The Mermaid, The Witch, and The Sea: A Review

The Mermaid, The Witch, and The Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

My Rating: 5 stars!

Cover Rating: 10/10

Publisher: Candlewick press

Publish Date: May 5th, 2020

Number of Pages: 368 pages

Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

In a world divided by colonialism and threaded with magic, a desperate orphan turned pirate and a rebellious imperial lady find a connection on the high seas.

The pirate Florian, born Flora, has always done whatever it takes to survive—including sailing under false flag on the Dove as a marauder, thief, and worse. Lady Evelyn Hasegawa, a highborn Imperial daughter, is on board as well—accompanied by her own casket. But Evelyn’s one-way voyage to an arranged marriage in the Floating Islands is interrupted when the captain and crew show their true colors and enslave their wealthy passengers. 

Both Florian and Evelyn have lived their lives by the rules, and whims, of others. But when they fall in love, they decide to take fate into their own hands—no matter the cost.

Maggie Tokuda-Hall’s sweeping fantasy debut, full of stolen memories, illicit mermaid’s blood, double agents, and haunting mythical creatures conjures an extraordinary cast of characters and the unforgettable story of a couple striving to stay together in the face of myriad forces wishing to control their identities and destinies.”

Opening Sentence: “Long after the sun had set, when the passengers were nestled neatly in their cabins, the crew gathered on the deck of the Dove.”

Musings:

I greatly enjoyed this book. I loved so much of it. The structure, the characters, the magic! It was so well-constructed.

What I loved:

The discussion of gender. Flora is both Flora and Florian. Flora the girl who struggled alongside her brother Alfie to survive and Florian the boy who becomes a pirate of his own right. As far as I could tell reading Flora embraces both and I really loved seeing that in this novel. Also, The Pirate Supreme is non-binary and such a badass. They are also straight up called The Pirate Supreme and every-time their mentioned it’s full of badassery and I love them! I just liked that it’s there and that I’m seeing it so much more now then before. It makes me happy to see.

The way the story broke into parts. I loved the structure of this book. I rarely fall in love with pure structure, but this book does it so well. Each section was clearly defined and told the narrative well. It just fit neatly in a way I really appreciated.

Flora and Evelyn together. These two my lord! I love them together. They have this amazing bond that starts from Evelyn wanting to share books and stories with Florian and teach him how to read. To fighting together and loving each other later on not just as Florian but flora. This made my heart so happy. Especially, the ending which I refuse to spoil. It’s too good!

Rake. At first I wasn’t sure if I even liked Rake, but as the story went on I realized how much of a strong character he was. He’s one of the good guys as difficult as it is to be good in the circumstances of the novel.

The magic. I love a good magic system and I swear a magic system that uses stories to create magic is so beautiful. I loved the many stories the witch told in this book. I’m obsessed with it. It was amazing.

The mermaids. I loved how mermaids were portrayed in this book. I love what they eat. I love how Evelyn connected to the mermaid she wanted to save and saw how wrong it was for the sailors to take mermaid blood for their own. It was so cool. I don’t want to spoil the awesomeness of it.

All in All:

If you want to read a magical swashbuckling romance that is beautifully queer and just amazing in every way pick up The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea. I loved every moment of it. So amazingly written.

About the Author:

Maggie Tokuda-Hall is the author of the Parent’s Choice Gold Medal winning picture book, Also an Octopus, illustrated by Benji Davies, and the young adult novel The Mermaid, The Witch and The Sea.

She lives in Oakland, California with her husband, son, and objectively perfect dog.

She has a BA in Studio Art from Scripps College, and an MFA in Writing from University of San Francisco. 

She is represented by Jennifer Laughran of Andrea Brown Lit.

You can follow her on Twitter, @emteehall
Or on Instagram @maggietokudahall

Places to donate to Trans communities:

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Transgender Law Center 

Some BLM resources: 

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Link to petitions to sign! 

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Diamond City: A Review

Diamond City by Francesca Flores

My Rating: 4/5 stars!

Cover Rating: 6/10 it’s a pretty cover. It fits the novel inside it pretty well. I love the warm colors of the diamonds! It’s a solid cover.

Publisher: St. Martins Press

Publish Date: January 28th, 2020

Number of Pages: 400

Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

Good things don’t happen to girls who come from nothing…unless they risk everything.

Fierce and ambitious, Aina Solís as sharp as her blade and as mysterious as the blood magic she protects. After the murder of her parents, Aina takes a job as an assassin to survive and finds a new family in those like her: the unwanted and forgotten.

Her boss is brutal and cold, with a questionable sense of morality, but he provides a place for people with nowhere else to go. And makes sure they stay there.

DIAMOND CITY: built by magic, ruled by tyrants, and in desperate need of saving. It is a world full of dark forces and hidden agendas, old rivalries and lethal new enemies.

To claim a future for herself in a world that doesn’t want her to survive, Aina will have to win a game of murder and conspiracy—and risk losing everything.”

Opening Sentence: “ “Do you want to know the secret to survival?””

Musings:

Diamond City is a fun fast pace novel that flies by as your reading it. Every chapter leaves you wanting more. It’s such a great read!

What I Loved:

Assassin Queen! Aina is an incredible assassin. She’s so much fun to read about. She’s smart and does things quick and efficiently and it’s so cool to read.

Casual bisexuality. Aina is bisexual and it’s just part of who she is and I loved being able to have that and have her also be this kickass assassin and it’s all just how things are.

Open-ended Romance. There’s several people that Aina likes and connects to. Yet, she’s giving herself the time and space to feel her feelings and see what she wants for herself in a relationship. I find that admirable and really nice in a ya.

Adventure Adventure Adventure! Every moment spent in this novel is an Adventure. It’s incredible. There’s not a moment to breath most of the time it’s just on to the next exciting thing and it’s great!

Good friendship. This book is essentially a bunch of friends coming together and doing something together for the greater good.

All and all:

Diamond city is a book that will have your heart racing to the very end. With dynamite and knife fights and grappling hooks.. this book will hook you till it’s exciting completion!

About the Author

Francesca Flores is a writer, traveler and linguist. Raised in Pittsburgh, she read every fantasy book she could get her hands on and started writing her own stories at a young age. She began writing Diamond Citywhile working as a corporate travel manager. When she’s not writing or reading, Francesca enjoys traveling, dancing ballet and jazz, practicing trapeze and contortion, and visiting parks and trails around San Francisco, where she currently resides.

THANK YOU ALL FOR READING! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below! 

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My Netgalley Request Spree

A few days ago I made a judgement call that would force me to get back into reading in a manic way. I went on Netgalley and requested a bunch of books. I’d banned myself from doing this ages ago. But, I’m not a depressed bean anymore. I’m excited about life and moving forward and I missed reading. It’s one of the biggest most magical parts of my life and I wanted to give myself an even larger incentive to read then ever.

I really didn’t know what I was expecting when I did this. I’ve been reviewing a bit lately and I just wanted to see what would happen and boy has it been an interesting line of approvals so far.

Also, I’m so incredibly grateful to Netgalley and all the publishers that approved me to read all these amazing titles. THANK YOU!!!

Books Requested and Approved:

Mayhem by Estelle Laure

That cover my goodness! I saw it and had to request.

Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

This was a Hail Mary request. Did not expect the approval, but ohhh yeah I’m excited!

Throwaway Girls by Andrea Contos

Couldn’t resist these creepy vibes! This novel looks like a mystery I wanted to know about.

Glass Town Wars by Celia Rees

This cover is UNIQUE. I wanted to know what the story was inside. I’m excited to get to find out!

Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

This book is a mix up of so many things yet it looks so much like it fits. I am so so happy and excited I got approved to read it!

I Hope You’re Listening by Tom Ryan

Again a good Mystery and I couldn’t resist requesting! It sounded amazing!

The Unstoppable Wasp by Sam Maggs

I said so many prayers to get approved for this title. I have a fat crush on Sam Maggs and holy smokes I’m so so excited to read this book!!! I was happy all day when I saw this approval!

Each of Us a Desert by Mark Oshiro

So I’ve always wanted to read Anger is a Gift and I already know that book is soooo well loved so I had to request this book! So happy to have the chance to read it!

Never Look Back by Lilliam Rivera

This book has MAGICAL REALISM!!! Let me say that again MAGICAL REALISM alert!! Freaking will want to read every ya magical realism book I can get my hands on. It’s my jam! Plus omg that cover is chef’s kiss gorgeous!

Hush by Dylan Farrow

The magic in this novel sounds freaking amazing lemme tell you. I read the description and was like HELL yes sign me up for that thank you!

My Rejection:

Blazewrath Games by Amparo Ortiz

That’s right this is the only book I’ve heard back as a no from and I get it. This is a very popularly requested book and I’ve gotten many many yes’s to many amazing novels! Still gotta appreciate that cover tho A+!

Pending Requests:

So all that looks like a lot of books right? Well when I say I went on a request spree.. I went on a request SPREE. Anyway here’s what I’m waiting to hear back on.

Last Girls by Demetra Brodsky

Soooo about this book. I kinda sorta got notified today that I won it in a giveaway sooo.. it may be pending, but like.. hell yess I get to read this book!!!! I have her other book Dive Smack on my shelves and I also won that in a giveaway way back. Apparently I’m meant to read Demetra’s books. I’ll be owning both books she’s written so far! Very excited!

The rest in a beautiful collage of ohh my gosh I hope I get to read these!!!!

That’s 18 more books I’ve yet to hear back on! All of them books I’d feel so happy to read! We’ll see what happens sometime soon! But, gosh I can’t wait to see if I get approved for any of these. Looking at them all together my heart swells. They all look so beautiful!

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The Grace Year: A Review

The Grace Year by Kim Ligget

My Rating: 5 stars!!!

Cover Rating: 9/10 I love this cover! It’s perfect for the novel inside it. The dead look on the girls face and the red ribbon devolving into blood is a perfect representation of the book itself. What you get in this cover is what you get in this book and that’s what makes the art of it so amazing!

Publisher: St. Martins Press

Publish Date: October 8th, 2019

Number of Pages: 416

Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

Survive the year.

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden. 

In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive. 

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life―a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other. 

With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.

Opening Sentence: “No one speaks of the grace year.”

Musings:

‘The Grace Year’ is a fantastic novel. Just a chef’s kiss kind of novel. It’s got everything that makes a great novel great. I had such a wonderful time reading.

What I Loved:

Darker then Dark. The girls in this novel are vicious. They are deadly. They are girls that you want to stay very far away from. Kim Ligett swing for dark and hit a home run. It’s scary how mentally these girls get so attached to believing they have magic they must purge that they turn so savage. It’s a wonder anyone survives a grace year. The whole time I kept thinking am I really reading this? Did she just tell that girl what I think she told that girl to do? Is that really what that tree is for? It’s so dark.

Somehow the Romance manages to be adorable anyway. One light in all the dark is the love story. I loved it! Yet it’s a little bit later in the story so I don’t want to spoil anything about it. Just that it’s swoon worthy.

I didn’t know how hope could live in this world. If your a woman in this novel your life is good for either a. Being a wife b. Working terrible jobs or c. Being sent to the outskirts to be a prostitute. Also, if your husband gets tired of you he can just say that you’ve been harboring magic and then you get hung. The prospects for a woman in this book aren’t great. I was wondering for a while where the hope lied and there is hope in this novel it just took a while to get there.

It’s a nail bitter of a book. The entire time you wonder is this girl going to make it? Is it possible for her to survive the savagery of the Grace Year. It’s madness. There is no other way to describe it the Grace Year is utter madness. Getting through it with a bit of your sanity is a miracle.

I’m still thinking WTH.. I can’t get over this book really. What it says about women. What it reflects about society. How goddamn dark it was. I’m still in awe. What a fantastic book it was.

All in all:

I highly recommend picking up a copy of The Grace Year. If you love a strong heroine with bite you’ll love this book. If you love a good dark story you’ll love this book. If you want to stare up at your ceiling wondering about life you’ll love this book. What are you doing still reading this? Go pick up this book!

About the Author

At sixteen, Kim Liggett left her rural midwestern town for New York City to pursue a career in music. Along with lending her voice to hundreds of studio recordings, she was a backup singer for some of the biggest rock bands in the 80’s.
Kim spends her free time studying the tarot and scouring Manhattan for vials of rare perfume and the perfect egg white cocktail.

THANK YOU ALL FOR READING! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below! 

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Glow: Book 1, Potency: A Review

Glow: Book 1, Potency by Aubrey Hadley

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Cover Rating: 8/10 a beautiful cover! It works beautifully for the novel. It covers the sci-fi elements as well as what Harper is capable of being able to glow.

Publisher: Ruby & Topaz Publishing

Publish Date: June 16th, 2020

Number of Pages: 420

Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

The Sleeping Syndrome has returned after a six-month hiatus. This time, it’s popped up in New York, and it’s wiped out an entire homeless shelter. The same night of the outbreak — thousands of miles away — Harper, a seventeen-year-old girl, finds herself face-to-face with a glowing figure in the desert outskirts of her neighborhood.

As the world goes on high-alert from the Syndrome, Harper is kidnapped and taken to the Base of Ki, a massive dome with a sheening white city and fantastic technology … built by beings from another solar system.

There, she must form cross-species alliances to save her friends, family, and the human race before she loses all chance of returning to Earth.

Opening Sentence: “My hands are almost shaking too much to grasp the knob.”

Musings:

(Before I start this review I have a few things to say about the author. Aubrey Hadley is super sweet. I posted on Twitter about reading the book and how the Quarantine part hit hard during these times. She kindly tweeted at me and let me know that I was reading an older version of the book. She emailed me the new version and was so kind about it. It was one of the sweetest interactions with an author I have had.)

Now for my thoughts on the book:

I can’t really imagine something more terrifying then a syndrome showing up and killing people in mass. Add that with Aliens being behind everything and stripping apart everything you thought you knew about the world and it’s terrifying. Following Hybrid Harper through this novel and seeing how she deals with such a terrifying situation and stays strong is really cool.

What I loved:

The Idea. I liked the back story behind everything. Being a hybrid and growing up believing yourself to be human. Discovering who you are only to realize that if you don’t do something to try and save the Earth no one else is going to.

The light in the dark. This easily could have been a heavy novel. However, Aubrey kept it mostly light. When it hits it hits, but there was decent amounts of reprieve to balance the weight of what Harper is going through.

The contrasts. In the beginning your immersed in Harper’s home life. She’s dealing with heavy emotional abuse from her mom. She’s protecting her sister as much as she can. Then, being captured by beings from another world she must quickly adapt and keep quiet in order to be able to escape and help save as many lives as she can from the syndrome that threatens to end the entire human race. When you go from one part the other you feel like a fish out of water. Which is exactly how Harper feels being taken.

The question of whether or not the earth is worth saving at all. Morality in general is grey. It isn’t black and white. There is so much evil in the world. Being presented with only that evil and earth is better off rotting, but in Harper’s heart she knows that the good in people’s hearts and how much we try to do better makes the earth worth saving. It’s wonderful.

All in all:

I very much enjoyed Glow. It is a wonderful novel well worth the read. I love a good sci-fi and I really enjoyed this one.

About the Author

Aubrey Hadley has always loved two things in life: words and design. In 2005, she put writing to the side (she wasn’t sure if she was any good at it) and moved from her hometown of Sparks, Nevada to San Francisco, California to focus on a career in Human Interface Design. In 2012 — after working in the Tech Industry for a while — she decided to get back into writing and began her first novel, Glow: Book I, Potency.

THANK YOU ALL FOR READING! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below! 

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The Voice of my Mind: A Review

The Voice of my Mind by T. A. Fish

My Rating: 3/5 stars

Cover Rating: 4/10 it’s simple and fits the title, but it’s not something that really stands out. It’s not something that would really attract my attention in a book store.

Publisher: Book Baby

Publish Date: June 1st, 2019

Number of Pages: 86

Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

The Voice of My Mind, by author T. A. Fish, is an avant-garde poetry collection that took over 5 years to complete. Each poem is beautifully crafted with great virtuosity, that haunts with extreme depth and wonder. The collection deals with themes of grief, love, spiritual enlightenment, and philosophy. From beginning to end, the poems read in a mesmerizing and captivating style, expertly flowing from one theme to the next.

Opening Poem:

Treasure

The pyre of life Is a great treasure chest;

Pouring out All, Of the world’s best.

The fruit of men Is like a deep well;

To find the bottom Time will tell.

The love of God Is like a great vista view;

Endless in boundaries And beauty too.

The hate of the world Is an abominable snow;

Blinding in rage Of what it ought not know.

The knowledge of life Is knowing what is to gain;

Searching all truth And seeking in vain.

Musings:

I think one of the main issues with this collection is how much the same it is. The rhythms are all the same and it’s like reading one long redundant poem and no one wants that.

However, the reason why I rated this 3 stars is because there was 2 poems that I really did enjoy, but even those have the same redundant rhythm and I wish it didn’t.

I will share the one I liked the most with all of you:

Grim

The madness creeping deep within,

The lifeless body of a man named grim;

As a heartless beat quakes the thin,

Revenant who died and rose again.

Writhing and crawling with nary a shin,

Carrying a devilish smile,

disguised as a grin,

His twinkling eyes,

protrude through the dim,

Haze of blackness that encompass his skin.

Seeing a doppelganger claiming his twin,

The unrepentant soul of abhorrent sin,

Seeking to devour his spirited kin;

Dragging his corpse into the depths therein.

Screaming his last, from the pit, of the dungeon,

Never a fate so great and grim,

La fin.

I like this one because it was darker and it made me think of Halloween and creepiness. But, even re-reading it I don’t feel like it has a lasting impression.

Mostly, I just wanted there to be variety in the tone. It’s like the words no longer matter because there was no variety in the beat. It’s like the poetry is trying to be grander then it actually is. It’s not even that the poems themselves are bad. I feel like it’s all trying too hard.

All in all:

This collection had a lot of potential it never tapped into. It had some good topics and some good lines, but it fell lacking to redundancy. It’s a run of the mill poetry collection. Not terrible, but not great. Which is why I gave it the rating I did.

About the Author:

T. A. Fish is a Christian author, who spent over 5 years crafting the deep, provocative, and thought-provoking poetry collection The Voice of My Mind. “The Voice of My Mind is a journey of the human spirit; one that dives into the deepest and darkest crevices of the human mind, and then reaches for the heights of spiritual enlightenment and redemption. ” – T. A. Fish

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Wicked Saints: A Review

Wicked Saints (Book 1) by Emily A. Duncan

My Rating: 4/5 stars!

Cover Rating: 5/10 a standard book cover. I like the darkness of it. It just doesn’t give me a wow factor. I do like that the kingdom is in the cover though. That’s pretty cool.

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publish Date: April 2nd, 2019

Number of Pages: 385

Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis: An instant New York Times bestseller! 

“Prepare for a snow-frosted, blood-drenched fairy tale where the monsters steal your heart and love ends up being the nightmare.” – Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Gilded Wolves and The Star-Touched Queen

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings. 

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holytrilogy.

“This book destroyed me and I adored it.”- Stephanie Garber, New York Times bestselling author of Caraval

Opening Sentence: Death, magic, and winter. A bitter cycle that Marzenya spins with crimson threads around pale fingers. She is constant; she is unrelenting; she is eternal. She can grant any spell to those she has blessed, her reach is the fabric of magic itself.—Codex of the Divine, 2:18

The calming echo of a holy chant filtered down from the sanctuary and into the cellars.”

Musings:

This book reminds me of why I love fantasy. A whole world in your fingertips that can be as dark and magical as you dream it to be. Emily writes such a tale. Something where everyone has their own agenda and manipulation and truth within lies makes world views shatter and the fate of whole kingdoms lying in the balance of all of it.

What I Loved:

The writing. There were some chapters of this book where the writing was positively addicting. The reason I say some is only because certain chapters were written like dreams and the elegance of those chapters shown, while others served the purpose of showing action and furthering the plot and that isn’t a bad thing. It made the book very well balanced and thoroughly enjoyable.

Falling for the wrong guy. It’s nice to see a story that shows someone making a mistake about the person they fall for. It happens to all of us and in this story it had some dubious consequences. Although I loved the attraction between Nadya and Malachiasz. I think I have a thing for male characters with M names “cough Morpheus cough Mephistopheles cough” with a penchant for magic and very charismatic personalities. It’s a sad that Malachiasz would probably kill me before showing me any sort of interest.

The unwinding of truth and lies. Nadya has lived her life incredibly sheltered. She lives to serve the Gods and has practiced a perfection of being and devotion that is tested and bent completely as the book unfolds. She uncovers lie after lie. Something about the way everything is revealed to her was sort of grossly beautiful to me. Because it makes me think what sort of incredible fury she will unleash in the next book. I want to see this girl rise and I have a feeling she will and I can’t wait to see it happen.

The magic itself. There isn’t really much limitation to how the magic in this world manifests. It does have limits from person to person, but in general there is a lot of variety to the spells that are very personal to who is casting. This makes for some beautiful scenes where the magic manifests in very unique ways that I really enjoyed.

All in all:

This book is a great one! The way things enfolded has me very excited about what is to come and what adventures await Nadya in the future! I love a book with intensity and Wicked Saints had that aplenty.

About the Author:

emily / XXVI / 
—NYT & Indie bestselling author of WICKED SAINTS and RUTHLESS GODS from Wednesday Books/Macmillan 

— purchase Wicked Saints here! 

—preorder Ruthless Gods here! 

— YA fantasy writer rep’d by Thao Le of SDLA 
evil!boyfriends / villains / metal music / Goth Life /

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Yesterday’s Wordcount: 918

In Another Life: A Review

In Another Life by C.C. Hunter

My Rating: 4 Stars!

Cover Rating: 3/10 stars, I’m not really feeling this cover. I think the only thing that would attract me to it is the color. It doesn’t feel like it’s truly connected with the story in any real way other then to say things get a bit fractured in the novel. I wish they had gone in a different direction.

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publish Date: March 26th, 2019

Number of Pages: 352

Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

“What would you do if your whole life was a lie and learning the truth could cost you your life?

From New York Times bestselling author of the Shadow Falls series comes C. C. Hunter’s new YA thriller about a girl who learns that she may have been kidnapped as a child, and must race to uncover the truth about her past before she winds up a victim.

Chloe was three years old when she became Chloe Holden, but her adoption didn’t scar her, and she’s had a great life. Now, fourteen years later, her loving parents’ marriage has fallen apart and her mom has moved them to Joyful, Texas. Starting twelfth grade as the new kid at school, everything Chloe loved about her life is gone. And feelings of déjà vu from her early childhood start haunting her.

When Chloe meets Cash Colton she feels drawn to him, as though they’re kindred spirits. Until Cash tells her the real reason he sought her out: Chloe looks exactly like the daughter his foster parents lost years ago, and he’s determined to figure out the truth.

As Chloe and Cash delve deeper into her adoption, the more things don’t add up, and the more strange things start happening. Why is Chloe’s adoption a secret that people would kill for?”

Opening Sentence: ““What are you doing?” I ask when Dad pulls over at a convenience store only a mile from where Mom and I are now living.”

Musings:

Reading this book brought up a lot of emotions in me. It was a story way more intense then my own, but I was taken by the similarities in feeling. Chole was happy with her situation for most of her life. Living with the family that loved her and gave her all that she could have ever wanted, but her parents divorce changed everything. Then, Cash comes into her life and her world is flipped inside out and upside down. When he presents the idea that she was the kidnapped child of his foster parents and slowly reveals to her his own checkered past she is thrown into a state where she doesn’t know what to believe.

What I Enjoyed:

The action. It’s slow building to this point, but it has many tense thriller moments. I really enjoyed the way the events added up and built suspense as the story went on.

How suspicious Cash always was. Cash had constant suspicions to the 10th degree. Sometimes, I had no idea where they were coming from. But, I enjoyed how he began to trust Chole slowly as time went on.

Watching the two come together. I liked the relationship between them. It was complicated yes. It brought up a lot of baggage in them both, but what mattered was the love that was there and they decided to be there for each other and accept each other as they were.

That Chole had a good relationship with her parents. Yes at times due to divorce that the relationships were strained. However, at the end of the day the love was there. It was nice to read an adoption story where the parents weren’t abusive.

All and All:

In Another Life is a unique read with curious situations and some really great writing. You’ll keep guessing what the real truth is till the very end.

About the Author:

C. C. Hunter is the American author of the Shadow Falls young adult novels. C.C. Hunter is a pen name. Under her real name, Christie Craig, she also writes romantic suspense novels. Born in Alabama, she now lives in Texas.

Thanks for reading! I meant to write and post this review ages ago. I procrastinated on this one a ton and I no longer remember why, but better late then never! As always, let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

Ransacker: A Review

Ransacker (Berserker Book #2) by Emmy Laybourne

My Rating: 4/5 stars!

Cover Rating: 10/10 I love this cover. It’s so painterly and beautiful. I love how you can clearly tell the emotions on each of the characters faces. It also clearly mixes the Norse mythology and western roots the story has. All in all, it is beautifully and artistically done.

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

Publish Date: January 29th, 2019

Number of Pages: 448 pages

Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

“The gripping, heart-wrenching companion novel to Emmy Laybourne’s much acclaimed historical fantasy Berserker.

Rare powers. Precious metals. A final showdown.

1886. The Hemstads possess supernatural powers bestowed upon their family by the ancient Norse gods. Now Sissel, the youngest at 16, discovers her gift: she is a Ransacker. She can find gold and other precious metals and pull them to her. Hers is an awesome and dangerous gift.

Sissel and her siblings have been living peacefully in a small town in Montana, trying to blend-in and escape the violent events that haunt them, but they’ve all been tricked―the handsome young man courting Sissel is secretly a Pinkerton spy, reporting to the man who wants to control them, the Baron Fjelstad.

Sissel’s beau is not the only one interested in her new talents. She’s also caught the attention of a local mine owner who’s convinced Sissel has a lucky touch when it comes to finding gold. With betrayal lurking around every corner, Sissel must tread carefully. Harnessing her powers could bring great fortune . . . or cause the powerful Baron to come hunting her and her siblings down for once and for all.”

Opening Sentence: “My dearest Stieg, I cannot tell you how glad I was to find your letter of June 10 waiting for me at the address of our contact in Årstad.

Musings:

Ransacker is the empowering sequel to one of my favorite reads of 2018 Berserker. The horror was dialed back in Ransacker to make way for a whole different sort of story. The story of Sissel. The sister who was known for being Nyette free and weak. But the sister who would not be set back by her perceived weaknesses any longer.

What I Loved:

Sissel’s strength. This is 100% Sissel’s story. She grows in this story. She finds her worth. She finds her strength. She decides for herself to take the path that she desires. Sissel shines in Ransacker and I’m all here for it.

The western feel. I am usually completely uninterested in western novels, but this one uses the western setting in a great way to tell a totally unique story and I’m all for it.

The Norse Mythology. I love a good fantasy with magic, but this sort of magic in particular is really intriguing to me. Using your powers eventually leading to some sort of physical punishment like the possibility of hearing loss is intriguing. Especially when the call to use these powers is always very strong.

Love beyond the flaws. McKray the mine owner is a swindler. He is fundamentally a flawed human being. He lied to increase his own wealth and yet Sissel saw more in him. Saw him in his totality and loved him for him completely. Though they did have their struggles love won out. That’s the kind of love that I’d like to share.

The other Beau. I may not hold any love for James, but I do love how Sissel grew from her courtship with him. Sissel knew that she didn’t want this boy. They had a friendship and James always acted like he wanted more (for not the best of reasons) and Sissel eventually chose for herself what she wanted and she did so with great respect for herself and I greatly admire that.

The continuation of Hanne’s story. I like that Hanne had her own little storyline within Sissel’s story. I loved seeing her and Owen together and seeing their relationship evolve more deeply. I always loved them together and seeing them live and grow together was a beautiful addition to the novel.

The imagery that the powers of a Ransacker creates. The way that Sissel connected with metals was so cool. They were characterized with different personalities and gold being of the most brilliance. It created this really beautiful and totally unique layer of description that I adored.

All in all:

Ransacker was brilliant and empowering and beautifully written. I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to read it. It’s a worthy sequel to Ransacker with its own very unique vibe. I enjoyed every moment of reading it.

About the Author:

EMMY LAYBOURNE is a Young Adult novelist best known for her Monument 14 series, an internationally best-selling trilogy that has been translated into 9 languages. Her standalone book Sweet won a Junior Library Guild Award, was a YALSA Quick Pick and got a Perfect Ten rating from VOYA. Her latest books, Berserker, and Ransacker tell the story of a family of Norwegian teens with ancient Viking powers and are currently being adapted for television.

Emmy is a former character actress, and is occasionally recognized from her role as Mary Katherine Gallagher’s best friend in the movie “Superstar.” She lives outside New York with her husband, two kids, faithful dog and a flock of seven nifty chickens. Visit her online at www.EmmyLaybourne.com.

Thanks for reading! It’s been ages since I have written a review. I am so glad that the first I write in a while is for such an awesome novel. Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

Freedom From Netgalley

I am finally.. finally free from my Netgalley obligations!!! That’s right.. completely and totally free!

I do not have a 100% feedback ratio. Because of the way I requested books at one point a lot of the books became unavailable because I took to long to get to them.. I am NEVER over requesting books again. From now on.. it’s one or two at a time.

Look at that 87% feedback rating… feels so good! I feel badly about the 15 novels that fell through the cracks.. some of them I didn’t review because they were problematic and I didn’t want to read them and others because I didn’t manage my time right and no longer had access to those books, but I got to a majority of the books and it feels like a true success!

I’m going to steer clear of Netgalley for a while.. I have quite a few books on my shelves and ebooks that I want to get to. I have some books on my shelves I should have read a LONG time ago, but now I am free to read what I want. Maybe I’ll reread a few things. Who knows? I might request the occasional Netgalley read, but for now my book shelves look really good to me.

This Netgalley clean-up took months! I kinda messed things up for myself when I did my book a day thing for the longest time.. it burned me out. Especially writing reviews all the time. It made me so unhappy with my blog and I just wanted to get back to writing posts the way I used to… daily, but whatever I wanted. It’d be nice to do some tags again. I have a couple of projects I’m thinking of doing. All I know is.. it feels good to be free!

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

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-Till next time!