Tag: Young Adult

eARC Review: Dragons of Dark by Ava Richardson

eARC Review: Dragons of Dark by Ava Richardson

As both dragons and Riders struggle to return to the ways of old, from before the land fell into darkness, the evil king undermines their every move with spies and sabotage. Bower knows their efforts are doomed without a final assault against the palace, but […]

eARC Review: Reign The Earth by A.C. Gaughen

eARC Review: Reign The Earth by A.C. Gaughen

Shalia is a proud daughter of the desert, but after years of devastating war with the adjoining kingdom, her people are desperate for peace. Willing to trade her freedom to ensure the safety of her family, Shalia becomes Queen of the Bonelands. Partial synopsis provided […]

Book & Audiobook Review: Of Sand and Storm by Amber Argyle

Book & Audiobook Review: Of Sand and Storm by Amber Argyle

By law, any child born in Idara is free, even if that child is born in a slave brothel. But as Cinder grows into a beauty that surpasses even that of her mother and grandmother, she realizes that freedom is only a word.

Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.

Of Sand And Storm

Series: Fairy Queens #5
Author: Amber Argyle
Publication Date: August 11, 2016
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services, LLC
Page Count: 175
Format: ebook
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Cover Artist: ---
My Rating: ★★★★

Of Sand and Storm (Fairy Queens #2.5)Of Sand and Storm by Amber Argyle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“She was the wind, and wind could never be caged.”

After reading Cinder, the name Cinder had been killed for me, but the main character in this book totally redeems it.

Of Sand and Storm is a very dark, and oppressive story. Sex trafficking holds a strong undertone throughout and ensnares the reader in the devastating realm it creates. It is not an easy read, because of this reason, as the reader is placed directly into the bowels of the beast.

Cinder, along with her mother and grandmother, are held in a brothel. While Cinder is “freeborn,” her life certainly doesn’t reflect it. Her “Mother” (as she prefers her “proteges” to call her,) Zura, holds her family’s enslavement and situation against Cinder. Zura coerces her into servitude by threatening her mother and grandmother’s livelihood. (Not that Ash and Storm had much, to begin with anyway.)

Cinder’s character is phenomenal. She is challenged at every angle, with HARD decisions. Yet, she remains true to herself and is willing to lay everything down for those whom she loves. This is a major theme throughout this book series, and I’m really appreciative of that. Many books nowadays focus on antiheroes, and their characters have little-to-nothing to offer. They don’t help the reader to think, to internalize, and to grow as a person. It is without a doubt that Of Sand and Storm does this.

Darsam is a wonderful and redemptive hero character. He seems shady and shallow at first, but his role in the plot requires him to be so. I won’t reveal why here–I guess you’ll just have to read it and find out.

The plot line is depressing, but there is so much which comes from that aspect and is turned into good, making this a valuable and engrossing read.

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Audiobook Review: Read December 2017

Of Sand and Storm (Fairy Queens #2.5)Of Sand and Storm by Amber Argyle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this audiobook from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

This is my second time reading Of Sand and Storm. I read the entire Fairy Queens series towards the beginning of 2017 and absolutely fell in love with the plot, characters, world-building, and writing style. Listening to the audiobook version of Of Sand and Storm made me rethink my original ratings of this book, as well as the rest in the series. My conclusion is that I don’t think I rated these books high enough. Whether it’s due to being reintroduced to this fantastic story or reliving Cinder’s experience by hearing her tale, Of Sand and Storm yet again, knocked me off my feet.

Of Sand and Storm was narrated by Elizabeth Evans. She did a fantastic job of bringing this story to life. Her voice matched the characters well and did not possess overpowering or distracting qualities to the plot or characters themselves. While there weren’t many tonal differences between characters, her dictation of them was easy to follow as the correct emotional variances were portrayed at the appropriate times.

Overall, I thought this audiobook was very easy to listen to, and the plot even more powerful the second time through.

My Rating: ★★★★★

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eARC Review: Our Dark Stars by Audrey Grey & Krystal Wade

eARC Review: Our Dark Stars by Audrey Grey & Krystal Wade

Both Talia and Will would rather get space-tossed than trust one another, but with the queen’s forces chasing them across the galaxy and the fate of both worlds hanging in the balance, they’ll forge the unlikeliest of alliances to survive. Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads. […]

Book Review: Dragons of Kings by Ava Richardson

Book Review: Dragons of Kings by Ava Richardson

On the eve of battle, Bower will have to fulfill a mystical prophecy and become the leader he was born to be, or risk his future kingdom falling apart. Surrounded on all sides by deadly foes, he must face not only the evil king, but […]

Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault Cover Reveal!

Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault Cover Reveal!

Quinsey Wolfe's Glass Vault

Publisher: Parliament House Press

Some see it… Some don’t…

People in the town of Deer Park, Texas are vanishing. There is a strange museum, known as Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault, that appears overnight. Perrie Madeline’s best friend and ex-boyfriend are among the missing. Perrie and her friend August go on a pursuit for them in the mysterious museum. Could the elusive Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault have anything to do with the disappearances?

Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault is the start of a thrilling duology full of magic, danger, and romance. 

To Be Published on June 26th, 2018

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.

Book Review: War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

Book Review: War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

Joey is a warhorse, but he wasn’t always. Once, he was a farm horse and a gentle boy named Albert was his master. Then World War I came storming through and everything changed. Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads. Book: War Horse Author: Michael Morpurgo Publication […]

My Favorite Bookish Friendships

My Favorite Bookish Friendships

Have you ever read a book that had a friendship that gave you all of the feels? I can honestly say that I haven’t read many books that actually have made me feel much towards the characters. I’ve read a decent number of books, but perhaps […]

eARC Mini Review: Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston

eARC Mini Review: Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston

Release date Feburary 27, 2018!

Seventeen-year-old Ana is a scoundrel by nurture and an outlaw by nature. Found as a child drifting through space with a sentient android called D09, Ana was saved by a fearsome space captain and the grizzled crew she now calls family. But D09—one of the last remaining illegal Metals—has been glitching, and Ana will stop at nothing to find a way to fix him.

Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.

Heart of Iron

Author: Ashley Poston
Publication Date: February 27, 2018
Publisher: Balzer+Bray
Page Count: 480
Format: eARC
Genre: Young Adult, Science-Fiction
Cover Artist: ---
My Rating: No Rating - DNF

Heart of IronHeart of Iron by Ashley Poston

All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication. I received a copy of this book via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

DNFing at 40%

Today, the Grand Duchess would choose her heir–and the thirtieth Emperor of the Iron Kingdom. So naturally, with everyone distracted, it was a good day for a heist.

I think I need to take a break from YA Sci-Fi for a bit. Heart of Iron felt like a loose combination of Zenith and Illuminae, (but replace the creepy zombie people with creepy red-eyed “metals” aka robots) and Star Wars. The main problem I had with this book was that I felt that there wasn’t really anything new. Besides the religious system developed, everything else seemed too typical (and predictable) for this genre.

The story is told from multiple character point-of-views, shifting between the main protagonist Ana, to D09 (a robot), to Robb, Erik, and then Jax which makes it difficult to follow who’s head we are in. All characters are from variable backgrounds when considering class, status, orientation, and race. Robb and Erik, both sons of the royal Ironblood family, stand at opposing ends from one-another. Tensions between their family, including their queen mother, are high. Ana, a girl-turned-thief that has no recollection of her past and is searching for a new core to fix her beloved glitching robot D09. Jax, a Solani pilot from an ancient race of beings has special abilities to predict others’ futures. Clearly, diversity is highly represented between the characters on multiple levels, which is refreshing. However, there is little distinction between the characters themselves when the point-of-view is shifted from one to another.

This section will contain SPOILERS.

There are a couple of aspects that I want to discuss that turned me away from this book. This does not go to say that another reader won’t like this book. I just wanted to give a more concise depiction of why I DNF’d this read.

#1 There is one particular romance that is budding from the beginning between Ann and D09. While some people may not mind the fact that a human is in love with a robot, that’s fine. For myself, this is downright weird and something I don’t care to read about.

#2 The fact that this is said to be an Anastasia retelling makes it perhaps too-revealing? In the first portion of the book, we learn that Ana has no recollection of her past. She was found in space in an escape pod with her robot. Then, there is talk of a missing female heir. So…if my conclusions are correct…she’s the one missing. This is speculation, as I didn’t finish the read. However, all arrows seem to be pointing in that direction.

End of SPOILERS.

Overall, the plot is set up to be overly-predictable. Up until almost half-way through the read, I didn’t feel any unique pull grounding me to the story, and I lost interest. I also didn’t care for some of the connections being made between the characters, and decided overall that this isn’t a read for me.

Vulgarity: I counted 45 words (including made-up cuss words) up until 40%.
Sexual content: Kissing only.
Violence: Moderate – there are several fighting scenes.

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Barnes & Noble Birthday Book Haul

Barnes & Noble Birthday Book Haul

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a book haul post! It’s literally been months since I last did one, which means I’ve been successfully sticking to my book-buying ban! I must admit, I’m doing this ban a bit begrudgingly because they’re books. I want […]

eARC Review: Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

eARC Review: Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

Release day February 27, 2018! Tess, stubbornly, is a troublemaker. You can’t make a scene at your sister’s wedding and break a relative’s nose with one punch (no matter how pompous he is) and not suffer the consequences. As her family plans to send her […]

Book Review: Finding Jade by Mary Jennifer Payne

Book Review: Finding Jade by Mary Jennifer Payne

The year is 2030, and climate change is making life on Earth more challenging. Fourteen-year-old Jasmine Guzman is struggling to come to terms with the abduction of her twin sister, Jade, and her mother’s illness. Things go from bad to worse when a series of bizarre occurrences make Jasmine wonder if she’s losing her mind.

Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.

Book: Finding Jade

Series: Daughters of Light #1

Author: Mary Jennifer Payne

Publication Date: March 7, 2017

Publisher: Dundurn Group

Page Count: 216

Format: Paperback

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Paranormal

My Review: ★★★

Finding JadeFinding Jade by Mary Jennifer Payne
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Dun Durn, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Jasmine has always been different from most kids her age–she was born a twin. She grew up close to her sister until a few years ago when Jade was abducted. Jasmine and her mother have never recovered from the incident, understandably. With no body, or trace of evidence, there was no closure for them.

Life in 2030 was hot, no matter where one lived. After a drastic climate change, much of the world has been changed past the point of inhabitation. The conditions make it difficult for anyone to thrive. Jasmine’s mother, riddled with a debilitating disease, only grew worse when the abduction happened. Jasmine has worked hard ever since to help her mom out in any way possible, alongside her mother’s close friend Lola.

When Jasmine is transferred to a new school, she realizes that something strange is going on. Most of her classmates are made up of twins. Introduced to the world of demons, Jasmine learns that she is a part of a special network of individuals who have access to unusual abilities. There, she meets a boy named Raphael who has a hankering for helping her in the times that matter the most.

Jasmine learns through a series of extraordinary events that her sister is alive, but is stuck in a place called The-Place-in-Between. More sinister than it sounds, Jasmine must quite literally face her demons in order to rescue her long-lost sister from the shadowy realm.


I like it when I go into a book not really knowing what to expect. I like even more when a book takes the reins and leads me down a path that I don’t foresee. Finding Jade had a lot of surprising attributes to it that make it stand out. However, a few of those attributes could ultimately be its downfall, as some are under-developed and without must investigation. Needless to say, I thought this was an interesting take on the paranormal topic of angels and demons. While I didn’t necessarily like parts of the backstory, I appreciated the author’s ingenuity and ability to converge several (seemingly random) paths into one.

Things that I liked:

#1 There is a lot of diversity among the characters. Both Jasmine and Jade are of Chilean descent, and the book is mostly set in Toronto which has a lot of diversity in and of itself.

#2 The concept, while a bit unpolished, was interesting. I did not expect the book to travel in the direction that it headed toward, which made for a surprising read.

#3 I loved the (random) variation of settings, and how they were tied into the plot. The-Place-in-Between, aka a Pergatorish “Hell-like” state where people would become stuck in was original and rather creepy. I felt like I was stepping onto a London street at night knowing that Jack the Ripper was on the loose when reading these scenes.

Things that I didn’t like:

#1 I felt that there were several aspects of this book that were left without much explanation. Granted, this is the first book in a series, but I found that it would have been more beneficial to have more information on specific topics such as Lola’s Ibeja doll, the Seers themselves and what all they are actually capable of, and more on Raphael (but I’m certain more is coming on him in Solomon’s Ring.

The Seers were never painted into a full picture for me.

Seers are genetically connected to this chick called Lilith, who was apparently Adam’s wife before Eve. She’s gotten a bad rap over the centuries because she held supernatural powers and led armies into battle, refusing to be subservient to men. Good for her, right? But because she used her girl power without shame and men could not control her, they made up nasty rumours about her. Rumours that she was a demon, a vampire, and an evil whore. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: not a lot has changed between guys and girls over the years. Kind of depressing. Instead of spreading this stuff on social media, guys back in the day wrote trashy rumours on scrolls and cave walls. Nice.

While we do get some background information, (with some jabs at the male gender – another thing I didn’t care for) I couldn’t seem to grasp the entirety of their capabilities and entire purpose.

#2 SPOILER ALERT!!!


 I found Jasmine’s reaction to finding her sister so…odd. A lot of time was spent in the first portion of this book with her pondering her sister’s disappearance. Yet, when she discovered she was alive and successfully rescued her from The-Place-in-Between, she almost seemed indifferent. No, I don’t expect her to be jumping up and down from that moment on. I just found her to have a lack of engagement with her sister’s return. It was weird.

END OF SPOILER.


#3 While the setting clearly takes place in Toronto, I had a hard time envisioning where the characters were throughout. The proximity of the schools, what they were like, the subway scenes, and The-Place-in-Between settings were only briefly touched upon. Especially seeing how this takes place in a dystopian future, I was looking for more detail on the different locations, as well as the drastic variances between them and the eras in which the characters travel.

Overall, I thought this was a unique read. While I had some issues with underdevelopment of some aspects of the plot, I thought the characters were decently-developed and played into the plot well. I’m curious to see where they will end up in Solomon’s Ring.

Vulgarity: Minimal.
Sexual content: Kissing only.
Violence: Moderate – there were some scenes particularly in The-Place-in-Between that were grotesque, including decapitation of some characters.

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Book Review: The Fire Queen by Emily R. King

Book Review: The Fire Queen by Emily R. King

Though the tyrant rajah she was forced to marry is dead, Kalinda’s troubles are far from over. A warlord has invaded the imperial city, and now she’s in exile. But she isn’t alone. Kalinda has the allegiance of Captain Deven Naik, her guard and beloved, […]

eARC Review: Keeper by Kim Chance

eARC Review: Keeper by Kim Chance

When a 200-year-old witch attacks her, sixteen-year-old bookworm Lainey Styles is determined to find a logical explanation. Even with the impossible staring her in the face, Lainey refuses to believe it—until she finds a photograph linking the witch to her dead mother. Partial synopsis provided […]

Book Review: Gilded Cage by Vic James

Book Review: Gilded Cage by Vic James

In modern-day Britain, magic users control everything: wealth, politics, power—and you. If you’re not one of the ultimate one-percenters—the magical elite—you owe them ten years of service. Do those years when you’re old, and you’ll never get through them. Do them young, and you’ll never get over them.

Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.

Book: Gilded Cage

Series: Dark Gifts #1

Author: Vic James

Publication Date: February 14, 2017

Publisher: Del Ray

Page Count: 368

Format: ebook

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia

Cover Artist: Faceout Studio, Tim Green

My Rating: ★★★½

Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1)Gilded Cage by Vic James
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Ignorance bred fear, as Father was fond of saying, and fear bred obedience.

My relationship with this read was strange. While I thought the concept was brilliant, I had a tough time actually getting into Gilded Cage until more towards the end.

Reading the synopsis, my eyes quite literally sparkled.

description

The setting sounded (and was) absolutely amazing. Well, not amazing considering there is apparent oppression of a certain populace. I mean–amazing as in, what a brilliant idea for a dystopian novel!? Getting into the book, however, proved to be difficult throughout the first half. Perhaps it was due to the more explanatory nature in tone in order to set the stage for the remainder of the story? I’m not really sure.

While this book is undoubtedly dystopian, it naturally reads like any historical fiction, which may be a part of my overall confusion and inability to immerse myself into it further. Technically being a science fiction read, this book simply didn’t feel like one, which, by no means is a bad thing! Perhaps because this book crosses some boundaries, it rests at a place higher than my categorical mind can comprehend because I’ve been conditioned to think that “Sci-fi” and/or “dystopia” mostly means futuristic. Gilded Cage certainly breaks the mold that has been determined by most other books in this genre.

The world is set in modern-day Britain, but it doesn’t feel like it. Society is divided into two parts: aristocracy, and commoners. The aristocrats have a major advantage on their side: they can use magic. Because of this, they have assumed positions of power and privilege. Anyone outside of the elite group of magic users must spend ten years in servitude. These unfortunate souls get to pick when they serve, but nothing can get them out of it until after ten grueling years and then their freedom is granted. Nice, huh? Whether it be for a wealthy family, or in the slums, wherever one is placed, he or she must go.

The divide in lifestyles is immediately exemplified by the vast differences between the Hadley family, and the Jardine family. The Hadleys, being of non-noble birth, are commissioned to work for the wealthy and powerful Jardine family. Through a debacle, Luke is placed in one of the factory slums instead and forced to separate for his family.

“There aren’t many that see this place for what it truly is. Even fewer who realize that the slavedays aren’t an inevitable part of normal life, but a brutal violation of freedom and dignity, perpetrated by the Equals.”

Having a vastly different experience from the rest of his family in the factory city, Luke uncovers a populace of people desiring change in the system. The ability to use magic shouldn’t be the sole reason why certain people held high places in society. Seeing the amount of injustice most people must go through for these elite individuals, Luke decides to partake in a diverse and secret group pushing to make a change in the system.

This plot was thick and complex. Even so, the way things took place felt natural and possible with the world created here. In this way, this plot was effortless and functioned well. On the other side, because there was so much happening throughout this story, it was difficult to follow at times. Many characters are cast for variously sized parts, making it difficult to keep track of who’s who and what their purpose is. However, the climax and end of this book does a good job to wrap up the overall plot and clarify the functionality of some people throughout.

I think in general that this book will garner mixed reviews. While the content is original and with depth, the material doesn’t present the “feel-good” atmosphere many readers are looking for. Oppression, slavery, and mistreatment of humans aren’t light topics to discuss, nor should be glanced over lightly. Despite this fact, I appreciated the author’s ingenuity with the subject-matter and creating a world that is dynamic and believable.

Vulgarity: 30 words total (from what I counted – this could be slightly off.) Sexual content: Minimal – some kissing. Violence: At least moderate. Some of the scenes were rather graphic.

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“Ignorance bred fear, as Father was fond of saying, and fear bred obedience.”


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