[ARC] Review: The Raging Ones by Krista & Becca Ritchie

 

Review of The Raging Ones by Krista and Becca Ritchie

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Review copy generously provided by the publisher via NetGalley.


DESCRIPTION

In a freezing world, where everyone knows the day they will die, three teens break all odds.

Franny Bluecastle, a tough city teen, dreams of dying in opulence, to see wealth she’s never known. Like the entire world, she believes it’s impossible to dodge a deathday.

Until the day she does.

Court Icecastle knows wealth. He also knows pain. Spending five years in Vorkter Prison, a fortress of ice and suffering, he dreams of life beyond the people that haunt him and the world that imprisoned him.

Mykal Kickfall fights for those he loves. The rugged Hinterlander shares a frustrating yet unbreakable connection with Court—which only grows more lawless and chaotic as their senses and emotions connect with Franny.

With the threat of people learning they’ve dodged their deathdays, they must flee their planet to survive. But to do so, all three will have to hide their shared bond as they vie for a highly sought after spot in the newest mission to space. Against thousands of people far smarter, who’ll live longer, and never fear death the way that they do.


REVIEW

The Raging Ones is addictive, jarring, witty and utterly FANTASTIC. This was my 70th book of the year and it is by far one of the best.

“You’re a hallucination.”
“Will you let your hallucinations carry you out of the cold? Will you let your hallucinations help you?”

First things first, if you read the book description and thought: “Ugh. Another love triangle.” Well, let me just tell you. Jokes on you. The dynamic between the three main characters is so deep, it transcends your typical love triangle trope. Don’t get me wrong, there is romance, there is angst, there is so. much. tension. And it is almost all GAY. Seriously, some of my favorite romances as of late have been 100% gay or even M/M/F and this book absolutely did not disappoint.

“You keep saying that you make my life dismal and bleak. But my world never felt as bright, as worthwhile and full, until I met you.”

On Franny, Court and Mykal’s frozen planet, everyone knows the day they will die. This is just the way life is. Those bound to die as children may be loved by their families but their worth isn’t given a spare glance. Those who live to thirty and beyond are afforded every luxury in the world. And those that will die as young adults tend to bury themselves in drugs, sex and lawlessness. Nobody can quicken their deathday. Nobody can dodge their deathday.

Except Franny, Court and Mykal have lived to see their deathdays come and go. Now they find themselves inexplicably linked – their senses, their emotions, they share a bond that can only be strengthened.

“I go still with him. His hurt is my hurt and my hurt is his hurt. There’s no way around that, and in this silent moment, we both concede.”

The Raging Ones is fast-paced, imaginative and had me floored on numerous occasions. With a mix of everything: fantasy, science fiction and romance – it will please readers of every genre.

The world painted by the authors is a bleak one. Crippled by a freezing environment, the people burn a mineral called casia for warmth, leaving the sky a constant shade of purple. Nobody has seen the sun in years. Nobody has seen the stars in years. But Court has a dream to do just that, but cannot do it without Mykal and Franny by his side.

“I accept that you’re the most complicated, cold boy I’ve ever known.”

This book literally went from giving me Six of Crows vibes to Illuminae vibes and left me reeling with thoughts of “How did the authors do this?” Court is an intricately complicated character, reminiscent of Kaz Brekker. Franny is nothing like your typical YA female lead – she is unabashedly blunt, but thoughtful and caring. Mykal is my cinnamon roll of the bunch, he is unselfish, funny and loves fiercely. Each of the main characters is self deprecating in their own way, but through their shared bond, they lend each other the strength and drive to do the impossible. Having passed their deathdays, their only option is to blend in with the upper echelons of society and Court teaches Franny and Mykal to do just that. However, they come to find that shaking their past isn’t as easy as fancy clothes and smooth talking. Suspicions arise and some will stop at nothing to discover their secrets.

“You’d sooner believe you’re dead that believe I’d help you?”
Yes.

AND THAT ENDING. I DID NOT see that coming. Not from a mile away and it blew me away.

I requested The Raging Ones on a whim, having never read anything by these authors and not knowing what I was getting myself into, past the super intriguing premise in the description. I will absolutely be reading more by these authors. I loved their writing style and cannot wait for the sequel to The Raging Ones! This a must read for fantasy and science fiction lovers alike!

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Release Date: August 14th, 2018

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[ARC] Review: Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton

Review of Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Review copy generously provided by the publisher via Edelweiss.


DESCRIPTION

Once, a witch made a pact with a devil. The legend says they loved each other, but can the story be trusted at all? Find out in this lush, atmospheric fantasy novel that entwines love, lies, and sacrifice.

Long ago, a village made a bargain with the devil: to ensure their prosperity, when the Slaughter Moon rises, the village must sacrifice a young man into the depths of the Devil’s Forest.

Only this year, the Slaughter Moon has risen early.

Bound by duty, secrets, and the love they share for one another, Mairwen, a spirited witch; Rhun, the expected saint; and Arthur, a restless outcast, will each have a role to play as the devil demands a body to fill the bargain. But the devil these friends find is not the one they expect, and the lies they uncover will turn their town—and their hearts—inside out.


REVIEW

Strange Grace was such a beautiful tale about love and sacrifice, with a wonderfully eerie and unsettling twist to it. This is the PERFECT Fall read and perfect if you’re looking for something to sweep you up and cradle your heart.

Many generations before Mairwen, Rhun and Arthur were born, their village of Three Graces made a bargain with the devil. Every seven years, the village will willingly sacrifice their best boy into the Devil’s Forest. Only the sacrificed saints go into the forest, for it is full of otherworldly creatures, whispers that promise wicked and delightful things and if you look close enough you may see the shadow of the devil himself. It’s been three years since the last boy went in, ten years since Rhun’s cousin went in, seventeen years since Mairwen’s father went in and almost two hundred years since the devil fell in love with a Grace witch. Nothing bad befalls Three Graces, except now. Something is wrong with the bargain and the Slaughter Moon has risen early.

Bound by their love for each other, Mairwen, Rhun and Arthur set out to seek a way to fix the bargain, save their village and each other from the clutches of the devil.

This book is certainly a dark fantasy, but it had so many inspiring moments – it constantly had me smiling and screaming “YASSSS!” for the triumphs of my favorite characters. Mairwen is smart, fierce as a wildcat and loves with no bounds. Rhun is a damn blessing, the perfect saint and you will adore everything he does. Arthur doesn’t fit the mold he has made for himself, he burns brightly despite his longing to stand in the dark and all I wanted to do was force him into a hug (that he would certainly grimace over).

This is absolutely a character driven story and you never know what these three characters will do next, but you’ll support them every time. Also, love triangle? No, not exactly. There is a triangle but it isn’t what you may expect and I LOVED it. There was really only one relationship to “ship” and let me tell you, it WORKED.

I was so lost in the chilling atmosphere of this story, the depth of the characters, the mystery surrounding the bargain, and especially the devil himself. There are SO many amazing twists in this book, it will keep you turning the pages well past your bedtime.

This book also has some lovely LGBT+ rep, including trans rep that never even made me think of it that way. It just fit the story so perfectly.

Overall, after reading Strange Grace, I want to own and read everything Tessa Gratton has written. She has been on my radar for a few months now and this book was EVERYTHING I needed to decide I need to read more by her! Put this on your Fall reading list! This is definitely one of those ARCs I immediately wanted to pre-order as soon as I finished it.

View Review on Goodreads


Release Date: September 18th, 2018

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[ARC] Review: Rule by Ellen Goodlett

Review of Rule by Ellen Goodlett

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Review copy generously provided by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and theNOVL.


DESCRIPTION

Three girls with three deadly secrets. Only one can wear the crown.

The king is dying, his heir has just been murdered, and rebellion brews in the east. But the kingdom of Kolonya and the outer Reaches has one last option before it descends into leaderless chaos.

Or rather, three unexpected options.

Zofi has spent her entire life trekking through the outer Reaches with her band of Travelers. She would do anything to protect the band, her family. But no one can ever find out how far she’s already gone.

Akeylah was raised in the Eastern Reach, surrounded by whispers of rebellion and abused by her father. Desperate to escape, she makes a decision that threatens the whole kingdom.

Ren grew up in Kolonya, serving as a lady’s maid and scheming her way out of the servants’ chambers. But one such plot could get her hung for treason if anyone ever discovers what she’s done.

When the king summons the girls, they arrive expecting arrest or even execution. Instead they learn the truth: they are his illegitimate daughters, and one must become his new heir. But someone in Kolonya knows their secrets, and that someone will stop at nothing to keep the sisters from their destiny… to rule.

Magic, mystery, and blackmail abound in this sensational and striking fantasy debut.


REVIEW

Rule is a case of whodunit reminiscent of Agatha Christie, with a dash of the fantastical, that will have you guessing up to the very end. If you are looking for a new fantasy series to obsess over, Rule has all of the key ingredients.

Goodlett was born to write and this is a fantasy debut you need to add to your shelves! With her enchantingly descriptive writing, Goodlett has created a richly colorful fantasy world, with nods toward Oceanic cultures. Within that fantasy world are Zofi, Akeylah and Florencia – three girls who have only just discovered they are half sisters and the only remaining heirs to a dying king.

Thrust into a world of court politics, each girl hides a secret that holds her life in the balance, should it be discovered. Bound by their shared blood but clearly dissimilar from each other and the picturesque heir, their differences to not go unnoticed. As each sister fights to prove herself a worthy heir to the throne, it is a struggle to keep their secrets close amongst the vipers at court and somebody has discovered what they hide.

From there the story keeps the reader guessing at every page turn. Who can be trusted? Who is the blackmailer? What secrets are the other courtiers hiding? Rule has an intriguing cast of supporting characters, including a fine dash of romance and the moment you begin to root for someone is also the moment you begin to question their motives.

In addition to the mystery at hand, Rule’s tithing based magic system was refreshing and meticulously fleshed out – with a fine balance between the positive and negative impacts of using such magic.

Additionally, Rule has a strong representation of cultural diversity with a cast made wholly of POC characters, plus some LGBT romance. There are themes of bigotry and oppression present, something each of the girls has tasted firsthand.

Overall, this is a new fantasy series I am pumped to continue! It has been compared to Three Dark Crowns and Pretty Little Liars, with a dash of King Lear and boy does that hit the nail on the head! If you’re looking for something exciting and twisty for your next read, this is it!

View Review on Goodreads


Release Date: September 11th, 2018

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[Mini] Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Review of Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Read Dates: January 20th – 23rd, 2018


DESCRIPTION

Remember, it’s only a game…

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.


REVIEW

This book was so cool and imaginative! It constantly had me asking questions and second guessing everything I thought I knew to be true. It is rare for a book to pull a reader in so completely that they cast doubt upon what is happening, but this book certainly did for me. I was mesmerized by the world of Caraval, it’s beauty, it’s people, it’s magic.

Within just a few chapters I found myself with a list of questions and even theories. Some of them were answered, while some answers appear to be coming in the sequel. Some theories were right while others were dashed away shortly after I was positive I had figured everything out. What a twisty and spellbinding story! Remember, it’s only a game and not everything you experience is true.

I’m looking forward to Legendary!

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Order Caraval with these booksellers

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Review: Over Raging Tides by Jennifer Ellison

 

Review of Over Raging Tides by Jennifer Ellison

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

This copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.


DESCRIPTION

The pirate crew of the Lady Luck lives by many rules, but chief among them is this: they do not allow men on board.

That’s a rule that quartermaster Grace Porter is willing to break when a shipwrecked young nobleman offers her information of an omniscient map, stolen from his warship by an enemy vessel. Until now, the map was only the stuff of legend… but with its help, Grace may finally be able to hunt down the Mordgris, the sea monsters who stole her mother away from her.

Unfortunately, some members of her crew have other plans…

To find the map and face the Mordgris, Grace will have to confront her past, put the Luck between warring nations, and uncover treachery aboard the ship. And ultimately, her revenge and the destruction of the Mordgris will come at a hefty price: the betrayal of her crew.

Grace promised them they wouldn’t regret this.

She just isn’t sure that she won’t.


REVIEW

Lady pirates! Secrets! Quests for treasure! Betrayal! Sea creatures!

When I first heard about Over Raging Tides, my first thought was: I need to read this and I immediately added it to my “to-read” shelf on Goodreads.

So, imagine my surprise when I was offered an opportunity by the author to read the book in exchange for an honest review. I could not pass it up and have been left with no regrets.

“Life at sea is not butterflies and daisies.
Her gift is freedom, but it’s not something she gives for free.”

Stories about pirates, mermaids, sirens, etc. have been all the rage lately and this book sated my desire for another sea-faring story wonderfully. It is a fast-paced adventure with Pirates of the Caribbean vibes, a mysterious backstory and it becomes a delectably interesting tale overall.

The main character – Grace – has spent most of her life aboard the pirate ship, Lady Luck and currently serves as her quartermaster. Unlike other ships sailing the Eleven Seas, the Luck is comprised of an entirely female crew and men are not allowed to step foot onboard. However, after a bending of the rules, a young man named Leo has found himself aboard the Luck and may be the key to finding a map most have believed to be a legend. For this map is enchanted with the ability to show the location of whatever you seek of it. The pirates aboard the Luck wish to use the map to find treasure. Gracie wishes to use the map to find the Mordgris, sea creatures who took her mother years before. To locate the map, the women aboard the Luck must set aside their rules and work beside Leo. However, not everyone on the crew is pleased with this arrangement.

“You have found yourself aboard a pirate ship. Female pirates, yes, but pirates nonetheless. There are many things in our code, but honor is not one of them.”

I was not expecting Gracie to be as ruthless and morally grey of a character as she was, but she is a pirate after all and she fit her profession well. Grace and Leo are both cunning in their ways and good counterparts for each other. I only wish their character development was deeper. We do not learn much about Leo, his family or even his story and are not given a strong grasp on Grace’s nature outside her interactions with other characters. To say the least, their depth of character is lacking in some ways. They are unique characters, without a doubt, but I’m not sure if they are memorable.

That said – the story overall is strong with a good air of mystery to it. I found myself fascinated by the Mordgris and constantly trying to picture what they look like and what they are. What is the story behind Gracie’s mother? What does the captain know? Why do the Mordgris constantly plague Gracie? This book has some fairly good plot twists I did not anticipate, keeping me caught up with the story and always wanting a little more. There are several plotlines running throughout the story and it closes with a cliffhanger ending that is enticing but not shocking or heartbreaking. You’ll be left wanting more, but you won’t be left in tears or frustration. Over Raging Tides is not a standalone and I am looking forward to seeing where the story takes us in the next installment.

If you want a fast-paced, fun, uncomplicated adventure, this is the book for you!

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Review: Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

Review of Emergency Contactby Mary H.K. Choi

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Description

For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.

Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.

When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.

Review

This book was sweet and endearing, I did enjoy it but I’m bumping it from four stars to three stars. 🤷🏻‍♀️ After some thought – it just didn’t blow me away. NOTHING HAPPENED.

Penny seems to be overcome with infatuation the moment she sees Sam. Her reactions to him were so excessive that I couldn’t help but to wonder: is it even possible to have this sort of reaction in real life? calm down girl.

One of these stars is dedicated to Sam’s character. I loved him and felt deeply for him – but really felt like he wasn’t the right character for this book.

If you’re going into this hoping it will have a slow burn romance that builds via texting, you aren’t going to get it. I was disappointed to find that the texting aspect of this story is pretty minimal and only used to push the narrative between the main characters because it’s their only form of interaction for much of the story.

All of that said, this book represented current social issues decently and the importance of having someone to offload your troubles to.

I very rarely read contemporary, but the beautiful cover and summary caught my eye. Unfortunately it’s pretty bland on the inside.

View Review on Goodreads

[ARC] Review: Crown of Embers by Meg Anne

 

Review of Crown of Embers (The Chosen #3) by Meg Anne

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Mother of Shadows (The Chosen #1) | Reign of Ash (The Chosen #2)

This copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

“There had been happiness here, but now all she could feel was the joy someone had taken in destroying it.”

If you’ve been following my reviews for awhile, you’ll know that this series is like my guilty pleasure. I adore Helena, Von, Ronan and the rest of the Circle and other supporting characters and am always looking to read more of their story. This installment did not disappoint!

Crown of Embers follows Kiri Helena and her Circle as they rally to find allies in the battle against Rowena and her Shadows. What I loved the most about this book was the chance to see more of Elysia as the characters travelled. We meet enemies and allies alike, both willing and reluctant and Helena must decide who is worthy of her trust. I especially enjoyed the Night Stalkers and am looking forward to learning more about the new character Reyna in the next book.

All of that said, if you’ve read the first two books in the series, you’ll know that each ended with pretty hefty cliffhangers (this one – not so much … *whew*). Well, let me assure you – within just the first few paragraphs, WE FIND OUT WHAT IS IN THE BOX (*glory glory hallelujah*). Thank goodness for that because I was so distraught at the end of the last book! I just needed to know!

“Let their blood bring new life. One for every one lost … “

One of the biggest plot points to Crown of Embers is Helena learning to handle unsurmountable loss, control her staggering power and strengthen the bond between her and Von now that they are reunited. With all of their plotting and planning, Helena is constantly on the go, without much time for herself, her Mate or the Circle and she must find ways to manage her duty and still live her life. Because there is so must strategizing in this book, the story did slow down in pace at times but never once did my interest wane.

Also – Ronan. SO MUCH YES. He has come to be my favorite in this series (I’m certain I do not stand alone) and I just want him to find the happiness he deserves.

As the ending neared, the atmosphere of the story grew more ominous and I just KNEW something was brewing on the horizon and oh boy did it! My lips are sealed other than to warn you to keep your pearls and Kleenex close. You may need them! (I AM STILL NOT OVER IT)

Overall, another fun installment of The Chosen by Meg Anne. I truly love this series, its characters and world. The next book cannot come soon enough!

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