Tag: Young Adult

Mini eARC Review: Ride On by Gwen Cole

Mini eARC Review: Ride On by Gwen Cole

In the near post-apocalyptic future, the skies are always gray and people are constantly searching for the sun. Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads. Ride On Author: Gwen Cole Publication Date: May 22, 2018 Publisher: Sky Pony Press Page Count: 280 Format: eARC Genre: Young Adult, […]

eARC Review: The Oddling Prince by Nancy Springer

eARC Review: The Oddling Prince by Nancy Springer

In the ancient moors of Scotland, the king of Calidon lies on his deathbed, cursed by a ring that cannot be removed from his finger. When a mysterious fey stranger appears to save the king, he also carries a secret that could tear the royal […]

eARC Review: The Bone Roses by Kathryn Lee Martin

eARC Review: The Bone Roses by Kathryn Lee Martin

Sixteen-year-old Rags is the most feared Rustler in the world, and for good reason. When she’s not raiding the post-Yellowstone Kingdom’s established settlements for supplies to keep her frontier, Rondo, alive another day, she’s fending off witch hunt-happy villagers who want her rare blue eyes in an unmarked grave. 

Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.

The Bone Roses

Series: Snow Spark Saga #1
Author: Kathryn Lee Martin
Publication Date: May 8, 2018
Publisher: Parliament House Press
Page Count: ---
Format: eARC
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Westerns
Cover Artist: ---
My Rating: ★★★★

16-year-old Rags is a wanted rustler. In the city of Hydra, she works her magic to steal supplies for her settlement of Rondo. Rondo has suffered greatly after being cut off from the kingdom’s supplies after publicly denouncing the tyrant King Hyperion. When Rags witnesses other rustlers being tortured in the city for doing the same job, Rags experiences real fear for the first time. Luckily, her mentor Tracker finds her before she is recognized by anyone in Hydra, and the two flee back to Rondo. Little do they realize that they are being tailed by the king’s second-in-command.

Upon returning, Rags is met by another threat: Hunter, the town’s self-proclaimed sheriff. Always having hated Rags since she came to Rondo, he discloses to the townsfolk that Rags has a substantial reward out for her if she is brought in dead or alive to King Hyperion. Matthew, Jericho, and Tracker come to Rags’ aide and back her against Hunter’s accusations. Matthew, Rags’ dearest friend pleas for her to run away with him, so that she may escape whatever fate that lies before her if she continues to be a rustler. 

Before they are able to leave, Rondo is invaded by the king’s guard, and Matthew is killed before Rags’ eyes. The king’s own second-in-command Henny leads the charge and is determined to destroy Rondo in just four days. Rags is forced into difficult situations, as she must try to help her loved ones escape the town before a spectacle is made of them to the entire kingdom. 

Stakes are high and the clock ticks rapidly as Rags must not only fight an incredible resourceful opponent, but also steer clear of those who want to reap the bounty on her head. When she crosses paths with one of the Kingdom’s informant, Rags is challenged in even more ways, as her feelings try to take the reins above common sense. 

When everything comes to a head, and the town is set to be “cleansed” via live broadcast, an unexpected turn of events throws King Hyperion’s plans back in his face. While some find sanctuary, Rags finds herself on a train with the wiry luresman, bound for the Threshing Floor and an uncertain fate before her. 

 

The Bone Roses (Snow Spark Saga, #1)The Bone Roses by Kathryn Lee Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication.

 

description

“A petite trio of gray stone roses and a tiny pewter charm shaped like a rearing stag tethered together with elegant, braided leather cords rest in it. One rose in full bloom, one still a bud, and the third caught in-between. ‘ I’ve held onto these mythical bone roses for a long time. Sort of like a good-luck charm in a way. They hold the key to rare and powerful secrets, and well, I can’t think of anyone better I’d trust with them than you.’”

In all honesty, I barely skimmed the synopsis for this book before starting it. I knew that it was a Young Adult Fantasy with a Western flare, so I immediately wanted to give it a try. Boy, am I happy that I did! While I had some issues with certain elements in the plot, I found myself loving the characters and the world they were set in.

World Building

While The Bone Roses is in the YA genre, it’s definitely geared towards more mature readers, as some of its contents are harsh and in-your-face. Considering that the world is set in a post-apocalyptic West in the United States, it comes with the territory. This book felt reminiscent of The Wolves of Winter, which I read earlier this year, and the arid isolation that the setting brought. Shockingly, even though The Bone Roses is set in the West, the climate doesn’t reflect the traditional desert hotness the West is known for. This is particularly reflected in the settlement of Rondo, where the main character Rags resides.

“People used to drive everywhere, so I’m told, but when Yellowstone erupted thirty years ago and the snow started to fall, that came to a halt.”

I’m not sure why, but portraying the West blanketed with snow instead of dust, tumbleweeds, and cacti were incredibly submersive to me.

Set in an era thirty years after Yellowstone erupts, the United States as it was once known as has been completely reformed. A cruel king known as Hyperion takes over and establishes his reign over the entire region. Small settlements situated in the surrounding area know hardship—especially those that choose to not bow down to the king. Rondo has long been cut-off from the supplies that Adonis, the capital city, has to offer. In order to survive, Rustlers (outlaws) risk their lives in order to steal supplies for the town’s survival. If caught, the punishment for rustling leads to a brutal death.

“‘Solstice.’ That settlement sits at the heart of ‘forbidden’ things in our household. Unlike Rondo’s miserable past, Tracker spared no words when warning me about the lewd settlement just outside the Kingdom’s capital city, Adonis.
Liquor flows freely. Cheap whores are plentiful. It’s supposedly so far in bed with Adonis that it’s impossible to tell where one ends and the other begins.”

The old-time western towns that we are accustomed to aren’t completely lost beneath a layer of snow, however. Many of these settlements reflect those of the past and “safe” isn’t a term that’s thrown around.

Another aspect which murmurs the Old West is the presence of Christianity. While it’s something that Hyperion tries to outlaw, Rondo is basically governed by the town preacher, Jericho. While Christianity doesn’t play as massive of a role as perhaps was intended, it is worth mentioning especially when looking further into the dynamics between Rags and the troublesome Hunter. Hunter, the town sheriff, constantly accuses Rags of being a witch (off of what basis, it’s never really revealed other than her having rare blue eyes and the fact that she’s an outsider.) While is accusations felt quite random for the plot focus, it definitely created an atmosphere that felt like the people of Rondo were ticking time bombs.

Pacing & Readability

Because of the way the story is set up, the plot felt more character-driven than plot-driven. While there are events that take place, the characters stories and relationships always remain in the spotlight. Because of this, I felt that at times the plot would lose its focus in minor details for longer than necessary, and halted plot progression. While the writing style made it very enjoyable to read, these variations in pacing gave it a start-go quality.

Point-Of-View & Characters

“I am Rags, Rondo’s rustler and we will never bow to his Kingdom.”

Rags, a sixteen-year-old girl is a protagonist in The Bone Roses. The point-of-view is told from her perspective and helps the reader become acquainted with her unique character. With a somewhat quirky but strong presence, Rags’ story immediately grabs the reader’s attention. Often accompanied by her mule Nigel, she serves as one of Rondo’s main and feared Rustlers. While I really wanted to get to know more about her backstory, I appreciated how real Rags’ character came across. While she’s strong, she’s also realistic and sensitive. What she feels and experiences is very relatable for many readers.

Tracker is the mentor and the “adoptive” father of Rags. A mysterious man with a complicated past, he takes Rags under his wing when she first arrives in Rondo.

Matthew, preacher’s son is Rags’ dearest friend. While I first presumed their relationship to be romantic, it proves to be oddly platonic, as their interactions are flirty.

Jericho serves as Rondo’s preacher and is also Matthew’s father. As the town’s preacher, he often oversees how the town goes about settling issues and confronting problems. Along with Tracker, he is one of the few supporters of Rags against the rest of the superstitious townsfolk.

Sadie’s character doesn’t have a large role. However, she’s mentionable as she serves as a mother-figure to Rags.

There are more than one antagonists in The Bone Roses.

1. Hyperion, the evil king who has long since abandoned Rondo to fend for itself.

2. Hennrick Oreson aka “Henny”

“A dangerous young man, Rags. The Kingdom’s own second-in-command, Henrick Oreson, or “Henny” as some call him. You are never to cross paths with him. Understood?”

Known as the second-in-command to Hyperion himself, Henny’s job is to seek out rustlers and anyone trying to defy the king and his ways.

“I’ve been hunted before. It comes with the job. But I’ve never been hunted by someone like him. No one’s ever stupid enough to give a rustler the advantage. He’s far from stupid, though. The way he toys with me confirms that. He’s doing this intentionally, letting me turn all the tricks I know for his amusement. He doesn’t just think he can win. He knows it.”

Henny’s character as the antagonist is fantastic. While you want so badly to dislike him, there’s just something about him that makes the reader believe there is more to him than meets the eye. Is he really as bad as he seems? The dynamics between him and Rags are electric as the two are constantly trying to out-do one another.

And can I just mention…Xanthos!?

description

I was swooning over this horse more than anything else.

3. Lawrence aka “Hunter” serves as Rondo’s sheriff. This guy has a severe case of bad-cop to his swagger. He blatantly hates Rags because she has blue eyes and isn’t originally from Rondo. Discriminatory, much? Because she arrived in Rondo around the time that Hyperion stopped the supply trains to Rondo, he blames Rags for practicing witchcraft and being the reason why Rondo suffers so. His hatred is completely blind and is a good example of a person who fails to look deeper than the surface.

4. Colton, a character who shows up later on the scene, is another antagonist-type character that the reader can’t really peg down and who his allegiance lies with. Is he good? Is he bad? He works as a luresman–a person highly skilled in the art of negotiation. The mystery of his true intentions make his character frustrating, yet incredibly engaging throughout the entire plot.

Major Themes

⇒ Family

A strong sense of family and belonging is evident at every turn. Rags constantly worries about her hypothetical mother, father, and brother figures, and feels a strong need to protect them. While no information is given about her biological family, Rags’ relationship with her Rondonian family is strong and unbreakable, even when secrets are revealed about their pasts.

⇒ Cleansing or Purification

Hyperion doesn’t take kindly to those who disobey his commands. It’s rather ironic how he terms his punishment for rebels, especially in the sense of religion. His form of “cleansing” is allowing rebel settlements like Rondo starve, and then be brutally treated once captured by his army. His cleansing results in death, instead of bringing forth a purified life, as Christianity does. Seeing how the religion is outlawed, he transforms this term into something sinister instead of revitalizing.

⇒ Hardship

Hardship is an obvious theme in a post-apocalyptic world such as this. Each day is a struggle. Everything is fighting against Rags, the Rustlers, and the Rondonians in their survival. The king, the terrain, the climate, the lifestyle all reflect the realness of their plight.

Overall Feelings

Things that I liked:

⇒ The atmosphere and the way the “Old West” is portrayed.
⇒ Despite a few flaws, I loved the characters and the voices and personalities that developed for each one. It made character-driven plot all-the-more dynamic and enjoyable.
⇒ The author’s writing style and descriptiveness.
⇒ This is a personal preference because I’m a horse person, but Martin knows how to write scenes involving horses! In a Western book, knowing how to portray horse characters is key because they majorly influence the plot mobilization. She writes them correctly down to the swiveling of the ears.

Things that I didn’t like:

⇒ The amount of vulgarity.
⇒ The plot’s tendency to dwell on insignificant points at times.
⇒ Christianity didn’t have the best portrayal and felt more of a “fall-back-on” asset than a focal attribute for how the characters act and react.
Very little backstory for Rags is given.
⇒ Hyperion, the main antagonist is nonexistent other than the presence of Henny and the K.C.
⇒ While I loved the mythical white stag which kept appearing, I want to know why and what its purpose is!
⇒ I’d love more information on the bone roses themselves and what secrets they hold!

I really enjoyed this book and the style in which it was written. While there were a few issues that I had with it, but I cannot be too critical. A sequel has yet to be published in the Snow Spark Saga, Garden of Ashes. I am very much looking forward to seeing what happens next, and to learn more about the characters’ journeys and also some history (especially Rags!)

Vulgarity: A lot. I counted 227 words total.
Sexual content: Kissing.
Violence: Quite a bit. It is a Western…

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eARC Mini Review: Song of Blood & Stone by L. Penelope

eARC Mini Review: Song of Blood & Stone by L. Penelope

Release Day, May 1, 2018! In the beginning, there was silence. Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads. Song of Blood & Stone Series: Earthsinger Chronicles #1Author: L. PenelopePublication Date: May 1, 2018Publisher: St. Martin’s PressPage Count: 384Format: eARCGenre: Young Adult, Fantasy, RomanceCover Artist: —My Rating: Since […]

Blog Tour and Author Interview: Song of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope

Blog Tour and Author Interview: Song of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope

Song of Blood & Stone Earthsinger Chronicles: Book One By L. Penelope Synopsis From the very first pages of her debut, L. Penelope delivers as a new force in the fantasy genre. The first book in the historical fantasy Earthsinger series was originally self-published, earning […]

Mini Book Review: Prince of the South by Ava Richardson

Mini Book Review: Prince of the South by Ava Richardson

Being a Prince, J'ahalid is no stranger to the fact that his kingdom requires protecting. When he Sees the Dragon Riders of Torvald, he knows that dragons are the answer to his problems.

Prince Of The South

Author: Ava Richardson
Publication Date: July 2017
Publisher: Relay Publishing
Page Count: ---
Format: ebook
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Short-Story
Cover Artist: Shardel
My Rating: ★★½

Prince of the southPrince of the south by Ava Richardson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“I wanted such a dragon. Why should only the kings of Torvald have such power? Why should our kingdom be lacking?”


Prince J’ahalid Mudin Dar Awil of the South Kingdom immediately desires dragons for his kingdom when he sees the dragon riders of Torvald midflight. Knowing that his kingdom is constantly threatended by others, he takes it into his own hands to protect his family and people.

Traveling towards the mountains along the old spice route, J’ahalid catches a glimpse of the mountain dragons. Desperate to capture some for himself, he risks his life to travel up the mountain during a sandstorm. Nearly losing his life due to his arrogance, he’s saved by non other than that which he seeks: a dragon and her rider.

“Dragons are friends–you do not use your friends.”


Samir of the Binshee Tribe, and her fellow dragon Toolon save J’ahalid from the trechery of the sandstorm. In doing so, they learn who he is and what he’s looking for. J’ahalid quickly learns that dragons are not animals to be conquered and tamed. They deserve respect and choose their riders themselves. These lessons do well for J’ahalid, as his immature and rather unlikeable character is humbled.

Deciding to stay in the mountains with Samir and the dragons, J’ahalid learns the ways of the dragons and how to form proper relationships with them.

“I have learned a dragon’s heart, and some things are more important than land and kingdoms. Tesh has taught me that. I see now why the dragons saved your people but let the city burn. That was the wise choice. For cities can be rebuilt. Buildings are jusst empty shells without people. And that is what drives me back–I must see my parents again.”


Overall, this was an alright read. The dialogue is written in what feels like a vernacular, so it’s hard to settle into the characters and their interactions as they feel clunky and unnatural. Granted, this is a short story, so the writing is definitely more to the point. However, I thought this was an area that could have used much improvement.

Vulgarity: None.
Sexual content: None.
Violence: None.

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eARC Review: Sky In The Deep by Adrienne Young

eARC Review: Sky In The Deep by Adrienne Young

Release Day April 24, 2018! OND ELDR. BREATHE FIRE. Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads. Sky In The Deep Author: Adrienne Young Publication Date: April 24, 2018 Publisher: Wednesday Books Page Count: 352 Format: eARC Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy Cover Artist: — My Rating: ★★★½ Eeyln […]

Audiobook Review: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton & Jodi Meadows

Audiobook Review: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton & Jodi Meadows

THE PLOT THICKENS as Edward, Jane, and G are drawn into a dangerous conspiracy. With the fate of the kingdom at stake, our heroes will have to engage in some conspiring of their own. But can they pull off their plan before it’s off with […]

Cover Reveals for Wheel Gone Cats & Of Stars and Monsters!

Cover Reveals for Wheel Gone Cats & Of Stars and Monsters!

Wheels Gone Cats

PUBLISHER: PARLIAMENT HOUSE PRESS

Synopsis

In a future where violence is encouraged and duels are required by law, Dathin Long has the answer: devolution. He proposes a medical procedure that will restore humanity to the state of primal bliss—to pure reptilian instinct, before guilty consciences intruded.  When a boy’s grandmother is admitted to the hospital for pneumonia, he learns the procedure will be forced upon her. To save her, the boy enlists the help of Lee Bellows, a member of the hospital staff, to search the records and find his grandmother. But the deeper Lee looks, the more horrible things he finds, until the controllers start looking back at him. His conscience needs adjusting, and soon the procedure may be forced upon him. In a flooded New Orleans in the end days, the only hope is a hero who’s lost his memory and is just trying to get by…

Find Out About Other Books by Beaird Glover at https://www.facebook.com/bluebottletree/

Beaird Glover grew up on a farm in rural Tennessee. He graduated from The Evergreen State College of Olympia, Washington, with a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing. He then moved to Southern California and wrote Secret Ciphers of the 1876 Presidential Election (Aegean Park Press). He has traveled extensively and lived in eleven of the United Sates, and Taipei and Buenos Aires. His poems have been published in the New York Quarterly and his chapbook of poetry was selected by the Austin Chronicle as one of the Top 10 Best of 1994. More recently, he acquired a Bachelor of Science degree from Long Island University in Brooklyn and has worked as a physician assistant. Beaird lives in New Orleans with his wife Kim and their cats.

Of Stars and Monsters (Of Light and Darkness #3)

PUBLISHER: PARLIAMENT HOUSE PRESS

Synopsis

After narrowly surviving a near-death experience from yet another showdown with Aiden Price and the Light, Charlotte awakens inside the forsaken, crumbling walls of the Regime Palace. Though she finds herself surrounded by her closest friends, she is conflicted by her feelings for the sudden absence of her Vampire guardian. Where has Francis taken Valek?  With new friend Nikolai there to console her, Charlotte cannot shake the undeniable chemistry she feels for this familiar stranger. But they are running out of time. Charlotte’s peculiar ailment will return, and she will die unless they are successful in finding a cure.  Charlotte, Nikolai, Sarah, and the rest of their tribe of misfits travel to the underbelly of Prague to search for Valek, but what they discover are secrets darker than they could have ever imagined. Charlotte must overcome her mortal limitations to save the life of the one she truly loves and escape the gates of Abelim with her throat intact in this enthralling, highly-anticipated third installment of the Of Light and Darkness Series.

Find Out About Other Books by Shayne Leighton at https://www.facebook.com/shayneleightonfans

With over a decade of experience in the entertainment and publishing industries, Shayne Leighton is a creative professional with edge and quirkiness. Her debut novel, Of Light and Darkness hit Amazon's coveted Top 100 overall bestsellers list once during the fall of 2015, and again in the summer of 2016, reaching the #4 spot. Having a background in film science, Shayne has produced book trailers and marketing materials for New York Times bestselling authors and major publishers such as Cynthia Leitich Smith (Tantalize, Candlewick Press), Alex Flinn (Towering, Harper Teen), and Kimberley Griffiths Little (When The Butterflies Came, Scholastic Press). She strives to be the Guillermo del Toro of the publishing industry, knowing what works visually and creatively to make stories a stunning experience that is visual, just as it is intellectual. She spends most of her time working on things that excite her, drinking coffee, traveling to the Czech Republic where she always finds new inspiration, and discovering hole-in- the-wall bookstores and coffee shops on her random adventures. Shayne is a Libra and a Ravenclaw. Her favorite book is The Night Circus (though soon it may be Six of Crows). Her wand is made out of Hazel wood with a Unicorn hair core 12 1/4" long and reasonably supple flexibility. Her patronus is a robin.

eARC Review: Ace Of Shades by Amanda Foody

eARC Review: Ace Of Shades by Amanda Foody

Welcome to the City of Sin, where casino families reign, gangs infest the streets… and secrets hide in every shadow. Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads. Ace Of Shades Series: The Shadow Game #1Author: Amanda FoodyPublication Date: April 10, 2018Publisher: Harlequin TeenPage Count: 416Format: eARCGenre: Young […]

Cover Reveals for The Garden of Ash & Cursed: The Hunter Inside!

Cover Reveals for The Garden of Ash & Cursed: The Hunter Inside!

Garden of Ashes (Snow SPark Saga #2) PUBLISHER: PARLIAMENT HOUSE PRESS Synopsis It’s the one place no rustler ever wants to end up. Having survived Rondo’s destruction, sixteen-year- old Rags has been taken captive by the Kingdom and sentenced to ‘rehabilitation’ at the Kingdom’s Threshing […]

eARC Review: Bacon Pie by Candace Robinson & Gerardo Delgadillo and Author Interview with Candace Robinson!

eARC Review: Bacon Pie by Candace Robinson & Gerardo Delgadillo and Author Interview with Candace Robinson!

Release day April 13, 2018!

When a showdown between Lia and Kiev lands them in the principal's office, they're forced into volunteer work at the cringe-worthy Piggy Palooza Festival, or risk being suspended. Lia and Kiev aren’t thrilled about the situation, especially when it interferes with Lia's relaxed life and Kiev's theater role. But by working together, they may find more than just bacon—possibly a little love in the air.

Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.

Bacon Pie

Authors: Candace Robinson & Gerardo Delgadillo
Publication Date: April 13, 2018
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Page Count: 241
Format: eARC
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Cover Artist: Jay Aheer
My Rating: ★★★

High school is a defining time for teens. Studying, extra-curricular activities, and love interests, are all large focal points in the lives of students. For Kiev, Lia, Cole, and Barnabas, this all holds true. Kiev, a theater-lover aspires to be cast for the role of Horatio in the Shakespeare play school is putting on. Lia, an old-school video gamer, spends much of her time hanging out with her best friend Barnabas. Cole, a girl-hungry teen, constantly seeks out his next love interest. Each is on his or her quest for individuality.

These differences, however, cause issues between the characters. Kiev tends to be a know-it-all, even if he doesn’t mean to be. He gets a bad rapport with Lia after answering her questions in class. She assumes that he is trying to show her up, and it infuriates her. One day, when confronted by Kiev about why she doesn’t like him, she punches him in the nose. The two are sent to the principle’s office and punished for the altercation.

Kiev and Lia are force to set their differences aside when they are both mandated to work community service at the local Piggy Palooza event. After spending some time with one another, they begin to realize that their opinions of one another were jaded. As true feelings begin to surface, the two must work out their feelings about one another, and help one another through trials to come. 

Bacon PieBacon Pie by Candace Robinson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication.

When I first heard the title of this book, I couldn’t help be curious about it. While the Young Adult contemporary genre isn’t really my style, I still wanted to check this book out because I’ve been following (one of) the author(s) since her first book was published. As always, the writing style and quirkiness throughout this book do not disappoint. The reader is able to quickly immerse themselves in the story without much obstructing their path.

World Building

Bacon Pie is set in a small town in Texas, where the hot and dry climate is palpable. Because the setting takes place in a realistic present-tense, not a lot of world building is necessary to immerse the reader in the plot. Notably, the region is important, as its population has a lot of diversity.

Pacing & Readability

I find that contemporary books do not require much prompting in order to get the plot moving. The same is true here, as Bacon Pie, from the opening scene to finale feels as though I’ve stepped into the character’s lives and understand exactly where they are at. The pacing remains consistent, with few valleys of slowness here and there.

Point-Of-View & Characters

The point-of-view alternates between Kiev and Lia. I felt that Kiev was definitely the main character between the two, but they both were well-developed for the plot.

Kiev Jimenez comes from Latino origins. At home, he, his father, and sister only speak English, while at school he speaks English. Kiev’s mother left a few years ago, and they haven’t seen her since. Her leaving caused a fissure between him and his sister Vi. Amidst juggling his strained homelife, Kiev has a deep passion for theater and is rather knowledgeable. His goal is to become Horatio in his school’s play.

Lia (Ophelia) Abbie has grown up with two dads. Spending most of her time with her close friend Barnabas, she immediately reveals her feelings about Kiev and his close friend Cole.

Cole Novotny serves as the comic-relief throughout the story. Constantly stalking the school halls for his next love interest, he relies on Kiev to reign him in. While he is comical (at times), his immaturity is apparent in the way that he handles each and every situation.

Monica Serrano serves as a partial antagonist. Interested in Kiev, she causes jealousy to blossom between Cole and Kiev’s relationship. Later on, when a certain young woman changes her perspective of Kiev, Monica becomes the “competition.”

Major Themes

⇒ Diversity

Diversity is represented racially and sexually. Majority of the more prominent characters come from families with diverse traits. Kiev and Monica are both Latino/a, and Barnabas comes from a culturally diverse family as well. Lia has two fathers (along with a mother who isn’t in the picture much).

⇒ Depression

While this isn’t as big of a theme, I thought it mentionable. Kiev’s mother left his family a few years back, causing a big change to take place in his daily life. His sister Vi was deeply affected and retreated within herself. Struggling to cope with the loss of her mother, Vi spirals into her own bought of depression and harmful coping methods. The repercussions of her methods estrange her from others and make her difficult to interact with. In the end, she was able to reach out to her mother in order to tell her how she felt about the fact that she left them behind. I think the way the affected characters handled this aspect ended in a positive light.

⇒ Assuming

Assumptions between characters are constantly causing issues. Because no one directly confronts others, assumptions are made. This is most apparent in Lia’s opinion of Kiev. However, when she learns the truth behind what she thought was true, she realized that what she had made to be a big issue, was nothing at all.

Overall Feelings

Things that I liked:

⇒ The writing is seamless and there isn’t an obvious gap between each writer’s voice.
⇒ It was an easy and quick read.
⇒ The diversity.
⇒ The incorporation of Shakespeare.

Things that I didn’t like:

⇒ The language.
⇒ While I liked the comic relief that Cole’s character brought to the story, I didn’t care for his “mouth.” He reminded me too much of those kids back in high school that got away with murder because they were “smooth talkers” even though they weren’t (if that makes sense.)
⇒ At times the plot would lag a bit and wasn’t constantly engaging me. However, I think this is preferential on my end, rather than it being the fault of the book.
⇒ The underaged drinking.

Overall, I thought this was a likable read. While I don’t normally read Young Adult Contemporary, I find that when I do, they serve as great palette cleansers between dense and lengthy books. It’s nice to be able to pick up a book and finish it in nearly one sitting, due to its likable characters and dash of quirkiness. While I didn’t care for the amount of language used, and Cole’s (sometimes obnoxious) personality, it didn’t sway me from appreciating the easy flow of conversation and plotline.

Vulgarity: Quite a lot. 113 words total.
Sexual content: Kissing and some references to more. Cole is in general quite sexual with his speech.
Violence: There are two punching scenes.

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This Q&A features author Candace Robinson!

1) How was it co-authoring this book? Do you have any pointers for writers who hope to co-author a book in the future?
 
It actually wasn’t bad! We’d pretty much take turns writing chapters, send it to the other person to edit and look over, and then begin the next chapter. A big pointer for people that want to co-write is to do a test run and bounce ideas back and forth first. I had been asked to co-write a book before, and the problem was the writing styles were completely different. The bouncing of ideas was going no where! I think that’s why most people choose to not co-write lol. But after Bacon Pie, I would definitely do it again in the future if the story felt right.
 
2) Bacon is a large theme throughout this book. What was the inspiration behind it?
 
So we had an idea to do a small-town type of festival feel, and I wanted different events like butter carving. Somehow that led to the festival being centered around bacon and pig related things! 
 
3) What is your favorite part of Bacon Pie?
 
I’d have to go with the butter carving scene between Lia and Kiev!
 
4) You write in a few different genres. Which is your favorite to write in? To read?
 
I actually find writing darker elements the most satisfactory, but with all my books, I tend to go quirky in areas and that’s my favorite aspect. As for reading, I read mostly YA—Sarah J. Maas for fantasy, Tahereh Mafi for dystopia, and Jenn Bennett for contemporary. I also love the Under the Never Sky series, The Bear and the Nightingale, Trick by Natalia Jaster. Too many to name!
 
5) Which character do you like most in this book?
 
Oh, that’s a toughy. I’d have to go with Lia, though. Mainly because she is one of the funnest characters I have ever written. As for Gerardo’s character’s, I have to go with Cole, just because he’s so ridiculous yet awesome.

 

About Candace Robinson

Candace Robinson spends her days consumed by words. When she’s not writing stories, she maintains a book review blog. Her life consists of avoiding migraines, admiring Bonsai trees, and living with her husband and daughter in Texas—where it can be forty degrees one day and eighty the next.

Mini Book Review: Identity by Ted Dekker

Mini Book Review: Identity by Ted Dekker

My name is Christy Snow. I’m seventeen and I’m about to die.  Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads. Identity Series: Eyes Wide Open #1Author: Ted DekkerPublication Date: December 26, 2012Publisher: Outlaw StudiosPage Count: 66Format: ebookGenre: Young Adult, Christian Fiction, Mystery, ThrillerMy Rating: ★★★½ “Christy was familiar […]

eARC Review: Children of Daedala by Caighlan Smith

eARC Review: Children of Daedala by Caighlan Smith

Six months alone in the labyrinth has made her strong. But the search for the exit means gambling on an old ‘friend’ and going against everything she’s been taught to survive. Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads. Children of Daedala Series: Children of Icarus #2 Author: […]

Mini Book Review: The Oracle Queen by Kendare Blake

Mini Book Review: The Oracle Queen by Kendare Blake

Release Day April 3, 2018!

Triplet queens born on the island of Fennbirn can be many things: Elementals. Poisoners. Naturalists. If an oracle queen is born, however, one with the gift of sight, she’s immediately drowned, extinguishing her chance at ever taking the throne. But that’s not how it always was. This cautionary practice started long ago, with Queen Elsabet—the legendary, and last, oracle queen—whose reign was tinged with blood and horror.

Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.

The Oracle Queen

Series: Three Dark Crowns #0.1
Author: Kendare Blake
Publication Date: April 3, 2018
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count: 120
Format: ebook
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Novella
Cover Artist: ---
My Rating: ★★★

The three queens of Fennbirn, Mirabella, Arsinoe, and Katharine, had grown up on the tales of the previous queens. One tale in particular always stood out–the last Oracle Queen Elsabet. Known for her madness and ultimately bloody reign, the truth behind her tale is more devious and tragic that one can imagine. 

The Oracle Queen (Three Dark Crowns Novella)The Oracle Queen by Kendare Blake
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“Was it not also me who warned you that a queen is only as good as her advisers?” “Yes.” She crooked her mouth at him. “But you were wrong. That may be true of other queens, but an oracle queen is only as good as her gift.”

I’ve been anticipating this novella for quite. The Oracle Queen, mentioned several times throughout the Three Dark Crowns series, has remained an aloof point of intrigue. So, I dove into this story, devouring each page, and looking for…something more than I found.

Politics have always played a big role in this series–and the politics are often muddied with deceit and corruption. 500 years earlier…nothing has changed. While there are five abilities represented instead of the three prominent abilities between Mirabella, Arsinoe, and Katherine, there is all-the-more treachery at work between the groups. While I expected this aspect to play a role in this story as well, I was also hoping for more of a fantasy element to be at work as well. Honestly, I felt a bit let down with the way everything panned out, and the truth is revealed behind Queen Elsabet’s story.

Despite that fact, the interworkings between the different groups were interesting to see. There was a lot more openness between the groups in terms of friendships and working together. Elsabet, a Sight-gifted queen was close friends with the War-gifted Rosemund. Whereas, 500 years later, friendships between people of different gifts was taboo.

Handsome, they called her. She was a queen of presence, they said. She hoped it was true. With such a homely face, it was all she could aspire to.

Queen Elsabet wasn’t what I was expecting. Although, I’m not really sure what I was expecting. While she was a queen, and a young one at that, she was constantly worried about her vanity–to the point of paranoia. This was her weakest quality that guided her to not always make the best decisions.

While this was a decent short story, I was just hoping for it to have more to it. The way everything happened was much more predictable than I had expected.

Vulgarity: None.
Sexual content: There are references, but nothing in detail.
Violence: Minimal.

View all my reviews


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