Posted in Arc, Young Adult

Mask of Shadows Book Review

Mask of Shadows by Linsey Millermaskofshadows

Expected Publication: September 5th 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

This eArc was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads Summary:

Perfect for fantasy fans of Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo, the first book in this new duology features a compelling gender fluid main character, impressive worldbuilding, and fast-paced action.

Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class―and the nobles who destroyed their home.

When Sal steals a flyer for an audition to become a member of The Left Hand―the Queen’s personal assassins, named after the rings she wears―Sal jumps at the chance to infiltrate the court and get revenge.

But the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. And as Sal succeeds in the competition, and wins the heart of Elise, an intriguing scribe at court, they start to dream of a new life and a different future, but one that Sal can have only if they survive.

What drew me to this book on NetGalley was the summary saying that it was for fans of Maas and Bardugo. I just wish that this book was more its own, rather than a mix of series that we have already read and for the most part love. This book had a Throne of Glass meets Hunger Games feel to it, and for that I didn’t have must interest in it.

The only aspect of this book that I did enjoy was that Sal was a gender fluid character, or well I more like the idea of such character. There was never really an explanation of why Sal was gender neutral, and the author made it seem as if everyone accepted Sal in whatever gender he/she was dressed that day. This would have been all fine and dandy that everyone was very accepting during this time if it wasn’t for Sal getting teary eyed every time someone accepted him (I’ll just call Sal him to make things simple). But even though Sal is gender fluid, it wasn’t a big aspect of the plot and sometimes felt thrown in as filler.

In reality, we don’t really know who Sal is as a character and anyone else for that matter. As soon as the audition starts everyone is given a number and a mask. This made caring about anyone in the book particularly hard, and since it’s a competition we don’t really learn who they are to begin with.

The world building was very confusing in this. I felt as if we were just thrown in and expected to know everything already. It didn’t help that I felt like I was rereading another book set in a dystopian world where everyone has to fight for the death to become the victor, or in this case the queens new assassin.

Overall, this book was a disappointment for me, and I will definitely not be picking up the second one when it comes out. Giving this book 2 stars is being very generous, my rating would actually be closer to 1-1.5.

Posted in Arc, NetGalley, Young Adult

Wanted eArc Review

Wanted (Spelled #2) by Betsy Schowwanted

Publication: February 7th 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

This eArc was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads Summary:

In the sequel to Spelled, can Robin Hood’s daughter, Rexi, stop the Wicked Witch from finding Excalibur?

Fairy-Tale Survival Rule No. 52:
No matter how difficult the obstacles or all-powerful the evil villain, one can rest assured that the hero of the story never dies. The sidekicks though…they should be worried.

Rexi Hood is proud to be an outlaw. After all, she’s the daughter of the infamous Robin Hood. But sidekick? Accomplice? Sorry, that wasn’t in her story description. Yeah, she and Princess Dorthea of Emerald have been inseparable since they teamed up to fight the wickedest witch. But if Rexi doesn’t figure out how to break the curse that binds them, forget being overshadowed by the spirited princess, Rexi’s going to become a Forgotten, wiped from the pages of Story and reduced to a puddle of ink.
Not happening. No way in Spell.
Rexi’s plan? Steal the sword Excalibur and use its magic to write her own tale. But Gwenevere has opened a new Academy of Villains in Camelot and danger lurks behind every plot twist. And you know how it goes in Story: keep your friends close and your enemies closer…

Wanted
I read the first book a little over a year and a half ago, and I don’t really remember it all that much. Which after reading this book, I probably should have reread beforehand. I was a little lost in the beginning, but once Schow moved away from it and more into Rexi’s story I started to really enjoy the book.
Probably for half the book I couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for Rexi and all the situations she was put through. Half of the time it wasn’t even her fault, but Rexi was the one who had to deal with the fall outs. For instance, in the first book Rexi sacrificed herself for Dorthea and then Dorthea brought her back to life. The catch was that Rexi’s life is now attached to Dorthea’s. In this book, Rexi seems to be dying a lot. At least 10-15 times, and each time she has to give up a memory to the Grim Reaper and eventually she started to become more and more like Dorthea. This unfortunately created a love triangle between Dorthea, Rexi, and Kato. Although, I am not really sure how Kato was developing feelings for her since he is “in love” with Dorthea. The whole situation didn’t make much sense (except from Rexi’s point of view) and Dorthea’s jealousy was just uncalled for.
One aspect that I didn’t like about this book was the fact that it seemed to jump around a lot from situation to situation. It seemed a little chaotic and not flushed out completely. At some points it even got a little confusing. Especially since I was reading an eArc copy, in the beginning of each new chapter the first letter of the word would be somewhere else in the sentence. This book definitely suffered from the middle book syndrome. All it really did was set up for the final book in the trilogy without really advancing that much plot-wise.
Overall, I did enjoy this book. I liked that Schow incorporated different legends instead of just fairy tales into this story. She also created some very interesting curve ball situations that was very creative. I hope in the third book Rexi gets to be involved with the love interest I want her to be with. ::crosses fingers::

Posted in Arc, NetGalley, Young Adult

Shadows of the Forest eArc Review

Shadows of the Forest by Emma Michaelsshadowsoftheforest

Published: November 4th 2016 by CHBB Publishing

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

This eArc was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads Summary:

Everyone is dying to live in the Shadows of the Forest.
They gave me three rules to follow in exchange for my brother’s life:
1. Do not enter the West Wing;
2. Do not go outside after darkness falls; and
3. There is only one exit; The Gates.

This is what happened when I broke them…

Shadows of the Forest

What drew me to this book was the premise and the cover, lets be honest its gorgeous! I have never heard of Emma Michaels before, so I thought I would give her a shot. It was definitely not what I thought it was and for a 144 page book, it seemed to drag on in some places making it seem much longer.

This book is heavily influenced by Lily’s abuse from her father growing up, and how she is dealing with it now that her parents are dead. This would have been fine if it didn’t define all of Lily’s actions for the first half of the book. In the beginning it’s understandable how her past would define her, I get it, but for it to continue for half the book and then all of a sudden she’s over it it doesn’t make sense. There was no character development whatsoever, one minute she was “don’t touch me” and the next she was all over Arro (or whatever his name is, I don’t remember anymore =/).

I liked that Lily wanted to make sure that her brother lives and that she would do anything for him. It’s understandable that she has no idea where she is and that she keeps getting information at each new step instead of all at once. What would have been better for the book is if we weren’t reminded of it on every single page. Not only is this the driving force of the plot, it is also very confusing. Mainly because we will be in one scene where we get confusing descriptions and half sentences, and then next will be a flashback. Nothing is ever explained coherently or in an order that makes sense. There was a heavy mix of Japanese folklore in this, and unfortunately I don’t know enough to know if it was done properly.

Overall, this book needs a major edit overhaul. The way it is now, I wouldn’t suggest reading it. Just enjoy the cover and go enjoy another YA fantasy book.

Posted in Arc, Young Adult

Wilder Book Review

Wilder (Birds of a Feather #1) by Lena Northwilder

Published: December 14th 2016 by FAB Publishing

This eArc was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:

Wilder’s wonderful grandfather is dead, and so is her mother, but Grandpa Willy gives her one final gift in his will – the knowledge that her father is only her step-father.

Once she meets Hawker, the scary man who turns out to be her real dad, her life takes an unexpected turn. She finds out about a heritage she never knew she had, and secrets from the past are uncovered as she fights to save her part of the world from destruction.

And then there’s Mac, with his green eyes and a soft voice that flows through her like sweet honey. He’s there to help Wilder as she struggles with how to fit into the group of people around her dad, and with every bad thing that happens it becomes more important to have Mac in her life .

“Wilder” is the first in the Birds of a Feather series and a spin-off from the Dreughan trilogy. It’s set in modern time and can be read stand-alone.

Wilder (Birds of a Feather #1)

It is a little hard for me to write a review for this book. I enjoyed it for the most part, but it’s also something that I thought was kind of just meh. It has a lot of potential that I think a good editing session could take care of.

This book starts off with Wilder dealing with her mother and grandfathers death at a lawyers office. There she finds out that Paolo is not her real father and that’s why he has always treated her with disdain. Wilder gets mad and storms out of the office and decides to head to Norton to see her real father. When she gets to Norton, Wilder fights with probably every single person she runs into (this should have been a hint for how the rest of the book would go). As a MC Wilder did not grow at all. Yes, she eventually grew to accept her family and get over the fact that they weren’t there for all of her life, but she didn’t grow as a person. She would fight with everyone even if she had a good reason or not. Mac would say she was being childish and then Wilder would get mad at him. Rinse, lather, repeat.

The dialogue was also super awkward in about half the conversations. For instance, Wilder will be in an argument with someone and then all of a sudden they are all laughing it off like nothing happened. And this happened about 90% of the time!!! I’m all for it happening occasionally, but it shouldn’t be used in every single situation. Especially when this situation happened every other page.

The pacing in this book could have been better as well. It was so slow in some parts that I was dragging to continue reading. North didn’t even bring in the supernatural aspect until about half way through the book. Then North barely explained what it all meant and the prophecy they found was all very confusing. Even at the end when it was supposed to have all come together, I have no idea what happened and why.

Overall, this wasn’t a terrible book to read. I wish that the pacing was better and that there was even a little bit of character development. Wilder could have sure used it.

Posted in Arc, Young Adult

Two Books I DNF This Month

I don’t like to DNF books, but sometimes you have no choice. Especially when your TBR shelf is 15+ books! I have been trying to read these two books for over a month now, and I think it is time to just put them away.

 

The first book I DNFed this month is:

A Mortal Song by Megan Creweamortalsong

Publication: September 13th 2016 by Another World Press

This eArc was provided by Megan Crewe in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads Summary:

Sora’s life was full of magic—until she discovered it was all a lie.

Heir to Mt. Fuji’s spirit kingdom, Sora yearns to finally take on the sacred kami duties. But just as she confronts her parents to make a plea, a ghostly army invades the mountain. Barely escaping with her life, Sora follows her mother’s last instructions to a heart-wrenching discovery: she is a human changeling, raised as a decoy while her parents’ true daughter remained safe but unaware in modern-day Tokyo. Her powers were only borrowed, never her own. Now, with the world’s natural cycles falling into chaos and the ghosts plotting an even more deadly assault, it falls on her to train the unprepared kami princess.

As Sora struggles with her emerging human weaknesses and the draw of an unanticipated ally with secrets of his own, she vows to keep fighting for her loved ones and the world they once protected. But for one mortal girl to make a difference in this desperate war between the spirits, she may have to give up the only home she’s ever known.

A Mortal Song started off great. I was interested and totally absorbed into the story, and then I just lost focus. I tried reading it multiple times, but I just couldn’t get back into the story. Which is a shame, because the setting was great and the storyline was different than what I have read lately. This book has been getting great reviews on Goodreads, so I’ll most likely pick this one up again after my TBR shelf goes down a little bit.


My second DNF book was:

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupecothebonewitch

Expected publication: March 7th 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire

This eARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads Summary:

When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha — one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.

Memoirs of a Geisha meets The Name of the Wind in this brilliant new fantasy series by Rin Chupeco!

I wish I had good things to say about this book. I DNFed at about 20%. The plot moved very slowly and I was hoping for a bit more magic. This book flips between current day Tea, and Tea telling her story to the guy that just comes up to her one day. I enjoyed the parts of the book with current day Tea, it was mysterious and a bit dark that made me want to know more about who she is and how she got there. But, then she gets talking and I lose interest quickly. The descriptions of certain things seemed to go on forever! Maybe once this book is actually published, I’ll try again and have, hopefully, a better experience.

 

What books have you DNFed lately?

 

 

 

Posted in Arc, NetGalley, Young Adult

Threats of Sky and Sea Review

Threats of Sky and Sea by Jennifer Ellisionthreatsofskyandsea

Book 1 in the Threats of Sky and Sea Series

Published: May 16th 2014 by Createspace

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I received an e-copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads Summary:

Sixteen year-old Breena Perdit has spent her life as a barmaid, innocent to her father’s past and happily free from the Elemental gifts that would condemn her to a life in the Egrian King’s army. Until the day that three Elemental soldiers recognize her father as a traitor to the throne and Bree’s father is thrown in jail—along with the secrets from his last mission as the King’s assassin. Secrets that could help the King win a war. Secrets he refuses to share.

Desperate to escape before the King’s capricious whims prove her and her father’s downfall, Bree bargains with him: information for their lives. It’s a good trade. And she has faith she’ll get them both out of the King’s grasp with time.

But that was before the discovery that she’s the weapon the King’s been waiting for in his war.

Now, time is running out. To save her father’s life and understand her own, Bree must unravel the knot of her father’s past before the King takes his life– and uses her to bring a nation to its knees.

“Monstrous men will turn and flee. When faced with threats of sky and sea.”

This book started off really good. It was fast paced and had a lot of action and injustices that you just wanted the main character to fight her way out of! And then…the story starts to lag. A whole lot of nothing seems to happen while at the castle. Bree goes for training/education, she talks to her Da, reports to the king, and sneaks out and talks to Caden, Aleta, and Tregle. Repeat that for at least a quarter of the book, and then add in a random party/social event. Don’t get me wrong, there was some parts in all of that talking and training that was really good and helped move the plot along, but some scenes could have just been left out. The writing style and characters really helped me keep going in this book.

“I do so enjoy your particular brand of honesty”

As far as main characters go, I think Bree might be one of my top favorites. She is smart, resourceful, snarky, and has a conscience. She tries not to get bullied by Lady Kat and the King, and shows her defiance when appropriate. She also tries to fix her mistakes, but knows if she isn’t the one to blame then it is not her fault.

“‘They think I am glass,’ she says. She’s hard again. “But I am not. I am not delicate. I am stone. If they want to break me, they will have a hard time of it. I am unbreakable.” We say no more that night.”

The relationship Bree has with her father and her trio of friends were great. Bree and her father treated each other as equals and she wasn’t afraid to tell him what he needed to hear. Even when she was mad at him, she could never truly stay mad and she kept trying to come up with an escape plan for them both. Although Tregle wasn’t in the story much, he was there when the plot started to move. So we got to see him evolve as a character more so than Aleta and Caden.

“It is like an untrained marksman loosing an arrow. Without proper direction, there is no telling who he will down.”

I just loved the last quarter of the book! I wish it was a little bit longer, but of course we had to end at a cliffhanger. This book had a little bit of everything for everyone. A very light romance, tons of action here and there, magic, politics, and great world building. There were some twists and turns that I was not expecting, and I can’t wait to see how that affects the next book in the series!

Posted in NetGalley, Young Adult

Moon Chosen Review

Moon Chosen (Tales of a New World #1) by P.C. Castmoonchosen

Expected Publication: October 18th 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffen

This eArc was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:

#1 New York Times bestselling author, P.C. Cast, brings us a new epic fantasy set in a world where humans, their animal allies, and the earth itself has been drastically changed. A world filled with beauty and danger and cruelty…

Mari is an Earth Walker, heir to the unique healing powers of her Clan; but she has cast her duties aside, until she is chosen by a special animal ally, altering her destiny forever. When a deadly attack tears her world apart, Mari reveals the strength of her powers and the forbidden secret of her dual nature as she embarks on a mission to save her people. It is not until Nik, the son of the leader from a rival, dominating clan strays across her path, that Mari experiences something she has never felt before…

Now, darkness is coming, and with it, a force, more terrible and destructive than the world has ever seen, leaving Mari to cast the shadows from the earth. By forming a tumultuous alliance with Nik, she must make herself ready. Ready to save her people. Ready to save herself and Nik. Ready to embrace her true destiny…and obliterate the forces that threaten to destroy them all.

“It’s not about how much time we spend together. It’s about how much fun we have when we do, and we have lots of fun!”

This was a decent start to a new series for P.C. Cast, I just hope that it won’t be as long as her House of Night series. The Kindle edition that I read is 608 pages, and I think that is 300 pages too long. Cast took a very long time in world building and letting us get an understanding of all of the characters. Which started off great, but then it just took forever for the plot to progress. I would say that plot moved in the first 100ish pages and then the last 100ish pages. Everything in the middle just seemed like filler.

“Rigel has changed everything and nothing. Everything and nothing.”

Mari is a very selfish main character. She has spent most of her life hiding who she is from her clan and has pent up aggression towards them. Mainly because Mari is different and has to hide that she is both Earth Walker and Companion, she felt as if she didn’t owe anyone anything especially after her mother died. At that point in the story, Mari really started to annoy me. She had been training all of her life to be the Moon Woman and yet she refused to help train Sora or help any of the Clan members. It isn’t until Sora points it out and asks why she hates them so much, that Mari is finally honest with herself and Sora. I loved how Sora didn’t let Mari get away with her feeling alienated from the Clan, when she did it to herself. Thankfully near the end of the book she becomes more sure of herself and starts to help people like her mother would have wanted her to.

“What’s the old saying? The cone doesn’t fall far from the pine?”

This is definitely a book for a more mature young adult audience. There are strong themes of violence, depression, and abuse. On the flip side, there is also strong themes of friendship and loyalty. With a small dash of romance that slowly built up but didn’t amount to anything until the end. I thought that fit in perfectly and didn’t have that insta-love relationship most YA’s seem to lean towards these days.

Overall, if you like dystopian novels that have multiple view points then you’ll really enjoy this novel. It has elements of magic, animals, and creepy bad guys to help you through the lengthy novel.

Posted in Arc, Young Adult

Last Seen Leaving Review

Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehriglast seen leaving

Expected Publication: October 4th 2016 by Feiwel & Friends

Format: eArc provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads Summary:

Flynn’s girlfriend has disappeared. How can he uncover her secrets without revealing his own?

Flynn’s girlfriend, January, is missing. The cops are asking questions he can’t answer, and her friends are telling stories that don’t add up. All eyes are on Flynn—as January’s boyfriend, he must know something.

But Flynn has a secret of his own. And as he struggles to uncover the truth about January’s disappearance, he must also face the truth about himself.

I really enjoyed this book! It had me on the edge of my seat for most of the mystery. This book was really two in one, first it was the mystery of the disappearance of January and the second part is about Flynn’s acceptance of who he really is.

For most of the book, I thought I knew for sure who killed January, but as the mystery kept unraveling I was proved wrong again and again. I was not expecting the ending to the mystery, and these are the types of books that I really enjoy. It isn’t fun if you can guess the whole plot within the first few chapters, and this one kept you guessing all the way to the end.

When Flynn isn’t trying to be a detective, he is trying to come to grips with his reality and who he is as a person. He has this secret that he kept hidden for most of his life and all of a sudden he just blurts it out when being interrogated and doesn’t know how to proceed from there. His struggle and confusion was very relatable to teens or adults who will/are/did go through the same ordeal. I thought Roehrig handled it very well, and I could see Flynn growing as a character. By the end, Flynn accepted who he is and started leading a much more happier life which was a stark contrast to how he was in the beginning of the book.

If you love mysteries and a character that goes through a tremendous growth by the end, then this book is for you!

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

 

Posted in Arc, Young Adult

Between the Bleeding Willows Review

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Between the Bleeding Willows by D.A. Roach

Published: February 26th 2016 by Limitless Publishing

Format: eArc by NetGalley

Goodreads Summary:

At eighteen years old, Cassidy has suffered more loss than most… At the end of her senior year, her boyfriend, Jace Peters, was killed in a car accident, and her grandmother died only weeks later of a heart attack. Emotionally lost, Cassidy desperately searches for an heirloom her boyfriend was wearing in the crash-her mother’s gold ring. But during her search, Cassidy discovers more than her ring. She finds a gate to the Demon Realm…. A battle is brewing, and Killian-head of the Demon hunters-preps his Clan for the approaching conflict. They’ve been working to secure the gate between his realm and the mortal world. But it’s been nearly impossible since Rya-a voracious demon on a quest to expand her power-devoured the soul of his Clan’s necromancer. Now Rya is possessed with the necromancer’s powers and she may break through the gate at any moment. Apparently Rya isn’t the only one Killian has to worry about… When Cassidy accidentally crosses into the Demon Realm, Killian can’t understand how a human girl survived the transition. Now he has to find a way to return her to her own world, or risk her being caught in the crossfire, which is a complication he definitely doesn’t need. Once back in the Human Realm, Cassidy readies herself for battle. She signs up for Krav Maga classes, where she meets Tyler Romaitis-a handsome, tenacious, humble guy. He seems almost perfect, but nothing is ever that easy. And as the balance between good and evil shifts, Cassidy finds herself-and her ring-at the heart of the conflict for the survival of mankind.

This was an okay book. It didn’t strike me as anything original or fresh. Most of the book felt like deja vu, and the pace was very slow. I got to the end and was very disappointed that not a lot happened in the book.

First, the main character was a little annoying. Okay, I understand that your boyfriend and grandma recently died, so the tears are okay. But, please don’t cry the entire book over silly things.

Second, if you were so in love with your boyfriend who recently passed, why would you instantly be drawn to another guy? There was some serious insta-love in this book, and I did not like it.

If you like series like the Mortal Instruments or any other part angel fighting demons, you may like this or not. I am a fan of MI, but I just couldn’t get into this story.

I was provided an eArc by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I give this book 2 out of 5 stars.

Posted in Arc, Young Adult

Flashfall Review

Flashfall by Jenny Moyerflashfall.jpg

Expected Publication: November 15th 2016 by Henry Holt and Co.

Format: eArc

Goodreads Summary:

Orion is a Subpar, expected to mine the tunnels of Outpost Five, near the deadly flash curtain. For generations, her people have chased cirium—the only element that can shield humanity from the curtain’s radioactive particles. She and her caving partner, Dram work the most treacherous tunnel, fighting past flash bats and tunnel gulls, in hopes of mining enough cirium to earn their way into the protected city.

But when newcomers arrive at Outpost Five, Orion uncovers disturbing revelations that make her question everything she thought she knew about life on both sides of the cirium shield. As conditions at the outpost grow increasingly dangerous, it’s up to Orion to forge a way past the flashfall, beyond all boundaries, beyond the world as she knows it.

“’Yes,’ I say it aloud. A dangerous word if the wrong person were to hear. My heart wants to shout it.”

I really enjoyed the first book in the Flashfall series. You couldn’t help but want to join the rebellion after reading all of the horrors the subpars have to deal with down in the mines. Orion, our main character, unintentionally at first becomes the leader of the revolution in outpost 5. She is a strong character, who understands her limits and accepts help when needed. As a MC, I liked her a lot. In the beginning, she was a little reckless and didn’t think before she acted, but after seeing the consequences of those actions she became, I guess, stealthier with her rebellion.

When Orion and Bram go through each of the different cordones they find that they are worse off than the previous one, and I couldn’t put the book down without wondering if they would make it out alive. The landscape, creatures, and just what they face are very imaginative.

If you like sci fi adventure, then this will definitely be the book for you!

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars

I was provided a copy of this eArc by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.