Archive | February 2017

Review: This Savage Song

Title: This Savage Song

Author: Victoria Schwab

Publication Date: June 7th, 2016

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Goodreads Summary:

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

My Review:

I have had this one for a while and finally had a chance to read it, and I wish that I would have read it a lot earlier! First, I loved the whole monster aspect because I like most things that have to do with monsters. Second, I loved both of the main characters to pieces! They both had a lot going on inside of themselves that they had to deal with.

“One moment I didn’t exist and the next I did, and I spend every day scared I’ll just stop being again, and every time I slip, every time I go dark, it’s harder to come back. It’s all I can do to stay where I am. Who I am.”

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Kate has made life a problem because her Dad won’t let her come home until she finally gives him a reason for her to come home. Kate’s dad is aligned with some of the monsters in the city, and she wants to do anything that she can to impress him.

August is a monster and doesn’t want to be one. There have been a couple of times when he has let the monster come all the way out and vows to not let that happen again. I loved his struggle, and he was my favorite character!

Loved the bond between August and Kate. There wasn’t romance in this book. Yet. But, I hope there will be in the next because I loved these two! I wasn’t surprised by some of the twists, but there was one I didn’t guess. And that ending!!!!!!

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Review: The Black Witch

Title: The Black Witch

Author: Laurie Forest

Date of Publication: May 2nd, 2017

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Goodreads Summary:

A Great Winged One will soon arise and cast his fearsome shadow upon the land. And just as Night slays Day, and Day slays Night, so also shall another Black Witch rise to meet him, her powers vast beyond imagining.

So foretells the greatest prophecy of the Gardnerian mages. Carnissa Gardner, the last prophesied Black Witch, drove back the enemy forces and saved her people during the Realm War. Now a new evil is on the horizon, and her granddaughter, Elloren, is believed to be Carnissa’s heir—but while she is the absolute image of her famous grandmother, Elloren is utterly devoid of power in a society that prizes magical ability above nearly all else.

When she is granted the opportunity to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an apothecary, Elloren is eager to join her brothers at the prestigious Verpax University and finally embrace a destiny of her own, free from the shadow of her grandmother’s legacy. But she soon realizes that the University, which admits all manner of peoples—including the fire-wielding, winged Icarals, the sworn enemies of her people—is an even more treacherous place for the granddaughter of the Black Witch.

My Review:

I actually liked the writing a lot in this one. Elloren grew up living with her uncle and two brothers away from everyone. Elloren’s grandmother was the Black Witch, and she was beloved by the Gardnerians and hated and feared by everyone else.

When Elloren receives a chance to go to the University, everyone tells her how much she resembles her grandmother. There is a lot of political and racist aspects in this story between these characters.

I was not a big fan of Elloren. For the most part I feel like she was weak and hypocritical. She could be attracted to a non Gardnerian, but when someone else was attracted to a non Gardnerian she thought it was the end of the world. Elloren never stood up for anyone until towards the end.

The rest of the characters were pretty blah. Yvan was ridiculous, and throughout the entire book it was pretty much him glaring or frowning at Elloren. Diana was my favorite character, but she was racist to almost anyone that wasn’t Lupine. I liked Lukas a lot at first, but then he got weird and disappeared for most of the book.

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This book was not short book either. It was way toooooo long, and I feel like nothing got resolved! It was just mainly people hating on another magic race. I still will want to read the second book, but seriously, there was just not much going on in this first book. As I stated earlier the writer’s writing was actually the best part of the book.

 

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Review: Given to the Sea

Title: Given to the Sea

Author: Mindy McGinnis

Date of Publication: April 11th, 2017

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Goodreads Summary:

Khosa is Given to the Sea, a girl born to be fed to the water, her flesh preventing a wave like the one that destroyed the Kingdom of Stille in days of old. But before she’s allowed to dance – an uncontrollable twitching of the limbs that will carry her to the shore in a frenzy – she must produce an heir. Yet the thought of human touch sends shudders down her spine that not even the sound of the tide can match.

Vincent is third in line to inherit his throne, royalty in a kingdom where the old linger and the young inherit only boredom. When Khosa arrives without an heir he knows his father will ensure she fulfills her duty, at whatever cost. Torn between protecting the throne he will someday fill, and the girl whose fate is tied to its very existence, Vincent’s loyalty is at odds with his heart.

Dara and Donil are the last of the Indiri, a native race whose dwindling magic grows weaker as the island country fades. Animals cease to bear young, creatures of the sea take to the land, and the Pietra – fierce fighters who destroyed the Indiri a generation before – are now marching from their stony shores for the twin’s adopted homeland, Stille.

Witt leads the Pietra, their army the only family he has ever known. The stone shores harbor a secret, a growing threat that will envelop the entire land – and he will conquer every speck of soil to ensure the survival of his people.

The tides are turning in Stille, where royals scheme, Pietrans march, and the rising sea calls for its Given.

My Review:

This is the first book I have read by Mindy, so I don’t know how her writing normally is. I was anticipating this book so much, but I am not sure what the heck happened??? This book just felt really odd.

The characters! There were four view points here, and I could only tolerate Vincent. I still couldn’t connect with him, though. Khosa just felt really bland. I just didn’t feel anything for anyone! This book had me feeling robotic.

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Then all of these books have to make up their own phrases (Example: Tides), we get it, but just because of the whole sea thing, there could be a more clever phrase. Even though I didn’t connect with the story itself, I feel that others might since the story did seem original. So, the book does have that.

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Review: Bad Blood

Title: Bad Blood

Author: Demitria Lunetta

Date of Publication: March 14th, 2017

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Goodreads Summary:

A girl discovers a family secret and a past full of magic that could both save her and put her in mortal danger in this suspenseful novel that’s perfect for fans of Katie Alender and Natasha Preston.

All sixteen-year-old Heather MacNair wants is to feel normal, to shed the intense paranoia she’s worn all year like a scratchy sweater. After her compulsion to self-harm came to light, Heather was kept under her doctor’s watchful eye. Her family thinks she’s better—and there’s nothing she wants more than for that to be true. She still can’t believe she’s allowed to spend her summer vacation as she always does: at her aunt’s home in Scotland, where she has lots of happy memories. Far away from all her problems save one: she can’t stop carving the Celtic knot that haunts her dreams into her skin.

Good friends and boys with Scottish accents can cure almost anything…except nightmares. Heather can’t stop dreaming about two sisters from centuries ago, twins Prudence and Primrose, who somehow seem tied to her own life. Their presence lurks just beneath the surface of her consciousness, sending ripples through what should be a peaceful summer. The twins might hold the key to putting Heather’s soul at rest…or they could slice her future deeper than any knife.

My Review:

Once I got past the title reminding me of Taylor Swift, I couldn’t help but be mesmerized by that magnificent cover! Heather has had a problem with cutting and had to spend time in a treatment center. Her aunt has cancer, and her parents let her go and visit her in Scotland, since they don’t know how much longer she will have. Why Heather’s parents just let her go all the way to Scotland without them when she has had a cutting problem is beyond me.

When Heather comes to Scotland, she begins to have weird dreams about two sisters that had magic of their own. Are the sisters real or just a figment of Heather’s imagination?

The book goes back and forth between present and past, and I loved the past scenes and all the betrayal and backstabbing that reeked havoc on my soul! I liked the MC for the present chapters and felt that Heather was relatable. There is also a dash of romance sprinkled in that felt nice since they were already friends before.

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When the magic starts, I felt like I was watching parts of The Craft, but without crazy Nancy. The magic aspects were interesting! I loved how there was an explanation about everything, and that this was a stand alone. At least I hope it is a stand alone, because it is hard to find those nowadays!

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February Library Finds

I didn’t grab just Valentine books (since I knew I’d be writing this afterward, most likely) but I’m glad I didn’t limit our haul by focusing on that theme. I’d of missed the coolest stuff we found this month that way.

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My eldest daughter really connected with Rosemary Wells’ Yoko character, and we read and reread those books to her when she was very small. My son loved Max from Max and Ruby: possibly because he was often led around by his older sister, didn’t like to talk much, and had the same mischievous grin…And the magic of this writer isn’t lost on our toddler. “Love Waves” is one of my favorites and it deals with the bond between parents and their children while they are away from each other. The ways the mom and dad keep them in their thoughts all day until they can come home and see them again is poetic but very spot on. It’s beautiful, and a great starting book for Wells’ work. “Max’s Breakfast” is a fun little board book, short and funny, and there are several like this (which are all perfect for very young readers). maxsbreakfast

 

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Jose Domingo’s visually striking “Pablo & Jane and The Hot Air Contraption” was just what my elementary school middle child wanted in a book. The comic book intro and scenes are not too wordy and have a nice pop art surreal feel, and the rest of the book is an awesome page search for needed objects and stuff. The style here isn’t common for children’s books, but that is a such a shame because I love this kind of artwork and so do my oldest children.

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For my higher level reader, “The Wild Robot” by Peter Brown is a new book (with, I think, a really cool cover) that she loved. It’s about a female robot waking up in the woods and trying to figure out the world. It’s as amazing as it sounds, and my daughter finished it in just a few days. I can’t give enough thumbs up for this novel approach at characterization and world-building. I’d recommend this for kids that are comfortable with chapter books, and anyone with a love for science fiction. I have a particularly soft spot in my heart for this one because I’m old enough to have grown up with Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy, but seriously go get this book.

 

 

Making Faces: Review + Giveaway

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About the Book:

Title: Making Faces

Author: Amy Harmon

Release Date: February 21, 2017

Publisher: Spencer Hill Press

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Synopsis: The Spencer Hill Press release will have Bonus Content never before available.

Ambrose Young was beautiful. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She’d been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have . . . until he wasn’t beautiful anymore.

Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. It is the tale of one girl’s love for a broken boy, and a wounded warrior’s love for an unremarkable girl. This is a story of friendship that overcomes heartache, heroism that defies the common definitions, and a modern tale of Beauty and the Beast, where we discover that there is a little beauty and a little beast in all of us.

My Review:

I really liked this book! The book starts around 2001 when 9/11 occurred. I already felt connected because that is exactly where I was when it happened. I was at school and the teacher turned on the TV, and that is when we saw the planes crashing into the twin towers.

Making Faces is a gripping and emotional ride that still has its cute and funny moments. First off I loved Bailey! I loved how he wasn’t depressed about his condition of being confined to a wheelchair and not being able to lift his arms all the way up. He was the heart of this story.

Fern and Ambrose were really cute. They both had their own inner battles that they had to get through when dealing with their outer shell.

This book will leave you with all kinds of different emotions, but the thing is it felt real. Especially all the things with the army situation and what happens there. I definitely recommend picking this one up to read.

 

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30027407-making-faces

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/163392095X/ref=x_gr_w_glide_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_glide_bb-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=163392095X&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

 

About the Author:

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Amy Harmon is a New York TimesWall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of ten novels. Her books are now being published in 13 languages around the globe.

She knew at an early age that writing was something she wanted to do, and divided her time between writing songs and stories as she grew. Having grown up in the middle of wheat fields without a television, with only her books and her siblings to entertain her, she developed a strong sense of what made a good story.

Author Social Media Links:

Website:  http://www.authoramyharmon.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/aharmon_author

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authoramyharmon

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amy.harmon2/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/authoramyharmon/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbxWykpRGYyQOzwhNgtH-QA/playlists?sort=dd&view=1&flow=list

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5829056.Amy_Harmon

 

Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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