Some of his secrets come out and he’s a very deep guy. He’s got a lot of layers to him and some of them get peeled back to reveal the true Cardan. Side note: I still hate Taryn and Locke. They’re suuuuuper mean. In real life I am all about forgiveness, but since this is a fake world I’m like, okay, they need to die now. *Shrugs*

Writing. This is only the second of Black’s books I’ve read and I don’t know why I haven’t picked up more. I am a huge fan. Her writing style is just straight up story telling. She’s not overly poetic/ flowery, but she’s not “here’s the straight facts”. She’s like a perfect in between. That’s my favorite. 

Final Thoughts. First, let me say, OMG OMG OMG WHAT IS WITH THAT ENDING?!?!?! This book built me up then knocked me down in tiny pieces and now I’m wallowing in the deep, dark pit of book hangovers. Now, let me say, I will continue to be obsessed with this series and it remains one that I highly recommend to all of my friends and followers. 

Sky Without Stars (System Divine #1) Review [Spoiler Free]

Author: Jessica Brody & Joanne Rendell

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Publication Date: May 26, 2019

Genre: YA, Sci-Fi, Retellings

My Rating: 2 Stars



Amazon

“A thief. An officer. A guardian. 

Three strangers, one shared destiny . . .

When the Last Days came, the planet of Laterre promised hope. A new life for a wealthy French family and their descendants. But five hundred years later, it’s now a place where an extravagant elite class reigns supreme; where the clouds hide the stars and the poor starve in the streets; where a rebel group, long thought dead, is resurfacing.

Whispers of revolution have begun—a revolution that hinges on three unlikely heroes…

Chatine is a street-savvy thief who will do anything to escape the brutal Regime, including spy on Marcellus, the grandson of the most powerful man on the planet.

Marcellus is an officer—and the son of a renowned traitor. In training to take command of the military, Marcellus begins to doubt the government he’s vowed to serve when his father dies and leaves behind a cryptic message that only one person can read: a girl named Alouette.

Alouette is living in an underground refuge, where she guards and protects the last surviving library on the planet. But a shocking murder will bring Alouette to the surface for the first time in twelve years…and plunge Laterre into chaos.

All three have a role to play in a dangerous game of revolution—and together they will shape the future of a planet.

Power, romance, and destiny collide in this sweeping reimagining of Victor Hugo’s masterpiece, Les Misérables.”

*Thank you to Edelweiss+ for the review copy!*

Story/Plot. The premise of the story and plot were A+. I mean, a retelling of Les Miserables?! I LOVE that play (I know it’s based off of the book, I’ve just never read it.)! Plus it’s a retelling in space!  That’s right up my alley! And that’s about all I liked of the book. Oops. 

Writing. Okay, I did like the writing. It wasn’t anything fancy or my favorite writing ever, but it was good. It was easy to follow along and I never got lost in the story. 

Characters. Here we go. Here’s the big one. I literally didn’t like anyone. Chantine was the only one that I liked SOMETIMES. Marcellou and Allouette were SO BORING! I didn’t care if they lived or died. Marcellou was all over the place. One minute he wanted to follow his Grandfather, the next he hated him. Even at the end of the book, I was like where are we at here, Marcellou? I also just saw him as a weak character and didn’t understand his charm. Allouette was just kind of a wuss most of the time. I guess she picked up at the end but she was so boring to read about. Chantine whined a lot but she had reason to. She literally had no one. And she was poor and starving. She has a really tough life. Hers was the only story line I was mildly interested in. She was feisty and she did literally whatever she had to to survive. My suggestion to her, forget about Marcellou. You don’t need him. Although,  if you know the Les Miserables story, she’s supposed to be Eponine, so it doesn’t really end well for her anyway. I could have done without the romance in this story, and usually I’m all about those ships!

Final Thoughts. A 2 star rating for me means I finished the book but it was hard to get through. I won’t be picking up the second in the series. I will say that this might be someone’s cup of tea, just not mine. 

White Stag (Permafrost, #1) Review [Spoiler Free]

White Stag.jpg

Author: Kara Barbieri

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Publication Date: January 8, 2019

Genre: Fantasy, YA

My Rating: 5 Stars

Amazon

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Synopsis 2

The first book in a brutally stunning series where a young girl finds herself becoming more monster than human and must uncover dangerous truths about who she is and the place that has become her home.

As the last child in a family of daughters, seventeen-year-old Janneke was raised to be the male heir. While her sisters were becoming wives and mothers, she was taught to hunt, track, and fight. On the day her village was burned to the ground, Janneke—as the only survivor—was taken captive by the malicious Lydian and eventually sent to work for his nephew Soren.

Janneke’s survival in the court of merciless monsters has come at the cost of her connection to the human world. And when the Goblin King’s death ignites an ancient hunt for the next king, Soren senses an opportunity for her to finally fully accept the ways of the brutal Permafrost. But every action he takes to bring her deeper into his world only shows him that a little humanity isn’t bad—especially when it comes to those you care about.

Through every battle they survive, Janneke’s loyalty to Soren deepens. After dangerous truths are revealed, Janneke must choose between holding on or letting go of her last connections to a world she no longer belongs to. She must make the right choice to save the only thing keeping both worlds from crumbling.”

My Review 2

*Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for sending me an e-arc!*

Plot/ Story. Y’all, this is the goblin story I’ve always wanted to read. I’ve read a few of the more popular goblin re-tellings and I actually didn’t like any of them. Whoops. But this story blew me away! It was gritty, bloody, stabby stab, adventure, and awesome sauce. Janneke and Soren’s hunting adventure (that’s putting it extremely mildly) is non-stop action packed. There was seriously never a lull. I was entertained throughout the entire shebang.

Magic. This was actually a unique system where if you defeat another being, you absorb their strength. It was actually really cool! Anyone could get stronger at any point in time.

Characters. Janneke was BA. Her character growth was done really well too. She started off as sour and hating everything and everyone. But she grew into a social butterfly. Just kidding. She kills a bunch of people and gets cray strong.

Writing. Barbieri skips the whole “first writer slump”. It’s literally like she’s a seasoned writer. She was descriptive, but not overly so. She got into the mind of her characters like a psychologist. Serisouly. You could feel what Janneke was feeling. Her worries were yours. It’s good stuff y’all!

Final Thoughts. I can’t wait for the next book! I seriously need to know what happens right now. Also, I freaking love Soren and Janneke. My favorite character is Seppo. Also, let me leave you with this: Wolves that they ride and can speak in their minds.

 

Happy Adventuring

Obsidio (The Illuminae Files, #3) Review (NOT Spoiler Free)

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Author: Jay Kristoff, Amie Kaufmann

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: March 13, 2018

Genre: Sci-Fi, YA

My Rating: 5 Stars

Synopsis 2

“Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza—but who knows what they’ll find seven months after the invasion?

Meanwhile, Kady’s cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza’s ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys—an old flame from Asha’s past—reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict.

With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heroes will fall, and hearts will be broken.”

My Review 2

I am doing something a little different today. Since this book came out like, 6 months ago, AND it’s the last in the series, I decided I’m going to do an ALL the SPOILERS review. I’ve never done one before so bear with me. Another disclaimer, I AM TRASH FOR THIS SERIES AND FOR JAY KRISTOFF. I have loved Kristoff since Stormdancer. I’ve read all of his books (except 2!) and met him. I’m pretty sure I’ve rated all of his books 5 stars. Okay, enough of my gushing, let’s get on with it.

Likes. Everything.

Dislikes. Nothing.

Just kidding. I’ll go into more detail. Nik Malikov is one of my book boyfriends. I also just adore him with Hannah. They are like the dream movie couple, the bad boy (who is not so bad) and the good girl (who is not THAT good). It’s one of my favorite tropes that I will never get sick of. I loved watching their relationship grow, and totally squealed at the end when they were engaged. And THAT KISS! Right before the battle!!! SWOON!! And his relationship with Ella is the cutest ever. AND his bro-mance with Ezra is hilarious.

Going to try and move on from Nik. Hannah is my favorite girl character. She’s everything I want to be. She knows kung fu (I mean, basically) and she’s a battle tactician.  Boo yeah, baby. Plus she has the best guy. Whoops started talking about him again. Sorry, not sorry.

Kady is also BA! I hurt so much for her when she thought Ezra was dead. She was going to sacrifice herself. I was like noooooo!!!! And then when Aidan sacrificed himself instead?! OMG. I freaked out. But sneaky Ella saved him. I actually didn’t see that one coming. It was weird / sweet that Aidan loved Kady. I think. I’m still not sure how I feel about him since he was a murderous AI but did it to save more people. But I don’t blame him for trying to do something, because Kady couldn’t think of a way to keep everyone alive on the journey to the Mining Colony. Everyone was going to die until Aidan stepped in. The character I actually hated was Ben. I’m still a little salty he lived.

Asha and Rhys were the new characters and I loved them just as much. Rhys was so sweet in trying to protect Asha! He was naive, don’t get me wrong, but super sweet. I almost cried when the little girl Asha was trying to protect, got shot!

I thought the side characters were done really well. We got some back story on them as well, and it made the Baytech soldiers more human.

Literally everything about this book is amazing. The unique writing style, the story, the characters, the ending, all of it. It was a super satisfying ending. I was afraid Kristoff was going to kill a few characters. Because he usually does in his books. But I’m super happy he didn’t kill any of the main ones! And that battle scene at the end was EPIC!! I had so much anxiety over it. I’m glad Ezra’s stupid mom got taken down. Highly satisfying.

So, in the series, Gemina was my favorite book. But obviously, I loved all of them! Also, while I own the books in HC, I listened to the audio books. THEY ARE AMAZING! Full cast and sound effects.

Okay, sorry for the jumbled mess of a review! This is the first I’ve done like this! I think I’ve covered everything!

What did you think of the book/ series?

Happy Adventuring

Courting Darkness Review [Spoiler Free]

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Author: Robin LaFevers

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: February 5, 2019

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, YA

My Rating: 3 Stars

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Amazon

 

Synopsis 2

Death wasn’t the end, it was only the beginning…

Sybella has always been the darkest of Death’s daughters, trained at the convent of Saint Mortain to serve as his justice. But she has a new mission now. In a desperate bid to keep her two youngest sisters safe from the family that nearly destroyed them all, she agrees to accompany the duchess to France, where they quickly find themselves surrounded by enemies. Their one ray of hope is Sybella’s fellow novitiates, disguised and hidden deep in the French court years ago by the convent—provided Sybella can find them.

Genevieve has been undercover for so many years, she struggles to remember who she is or what she’s supposed to be fighting for. Her only solace is a hidden prisoner who appears all but forgotten by his guards. When tragedy strikes, she has no choice but to take matters into her own hands—even if it means ignoring the long awaited orders from the convent.

As Sybella and Gen’s paths draw ever closer, the fate of everything they hold sacred rests on a knife’s edge. Will they find each other in time, or will their worlds collide, destroying everything they care about?”

My Review 2

*I received an e-arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Plot. The plot and premise of this book is what really drew me in. This is my first LaFevers book, I have not read His Fair Assassin trilogy. The idea of lady assassins in the 15th century French court sounded so freaking cool!

Characters. This is where my rating really comes into play. I LOVED Sybella. And Beast. And her whole story. She was hands down my favorite character. She protected the ones she loved. She accepted help from the ones she loved. She was a total BA. I did NOT like Genevieve. She was a piece of crap! Seriously. She was selfish, stuck-up, and judgmental. I hated when it was her turn for the story. Except when Maurad came into the story more often. I loved Maurad. She doesn’t deserve Maurad. I honestly couldn’t stand reading about Gen. I think it would have been better if there had been character growth, but no. She was pretty much the same person the whole way through. I really hope the next book makes her better. I like a character driven story, and I’m all about nasty characters that turn a new leaf OR nasty characters that you can understand. Gen was neither.

World. I like that I didn’t have to to read this new one. However, it may have helped because a lot of the politics and world weren’t explained that much. I understood that there were gifts bestowed on you depending on which of the saints you served, but that was all I understood. Like, is this a Percy Jackson thing where if you serve the saint, they are your parent? I don’t know a lot of 15th century history, but this book could have gone into more detail with it. I understand that this is very loosely based on actual history, but it tried too hard to ride the line. In my opinion, it needed to go one way or the other. Again, maybe things were more explained in the previous trilogy. One more thing, I think the author could have done without the whole wailing on Christians thing. I get it, everyone hates us. But just saying, Catholicism and Christian religion are different.

Final Thoughts. So, I feel kind of bad now. It seems as though I’ve only had bad things to say. The confusing world and Genevieve were really the only down sides. I enjoyed reading this story and still want to read the original trilogy. Courting Darkness was a highly entertaining read that kept me coming back for more! I DO recommend if you like YA Historical Fiction! I can’t wait to read the next book and see how Sybella comes into her new powers, and to see if Gen has a change of heart!

Have you read the original series? If so, what did you think?

Happy Adventuring

*Amazon link is my affiliate link*

 

For a Muse of Fire Review (Spoiler Free)

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Author: Heidi Heilig

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Publication Date: September 25, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, YA

My Rating: 5 Stars

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Amazon

Synopsis 2

“A young woman with a dangerous power she barely understands. A smuggler with secrets of his own. A country torn between a merciless colonial army, a terrifying tyrant, and a feared rebel leader. The first book in a new trilogy from Heidi Heilig.

Jetta’s family is famed as the most talented troupe of shadow players in the land. With Jetta behind the scrim, their puppets seem to move without string or stick—a trade secret, they say. In truth, Jetta can see the souls of the recently departed and bind them to the puppets with her blood. But the old ways are forbidden ever since the colonial army conquered their country, so Jetta must never show, never tell. Her skill and fame are her family’s way to earn a spot aboard the royal ship to Aquitan, where shadow plays are the latest rage, and where rumor has it the Mad King has a spring that cures his ills. Because seeing spirits is not the only thing that plagues Jetta. But as rebellion seethes and as Jetta meets a young smuggler, she will face truths and decisions that she never imagined—and safety will never seem so far away.

Heidi Heilig creates a world inspired by Asian cultures and French colonialism.”

My Review 2

Plot. It’s been a few books since I’ve had a plot suck me in completely. I absolutely adored the asian and french mash up! So unique! It was like an alternate, steam-punk history. Heck to the yeah. I’m all about that. Plus you add in a kick a** heroine who can command souls, and is bi-polar. So. Much. Awesome! It had all the adventure my readers heart could want!

Characters. Jetta had a lot of character growth. At first she was just trying to find a cure. That’s all she cared about. But Leo, mayhaps, changes her mind on fighting in a war? Which by the way, I loved the slow burn between those two. But I want more burn in the second book! I also loved that there were GOOD parents! Jetta’s parents were so sweet and so supportive! It’s rare that you see that in a YA book! I also loved that Heilig blurred the lines a bit with one character in particular, of what was good and bad. He was just trying to do the right thing in this crazy world.

World/ Magic. Heilig did a fantastic job creating this alternate history type world. I found it fascinating to watch how Jetta’s magic came to be and how she can control it! The reader learns about the magic as Jetta learns, so I hope to know more about it in the second book! The shadow player thing is really cool, and gives a nice cover for Jetta to use her magic. I really liked the late 1800 early 1900 feel. I mean, it’s steam punk and that’s generally the period I picture steam punk happening.

Writing. I actually loved the way this was written. It’s not very traditional. It’s written in first person POV, ACTs (as in a play), mini stories, and letters. I like when books are written like that, it gives the reader a unique experience.

Final Thoughts. I obviously loved this book. It was different. I liked that the main character didn’t want to fight right away. She just wanted to get her cure and be done. But she saw the injustices of the world and decided to help. So, if you are looking for something really different from your usual YA, I highly recommend this! Also, that cover is… AWOOGA!

Happy Adventuring