Book Review

Book Review: Starsight (Skyward #2) by Brandon Sanderson

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Sci-fi
Length: 461 pages
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: November 26th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Reckoners series, Words of Radiance, the Mistborn trilogy, and the Stormlight Archive comes the second book in an epic series about a girl with a secret in a dangerous world at war for humanity’s future.

All her life, Spensa has dreamed of becoming a pilot. Of proving she’s a hero like her father. She made it to the sky, but the truths she learned about her father were crushing. The rumors of his cowardice are true–he deserted his flight during battle against the Krell. Worse, though, he turned against his team and attacked them.

Spensa is sure there’s more to the story. And she’s sure that whatever happened to her father in his starship could happen to her. When she made it outside the protective shell of her planet, she heard the stars–and it was terrifying. Everything Spensa has been taught about her world is a lie.

But Spensa also discovered a few other things about herself–and she’ll travel to the end of the galaxy to save humankind if she needs to.

ANYONE ELSE FREAKED OUT BY SPACE YET?

But really. The whole concept of not really knowing what’s out there makes my head hurt. And reading an authors rendition of a world he’s built along the same concept is mind shattering too.

I am making my way through all things Sanderson and was anxiously awaiting for this book to make it do my doorstop. It did not disappoint! Okay, well to be honest, a tiny bit, but I’ll explain.

This was clearly, a middle book. This series is now four books and we have a two year til the next one. Spensa spent most of her time on another planet without her comrades AND I MISSED THEM SO MUCH. That was my biggest issue. I had to learn to love other characters and follow a espionage type story and I wanted my whole crew together.

Though, it looks like my ship is going to set sail by the end of this series. AND I AM SO HERE FOR IT. I love Jorgen and Spensa so much. And it also drove me crazy I didn’t get enough of them. I like where Jorgen’s story line is going so I’m curious how that will tie back into Spensa.

I love learning even more about this world. It goes to show how large of worlds Sanderson creates. There were so many different types of aliens with unique cultures and it was inventive to have them all in one local place for Spensa to mix and mingle with. It gave her a chance to see outside her own world and gave her another layer to her character arc.

Finally learning how a hyperdrive works about blew my mind. Talk about a, WAIT WHAT moment. I have so many more questions about how all of this works (in a good way). I can’t wait to see how this all works together too. They’re many building blocks that I can see that are standard in Sanderson’s work. He’s only going to take us on an even wilder ride.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult sci-fi / fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: a kiss
  • Violence: space battles, guns, explosions

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Book Review

ARC Book Review & Blog Tour: Wild at Heart (Wild #2) by K.A. Tucker

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 400 pages
Author: K.A. Tucker
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: February 18th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

From the internationally best-selling author of The Simple Wild comes the continuation of a woman’s journey to Alaska and a life she never imagined for herself.

Calla Fletcher returns to Toronto a different person, struggling to find direction and still very much in love with the rugged bush pilot she left behind. When Jonah arrives on her doorstep with a proposition she can’t dismiss, she takes the leap and rushes back to Alaska to begin their exciting future together.

But Calla soon learns that even the best intentions can lead to broken promises, and that compromise comes with a hefty price—a log cabin in interior rural Alaska that feels as isolating as the western tundra.

With Jonah gone more than he’s home, one neighbor who insists on transforming her into a true Alaskan, and another who seems more likely to shoot her than come to her aid, Calla grapples with forging her own path. In a world with roaming wildlife that has her constantly watching over her shoulder and harsh conditions that stretch far beyond the cold, dark, winter months, just stepping outside her front door can be daunting.

This is not the future Calla had in mind, leaving her to fear that perhaps she is doomed to follow in her mother’s fleeing footsteps after all. 

Thank you to the author and Social Butterfly PR for an eARC. All opinions are my own!

MY HEART.

I stayed up way too late to finish this book because I was on cloud nine that I received an ARC for this book. One of my most highly anticipated books of 2020 and it did not disappoint.

I know some people won’t love this second book because it’s not the angst filled romance that The Simple Wild was. This is what made me love this book in its own way. Watching Calla and Jonah having to work together and actually get a chance to be a couple. I was waiting for this book to destroy me and I had my throat in my heart so many times as I read this.

Calla was still a great character. I loved her arc from book one and really loved this one too. She had a lot to go through moving to Alaska and being by herself (yes, Jonah is there, but it’s still far away from family/friends) for the first time. I really felt and understood her emotions. Jonah was still my favorite gruff bush pilot. Yet I got to see a whole new side of him. He was much more open and had more emotions on the surface that I was SO HERE FOR. I love both of them opening up about their struggles of figuring out life in the wilderness together.

There’s not the romance in this book that you’re expecting. Don’t worry. There’s plenty of steamy moments, but it’s one of a couple expressing love to each other and holding on to the connection they know they share. What I love about them though is that there was actual COMMUNICATION between them. They both would hold on to emotions and thoughts too long (as we all do), and after an outburst would actually have a constructive conversation about what was happening. I desperately was holding onto the fact that I knew there must be a happy ending by the last page. I wanted more Calla and Jonah throughout the book. The lack of Jonah at times made the conflict resolution that much more satisfying.

The Roy story line seemed a bit random at first to me. I didn’t know quite where it fit into everything else until close to the end as I got to know the entirety of the background behind him. I can’t help but love grumpy old men who are softened by something. Calla was that something. Her tenacity to just be there for him made their tentative friendship something strong.

I am obsessed with the writing about Alaska. To me, it really is a mythical place and somewhere I had never considered visiting. The description and love of their home that is depicted through all of the characters makes me want to visit someday (though I can’t say I would ever get into one of those tiny planes, NOPE). The flow of the story kept a steady pace. I liked that it would move through months at a faster pace yet the chapters never seemed rushed.

That ending was everything I didn’t think I needed. I love the sweet tenderness between Jonah and Calla. Love that Calla had really given Alaska a chance and were becoming a true part of the community. I felt wholly satisfied with the conclusion and am so thrilled we got this sequel.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong throughout
  • Romance: everything from kisses to love scenes; scenes being fade to black to mildly explicit
  • Trigger warnings: plane crash, mentions of domestic abuse (a side character referring to their past)

Author Bio:

K.A. Tucker writes captivating stories with an edge. 

She is the USA Today bestselling author of 17 books, including the Causal Enchantment, Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water series, He Will Be My Ruin, Until It Fades, Keep Her Safe, and The Simple Wild. Her books have been featured in national publications including USA Today, Globe & Mail, Suspense Magazine, First for Women, and Publisher’s Weekly. She has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Romance 2013 for TEN TINY BREATHS and Best Romance 2018 for THE SIMPLE WILD. Her novels have been translated into 16 languages.

K.A. Tucker currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her family.

Connect with K.A. Tucker:

Facebook: http://bit.ly/2MYEDhK
Instagram: http://bit.ly/2MZEk6A
Twitter: http://bit.ly/2FqzR8K
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2QPwJZs
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/36Ga0W8
Pinterest: http://bit.ly/2MXBLSf
Bookbub: http://bit.ly/2rZkYXP
Website: https://www.katuckerbooks.com/

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Book Review

Book Review: The Dazzling Heights (The Thousandth Floor #2) by Katharine McGee

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult dystopian
Length: 422 pages
Author: Katharine McGee
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: August 29th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

All that glitters is not gold.

New York City, 2118. Manhattan is home to a thousand-story supertower, a breathtaking marvel that touches the sky. But amid high-tech luxury and futuristic glamour, five teenagers are keeping dangerous secrets…

Leda is haunted by memories of what happened on the worst night of her life. She’ll do anything to make sure the truth stays hidden—even if it means trusting her enemy.

Watt just wants to put everything behind him…until Leda forces him to start hacking again. Will he do what it takes to be free of her for good?

When Rylin wins a scholarship to an upper-floor school, her life transforms overnight. But being there also means seeing the boy whose heart she broke, and who broke hers in return.

Avery is tormented by her love for the one person in the world she can never have. She’s desperate to be with him…no matter the cost.

And then there’s Calliope, the mysterious, bohemian beauty who arrives in New York determined to cause a stir. And she knows exactly where to begin.

But unbeknownst to them all, someone is watching their every move, someone with revenge in mind. After all, in a world of such dazzling heights, just one wrong step can mean a devastating fall.

NOTHING HAPPENED.

I listened to this on audio, which I did really enjoy. The voices weren’t odd and the speaker did a great job. Definite props to the audio book.

But, the book itself? Nothing happened until the last few pages. Seriously.

I know this book is meant to be high drama and such. I got bored with this model though the longer this book went on. The high school hormones were ruling the day and I couldn’t stop my eyes from rolling form time to time.

Characters more or less were still interesting. I liked seeing the arc for Leda, because I was really not liking her at first. Watt did her a lot of good. Avery and Atlas definitely have the oddest story and it I am kinda curious what will happen next with them.

There were so many rotating relationships I couldn’t keep track. People were kissing over here, people were kissing over there. And based off of the prologue i thought the entire book was going to have a different more mysterious focus. The character didn’t even show up for the book except for the very beginning and the very end. I would have loved to see more of them.

This unfortunately had all the makings of a weaker second book. So much so I haven’t decided when (or if) I’ll pick up book three. I’m not even sure how this whole saga could end.

I do love the way the world is set-up and find all of the futuristic stuff amazing. I think it would be pretty cool to have a lot of those gadgets.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult dystopia
  • Language: some
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs, a few fade to black scenes with no detail
  • Violence: murder by drowning, physical
  • Trigger warnings: drug use, underage alcohol consumption, a teacher kissing a student

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Book Review

Book Review: Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Fiction
Length: 277 pages
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Publisher: Square Fish
Expected Release Date: September 9th, 2005
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Welcome to Elsewhere. It is warm, with a breeze, and the beaches are marvelous. It’s quiet and peaceful. You can’t get sick or any older. Curious to see new paintings by Picasso? Swing by one of Elsewhere’s museums. Need to talk to someone about your problems? Stop by Marilyn Monroe’s psychiatric practice.

Elsewhere is where fifteen-year-old Liz Hall ends up, after she has died. It is a place so like Earth, yet completely different. Here Liz will age backward from the day of her death until she becomes a baby again and returns to Earth. But Liz wants to turn sixteen, not fourteen again. She wants to get her driver’s license. She wants to graduate from high school and go to college. And now that she’s dead, Liz is being forced to live a life she doesn’t want with a grandmother she has only just met. And it is not going well. How can Liz let go of the only life she has ever known and embrace a new one? Is it possible that a life lived in reverse is no different from a life lived forward?

This moving, often funny book about grief, death, and loss will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned.

AN INTERESTING CONCEPT.

This was a SUPER quick read. And a very interesting take on heaven.

The whole idea of someone aging backwards until their a baby again in the land of Elsewhere was a bit odd and troublesome to me, but I thought it was unique to think about. While this didn’t change any personal concepts on what I believe the afterlife is like I still found it thoughtful.

It’s a very moving and bittersweet story for Liz, who’s life is cut way too short by an accident. She had to cope with grief and depression to find the hope that she could in her new world. Liz definitely pulled at my heart strings. I love the characters that were in her world and how they each brought something to the story. Betty, Owen, Thandi, and more surrounded Liz when she needed it to help her move on.

It’s even more well-imagined when I got to the dog portion. OHEMGEE talking dogs? SERIOUSLY ALL I WANT. I love the perspective and life and love that came from having a dog in the afterlife. They were cute and spunky and I wanted to hug them all.They also brought a different layer to the story because they were constantly just as thoughtful as the humans.

I like that there was a tiny touch of romance and overwhelming friendships. I think Liz needed something like that to understand her story of life and death. While wildly different they can also be wildly similar.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fiction
  • Language: little
  • Romance: a few kisses
  • Violence: discussion of death and how people died (some included were: cancer, overdose, hit and run, gunshot wound, plane crash, flu and more)

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Book Review

Book Review: Rebel (Legend #4) by Marie Lu

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Sci-Fi / Dystopia
Length: 384 pages
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Expected Release Date: October 1st, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Respect the Legend. Idolize the Prodigy. Celebrate the Champion. But never underestimate the Rebel.

With unmatched suspense and her signature cinematic storytelling, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Marie Lu plunges readers back into the unforgettable world of Legend for a truly grand finale.

Eden Wing has been living in his brother’s shadow for years. Even though he’s a top student at his academy in Ross City, Antarctica, and a brilliant inventor, most people know him only as Daniel Wing’s little brother.

A decade ago, Daniel was known as Day, the boy from the streets who led a revolution that saved the Republic of America. But Day is no longer the same young man who was once a national hero. These days he’d rather hide out from the world and leave his past behind. All that matters to him now is keeping Eden safe―even if that also means giving up June, the great love of Daniel’s life.

As the two brothers struggle to accept who they’ve each become since their time in the Republic, a new danger creeps into the distance that’s grown between them. Eden soon finds himself drawn so far into Ross City’s dark side, even his legendary brother can’t save him. At least not on his own . . . 

SATISFIED.

First of all y’all. I thought my babes June and Day ran off into the sunset, figured things out, and were this fantastical happy ever after.

This was not the case and that was probably my biggest gripe. THOUGH, I will say, there was a *perfect* ending to them so I’m fine. It’s fine. I can overlook this issue because at least this book closed that fact.

What I was loving was the relationship between the brothers, Eden and Daniel. I love the focus on them and figuring out how to really be in each other’s lives again after the horrors of the war in the Republic. There was a lot of struggle, miscommunication and tender moment between the two. Their bond deepened over the story and I just adore a great brother dynamic. It’s super charming.

I’m so excited we got more of June and Day too. I NEEDED CLOSURE (see first two paragraphs). I got that and more. They were like cute kids falling in love all over again and I’m totally smitten with Daniels’ confessions of love. HERE FOR IT.

I wasn’t sure this book was wholly necessary (still on the fence), but I don’t think it was completely unnecessary either. Sometimes you get continuation of series books that really don’t fall in line. I’m grateful that this one was a good story and really gave the whole series a finale it deserved.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult sci-fi / dystopia
  • Language: none
  • Romance: a few kisses, a no detail fade-to-black scene
  • Violence: murder, kidnapping, physical, stabbings, knife fights, gun wounds, descriptions of war

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Book Review

Book Review: The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 325 pages
Author: Beth O’Leary
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release Date: April 10th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Tiffy and Leon share an apartment. Tiffy and Leon have never met.

After a bad breakup, Tiffy Moore needs a place to live. Fast. And cheap. But the apartments in her budget have her wondering if astonishingly colored mold on the walls counts as art.

Desperation makes her open minded, so she answers an ad for a flatshare. Leon, a night shift worker, will take the apartment during the day, and Tiffy can have it nights and weekends. He’ll only ever be there when she’s at the office. In fact, they’ll never even have to meet.

Tiffy and Leon start writing each other notes – first about what day is garbage day, and politely establishing what leftovers are up for grabs, and the evergreen question of whether the toilet seat should stay up or down. Even though they are opposites, they soon become friends. And then maybe more.

But falling in love with your roommate is probably a terrible idea…especially if you’ve never met.

What if your roommate is your soul mate? A joyful, quirky romantic comedy, Beth O’Leary’s The Flatshare is a feel-good novel about finding love in the most unexpected of ways. 

CUTE AT TIMES.

I didn’t know how I was going to feel about this book when I first started reading it. I wasn’t immediately drawn in and had a hard time connecting with everything. I think the second half of the book was MUCH better and I was so excited when Tiffy and Leon finally met in person.

This was a charming read. I loved watching Tiffy and Leon’s friendship start over post-it notes. That’s precious. The notes were cute and endearing and I really do think letter writing is its own form of intimacy (especially because nobody does it today). You could easily see the opposite spectrum of personalities they had. Tiffy effervescent and loud. Leon reserved and thoughtful. It was an opposites attract that worked so well.

The main conflict centered around Tiffy’s ex boyfriend, Justin. He angered me to a whole other level and I don’t feel like giving him the time of day in this review. What I did like was the approach that Tiffy’s friends had to help her. It can be hard in many ways to work through an awful situation like that (emotionally abusive) and I love that Tiffy had such a strong support group.

I thought the premise was unique too. I think I would be way too nervous to share a flat with someone I had never met, but I’m really happy it worked out for them. I got some good bubbly feelings from this, but it just didn’t have everything I needed to be a GREAT rom-com.

Overall audience notes:

  • Adult contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong throughout
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs, some almost love scenes (with mild description) and one fade-to-black love scene
  • Violence: physical
  • Trigger warnings: abusive relationship (emotional/controlling), PTSD from the relationship

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Book Review

Book Review: Give the Dark My Love (Give the Dark My Love #1) by Beth Revis

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 368 pages
Author: Beth Revis
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: September 25th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

When seventeen-year-old Nedra Brysstain leaves her home in the rural, northern territories of Lunar Island to attend the prestigious Yugen Academy, she has only one goal in mind: learn the trade of medicinal alchemy. A scholarship student matriculating with the children of Lunar Island’s wealthiest and most powerful families, Nedra doesn’t quite fit in with the other kids at Yugen, who all look down on her.

All, except for Greggori “Grey” Astor. Grey is immediately taken by the brilliant and stubborn Nedra, who he notices is especially invested in her studies. And that’s for a good reason: a deadly plague has been sweeping through the North, and it’s making its way toward the cities. With her family’s life–and the lives of all of Lunar Island’s citizens–on the line, Nedra is determined to find a cure for the plague.

Grey and Nedra continue to grow closer, but as the sickness spreads and the body count rises, Nedra becomes desperate to find a cure. Soon, she finds herself diving into alchemy’s most dangerous corners–and when she turns to the most forbidden practice of all, necromancy, even Grey might not be able to pull her from the darkness. 

DARK AND CREEPY.

This isn’t a thriller, but the subject matter is definitely in that category. A wasting death that seems to be attacking everyone, making limbs turn black and amputations be the only possible solution. WHAT. Lock me in a tower and throw away the key. I don’t want anything to do with that.

I listened to this on audio so I like to mention the narration. The female voice was fine, she did it in an accent (because the character is said to have one). It was easily understood and I thought brought Nedra more to life. The male voice I did not love the way it was done. He was hard to understand and I struggled to get through Grey’s chapters because of it.

The magic system is a bit twisted y’all. I actually didn’t like it. NOT because it wasn’t thought out and put together well, but because it involved harming animals. Mice were only every actively used in this book. The concept was drawing out someone else’s pain and giving it to the mouse/rat. It made me sad for the tiny creatures.

Nedra was an MC that had to grow on me. At first I was realllll annoyed and tired of her being utterly convinced it was ONLY her who could save EVERYONE. She pushed people away so much and I kept thinking, girl chill. I did love her character change by the end because who doesn’t love when an MC turns into more-or-less a villain? It was wicked good and I can’t wait for the next book to see what she does next.

There were some plot twists at the end that I was like WAIT WHAT? [even said that out loud]. I had imagined a different character being the instigator of the plague, and was totally surprised by who it was. Love it. I love when a book can trick me and keep me on my toes.

I feel like I need to mention the romance part. There’s a little in here. Grey and Nedra form a relationship over time and it’s cute. They get to know one another and hang out, have a few sweet kisses. I did like it, but it seems like it’ll play a bigger role in book two.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: a few kisses, a make out
  • Violence: wasting illness, amputations, animals being used for magic system, guns; pretty violent and gory

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