Friday, May 25, 2018

The Marvelous Adventures of Gwendolyn Gray by B.A. Williamson

Gwendolyn Gray faces an overwhelming battle every day: keeping her imagination under control. It's a struggle for a dreamer like Gwendolyn, in a city of identical gray skyscrapers, clouds that never clear, and grown-ups who never understand. 
But when her daydreams come alive and run amok in The City, the struggle to control them becomes as real as the furry creatures infesting her bedroom. Worse yet, she's drawn the attention fo the Faceless Gentlemen, who want to preserve order in The City by erasing Gwendolyn and her troublesome creations. 
With the help of two explorers from another world, Gwendolyn escapes and finds herself in a land with clockwork inventions and colorful creations. Now Gwendolyn must harness her powers and, with a gang of airship pirates, stop the Faceless Gentlemen from destroying the new world she loves and the home that never wanted her-before every world becomes gray and dull. 

Review

I started reading more Middle Grade books after reading The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken, which I absolutely LOVED! (Also, I am SUPER sad that the sequel is not scheduled to be released until January!)

While Prosper Redding is still one of my favorites, I really liked this book!

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The story is about Gwendolyn Gray, who is considered weird in her bland and boring city, with her fiery red hair and wild imagination.

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Even though my adult-self enjoyed reading this, I know that I would have loved reading it when I was younger!

Also, I really like the author's story! B.A. Williamson (@BAWrites) is a teacher and has been writing this book with input from his kids for the past 6 years. How awesome is that?

Check out an interview with him talking more about this HERE!

The only thing about this book that irked me was the romantic vibes. This is an MG book, and Gwendolyn is way too young to be getting into any kind of romantic plotline. I know I don't want to read about a 12-year-old having a romantic relationship. However, the book is not overly saturated with romance, it is a small plotline among many other more exciting ones.

This was a very unique concept, and B.A. Williamson executed it brilliantly! I can't wait to see what he writes next!

I received a copy of this book from the publishers, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Here are some of the promo images from the book's Facebook page that I thought you might enjoy!



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Monday, April 30, 2018

Shade (The Shade #1) by Marilyn Peake

Shade (The Shade Series #1)
Finalist in the 2015 National Indie Excellence Book Awards, Young Adult Fiction category. 
 Thanks to her offbeat mother, Shade's full name is Galactic Shade Griffin. Having a name like that while being the new girl in school is pretty much catnip for bullies. The summer before Shade's junior year of high school, her mother breaks up with yet another boyfriend and moves them once again to a new town.
This time, they move into a dilapidated old house where Shade has an entire attic bedroom to herself-at least until she discovers it's haunted by the ghost of a teenaged boy named Brando Yates. When Shade's best friend goes missing, her life becomes even more complicated. With the help of Brandon who's struggling with his own issues in the world beyond, Shade faces the question of whether or not she has what it takes to become a true hero.
Although this novel deals with a number of serious issues - drug and alcohol abuse, cutting, and disturbing world events - it's primarily a novel about a teenaged girl finding out who she really is and that she's capable of so much more than she ever thought possible. 
Shade is a Young Adult Paranormal Mystery novel. 

Review

I've been getting Marilyn Peake's emails for a while but had never read any of her books, so when I got an email about joining her ARC team, I jumped on the opportunity to check out some of her work.

This book is about Galactic Shade Griffin, aka Shade, a teenager with a drug and alcohol addicted mother who has just broken up with yet another boyfriend and moved her and her daughter yet again. This time, her mother moves them into a haunted house. When girls start going missing from Shade's school, the ghosts help solve the case.  

The amount of mature, potentially triggering topics in what I assumed was a light-hearted YA fantasy book was really surprising. Pretty quickly into the book, Shade starts cutting herself. She then sees a ghost, and the knife is flung from her hand and her arms are healed. The ghost tells her that she should do art instead of cutting herself. 

In some ways, I would think this book should be considered Middle Grade, because of the writing and the maturity of some of the characters. However, there were many topics that were completely inappropriate for MG books, like human trafficking and abortion.

I'm not sure what else to say about this book. It was kind of over the place, I am interested in checking out some of the author's other work, though. Next, I am going to try The Other, which is supposed to be a sci-fi book that features aliens. The reviews on GoodReads are much more positive than they are for this book, so I'm hopeful. I'll let you know what I think! 

I received a copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor #2) by Mark Lawrence

Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #2)
In Mystic Class, Nona Grey begins to learn the secrets of the universe. But so often, even the deepest truths just make our choices harder. Before she leaves the Convent of Sweet Mercy, Nona must choose her path and take the red of a Martial Sister, the grey of a Sister of Discretion, the blue of a Mystic Sister, or the simple black of a Bride of the Ancestor and a life of prayer and service. 
All that stands between her and these choices are the pride of a thwarted assassin, the ambition of a would-be empress wielding the Inquisition like a blade, and the vengeance of the empire's richest lord.
As the world narrows around her, and her enemies attach her through the system she has sword to, Nona must find her own path despite the competing pull of friendship, revenge, ambition, and loyalty. 
And in all this only one thing is certain.
There will be blood.

Review

First of all, if you haven't read Red Sister, you should do that now! It's a great book!

I absolutely loved Red Sister and have been waiting since it first came out, about a year ago, to read the sequel! This book took me a little longer to read, but it was still awesome. 

Mark Lawrence is a great writer and has created such a unique and interesting world, full of ruthless nobles and killer nuns. What more could you ask for?

I love Nona as much, if not more than I did in the last book! She is a total badass! I also really like Zole in this book.

I like that the author put a refresher at the beginning of the book, in case readers had to wait a while between reading the first and second books, like I did. He said it is so that he "can avoid the awkwardness of having to have characters tell each other things they already know for your benefit." It was definitely nice to have a short refresher since it has been over a year since I read the first book.

This book was just as good as I thought it would be and had just as much action, if not more than the first. It definitely didn't disappoint!

I received a copy of this book from the publishers, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Unraveled (Perfected #3) by Kate Jarvik Birch Blog Tour & Giveaway


Unraveled (Perfected, #3)
Ella isn't anyone's pet anymore, but she's certainly not free. 
After exposing the dark secrets about NuPet's breeding program, forcing them to repeal the law that allowed genetically modified girls to be kept as pets, she thought girls like her would finally be free. She never dreamed that it would backfire. NuPet may have convinced the public of their intentions to assimilate pets back into society, but Ella knows it's a lie. 
They aren't planning mass rehabilitation... they're planning a mass extermination.
Now, with the help of a small group of rebels, Ella and Penn, the boy she'd give up her life for, set out to bring down NuPet for good. But when her group gets implicated in a string of bombings, no one is safe. If she can't untangle the web of blackmail and lies that extends far beyond NuPet's reach, she won't just lose her chance at freedom, she'll lose everyone she loves.


About Kate Jarvik Birch: 


Kate Jarvik Birch is a visual artist, author, playwright, daydreamer, and professional procrastinator. As a child, she wanted to grow up to be either a unicorn or mermaid. Luckily, being a writer turned out to be just as magical. Her essays and short stories have been published in literary journals including Indiana Review and Saint Ann's Review. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband and three kids. 

Author Links:

Author Website: katejarvikbirch.com
Author Twitter: @katejarvikbirch
Author Instagram: instagram.com/kebirch




Review:

First of all, if you have not read Perfected or Tarnished yet, go out and get them right now! You'll want to read them before you start this book, and you will definitely want to start this book. 😸

I have been waiting to read this book for a long time, and it definitely did not disappoint!

This book was AWESOME! Kate Jarvik Birch definitely knows how to suck you in and keep you on the edge of your seat!

I liked this book just as much, if not more than the first 2 books in the series!

I am hoping to hear more from Ella and Penn, but I think this might be the last book in the series. If so, I can't wait to see what Kate Jarvik Birch comes up with next!

I received a copy of this book in order to participate in the blog tour.

                                



Sunday, April 1, 2018

Children of Daedala (Children of Icarus #2) by Caighlan Smith

Children of Daedala
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. You know the labyrinth will have yet more horrors lurking in its depths. You've learned few people can be trusted. But freedom is tantalizingly close. Are you ready to take the risk? 
Review

OMG! This book was AWESOME! I absolutely loved it!!!

As with Children of Icarus, the author did a great job world building, and this book was very well-written. 

This book also kept me guessing. I couldn't put it down, and it had many twists and turns throughout the book. 

My only issue with this book was the ending. It ends with such a cliffhanger! I'm just upset that I will have to wait a long time to see what happens next. The next book in the series is not listed on GoodReads yet, so I am not sure when book #3 will be released. 

I loved Clara in this book. In the last book, she got on my nerves some, because of how weak she seemed. She has a complete transformation from the girl we meet at the beginning of Children of Icarus and the girl that is in this book.  

If you haven't read Children of Icarus, you should read it now so that you can follow up with this book!

I received a copy of this book from the publishers, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. 


Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

Tess of the Road
In the medieval kingdom of Goredd, women are expected to be ladies, men are their protectors, and dragons get to be whomever they want. 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 to a nunnery, Tess yanks on her books and sets out on a journey across the Southlands, alone and pretending ot be a boy.
Where Tess is headed is a mystery, even to her. So when she runs into an old friend, it's a stroke of luck. But the friend is a quigutl--a subspecies of dragon--who gives her both a purpose and protection on the road. But Tess is guarding a troubling secret. Her tumultous past is a heavy burden to carry, and the memories she's trying to forget threaten to expose her to the world in more ways than one. 

Review

I have been wanting to read this book since I first heard about it and saw that awesome cover! I had also been wanting to read Seraphina's books. So when I got a copy of this book from NetGalley and read that it was set in the same world as Seraphina, I decided that I should read Seraphina first so that I could get as much out of this book as possible. I am glad I made this decision!

Although TotR is not part of the same series, and you could probably read TotR without reading Seraphina first, I wouldn't recommend it. TotT takes place in the years following Seraphina's books, and Seraphina's books contain quite a bit of (very well written) world building and background information that may make parts of TotR difficult to interpret without.

I love how Rachel Hartman talks about important issues that we face today in such a unique way that captivates readers! She takes topics that are so prevalent and important to talk about in today's culture and perfectly fit them into a story about dragons! For example, Seraphina focuses heavily on racism and the acceptance of interracial relationships.

Both Seraphina and this book talk quite a bit about religion. In Seraphina, the Sons of Ogdo use religion as an excuse to hate. In this book, Tess' mother uses religion to keep her family in line. This book even touches on gender identification (Quigutls can change their gender), rape, and slut shaming.

Tess takes place in a time after the war, in which people are supposed to be more accepting of dragons.

I ♥ that we get to learn more about quigutls in this book! We meet several briefly in Seraphina's books, but they are not the focus. We get to spend much more time with them in this book, and we get to learn more about their personalities and the way they live.

Tess dreams of being an adventurer like Dozerius the pirate that she read about as a child. She runs away from her family after an embarrassing, drunken wedding. Luckily, she runs into Pathka, her childhood quigutl friend, and they go on an adventure together, like they talked about when she was younger.

This was an awesome book! I highly recommend it! I can't wait to see what happens next! My only issue is how long I am going to have to wait to read the sequel!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. 


Other books by Rachel Hartment, based in Tess' world:

       

Friday, March 23, 2018

Seraphina series by Rachel Hartman

Seraphina (Seraphina, #1)    Shadow Scale (Seraphina, #2)
In her New York Times bestselling and Morris Award-winning debut, Rachel Hartman introduces mathematical dragons in an alternative medieval world to fantasy and science-fiction readers of all ages. Eragon-author Christopher Paolini calls them, "Some of the most interesting gradongs I've read in fantasy."
Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadoes, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high. 
Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered--in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.
Review

I have been wanting to read this book since I first head about it quite some time ago. When I learned about Tess of the Road (TotR)and found out that it is set in the same world as Seraphina, I knew I had to read Seraphina before starting TotR.

Before I started reading this book, I went back and read a bunch of reviews. Sometimes I get a little skeptical when I read so many reviews that talk about how great a book is, but Seraphina does not disappoint! It was AH-MAY-ZING!!!

I laughed, I cried, and I looked up a bunch of words that I didn't know the definition of (thank you Kindle app for your built-in dictionary).

I absolutely ♥ ♥ ♥ Seraphina, and I absolutely ♥ ♥ ♥ Rachel Harman's writing! Her world building and character development were extraordinary.

I also ♥ ♥ ♥ Orma! He was one of my favorite characters.

I was so thankful that I had access to book #2 right after finishing #1.  I would have been very sad if I had to wait to see what happened next.

Shadow Scale (book #2) was not quite as good as book #1, but it was still fun and entertaining and well worth the read. Plus, to better understand TotR, I definitely recommend reading both books.

I loved that Rachel Hartman was able to discuss serious issues that are present in today's society while telling a story about dragons in a fun and entertaining way (and not preachy). She talks about racism and race relations, as well interracial relationships. She talks about religion and misplaced hate, disguised as religion. She even touches on gender identity!

I think Norah Piehl said it well on Teen Reads:
Rachel Hartman's debut fantasy is self-assured and ambitious, with a complicated plot that is nevertheless engaging from first to last. It also possesses a sly commentary on our own political landscape, as Seraphina urges her human companions not to paint dragons as evildoers with too broad a brush.
Seraphina is a dragon novel that seemingly has it all: political intrigue, an imaginative world that never overwhelms the suspenseful plot, a wry sense of humor, a genuine romance, and, as readers will be pleased to discover, not only a satisfying narrative arc of its own but also the promise of a sequel. The end of the book finds Seraphina satisfied, having found her own "place to stand." Readers will be eager to discover where she'll land next.
I highly recommend this series! Check it out, then when you fall in love with Seraphina, read about her sister, Tess!

Stay tuned for my review of Tess of the Road! I will post it next week!


       

Monday, February 19, 2018

Redworld: Year One (Redworld, #1) by A.L. Collins

Redworld: Year One (Redworld, #1)

Belle Song and her family are aliens on a new world. The Songs came to Mars to seek a new life, but living on the red planet isn't easy. The land is rough. The people are strange. The weather is unpredictable, and water is always in short supply. However, adventure is never far away. Belle adapts to her new life on Mars, faces dangerous Water Raiders, explores wondrous ancient sites, and has other amazing adventures on Redworld. From the rich imagination of author A.L. Collins comes a fantastic sci-fi western story of growing up on the Martian plains. 

Review

Let me first say that I am much older than the target audience for this book. I may ♥ YA books, and I may have read some amazing MG books recently, but this book is geared for a much younger age group.

I thought this was a YA book when I requested it. I just looked back on NetGalley, and I see that it says Middle Grade, but I was browsing through YA books when I found this one.

SIDE RANT:  I would love it NetGalley would either integrate information from GoodReads into their site or develop their own information system that gives more information about books, besides their title, author, publisher, and a synopsis. for example, sometimes NetGalley doesn't list if a book is part of a series. I have unknowingly requested the 2nd or 3rd book in a series before, then had to find and read the other books before I was able to read the one book I thought I was requesting.)

But I digress...

Although this book was written for a younger audience, I still found it entertaining, and I know if I were younger, I would have absolutely loved it.

Not only does it allow younger readers to imagine what it might be like to travel to or live on a different planet, but it also touches on some important topics, like race relations, but in a way that younger readers can understand and enjoy.

I received a copy of this book from the publishers, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.