Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne

35721194Seventeen-year-old Stella Ainsley wants just one thing: to go somewhere—anywhere—else. Her home is a floundering spaceship that offers few prospects, having been orbiting an ice-encased Earth for two hundred years. When a private ship hires her as a governess, Stella jumps at the chance. The captain of the Rochester, nineteen-year-old Hugo Fairfax, is notorious throughout the fleet for being a moody recluse and a drunk. But with Stella he’s kind. But the Rochester harbors secrets: Stella is certain someone is trying to kill Hugo, and the more she discovers, the more questions she has about his role in a conspiracy threatening the fleet.


Stella Ainsley catches a break when she finally leaves her job as an engineer aboard the less than desirable Stalwart to become a governess on a private ship—the Rochester. Hugo Halifax is the captain of the Rochester and a drunk at nineteen. Stella is a great character, and I particularly liked the fact she was an engineer in space. Their romance was cute, but Hugo at nineteen was not as appealing to me as a forty-year-old Rochester.

I love retelling stories, such as Bridget Jones’s Diary, which have become as much a favorite as the original inspiration. Contrary to popular belief, retelling stories are not copycats. The reason so many retelling stories exist today is because the classics they are inspired by are great stories, with great characters that withstand the test of time. On that note, writing a retelling story can be incredibly daunting because now you are expected to produce a story that elicits the same, or very similar emotions to those experienced by readers who read those classic novels.

Brightly Burning is a lovely retelling of Jane Eyre set in space. Alexa Donne did a fantastic job at reviving the emotions of Brontë’s classic but to an entirely new YA audience who might have never read Charlotte Brontë’s novel. Brightly Burning is a creative and pleasant read.


Format: Hardcover, 394 pages
Published: May 1st, 2018 by HMH Books for Young Readers
ISBN:1328948935
Source: Purchased
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: YA, Scifi, Romance

Red Sister (Book of The Ancestor #1) by Mark Lawrence

 

25895524At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old blood show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

“It is important, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size. For Sister Thorn of the Sweet Mercy Convent Lano Tacsis brought two hundred men.”

And so starts Red Sister–my first book by Mark Lawrence. What a fantastic debut it is! I have many of his books in my TBR list, and I’m slowly chipping away at them. Red Sister is a book that came highly recommended to me by a friend, and I must admit I’m so happy I decided to read it.

The book starts with Nona at age eight and about to be hanged. She is saved at the last minute by a nun from the Convent of Sweet Mercy, a convent known to train chosen girls to be assassins. Most of the book is about the training, the fantastic fights, and the friendships that develop. Part coming-of-age, part YA fantasy I loved the way Lawrence created this world. His narrative is detailed, and he does a phenomenal job at developing his characters, especially the protagonist Nona.

This fast-paced, page-turner was a great introduction to the world of Mark Lawrence, and I look forward to reading the next books in this series.

“A book is as dangerous as any journey you might take. The person who closes the back cover may not be the same one that opened the front one. Treat them with respect.”


Format: Hardcover, 469 pages
Published: April 4th, 2017 by Ace
ISBN: 1101988851
Source: Library loan
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Fantasy

Blog Tour: Boy of Blood by Megan O’Russell #giveaway

Boy of Blood Banner (2)

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Publisher: Fiery Seas Publishing

Series: Girl of Glass

Genre: YA Dystopia

Release Date: April 10, 2018

After Nightland’s vicious attack on the domes, the safety and perfection of the world within the glass has been contaminated. Desperate to rebuild, outsiders are allowed into the domes to help, breaking the cardinal rule: outsiders and Domers must always be separated. But the city is in shambles, crumbling into chaos without the Vampers of Nightland to keep order, and one name is carried on the wind: Nola. Clinging to Jeremy, Nola struggles to find a way to exist in the domes, turning her back on all she learned in the city. But when one of the outsiders brings the dark secrets of the domes to light, the line between survival and murder blurs against the specter of the dying world. Can Nola follow the dark path laid out by the Domes? Will the dangers of the night become her new sanctuary?

Review 

Boy of Blood starts where book one, Girl of Glass, left off. This is not a standalone story. You do need to read the first book in the series to truly appreciate this installment.

The book starts with Nola waking up after the attack on the domes, a perfect world inside glass walls created for chosen humans. The other half of the population is relegated to living on the outside of the dome to suffer and die.

In this dystopian sequel, we follow Nola as she tries to move on from the attacks on the domes and the heartbreak from Kieran’s betrayal. This book really takes the time to explain and develop Nola’s character and her relationship with Jeremy. I didn’t see this book as just another dystopian book. I’m actually tired of reading most of the dystopian YA novels out there because many of those books are so similar. What I liked about Boy of Blood is that this story mixes a little romance, a little paranormal fantasy with vampires and werewolves, and it all works really well.

This is a fast-paced book with a cliffhanger ending that leaves you wanting more. I highly recommend it.

I would like to thank the author and Fiery Seas Publishing for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


About The Author

Megan O'Russell

Megan O’Russell is the author of the young adult fantasy series The Tethering, and Nuttycracker Sweet, a Christmas novella. Megan’s short stories can also be found in several anthologies, including Athena’s Daughters 2, featuring women in speculative fiction. Megan is a professional performer who has spent time on stages across the country and is the lyrist for Second Chances: The Thrift Shop Musical, which received its world premiere in 2015. When not on stage or behind a computer, Megan can usually be found playing her ukulele or climbing a mountain with her fantastic husband.

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PURCHASE LINKS:  Amazon | Barnes&Noble | KoboiTunes


Click here for Giveaway

Review: The Mark of Noba by G. L. Tomas

 

Sterling Wayfairer has one goal for his senior year: make his mark. He’s been slipping into the background his whole high school career—distracted by his mother’s mental health, unsettled by the vivid dreams that haunt him at night, and overshadowed by the athletic accomplishments of his popular best friends. But this year is going to be different. He’s going to break a few rules, have some fun, and maybe even work up the nerve to ask his crush out on a date. But things don’t go exactly as planned. Students are disappearing, Sterling starts losing time, and it all seems to center around Tetra, a girl no one else seems to notice but him. When he finally tracks her down for answers, they aren’t what he expects: He and Tetra hail from a world called Noba, and they’re being hunted by a Naga, a malevolent shapeshifter that’s marked them for destruction. Tetra and Sterling have distinct abilities that can help them fight back, but their power depends heavily on the strength of their bond, a connection that transcends friendship, transcends romance. Years apart have left their bond weak. Jumpstarting it will require Sterling to open his heart and his mind and put his full trust in the mysterious Tetra. If he doesn’t, neither of them will survive.

Review

This was an interesting book and not at all what I’d expected it to be. Part of my interest came from this awesome cover. Sterling is a pretty cool dude. I liked his voice and I thought the authors did a good job at creating this character. Tetra, on the other hand is a bit flat, perhaps because she is from another planet. The story has a good mix of sci-fi and fantasy. I loved the multicultural elements in the story. This book started out a little slow for me but it certainly picked up at the end. Overall, the story is unusual but interesting.

I’d like to thank YA Bound Book Tours for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


About The Author

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Guinevere and Libertad go by many superhero aliases. Whether you know them by G.L. Tomas, the Twinjas, or the Rebellious Valkyries, their mission is always the same: spreading awareness of diversity in books. Oh, and trying to figure out the use for pocketless pants!

They host other allies and champions of diversity in their secret lair in Connecticut.

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YA Bound Book Tours

Review: No One Dies In The Garden Of Syn

 

Synthia (Syn) Wade is a teenage girl who struggles with cystic fibrosis, an incurable life-threatening disease. One day she is pushed into a pond by an unseen figure and wakes up in a new world – a mysterious garden where illness and death don’t exist. Welcomed by the garden’s residents and now free of her symptoms, Syn decides to stay. But, before long, she realizes that this apparent utopia holds many dangers and dark secrets. Surrounding the garden is a fog that Syn is warned never to enter. She encounters bizarre creatures that defy reason. And always lurking in the shadows is a masked woman – a woman who may have a connection to the disappearance of Syn’s parents many years ago. A woman whom no one will speak of, but whom everyone fears. While No One Dies in the Garden of Syn, She will soon discover that some fates are worse than death.

Review

Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a very serious and somehow personal topic for me. My beloved cousin died at the age of 24 of this incurable disease, and I remember her struggles from diagnosis until her death. When I was offered this title, I jumped right away at the opportunity to read and review this book. I felt that the premise of the book was great, and I was really curious about how the author was going to develop this story. I have to say that I was quite disappointed with this book.

The Novel starts with Syn (for Synthia) Wade, a teenage girl struggling with CF who one day is looking at this pond in her backyard when she is suddenly pushed in the pond by an unseen figure and wakes up in this alternate world–a mysterious garden where no one is sick and illness and death do not exist. One of the things I felt that worked for me in this novel was Syn’s character development. I think the author did a great job at depicting her struggles with the disease. The story itself is confusing and a bit slow moving for me. I love fantasy books, and I have no problem with the concept of alternate worlds, parallel universes, and so on, however, this is a concept that can be tricky and not always works well. Most of the book is extremely vague and you get the sense that questions will be provided by the end of the book. In fact, the reader does get some of these questions answered, but overall it remains a confusing story.

I’d like to thank YA Bound Book Tours for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


About The Author

When Michael was growing up, his passions were reading, watching movies, enjoying nature and creative writing. Not much has changed since then. Working in Online Marketing for over ten years, Michael felt it was time to pursue his passion as a career and wrote the first book in The Garden of Syn trilogy.Getting up every morning and sitting down to create new characters and bring new worlds to life is the most fulfilling job he’s have ever had. He is currently writing the second book in The Garden of Syn series and, beyond the trilogy, has many ideas plotted out that he looks forward to sharing with the world!

Michael was born in Vancouver, BC Canada where he continues to reside.

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YA Bound Book Tours

Captivating Covers

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Captivating covers is a book meme created by Jbelkbooks. Once a week you showcase “captivating” book covers that you come across. It may be a cover that you saw online, at a book shop, or at a library. You don’t have to have purchased the book as long as the cover has  captivated your eyes.

This week as I was navigating through NetGalley I came across this beautiful cover. Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley is a fantasy YA book with an interesting title and great cover.

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Title: Fate of Flames

Author: Sarah Raughley

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Scheduled to be published: November 22, 2016

Blurb

Four girls with the power to control the elements and save the world from a terrible evil must come together in the first epic novel in a brand-new series. When Phantoms—massive beasts made from nightmares and darkness—suddenly appeared and began terrorizing the world, four girls, the Effigies, each gained a unique power to control one of the classical elements: earth, air, fire, and water. Since then, four girls across the world have continually fought against the Phantoms, fulfilling their cosmic duty. And when one Effigy dies, another girl gains her power as a replacement. But now, with technologies in place to protect the world’s major cities from Phantom attacks, the Effigies have stopped defending humanity and, instead, have become international celebrities, with their heroic feats ranked, televised, and talked about in online fandoms. Until the day that New York City’s protection against the Phantoms fails, a man seems to be able to control them by sheer force of will, and Maia, a high school student, unexpectedly becomes the Fire Effigy. Now Maia has been thrown into battle with three girls who want nothing to do with one another. But with the first human villain that the girls have ever faced, and an army of Phantoms preparing for attack, there isn’t much time for the Effigies to learn how to work together. Can the girls take control of their destinies before the world is destroyed forever?


Review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

The Bone Season

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

First I’d like to apologize for how long it took me to post this review. I finished reading this book a few weeks ago, but I was out of the country with limited internet access. The Bone Season was one of the books I’d been meaning to read since it was first released in 2013. Samantha Shannon is a prodigy for sure. I couldn’t even start to imagine coming up with these many ideas for a book at the tender age of twenty-two, much less sign a fabulous book deal to write a seven-book series.

The Bone Season is book one of the series and it does not disappoint. Wow, was all that was coming out of my mouth when I finished this book. I truly loved it. I liked Paige, the heroine, and Warden. The characters were complex and well-developed. This is a four hundred and fifty-page book that reads like it’s two hundred pages. It’s a real page-turner. I thought the descriptions of the fights and the action scenes were really well described.

The one complaint I have about the book was the fact that Shannon created this entire new vocabulary, and to understand it you have to consult the glossary at the back of the book. That was something that got pretty tiresome after a while, and the sole reason I’m not rating this book five stars. I’m definitely looking forward to the sequel.

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Book Details:

Title:The Bone Season /Author:Samantha Shannon/Genre:YA/Paranormal/ ISBN:9781620401392/Publisher:Bloomsbury USA/Rating: 4-Stars/Read:June, 2015.

Review: Lichgates (The Grimoire Saga #1) by S.M. Boyce

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When Kara Magari uncovers a secret door in the middle of the forest, she discovers (and trips through) a portal to a hidden world full of terrifying things: Ourea. She just wants to go home, but the natives have other plans for her…

Kara is a teenager who one day decides to go for a hike in the woods and encounters a secret door, or lichgate, in the middle of the forest. This lichgate is a portal that takes her to the land of Ourea, an underground world of unique races, monsters and magical creatures.

I want to start by pointing out what I liked about this book. Fantasy books are probably the genre that requires the greatest amount of creativity, and in that part Boyce did a fantastic job. She spent a significant amount of time creating an entire world full of mythical and magical creatures, dragons, shape-shifters, portals and demons.

What I did not like about this book was that it felt a little too long and redundant. I understand that being the first book in a saga there will be a lot of introduction to characters and descriptions. Unfortunately, at times, the transition was choppy. The character of Kara, the protagonist, the heroine, is rather dull and a bit too naive. I didn’t really empathize with her at all. The other character in the book is Braeden Drakonin, a dark prince with a dark secret and who doesn’t get along with his dad–the big evil king. I was hoping for more romance than just the platonic thing that went on between Kara and Braeden. Maybe that will be developed in other books. Overall, Ourea is a complicated world. It is full of details, and kingdoms and species, and although the author did an excellent job at creating this mythical land the rest of the story did not feel well developed.

Lichgates is book one of the Grimoire Saga, and I’m hoping that more of the actual story and characters will be developed in future books. I’m not giving up on this series, and I’m looking forward to book number two.

I’d like to thank Story Cartel for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

3 star

Book Details:

Title:Lichgates /Author:S.M.Boyce/Genre:Fantasy/YA / ISBN:9781939997067/Publisher:Acorn Valley Press/Rating: 3-Stars/Read:June, 2015.

Review: Alive (The Generations Trilogy #1) by Scott Sigler

Alive

A group of young adults awake in a mysterious enclosed space with no knowledge of who they are or how they got there…and an indomitable young woman must lead them not only to answers but to survival.

A young woman awakes trapped in an enclosed space. She has no idea who she is or how she got there. With only her instincts to guide her, she escapes her own confinement—and finds she’s not alone. She frees the others in the room and leads them into a corridor filled with the remains of a war long past. The farther these survivors travel, the worse are the horrors they confront. And as they slowly come to understand what this prison is, they realize that the worst and strangest possibilities they could have imagined don’t even come close to the truth.

Alive is one of those books which the premise alone made me drop everything else I was reading to start reading this book. I had read very few reviews on this book, and the author has requested that very little detail about the book be given. I don’t think I’m the sort of reviewer that reveals spoilers in books, but I have to admit that I struggled while writing this review in fear of giving too much away.

This is my first book by Scott Sigler and the first book of The Generations Trilogy. I love dystopian novels and that drew me to this story. Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed as I started to read and recognize themes very similar to other famous dystopian novels. This is not a bad book, and although the story is interesting and fast paced the storyline is not very original. I’m looking forward to the next books in this series, and hopefully a departure from these familiar dystopian themes.

I’d like to thank NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

3 star

Book Details:

Title: Alive/Author: Scott Sigler/Genre: Dystopian/YA / ISBN: 9780553393101/Publisher: Del Rey/Rating: 3-Stars/Read: May, 2015.

Review: Sight (The Delta Girls-Book 1) By Juliet Madison

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When Savannah wakes up after two months in the hospital, she sees a whole lot more than expected, things that could put those close to her at risk.

Three months after being discharged from the hospital, Savannah Delcarta and her family start a new life in the town of Iris Harbor. The change is difficult at first, but Savanna and her four sisters share a lot more than sisterhood and friendship in common. All five sisters have paranormal abilities. Savannah has the gift of sight, Serena the gift of sound, Sasha the gift of scent, Tamara the gift of taste and Talia the gift of touch. When the sisters get together and hold hands, they are able to predict the future using one of those senses.

When a serial arsonist terrorizes Iris Harbor, the Delcarta sisters rely on their senses to find out who is behind the mysterious fires.

This is book one of the Delta Girls series and I absolutely LOVED it! The story is awesome! Savannah is sassy and kind and the plot is well-developed. I really had a great time reading it. It was a nice, enjoyable afternoon read. I liked that there was the right amount of adventure, romance and suspense weaved in the story. Because this is book one, not all the characters were as developed as Savannah, but we get an introduction to her sisters and mother as well. I’m definitely looking forward to the other books in the series, and to learn more about the Delcarta sisters.

I’d like to thank NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This book is scheduled to be published on July 14, 2015.

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Book Details:

Title: Sight (The Delta Girls-Book 1) /Author: Juliet Madison/Genre:Paranormal/YA / ISBN: 978162681550-6/Publisher: Diversion Books/Rating: 4-Stars/Read: May, 2015.