Want Some SF Recs?

There seems to be some discourse going on over on Twitter about YA SF and how it’s lacking. I’ve seen takes dissuading from trying to write and market it and I’ve seen takes urging writers to write it.

As some whose Book Baby is a YA SF story, some of these takes are quite disheartening, and on one hand, make me want to work on my book more than ever, but on the other, it’s hard not feeling disheartened. I want to go the traditional publishing route with this book – it’s kind of my dream, and to hear so many people in the industry issuing warnings…well, it doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence.

I know publishing is cyclical, and I’m not writing my WIP to any possible trends – I’ve been working on this story for 10 or so years now. But publishing is cyclical and eventually SF will flood the shelves again, so if you’re like me, and love SF – make sure you’re writing your book!

But in the meantime, there are a lot of good SF books already out. Most are more dystopian – i.e. The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze Runner, etc. – but there are a few that are more alien, space…more akin to Star Wars or Farscape.

So, I’ve done one of these posts before, I’ll link it – here – and now I’m going to give you 5 new SF recs that should be on your radar. Plus, there will be a bonus rec!

*These are in no particular order.


article 5Article 5 Series – Kristen Simmons

Article 5 / Breaking Point / Three

 Article 5 Synopsis:

New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned.

The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.

There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don’t come back.

Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren’t always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it’s hard for her to forget that people weren’t always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. It’s hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different.

Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow.

That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings—the only boy Ember has ever loved.

If you were a fan of the OG’s, Hunger Games, Divergent, Maze Runner, Uglies – or even just a dystopia fan in general, you’ll definitely enjoy this trilogy. It’s been quite a few years since I’ve read it, but I remember being so happy that I had the whole trilogy, because I inhaled it. I didn’t care about schoolwork (I was in college at the time) I put it off just so I could read. And if you saw me around campus…well, sitting in the English Department on campus, I had one of the three books in my hand.


unknownUnknown Trilogy – Wendy Higgins

Unknown / Unrest / Undone

Unknown Synopsis:

Amber Tate believes the worst thing she’ll suffer in life is dealing with the unrequited love she feels for her brother’s best friend, Rylen Fite. She also believes war is something unfortunate that happens places far, far away from her rural Nevada town. She’s wrong on both counts.

When an unknown organization meticulously bombs major cities in the United States and across the globe, a trickle-down effect spreads to remaining towns at an alarming speed-everything from food and water sources to technology and communications are compromised. Without leadership, the nation is split between paralysis and panic, but Amber isn’t one to hide or watch helplessly. She’s determined to put her nursing skills to use, despite the danger, even if it means working alongside the man she can never have.

These are recent reads for me, and kind of reignited my need for SF. These aren’t YA, or at least they’re Upper YA, or New Adult. But they are so good, and kind of exactly what I needed to read. With so much fantasy out there – and it being the majority of what I read, these were like a breath of fresh air, and I fell back in love with SF and dystopian novels. So, if you’re a fan of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Lux Series, then you’ll want to check this trilogy out.


UnearthedUnearthed Duology – Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Unearthed / Undying

Unearthed Synopsis:

When Earth intercepts a message from a long-extinct alien race, it seems like the solution the planet has been waiting for. The Undying’s advanced technology has the potential to undo environmental damage and turn lives around, and Gaia, their former home planet, is a treasure trove waiting to be uncovered.

For Jules Addison and his fellow scholars, the discovery of an alien culture offers unprecedented opportunity for study… as long as scavengers like Amelia Radcliffe don’t loot everything first. Mia and Jules’ different reasons for smuggling themselves onto Gaia put them immediately at odds, but after escaping a dangerous confrontation with other scavvers, they form a fragile alliance.

In order to penetrate the Undying temple and reach the tech and information hidden within, the two must decode the ancient race’s secrets and survive their traps. But the more they learn about the Undying, the more their presence in the temple seems to be part of a grand design that could spell the end of the human race…

I will read anything Amie and Meagan write – especially if it’s SF. Their Starbound Trilogy is one of my favorites, and this duology does not disappoint. Think, Lara Croft meets Indian Jones, but in space. Basically, these books were written for me. So, if you’re a fan of amazing SF, Amie and Meagan, then you’ll want to check this duology out.


glowSky Chasers – Amy Kathleen Ryan

Glow / Spark / Flame

Glow Synopsis:

If a violent battle destroyed the only world you’ve ever known, would you be brave enough to save who was left? Would love be strong enough to survive the fight? Either way, there’s no turning back.

The Empyrean is the only home 15-year-old Waverly has ever known. Part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space, she and her boyfriend Kieran will be pioneers of New Earth. Waverly knows she must marry young in order to have children who can carry on the mission, and Kieran, the handsome captain-to-be, has everything Waverly could want in a husband. Everyone is sure he’s the best choice. Still, there’s a part of Waverly that wants more from life than marriage, and she is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.

Suddenly, Waverly’s dreams are interrupted by the inconceivable – a violent betrayal by the Empyrean’s sister ship, the New Horizon. The New Horizon’s leaders are desperate to populate the new planet first, and will do anything to get what they need: young girls. In one pivotal moment, Waverly and Kieran are separated, and find themselves at the helm of dangerous missions, where every move has potentially devastating consequences, and decisions of the heart may lead to disaster.

Now, it’s been basically forever since I read these books, but I do remember loving them – though not so much how the trilogy ended as a whole…maybe I shouldn’t be telling you that. This trilogy is pretty much everything I love in a SF, takes place in space, on a spaceship and drama. I wouldn’t be surprised if this trilogy, in some way, ignited my desire to write my own Space SF story. If you’re a fan of Stargate, or Farscape (which I really cannot recommend enough, seriously, watch it) then you’ll like this trilogy.


ugliesThe Uglies Series – Scott Westerfeld

Uglies / Pretties / SpecialsExtras

Uglies Synopsis:

Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait. In just a few weeks she’ll have the operation that will turn her from a repellent ugly into a stunning pretty. And as a pretty, she’ll be catapulted into a high-tech paradise where her only job is to have fun.

But Tally’s new friend Shay isn’t sure she wants to become a pretty. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world– and it isn’t very pretty. The authorities offer Tally a choice: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. Tally’s choice will change her world forever…

Let’s talk about OG YA SF. Wow, acronyms galore. Anyways, Uglies was probably my first true introduction into the YA genre as we would consider it today. I remember a family friend had read it, and enjoyed it, but thought I’d like it more. She was right! Again, it’s been a few years since I’ve read this series, and now with the new books, it might be time to revisit the original three books (I don’t touch the fourth one). These books should just be on your radar, because they’re that good. Go read them! Maybe one day we’ll get the Netflix series these books deserve.


And finally Bonus Rec time!

Whereas I’ve read all the books I’ve listed above, I haven’t actually read this trilogy yet. So, this Bonus Rec, is for me as much as it’s for you. It’s been on my TBR an embarrassingly long time, and simply because I don’t have a hardcover of the first book. I KNOW such a dumb reason to not have read this trilogy.

partialsPartials Sequence – Dan Wells

Partials / Fragments / Ruins

Partials Synopsis:

Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with Partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island. But sixteen-year-old Kira is determined to find a solution. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that that the survival of both humans and Partials rests in her attempts to answer questions about the war’s origin that she never knew to ask.

Playing on our curiosity of and fascination with the complete collapse of civilization, Partials is, at its heart, a story of survival, one that explores the individual narratives and complex relationships of those left behind, both humans and Partials alike—and of the way in which the concept of what is right and wrong in this world is greatly dependent on one’s own point of view.


Let me know what your favorite YA SF books are – I always need and want more in my life. I’m inundated with fantasy and I want more SF in my life.

DNF Book Review: Wicked As You Wish (A Hundred Names for Magic #1)

Wicked as you wisTitle: Wicked As You Wish (A Hundred Names for Magic #1)

Author: Rin Chupeco

Pub. Date: March 3, 2020

Rating: DNF @ Page 28


Tala Warnock has little use for magic – as a descendant of Maria Makiling, the legendary Filipina heroine, she negates spells, often by accident. But her family’s old ties to the country of Avalon (frozen, bespelled, and unreachable for almost 12 years) soon finds them guarding its last prince from those who would use his kingdom’s magic for insidious ends.

And with the rise of dangerous spelltech in the Royal States of America; the appearance of the firebird, Avalon’s deadliest weapon, at her doorstep; and the re-emergence of the Snow Queen, powerful but long thought dead, who wants nothing more than to take the firebird’s magic for her own – Tala’s life is about to get even more complicated….


This will be a rant-y, possibly spoiler-y review, but I only got to page 28, so…

I wanted to like this book.

Prior to receiving it in the December FairyLoot Box, this book wasn’t on my radar as something I wanted to read. I figured that having received an ARC, I should at least attempt to read it. Based on the synopsis, it sounded like something I could possibly and would probably enjoy.

So, I went into the book with an open mind and by page 5 I was confused. Honestly, that’s not a good sign. I took a breath and tried to focus, but that proved a bit hard the further I got into the story…which albeit, wasn’t very far.

The world is chaos and without a map (is there even going to be one in the finished copy?) I couldn’t make heads or tails of how it was laid out. I’m a pretty visual person, and I always love a map when it comes to fantasy worlds.

But it was more than just being unable to picture the world, but take every fantasy story, every mythology, lore, and history fact you know, and throw them all in a book and you’d have this. Then add a whole heaping of modern-day world problems and concerns and politics.

It was just kind of a mess, and I felt so loss amongst everything going on in the beginning of this book.

Now, maybe I’m in the minority here, but I absolutely hate it, and it’s almost always an automatic turn off, when a book includes thinly veiled, media hyped political rants that do nothing but bash the US. I read fantasy books to escape.

I’m in NO WAY saying that fantasy books shouldn’t include real world elements, whether it be political, social issues, etc. They should, because it rounds them out and makes them better. But if you’re just going to rant for rant’s sake because you’re pissed at some media hyped and exploited, parroted political rant, I’m almost never going to finish your book.

Usually, when books do this, or any variation, I can just roll my eyes and continue reading. I can usually just ignore whatever part and enjoy the book. That is always my goal when I go into ‘new to me’ reads. Maybe there is a purpose to the rant, and I just didn’t get to it. If that’s the case, it’s a shame that I have no desire to find out what happens next. I like escapism when it comes to fantasy, and that rant just hit a bit hard and a bit real, and I decided I couldn’t continue. I’m sure we all have one or two things that we adamantly don’t like when it comes to reading.

I know I won’t be picking up this book again and I’m not going to recommend it. I can’t.

I also can’t recommend it, because I haven’t finished it and now, I’m not going to. I wanted to like this book, because it really does sound like something I could get behind and love. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t for me. If you read this, I hope you really enjoy it.

On top of that, I only got 28 pages into this book, I didn’t care for the characters, they felt very one dimensional and flat and I could not get behind the writing style.

I know there’s always going to be the argument of when it’s appropriate to show versus tell, and the opposite, but if you’re going to spend time telling me everything, you’d better make sure I understand what’s going on.

And guess what?

28 pages, and I still didn’t understand the world, the connections, the politics, any of it really. And yes, that could be because I didn’t read far enough into the book, that’s fair, but now we’ll never know. I kind of feel bad for maybe not giving this book the time it needs to capture my interest, but honestly, my interest is gone. There was a lot of info dumping, which didn’t help my confusion and didn’t clarify anything. I also want to state that I was already struggling to stay interested in this book, due to my lack of connection with the characters and issues with the writing style, but I was forcing myself to continue to read it, to give it a chance. I don’t like DNFing books, because I want to like every book I pick up. I want it to be my new favorite thing that I can yell about and convince everyone to read. This, unfortunately, just wasn’t the book for me, and that’s okay.

I don’t really know what else to say…I only read 28 pages of this book before I stopped. I can’t speak for whatever happens in the rest of this book I’m not going to recommend this book, because I don’t feel like I can, but I do urge you to form your own opinions. If you have any interest in this title at all, check it out! Read it! Potentially fall in love with it! This book wasn’t for me, but maybe it’s for you. I’m definitely going to be giving this author’s other works a go, and I’ve just been urged to read The Bone Witch, so that’s been moved up my TBR. Hopefully I haven’t put you off this book, and I hope you enjoy it if you do/have read it!

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Mageborn (The Hollow King #1)

magebornTitle: Mageborn (The Hollow King #1)

Author: Jessica Thorne

Pub. Date: February 18, 2020

Rating: 4.5


A dark and addictive fantasy read for fans of Graceling and Sarah J. Maas. The life of an orphan soldier becomes entwined with that of the mysterious heir to the throne, whose very presence draws out the secret magic living inside her: a magic that breaks every law she is duty-bound to uphold…

The room is small and dark. Row upon row of jars line the shelves, each one sealed with blood-red wax. The seal’s mark is a twisted circle of briar with gleaming, gold-tipped thorns. And in each jar a flicker of forbidden magic dances… beautiful, but deadly.

Sold to the Crown in the aftermath of the Last Great War, Grace Marchant has never known her parents. Now, she trains as an elite soldier tracking down mageborn – those born with an ancient and long-outlawed magic – and destroying them if they don’t surrender their power to the Crown.

The mageborn who submit are collared, then handed over to the King’s cousin and heir: the elusive Bastien Larelwynn, Lord of Thorns, locked away in his shadowy workshop deep inside the castle. What becomes of them is hard to say – the Lord of Thorns keeps his secrets close.

Grace has always fought the voice inside her that questions whether the law is truly just – but when her closest friend is next on Bastien’s list, Grace’s loyalties are tested to the limit. Confronting Bastien – searching his strangely compelling obsidian-black eyes for answers – Grace is shocked to feel herself begin to change, to show the first signs of the wild magic she so fears.

Only the Lord of Thorns has the power to save her and the rest of the mageborn – if he doesn’t destroy them all first…


This will be a spoiler free review. Thank you NetGalley for providing a copy of this book to review, and thanks for bringing it to my attention! Otherwise I might have missed it completely.

Have you ever just picked up a book, and almost immediately know you’re going to absolutely love it, and be absolute trash for it?

Yes?

Then you know exactly the feeling I’m talking about.

Because I am. Completely.

I was pretty much sold on this book, from this line alone:

 

“A dark and addictive fantasy read for fans of Graceling and Sarah J. Maas.”

 

But, honestly, I think a better comparison is to Elise Kova’s Air Awakens Series. I got major Vhalla and Aldrik vibes from Grace and Bastien.

Ugh, Grace and Bastien.

I love them.

Basically, if you’re a fan of Aelin + Rowan, Vhalla + Aldrik and Lou + Reid, you’ll really love Grace and Bastien. They all share very similar dynamics, but definitely the most comparable is Vhalla and Aldrik. Which, I’m totally okay with, because those books are some of my favorite fantasy books.

Anyways…god, I always digress in reviews. Back to Mageborn, the book you’re actually here to read about.

This was such a good, upper YA, borderline NA fantasy read. It should be on everyone’s radar.

I mean, the cover alone should make you want to buy it, because look at it – it’s stunning!


Y’all, my brain just went blank and all I can think about is how much I loved this book and how much I want to just scream at you all to read it. Reasons why I loved it – legit just flew out of my head in favor of taking a copy of this book and shoving it into your faces to read.

Image result for read the book gif

I think this stems from the fact that no one I know has read this book, so I have no one to talk to about it. It’s a problem.

Okay, let me see if I can form a cohesive thought that actually makes sense and will convince you to buy this book.


I’ll start with a selling point.

Bastien.

Jfc. I love him.

If you like big dark, moody royals, who are all tough guy on the outside, but legit a gooey puddle internally, you’ll love him.

If you like dark, moody royals, who are all tough guy to everyone else, paired with spitfire, take no shit, fierce heroine, who doesn’t put up with anything, you’ll love him.

You’ll also love Grace.

Their dynamic is very much –

Bastien – dark ‘prince’ (though, not a prince), who everyone fears, so he dons that cloak, because why not present as what everyone thinks.

Grace – bad ass, take no shit, soldier, who calls everyone on their crap, doesn’t put up with it, and sees through the facades that people hide behind (i.e. Bastien) and allows them to be themselves.

All while denying their feelings, and then in a moment of ‘weakness’ giving in, only to put walls back up and continue the stupid dance of pretending to not be into one another, because ‘I’m not good enough’ for the other person.

It’s great. They’re great. And if that’s your thing, you’ll be very happy with this book.

Oh, also, there’s a single bed scene.

Yep, you read that correctly.

Single.

Bed.

Scene.

It’s full of tension and kissing, so if that’s also a weakness…enjoy!

Have I convinced you to read this book yet? Please say yes.

From the start of this book, we’re taken on Grace’s journey as she tries to ignore the blankness of her past, and the ever-growing power inside of her. We follow her as she does her job, dutifully upholding the laws. Her job causes her to come in contact with Bastien, the Lord of Thorns, a supposed ‘monster’ and there’s instant attraction, because tall, dark and handsome is everyone’s type. Let’s be real.

Things get a little chaotic, a kingdom is on the line, and everything they do, could lead to the end of everything. Overall, it’s a very, very good read, easy to sink into and get lost in.

I’m pretty sure I mentioned it earlier in this review, but this is definitely an Upper YA novel, if not NA. It’s not overly graphic…or at least not my opinion on what I consider overly graphic, but sex is on the page. There are also some scenes that deal with potentially triggering topics (i.e. rape). I won’t go into too much detail, but no physical acts beyond drugging, are depicted.

I don’t think this book is any more graphic that a SJM book, or Elise Kova book, so if you’ve read either of those authors, you should be okay with this one/series.

I think my favorite thing about these less popular fantasy books – though, this one needs all of the hype, I’ll be screaming about it for days, be ready – is that they don’t feel tired. They feel fresh and easy to fall into. Like, I don’t know what I’m getting into when I open the book.

I didn’t see the reveal coming at the end of this book. Not at all. I would not have pegged this book for doing that.

Sure, it’s a take back the throne book, in a sense, but it doesn’t feel like it follows the typical YA fantasy trilogy format. I love it.

I think my only complaint about this book, was that it was a little slow. But even then, I don’t think it’s truly a complaint because I legit could not put it down. I read like 80% of it in one sitting yesterday. I’m pretty sure this book, where tons happened, is just setting up for the next one.

And speaking of the next one, I need it. I desperately need it! I need to know what happens next.

Slipping back to my statement about the end of the book, can someone who has read this book message me, because THOSE LAST FEW CHAPTERS?? Jfc, I thought I was going to die. I was so nervous and terrified and quite honestly upset with how those last few chapters went down.

I mean, they were SO GOOD, I just didn’t want it to [REDACTED FOR SPOILERS]. Sigh.

So, yeah, I need book 2.

I hope that in this jumble, mess of a review, I’ve managed to convince you to read this book. It’s out today, I’ve already ordered my copy, because I need a physical version in my life, so you can check it out whenever. I recommend this week, so you can bump it to the top of your reading list, so I can have someone to talk to about it. I’m going crazy, bottling up all my thoughts about this book. So, seriously, if you’ve read it (and if you made it this far in this very long review, sorry) please message me, dm me on twitter, and I will gladly chat.

Like I said, if you’re a fan of SJM, Air Awakens and Serpent & Dove you’re going to love this book. Out today, February 18, 2020, check out Mageborn! Everyone should be reading this book, so get to it!

 

 

Book Review: Undone (Unknown #3)

undoneTitle: Undone (Unknown #3)

Author: Wendy Higgins

Pub. Date: December 5, 2017

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Amber Tate never dreamed their heart-wrenching escape from the enemy’s attack would lead them to the most beautiful place she’s ever seen, marred by one ugly fact; it’s under enemy control. Like everywhere else in the world, Elmendorf military base in Alaska has been captured, and it’s time to take it back—all of it—one base, one city at a time. After losing so much, Amber clings to the only precious person she has left, and vows to sacrifice everything to help save the Earth.

Remy Haines is a lover, not a fighter, so when she finds herself in enemy territory, expected to feign allegiance while gathering intel for the rebel cause, she’s never been more out of her element. Tensions only increase when her feelings for Jacob “Tater” Tate won’t go away, and the enemy’s leader takes an interest in her. She’s torn between what her heart wants, and what she knows she should do. As for what her body needs…well, it’s always had a mind of its own. 


This will be a spoiler free review.

I’m kicking myself for waiting so long to read this trilogy.

It’s so damn good, and you all should read it.

It should be on your radar.

It’s slow burn…so slow burn that if nothing happened between Amber and Rylen in book 2, I was going legit riot.

Y’all, I miss dystopian books.

Can they make a come back?

Please?

I didn’t realize how much I needed to read this trilogy until I read it. I didn’t realize how much I was missing it as a sub-genre until I read it. Now I need more.

Bring back the era of Divergent, The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner and all of the other dystopian sci-fi books, it’s time for them to be the next wave in YA.

Anyways, I really enjoyed this finale to the Unknown Trilogy. The last 50 or so pages of this book had my heart rate skyrocketing and my blood pressure through the freaking roof, and for a moment I thought Wendy was going to rip my heart out of my chest.

It’s amazing just how much happens in these three books, and this final one was no exception. It’s make or break time, the battle for humanity is on, and if they don’t win…let’s just say that, that isn’t an option.

Up until this book, the enemy is just that, the enemy. We get to see another side to them through Remy’s eyes. While it doesn’t excuse what they’ve done/are doing, her interactions almost humanize them. Her viewpoint differs from Amber’s, who is keen on taking down the enemy and just wants to make it out and to the other side alive. I liked that the book alternated points of view. I was a little iffy at first, but quickly grew to enjoy

Tensions are higher than ever for the characters and this book just doesn’t stop.

I couldn’t put it down – not that I even wanted to.

When I got to the end of the book, I just wanted to continue reading, but that’s hard to do when you read the last page.

Overall, I liked how the book and the series ended. I don’t think I really have any complaints, except that I wish there was another book, but I’m pretty sure I already said that. I could definitely read a whole book about what happens after the final battle.

Wendy makes you fall in love with these characters so quickly and so easily. She makes you feel connected to them, and has you rooting for their successes and mourning their losses.

She’s also so freaking good at creating a world and a story that completely captures your interest and makes you not want to put down the book.

So, make sure you check out the Unknown Trilogy as well as her other books. If you’re looking for a NA Dystopian series, look no further!

Reviews for: Unknown / Unrest

 

Excerpt Review: House of Blood and Earth (Crescent City #1)

crescent cityTitle: House of Blood and Earth (Crescent City #1)

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Pub. Date: March 3, 2020

Rating: TBD


#1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas launches her brand-new CRESCENT CITY series with House of Earth and Blood: the story of half-Fae and half-human Bryce Quinlan as she seeks revenge in a contemporary fantasy world of magic, danger, and searing romance.

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom—and the power of love.


This will be a mini, spoiler free review.

I’m so ready for a new SJM book.

I know it’s only been – holy crap, it’s been 2 years since KOA? – honestly, I was about to say that it’s only been a year, but I lie.

Anyways, I read the first 5 chapters of this new book, because I couldn’t wait, and curiosity got the better of me.

Holy crap am I read. March 3rd cannot come soon enough. It’s cruel to cut off the excerpt right as something major happened. I need to know what happens next!

On the other hand, I hate that I read this excerpt because now a month long wait is going to royally suck.

I will say that I found it a little slow and a little confusing in the beginning, but I feel like that’s forgivable since this is a whole new story, whole new set of characters, whole new world that she’s introducing us too. By chapter 4 I was hooked anyways, so I don’t really have an issue with it.

I’m so excited to meet the love interest – I’m pretty much a sucker for how SJM writes relationships and I tend to devour her books. I’m also pretty sure I’m going to really like Bryce. It feels too early to make any definitive declarations, but I think she’s going to be really fun to read.

So, I’ll just be sitting here, impatiently tapping my foot, waiting for March 3rd so I can finish this beast of a book.

If you’re someone who doesn’t mind the tease of an excerpt, I highly recommend checking this one out.

 

Book Review: Havenfall (Havenfall #1)

havenfallTitle: Havenfall (Havenfall #1)

Author: Sara Holland

Pub. Date: March 3, 2020

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️


A safe haven between four realms. The girl sworn to protect it–at any cost.

Hidden deep in the mountains of Colorado lies the Inn at Havenfall, a sanctuary that connects ancient worlds–each with their own magic–together. For generations, the inn has protected all who seek refuge within its walls, and any who disrupt the peace can never return.

For Maddie Morrow, summers at the inn are more than a chance to experience this magic first-hand. Havenfall is an escape from reality, where her mother sits on death row accused of murdering Maddie’s brother. It’s where Maddie fell in love with handsome Fiorden soldier Brekken. And it’s where one day she hopes to inherit the role of Innkeeper from her beloved uncle.

But this summer, the impossible happens–a dead body is found, shattering everything the inn stands for. With Brekken missing, her uncle gravely injured, and a dangerous creature on the loose, Maddie suddenly finds herself responsible for the safety of everyone in Havenfall. She’ll do anything to uncover the truth, even if it means working together with an alluring new staffer Taya, who seems to know more than she’s letting on. As dark secrets are revealed about the inn itself, one thing becomes clear to Maddie–no one can be trusted, and no one is safe . . .


This will be a spoiler free review.

Maybe I’m becoming too jaded when it comes to reading.

Or maybe we as a community just hype books too much.

Either way, anticipated reads seem to be falling short left and right.
I hate that.

Seriously.

It’s not every anticipated read, but so many of them since September 2019 have just been missing the mark.

I think part of the problem is that a lot of YA feels tired, the same, and rewrites of stories that already exist.

Yes, I’m aware that nothing is truly *original* but books are just missing the mark for me.

I was super excited for Havenfall. I read an excerpt a few months ago, and I was so damn excited for it. I couldn’t wait to read it, so when I got approved on NetGalley for an eARC I was ecstatic. I couldn’t wait to read it.

Well, I read it.

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Ugh.

I don’t know where that initial excitement went. I have no idea where it ran off to. But it became pretty clearly early on, that it wasn’t going to be showing up again.

Now, I will be completely clear that I wasn’t a fan of Sara’s second release – Evermore. It was disappointing after reading Everless – which I loved. I went into this book with a clear mind, completely intent on giving her writing another chance, and I don’t know what it is, but this book just didn’t hit the mark.

Let me back up – overall, sure, I enjoyed this book. It had elements that I like in a story, and I did stay interested enough to keep turning the pages.

But with that being said, I never felt a connection with it. I didn’t connect with the characters…at all. Not once did I feel anything for the characters. I also had trouble picturing them…well everyone except Taya. I could picture her easily. You would think that as the reader, I should be able to picture the MC – Maddie, but nope. All I remember about her physical appearance is that she has short hair. It extends further than just the characters. I struggled to picture Havenfall. Ultimately, I just pictured like a Victorian Mansion, but I have no idea if that’s right.

Also, as a reader – tying into the whole not being able to picture anything or anyone – I felt like I was told everything. Told everything, and still unable to picture anything, or even fully understand everything. It was like I was dumped into the middle of this book, this world and expected to know things, which clearly wasn’t the case.

Then there’s the plot.

So much goes on, plot wise, and it’s all kind of a jumble.

By ‘so much’ I mean, so freaking much.

Like, it’s one thing after another, and some of it just feels unnecessary?

And yes, I understand that, ‘one thing after another’ is how a plot progresses, but by the end of this book, the ending feels cheap, easy and wholly unjustified. Then there were the moments that elicited this expression –

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You know what I’m talking about. The ‘of course this is how this played out, because it couldn’t possibly have played out any other way’ sarcasm response, that makes you thin your lips and roll your eyes. Every reveal felt so damn obvious and generic. Like, of course that person isn’t who they seemed or of course that issue with a group of individuals is just a massive misconception and my favorite of course I have some life altering connection that connects our pasts with a person I have feelings for – like, really? Really?

I just don’t know.

I don’t know what happened.

Did I mention that it took until the 30% mark for me to even get remotely interested in this book? No? Well it did. I don’t know what that relates to page count wise but come on.

I think through it all, my least favorite part was the ending. For everything I went through as a reader – hell for everything Maddie went through, the ending sucked. I know there’s another book coming to conclude the story, but literally nothing is wrapped up at the end of this book. Nothing.

It’s so open, a breeze is blowing through it.

You should see me sitting here, thinking about this book as I write this review. I’m so annoyed I keep staring at a wall, like it’s a camera on the Office. You know the look. Like, ‘please see what I’m talking about’.

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I’m just so annoyed and so over these books that ultimately feel like almost a waste of my time.

I know some people absolutely love this book, and that’s fantastic, I’m so incredibly happy for you! I wish I did, but I don’t. The concept is really cool and unique, but the story – how it was written, just fell short for me. My excitement is gone, disappeared, blown away with the breeze. I didn’t connect to this book at all, on any level and I don’t know if I’ll pick up the second one when it comes out. I also have no idea how everything is going to tie up by the end of that book, but I’m sure it’ll be very convenient and easy.

Okay, I’m going to end this hear before I start truly ranting and start talking specific spoilers.

If you’re interested in Havenfall, hopefully I haven’t put you off of it. I’m going to tell you to check it out and form your own opinions. I don’t want to convince you out of a book that might become your favorite read.

Book Review: Twisted Palace (The Royals #3)

 

twisted palaceTitle: Twisted Palace (The Royals #3)

Author: Erin Watt

Pub. Date: October 17, 2016

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️


These Royals will ruin you…

From mortal enemies to unexpected allies, two teenagers try to protect everything that matters most.

Ella Harper has met every challenge that life has thrown her way. She’s tough, resilient, and willing to do whatever it takes to defend the people she loves, but the challenge of a long-lost father and a boyfriend whose life is on the line might be too much for even Ella to overcome.

Reed Royal has a quick temper and even faster fists. But his tendency to meet every obstacle with violence has finally caught up with him. If he wants to save himself and the girl he loves, he’ll need to rise above his tortured past and tarnished reputation.

No one believes Ella can survive the Royals. Everyone is sure Reed will destroy them all.
They may be right.

With everything and everyone conspiring to keep them apart, Ella and Reed must find a way to beat the law, save their families, and unravel all the secrets in their Twisted Palace.


This will be a short spoiler free review.

When picking the books, I was going to read for my 3-month TBR, I figured that I’d finally finish this series. I knew from how I practically inhaled the first two, that I would undoubtedly inhale this one as well.

I did.

Not surprising.

These books are addicting and are kind of hard to put down. I enjoyed reading it and seeing how Ella and Reed’s story came to a close.

I will say that the big reveal towards the end of the book, wasn’t what I was expecting. The person who was at the center of everything wasn’t who I thought it was going to be? Though, to be fair, the person I thought it was going to be doesn’t really make much sense, and it would have been a very strong reaction.

I hated Ella’s father. There wasn’t a single moment where I thought ‘oh maybe he’s redeemable’. Not one.

I do have a complaint though.

For all the books really, and not just this one.

I find it so hard to – I don’t know if believe is the right word…buy into, maybe? – Ella and Reed’s relationship, and how any parent would be okay with it. I also found it so weird that this is clearly a New Adult novel, but the characters are still in high school. I also understand that this is centered around very rich, entitled people, and the shit they get away with is incredible. I get all of those things, and I while I have a slight issue, these books are addicting as hell and very easy to get lost in. I also get that even when you’re not dealing with the rich elite, that teens are doing these things. It’s not lost on me, I promise. It just kind of rubs the wrong way.

I just know that I wouldn’t be okay with my kid doing what Ella or Reed does, but hey, I’ve not been through everything these characters have, so what do I really know?

If you read books 1 & 2, then you should be picking this one up to finish out their story. I definitely want to read books 4 & 5 which follows Easton, and eventually I will. If you’re looking for a quick, enjoyable, New Adult read that will keep you wanting more, then you should check out these books, for sure.