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Seeking Feedback from Book Blog Readers!!

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Calling all book blog readers! Whether you’re a reader of my reviews or not I’ve got a few questions I’ve been meaning to post on this blog for awhile. My reading has dropped off as of late (life, ugh) but I’m going to be picking up here soon and would like to get some of these questions answered if I can before I start back up again. Comment below with your answers to the questions, I don’t care if they’re long, I want to know! Or if you really want to let me know you can just go to my Contact Page and submit your answers there, up to you! Feel free to answer as many or as few as you like 😊

HERE WE GO…

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Review: Haunt Me

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Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Paranormal
Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

SynopsisWhen her family moves after a rough year, Erin feels instantly at home in her new bedroom — even after she realizes that she’s not the only one occupying it. As Erin becomes accustomed to Joe, the spirit of the teenage boy who lived in the room before her, she starts to sense an inexplicable connection between them. Meanwhile, Joe’s brother, Olly, is trying to find a new normal since his brother passed away. Before Joe died, Olly was king of the school — and it’s not until Olly meets a new girl that he realizes just how many ways he’s changed . . . including the type of girl he could fall for. And when Erin finds herself caught between two brothers, and two choices, will her decision destroy her completely, or can she save herself before she’s lost forever?

Rating: ★★★★☆

Review:

*I received an e-copy of this book through NetGalley from Candelwick Press in exchange for an honest review*

“Maybe you only know how precious it is to be a part of the world once your time’s up and you no longer get the choice.”

I’m not much for contemporary books. For some reason if it doesn’t take place in another world or have lots of fantasy elements I’m usually not interested. But for some reason the synopsis for this book really captured my attention. It’s probably the weird, sappy romantic in me. And wow was she satisfied with this little gem of a book.

I didn’t expect much going in. And I’d never read anything from or even recognized the author, so I was ready for your typical formula, girl finds ghost, they fall in love, obstacles get in the way and either they get around them or she finds love with someone else. Now without spoiling too much because I want you all to read this book, the plot is extremely easy to suss out early on. The way the author has things play out, you know where the characters are headed long before they get there, but that was the beauty of it almost, knowing and yet getting to know the characters anyway. This book, while following several clichés and patterns that I normally hate, somehow made me fall in love with it.

Much of the reason for my liking of this book comes from the authors loving attention to her characters. Their raw honesty and true-to-life details make me feel like I could actually know them in real life, or in Erin’s case, be them. The depth of emotions and complexities she layers the characters with makes it easy to sympathize with them and want to get immersed in their unfolding story. And her use of a rotating POV between Erin, Joe and Olly was excellently executed as I always felt the characters had their own voice while still being connected to the story. I also applaud the author for having her characters tackle difficult things like bullying, depression, anxiety, loss of loved ones and just the general feeling of alienation. Things we all may have faced in one way or another but can sometimes fail to put into words.

The romance element is what joins this whole book together and while I have a few nitpicks with it there isn’t much I would change. The dynamic between Erin, Joe and Olly played out so well amongst the pages that by the end I was highly satisfied with where they all ended. My only gripe is that I wish Erin’s feelings for Olly would’ve been more fleshed out as by the end I still felt her connection to Joe was much stronger.

I admired the author’s use of poetry in the book as well, joining Erin and Joe by their shared use of writing to help them cope with stress and the release of pent-up emotions, it was a wonderful device to show how each of the characters words connected them and wound them together. The writing of the book itself flowed almost like poetry at times, beautiful in its pauses for quiet moments but the frenzied pace of what was happening in the characters lives and how each character was handling their own view of the situation.

Overall this was a spectacular book that went well beyond the surface of a normal contemporary read. The characters reminded me of what it means to struggle, make mistakes and even in the end they weren’t completely healed, which is sometimes how life turns out so it was nice to see an author be honest about the somewhat-happily-ever-afters. You can read this book as a fun love story, you can read it as a ghost story, either way this book is definitely worth a place on your shelf.

Review: Organic

Series: The Kepler Chronicles #2
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Genre: New Adult, Science Fiction
Links: Goodreads

Synopsis18-year-old Syl has barely survived the genetic splicing that plagued her human body. After discovering the androids’ plot to wipe out human and Cull alike, Syl must return to Elite to warn the other survivors. However, with the realization that her group of survivors isn’t the only one, also comes the realization that some humans are just as bad as androids. Bastion and Syl grow closer, however, their relationship suffers under the weight of her past ghosts and a growing threat that endangers human and android alike.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Review:

*I received an e-ARC of this book through NetGalley from Curiosity Quills Press in exchange for an honest review*

“A storm of death and destruction brews in my head. It sucks people into it and ruins them forever.”

It feels so strange not to have a cover to post right now. I’m used to having some sort of structure when I post these things so it’s giving me weird review anxiety to post this without a cover and without any purchase links either haha. But anyway, to the real point…This sequel was stunning. Jadah McCoy is steadily climbing my list of pre-order, must-request authors.

Her characters are by far the best things about her books. Organic is no different than Artificial in that regard. What got me hooked into this series was the premise mostly but what made me love it and want more was the relationship between Syl and Bastion and let me tell you that relationship only gets 1,000% more amazing in this second book. Syl is still so unsure about herself and Bastion is such the perfect opposite to help her learn to see herself differently, especially now that she’s no longer in a human body. Their dynamic together with all of the snarky banter, their protectiveness of each other and then the romantic elements was so well done and I’m beyond excited to see what happens with these two in the next book.

I was glad that McCoy didn’t do like a lot of authors and add in a ton of unnecessary side characters in this second book. Bastion and Syl are plenty to keep me interested in reading forever, although I would love to see Michelo again soon. And Truthfully I could’ve done without Blalock, that character was too abrasive and just seemed to disrupt the nice flow that the book had going up until that point.

I was also happy I got to know a little bit more about the world and how exactly everything came to be as I did somewhat feel lost when the last book left off. But this book clears things up just well enough so you can still have your own ideas while placing you in the setting, background and reality that Bastion and Syl exist in.

The pacing of the book was great, as usual I sped through it pretty fast and then was sad there wasn’t more, but such is the life of a bookworm. While I would love it if these books were even longer I don’t necessarily feel that a longer story would work for the narrative. The way the action progresses from the beginning to end, only pausing for a romantic moment or a breath here and there are a perfect fit for the story McCoy is trying to tell.

The ending definitely left me wanting more, but in a good way. Lexion showing up was the perfect kind of timing and I’m looking forward to seeing how all these different threads get tied up in the next book. Or maybe books, I’m not sure if this is a trilogy or more, all I know is that I will be suffering waiting another year for the next book to be released!

Now you might be wondering why I gave Organic four stars instead of five. Simple really, the profanity. I mentioned it in my review of Artificial but it got a little more pronounced in this book and that was honestly why I didn’t like the character of Blalock, when that character showed up I felt like the book got a lot more profane for some reason. The use of the F word just seemed to get to the level of unnecessary at some points.

Overall, this series so far is a wonderful piece of writing. Organic is a great continuation of everything that happened in Artificial, while still being exciting and interesting all on its own. Fast paced, romantic and filled with action, this will be one book you might just want to stay up late to finish.

Reviews of The Kepler Chronicles:

#1 – Artificial

Blog Tour Review: True North

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Series
: True Born Trilogy #2
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Publisher

Synopsis: Abandoned by her family in Plague-ridden Dominion City, eighteen-year-old Lucy Fox has no choice but to rely upon the kindness of the True Borns, a renegade group of genetically enhanced humans, to save her twin sister, Margot. But Nolan Storm, their mysterious leader, has his own agenda. When Storm backtracks on his promise to rescue Margot, Lucy takes her fate into her own hands and sets off for Russia with her True Born bodyguard and maybe-something-more, the lethal yet beautiful Jared Price. In Russia, there’s been whispered rumors of Plague Cure.

While Lucy fights her magnetic attraction to Jared, anxious that his loyalty to Storm will hurt her chances of finding her sister, they quickly discover that not all is as it appears…and discovering the secrets contained in the Fox sisters’ blood before they wind up dead is just the beginning.??

As they say in Dominion, sometimes it’s not you…it’s your DNA.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Review:

*I received an e-ARC of this book through NetGalley from Entangled Publishing as part of a blog tour in exchange for an honest review*

“I am small but deadly. I am relentless. I’ll not stop until my questions have answers.”

So I’ll admit that it’s been awhile since I read the first book in this series and because of that I had a hard time getting the feel of the second one. That being said, I really did enjoy the second book even though it took me a few chapters to get into the flow.

The book moves along at a really nice pace. I know some people were saying it drags in the beginning but I disagree, I’m one of those readers who really enjoys lots of extra set up and information so it ways nice to get that this time around because I do remember feeling like I missed out on some key character and story ideas last time.

Also I was glad that this book focused so much more on Lucy and how she’s struggling with becoming her own person outside of Margot. I grew to like her more over the book, although she could be a little whiny at times.

The main relationship in this book still doesn’t thrill me a whole lot, while I don’t hate Lucy and Jared’s romance, I’m not a big fan of it either. My biggest peeve with them is that the only time they seem to not be at each other’s throats is when they’re doing something sexual and in my humble opinion that’s not what love really is. They should have more ability to be around each other normally and get along than just Jared feeling murderous whenever Lucy is in danger (plus his weird animalistic pull towards her he can’t control) and her being unable to focus when he is close. Although I will admit to laughing at the whole “Jared doesn’t like water” bit, that was cute.

Secretly I kind of want Alastair and Lucy to be a thing, but I know that’s a huge pipe dream, maybe I can get on board for him and Margot because something tells me that’s the direction the books are going to go. I mean honestly, that comment he made in the train car to Lucy, just perfect ❤️. If Alastair had his own spinoff book I don’t think I would even mind, and that’s a funny thing considering that he wasn’t even in this book all that much but his character was just so charming I couldn’t help but like him.

But…getting back the rest of the book, Resnikov and Lucy’s parents are still totally horrible and it was so creepy with everything that was discovered in the end. But the kind of creepy that makes you intrigued, like the covers to this series, I’m just sitting there like “ooo where is this going…” the whole time. And yet still after all the reveals in the last few chapters there is still so much to be found out, especially in regards to Margot and I’m so curious what Storm’s endgame is in this whole series. All of his playing around with Lucy in the Upper Circle was some great stuff, I definitely want more of that.

So overall I’m really looking forward to how this trilogy will wind down in the end and I’m super happy that I got the chance to continue reading this series because this second book really brought a lot more to the table as far as character depth and plot goes. Kudos to the author for being able to weave everything together so well and make her characters interesting as individuals and not just convenient archetypes for the story. Now by the time the last book comes out I will probably forget the plot of this book all over again like the first book…let’s cross our fingers and hope not 🤞😉

Reviews of the True Born Trilogy:

#1 – True Born

Review: Breaking Damian

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Series: The Fallen Emperor #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Links: Goodreads / Amazon

Synopsis: Nothing happens by chance. Nothing is as it seems.

The Gauntlet: Intersection point of surrounding four cities and a melting pot for four Houses in which arithmencers are divided according to how they can manipulate electromagnetism.

Damian knows little about the culture and the way of life in each city, until he turns out to be an arithmencer and is expected to join the House his father leads.

But when the emperor who has been ruling over the cities for two hundred years disappears, the delicate balance between the Houses begins to shift.

More and more, Damian finds power and responsibility thrust upon him for restoring equilibrium to a world falling apart.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Review:

* I received an e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review *

This book surprised me. Now that I’m completely finished with it I can honestly say that I really did enjoy this book, but there are only a few things that kept it from being a four or five star rating.

The first thing was the overall world development. While I was intrigued by all of the different “powers”, which were giving me series Avatar: The Last Airbender vibes, they were never explained in a way that made complete sense. Even at the end of the book I was still hopelessly confused, interested, but confused. The same goes for the locations and where exactly everything is supposed to be occurring as the world feels somewhat dystopian or otherworldly, but is never completely established. I just kept feeling like I was reading a sequel or that I had missed out on a prequel that included important information that I needed to understand this world.

Unfortunately the characters suffered a similar fate in that their personalities just never seemed to move past a very basic level. I loved their abilities, but they’re not the kind of characters I just want to know more and more about, which is what I look for in well-rounded characters. Melissa was the only character I really came to like throughout the book and her fate is left very open-ended at the finish. Damian, the main character, just felt a little stilted throughout and I couldn’t figure out whether he was meant to have a romance with Melissa or Coral, or they were just friends. Coral I just wanted to smack for how naive and babyish she was considering how powerful and instrumental she could’ve been.

The thing that made this book surprising and interesting was that right around the end the book really hit its stride. The action got better, the suspense was much more powerful and I finally felt like I was invested in what was going to happen to the characters. And the multiple twists the author pulled at the end were very good. Maybe even enough to reel me in for a sequel.

Overall I see a lot of potential in this series, I just felt like there was something missing from this first book. More character development, a little stronger world building and some clearer context and exposition would really help this series along. I’m glad I got the chance to read this though and it is definitely an intriguing read.

Review: July Lightning

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Series: Bad Bloods #4
Release Date: May 01, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Links: Goodreads / Amazon

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Caleb has been called many things: a patient, a musician, even a prostitute…now he has a new name—son. After his identity is uncovered, Caleb bands together with the family he once rejected in order to save the city of Vendona. But it won’t be easy. Enemies wait around every corner—and so do harsh realities. With Violet and Kuthun by his side though, nothing seems impossible. As Vendona sits on the verge of an economic collapse and a massive hurricane threatens the city, Violet and Caleb must show its citizens how to overcome decades of hostility and division to save themselves.

Standing or not, a sea will rage, a wall may fall, and all will depend on immortal pain and sacrifice.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Review:

* I received an e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review *

“But once said, words lingered in the air, in the heart, in the very memories we wanted to forget.”

Unfortunately what happened in the first duology set where I didn’t like the first book but loved the second didn’t happen with this second duology. Actually the reverse happened. Now this book wasn’t horrible, but it just didn’t deliver what I was hoping from the first book.

One of the things I’ve always liked from Thompson is her use of lyrical or poetic language when it comes to the descriptions of the Bad Bloods powers and abilities. Since we can’t see or experience them it helps to understand them better through the things we can experience here. But in this second book I felt like the language almost went too far, delving more into the purple prose realm. Sometimes this isn’t a bad thing and what the characters are doing can still be understood, but unfortunately I ended up having a lot of trouble grasping what was really going on with the settings and what exactly was happening at different points in the book.

This was especially a problem with Violet. In the first book of this duology she was such an exciting mystery and I was looking forward to learning more about her in this second book, but by then end I was left feeling more confused about her than ever. Her character didn’t feel resolved at all, if anything I felt despair towards her ultimate ending.

This was true for most of the characters as well, their endings just didn’t feel satisfying. Like I stated in the last review, I wasn’t really interested in the relationship between Kuthun and Caleb and somehow their relationship turned into a love triangle/threesome with Violet which only made it more complicated and tragic in the end. Caleb truly felt mostly useless the entire book, he couldn’t do much of anything compared to the Bad Bloods and so I felt like his character was more filler, which made no sense since he was supposed to be a main character. Serah’s fate was very sad considering she was such a bright character to begin with. And *spoiler* after discovering that Robert had been dead from a shot in the back and buried in an unmarked grave, I just feel so disappointed that more wasn’t explored with him.

I know it seems like there are a lot of things I didn’t like about this book but there were several things I did like as well. I was glad that Daniel and Serena returned to their old selves and were featured a little more near the end. And although I wished there would’ve been more of Adam and Catelyn I was happy to see the little bit there was. In the end the characters from the old duology still shined the brightest. Although I wouldn’t have minded more of sweet little Plato and honorable Frankie. And even though the overall plot didn’t speak to me this time around I was still impressed with how well everything connected together in the end.

I do want to mention that I really loved the covers for this duology, they are so stunning! And I liked how Thompson chose to stick with the weather theming for the titles, it really helps to tie the series as a whole.

As I’ve said before I’m a lover of happy endings and the Bad Blood series is definitely more for the lovers of the bittersweet ending. I still think Thompson’s writing is great and if she puts out more duologies in the Bad Bloods series I’m sure I’ll want to read them, sometimes things just don’t turn out as you would hope. Overall this book was a heart ripping, head twisting journey and I’m glad I got to experience it.

Reviews of the Bad Bloods Series:

#1 – November Rain

#2 – November Snow

#3 – July Thunder

Review: July Thunder

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Series: Bad Bloods #3
Release Date: April 10, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Links: Goodreads / Amazon

Synopsis: Fourteen-year-old Violet has been called many things: a bad blood, a survivor, an immortal…now she has a new name—citizen. But adjusting to a lawful life is not easy, especially when she must live under the rule of the same officers who justified the killings of her flock only eight months earlier.

Segregation of bad bloods and humans is still in effect, and rebellious Violet steps into a school where she is not allowed. When the police get involved, things deteriorate quickly, sparking a new revolution at the wall separating the Highlands from the outskirts.

That’s when Caleb steps in. He might appear to be an average sixteen-year-old bad blood, but he has secrets, and Violet is determined to figure them out. Caleb knows who’s attacking the wall and why, but his true identity remains a mystery—and how he relates to Violet could shake the threatened city to its very core.

Together or not, a storm will form, a rally will start, and shocking truths will be revealed.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Review:

* I received an e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review *

“Every tragedy went much deeper than the surface sadness.”

I have to say it’s been wonderful journeying back into the lives of the Bad Bloods with this book. I would like to thank Miss Thompson for inviting me once again to review her book, coming back to these characters and this setting has been an emotional, thrilling ride and I enjoyed every page turning second of it!

My favorite thing about Thompson’s writing is her ability to really flesh out the characters without spelling everything out exactly. She leaves just enough mystery for the characters to still be interesting and her lyrical language really helps with that. Her books are completely character driven. I said that in my review of the first book in the series, I think. To understand how the story comes together you have to understand that these books are all about family and the love these characters share for each other. Truthfully the reader is also left feeling like an outsider looking in on something special, you get to know the characters more as they discover themselves, which is really an awesome thing to have in a reading adventure and as writer is a great accomplishment to create.

When I finished the last duology in this series Violet was a character I was interested in getting to know more about. I’m so glad that one of the main POVs in this duology is from her. She is such a complicated character and her powers are so undeniably interesting and frightening. This book just added to the wonderful mystery that is her character. Even after all that is revealed in this book there is still so much more I want to know.

Caleb was a wonderful POV character as well, although I do feel I’ve got some warming up to do when it comes to him. I did like that he and Violet are in many ways so different and yet so alike. The unfolding of their relationship was so interesting, I’m not sure if it’s completely romantic in nature, although I’m sure that is probably were it’s going to go. I could’ve done without his weird romantic tension with Kat and Kuthun. I thought his playful banter with Kat and his brotherly/confidant relationship with Kuthun were fine without the tension, it felt unnecessary. I also didn’t really like the job he had in the book but I get that people have to do some horrible things to survive sometimes, although I don’t know why he wouldn’t be trying harder to escape it, especially after what Nuo inadvertently revealed about her life there (and she’s a character I’d love to have a duology about). I did really enjoy the twist regarding Caleb at the end though, I’m excited to see how that and his other “predicament” resolve in the next book I’m sure the author has a really good solution up her sleeve. I think I’ve still got some warming up to do when it comes to his character.

I was also happy to see the return of old characters from the last duology this time around although I did feel very bad for Daniel as I felt he was getting the short end of the stick a lot. He’s just trying to help everyone but sometimes goes about it the wrong way and it was sad to see Violet and Caleb be so against him. He was my favorite character in the last duology so I’m a little over protective with him haha. And I wished there were more of Serena and her sisters as well, I liked getting to know Serah but it was sad almost to see that she and Serena aren’t as close as I thought they might be. Also I’m still scrabbling every time Robert is mentioned as I want so badly for him to come back.

This book definitely had more interesting Bad Blood abilities than the last duology in my opinion as well. Frankie’s ability was my favorite, if only everyone had that ability the world would surely be a better place. I couldn’t fully wrap my head around Nuo’s ability, but the gist of it gave me serious chills. I admire Thompson for coming up with so many different abilities and the complexities behind them along with fitting the characters personalities to match.

Moving the plot forward towards a new political movement was a smart idea and I like that the book moves along at a steady pace. Everything that happened made sense and nothing felt rushed or out of place. I ended up finishing the book in one day because I simply couldn’t put it down!

Overall another fantastic addition to the Bad Bloods series and a marvelous start to a new duology. Wonderful writing, captivating characters and a story that will reel you in until the last page, these Bad Bloods may have a tendency of breaking the rules, but their stories are way too good not to read.

Reviews of the Bad Bloods Series:

#1 – November Rain

# 2 – November Snow

Review: Myths of Mish

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Series: Fairytale Galaxy Chronicles #2
Release Date: March 28th, 2017
Genre: New Adult, Fantasy
Links: Goodreads / Amazon

SynopsisHansel and Gretel Herrscher survived the witch in the woods, but the experience has made Hansel paranoid for the past ten years. He sees dark magic at every turn. When Gretel has a marriage arranged to a much older man, and Hansel discovers he’s about to be sent halfway across the galaxy, he knows something sinister is afoot.

Wilhelmine Nordon has plenty of experience with Hansel’s quirkier side. So when she catches him and Gretel running away in the middle of the night, she follows to keep them from getting killed. The siblings have never left the capital of Mish on their own, so they need a babysitter. Except when she’s discovered, Hansel gives her his usual cold shoulder, and Gretel secretly begs her to take them back.

The problem is, Hansel’s paranoia turns out to be well founded, and they’re all being hunted.

Rating: ★★★★★

Review:

*I received an e-copy of this book through NetGalley by invitation from Curiosity Quills Press in exchange for an honest review*

“You should never compare yourself to other people. When you do, all you see is their strengths and put them against your weaknesses. It’s not a fair comparison.”

Hamstead has done it again with this addition to the Fairytale Galaxy Chronicles. I simply couldn’t put this book down. Her ability to create the most captivating characters, imagery and world is just astounding.

Going into this book I didn’t know what to expect as it had been awhile since I read the last one and I wasn’t sure whether this was going to be a sequel, or something else. Well it turned out to be more like a prequel, where you get to learn more about how the different kingdoms came together in the first place. I really loved getting to know more about the individual kingdoms and some of the legends and lore that surrounded them.

I’ll be honest in saying that while I know the basic story of Hansel and Gretel (you know, two little kids go into woods and almost get eaten by evil witch) I don’t know much past that. So it was great to read Hamstead’s new spin on it. Also I feel like there might’ve been a twist on The Little Mermaid in there somewhere as well, which was fantastic. As an author she does a marvelous job of weaving these new stories and making them believable in these worlds.

The characters she creates have such excellent depth as well. In the beginning Hansel was starting to grate on me after awhile being so overtly rude to Minna and acting like a little child on the playground, always so paranoid. But by the end of the book I was just as in love with him as Minna was. And it takes great skill as a writer to make a reader change their mind about how they feel about a character over such a short span, so serious kudos for that. I think part of it had to do with that adorable faux-play scene near the end, so adorable! And I’m so happy that she always keeps the romances passionate but chaste at the same time. Gretel was cute and I liked her added sweetness and the lighthearted aspects she brought to the book, but I did want to slap her for being almost too naive near the end, but as always it all came together and everyone fit perfectly, including Rune who was such a quirky, awesome guy.

I only have two nit-picks about this book, but they’re not really anything that changes my opinion overall. My first one is that I’m not a huge fan of the cover this time around, I get why that’s the cover after reading the book, but the last cover for Princess of Tyrone was so stunning I just wish I could love this one the same.

Also, the pacing of this book did feel a little rushed compared to Princess of Tyrone, but I think that fit this book better as the circumstances called for a faster pace as the characters were under more constraints. My only wish would’ve been for the ending to have been dragged out maybe a couple of chapters more, I felt like the action was pushed through pretty quickly and there could’ve been more added to it, but overall it was still done wonderfully.

I’m so excited that I got invited to read this. It’s hard to find fairytale retellings that are done well, and done so consistently, but Hamsead has delivered a stunning book not once, but twice now so I look forward to reading as many books in these Chronicles as she wants to write!

Read my review of the first book: Princess of Tyrone

Review: After Impact

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Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

SynopsisAvalon wakes up from a 100 year old cryosleep in a new habitat with few memories and lots of questions. At first, HOPE (Humanity’s One Plan for Escape) habitat appears to be a well-oiled machine, preparing 5,000 carefully chosen inhabitants for a new Earth. However, a medical assistant named Ilium reveals that certain members of the habitat have been falling ill from a mysterious virus they were inoculated against. Soon, HOPE habitat’s tranquil illusion is shattered as Avalon plays a perplexing message left by her father. If Avalon is to survive this dangerous new environment , she will have to find the strength to navigate a habitat enveloped in secrets.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Review:

*I received an e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

“Stuff is happening so fast. I just woke up and I’ve learned I am all alone.”

So I’m going to try to make this short and sweet because I absolutely detest writing reviews for anything less than a 3 star rating. I don’t like giving lower ratings to any book. I know the author poured their heart and time into this work and it pains me to write a review that is probably going to sound super negative. As far as a debut book goes, this isn’t horrible, it just isn’t for me either.

The characters lacked depth, and there was no real growth to speak of over the entirety of the book. Avalon as the main character was uninspiring and there were points in the novel I actually really disliked her. It made no sense that she was a prodigy and yet was so easily distracted by wanting the attention of a boy. Ilium was so one-note as the “protective” male figure and it was hard to enjoy their romance when he had feelings for her literally a day after she got out of her pod. The same can be said for Kael, who had the potential for growth from being the shallow character he started out as, but the moments he could’ve had to be a great character were completely wasted. All of the side characters were basically useless filler and I don’t think they added much of anything to the story except to advance the plot conveniently. And the villain in this first book wasn’t scary in the least, I just kept waiting for something more scary to happen.

The plot of the virus started out to be interesting, but then it just dovetailed into a hundred other ideas that by the end of the book I was so confused as to what genre this book was actually trying to be. Science Fiction? Dystopia? Fantasy? Romance? Sometimes the use of multiple genres can work if done right, Outlander is the perfect example of that, but in this case everything just got confusing to the point that I didn’t even know what the characters were fighting for anymore. The plot made leaps I couldn’t follow, characters appeared out of nowhere and things were never explained that needed to be. *Since writing this initial paragraph the author did explain to me that she intended for this to be multiple genres: mystery, dystopian and light romance.

I did have problem with how the characters spoke and how the language read in the book, although the author did explain to me that this is because of their high IQs and she wanted the styling to be almost like Big Bang Theory. But I still felt a lack of exposition of settings or even just expanding on how a character felt about a certain situation, maybe it would’ve been helped by a dual POV or by using first person narrative instead of third. I felt like I was left to guess at a lot of things until there was just a tiny tidbit of information, which was never enough or came to late for me to really be invested anymore.

Overall this book just felt unfinished.  I wish the plot wouldn’t have felt rushed, the characters would’ve been given more time to grow and be fully fleshed out individually and I could’ve gotten to know the habitat and just the general settings more. In the end I didn’t feel interested in the characters or the story, which is a shame.

The one thing I can say about this book is that the concept the author was going for when it started is a good one. Of course by the end I was completely confused, but I’ll put that aside to say that going with the starting idea of the habitat with a certain amount of people and a virus that could kill them was interesting, it reminds me a lot of “The 100” which I really like. The class systems were interesting as well and I think that was a hidden gem where the character development could’ve really been utilized, but when the fantasy elements and all that other stuff stared coming in, it lost me. Go back to those core story ideas, that’s where the treasure is.

Review: Defy the Stars

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Release Date: April 04, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

SynopsisNoemi Vidal is a teen soldier from the planet Genesis, once a colony of Earth that’s now at war for its independence. The humans of Genesis have fought Earth’s robotic “mech” armies for decades with no end in sight.

After a surprise attack, Noemi finds herself stranded in space on an abandoned ship where she meets Abel, the most sophisticated mech prototype ever made. One who should be her enemy. But Abel’s programming forces him to obey Noemi as his commander, which means he has to help her save Genesis–even though her plan to win the war will kill him.

Together they embark on a daring voyage through the galaxy. Before long, Noemi begins to realize Abel may be more than a machine, and, for his part, Abel’s devotion to Noemi is no longer just a matter of programming.

Rating: ★★★★★

Review:

* I received an e-ARC of this book through a NetGalley promotion from the publisher*

“If you could pay a debt of honor without it costing you anything, you wouldn’t have really repaid it, would you?”

You ever read a book and when you finally put it down you feel like something about this particular book has just changed you in some way? Well that’s how I feel about this book. This book is equal parts enchanting and challenging, thrilling and heartbreaking, in all the best ways. I’m going to try and not give too much away because honestly I think this is one of those rare books you just need to read and form your own opinion on, but I just want to mention a few things that made me love this book so much.

Let’s start with the characters. Noemi and Abel are two of the most well developed characters I have read in a long time. The way that the author was able to make me fall in love with both of them individually is just amazing. By the end of the book I was rooting for both of them, completely separate of their romance together. Which, I was also rooting for by the way. The romance of these two is definitely a slow burner but in the best possible ways. We as readers get to know Noemi and Abel as separate people first and understanding how they interact with each other and how they relate to the conflicts of their world is so important to their overall relationship. This is probably one of my favorite book romances right now, it was just so well executed.

The impressive thing about the characters in this book is that it’s not just the main characters that get personalities and characters arcs. The secondary characters feel just as important and fleshed out in the narrative as the main ones do. I personally can’t wait to see more from Ephraim, the quote at the top is from him.

The world-building is great, of course it is still set in our world, just in a super distant future. But that’s what makes it great, I enjoy books where I can actually envision everything that’s happening and this book makes this so easy. The technology and advancements described make sense, no matter how disturbing. Having things like the creation of artificial life to prolong our own and space travel to colonize other planets because we’ve destroyed ours are very current topics so the author was smart to use those as themes/plot points in the book.

What really helped was the almost third person narrative that switched between Abel and Noemi. It kept the pace flowing but gave glimpses into how the two characters saw things differently and especially how Abel was changing as the novel progressed. Every time they would do something in the novel I never felt like I was missing a piece of the story, all the details felt complete, from how the characters felt to where they were located to the accuracy of how the ships were being flown. I particularly enjoyed the space travel aspect when it was just Abel and Noemi together in the craft visiting the different planets, I hope there’s more of that in the sequel.

I also want to point out that I wasn’t expecting this book to have religious elements but it definitely did. This wasn’t a religious book but I could completely see religious themes pervading the novel and I was more than delighted to find that when religion was brought up it was handled well, not forced, and written in a very honest way. And even though I disagree with the idea that a soul can be created artificially, especially in a world where God exists, I loved what the author presented in having humans be so disastrous and selfish at attempts with creating life because, let’s face it, that’s exactly what would happen.Truthfully that was probably what affected me most about the book, the way the author wove authentic faith messages into a secular science fiction book.

It takes a talented writer to make you come a away from a book feeling like you’ve learned something while still having fun, and Gray accomplished that for me with Defy the Stars. I may be reading too much into the book, and I still may have given too much away in this review when I didn’t want to, but I really want to encourage everyone to read it, believe me of many of the books I’ve read, this one will be worth your time.

And as always, once you’ve read the book I’m up for discussions and general fun chats 😊