Sunday, January 19, 2020

Odriel's Heirs (Odriel's Heirs Book 1) by Hayley Reese Chow

50245628. sy475 Odriel's Heirs is the first book in its YA fantasy series. This book was sent to me by the author and will be released on March 1, 2020! Kaia is the Dragon Heir, trusted with the power of fire. An outcast from society, she hates her ability and hides on her family's secluded farm. But after her father is kidnapped and the necromancer’s undead attack, she runs away to join up with the Shadow Heir and save Okarria.

This book's fast pace and epic battle in the first few pages surprised me, and I quickly became engrossed in Kaia's story. She had extreme inner conflict, self-hatred, and fear of her own powers. I loved her character development as she learned to embrace her fire and her destiny. By the end, her confidence in herself and her fire was so powerful that she could be a true goddess. The cover art's fire is beautiful, yet powerful- just like Kaia.

The world-building was incredible and beathaking. The village of the Maldibor Clan felt so peaceful and warm. The imagery of her fire was extraordinary and I enjoyed the graphic battle scenes. It is no wonder that the scenes of war were so amazing, considering how the author is an Air Force Veteran and reservist. Ha, maybe every war veteran should write novels!

I highly recommend this book! I cannot wait to read the next book, Idriel's Children!

Title: Odriel's Heirs
Author: Hayley Reese Chow
Publisher: Hayley Reese Chow
Pages: 332
Series: Yes, Book 1
Rating: 5 Stars

Monday, January 13, 2020

Before the Legend by J.U. Scribe

21780308Before the Legend is a short middle grade historical fiction story that was sent to me by the author. Troy, the four year old youngest son of the king of the Roman Empire, had a nightmare that there was an earthquake that swallowed his parents. Three days later, a similar event comes true and Troy must face a future without the love of his parents.

I liked the touch of Greek mythology and the historical culture.
I was also fascinated by the magic involved of Troy basically predicting the future. It will be interesting to read in the future if he has the magic ability to predict the future or not. The father's character development was extraordinary and I love how the brothers grew closer together by the end. While it was sad, it was nice to have a hopeful tone.

It took me a little less than half an hour to read, so it is great to read while taking a break from day-to-day stress. I was disappointed when it ended. This was a wonderful tale and I cannot wait to read more from this author in the future!

I highly recommend this very short story!

Title: Before the Legend
Author: J.U. Scribe
Publisher: J.U. Scribe
Pages: 52
Series: No
Rating: 5 Stars

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten YA Book Releases in Early 2020

One of the most exciting things about a new year is new books to read! Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by That Artsy Reader Girl. If you want to participate, click here. The theme for this week is Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2020. The following books are in order of release date (alphabetical if same date).

1. Nameless Queen by Rebecca McLaughlin
                                              Expected Publication: January 7th, 2020
The king's daughter just became Queen- but she's a Nameless, part of a peasant social class so disrespected that they don't even have names. With a kingdom in chaos, this girl needs to make a name for herself (literally), and fight for her class.
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 2. Scavenge the Stars by Tara Slim 
Expected Publication: January 7th, 2020
Amaya has been held prisioner on a debtor ship for years with no hope for escape. But one day after rescuing a stranger from drowning, he frees her and offers Amaya a life of luxary. But all Amaya wants is revenge.

3. Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore
Expected Publication: January 14th, 2020
This historical fantasy book tells the story of a magical pair of red shoes that causes uncontrollable dancing. When Rosella is cursed by the shoes, she must find the truth about what happened back in 1518 the last time the magic shoes were worn.
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4. Tweet Cute by Emma Lord
Expected Publication: January 21st, 2020
Pepper's family owns the fast food chain Big League Burger, and she steals a grilled cheese recipe from a nearby deli owned by Jack's family. Soon both companies are engaged in a huge twitter war. What's ironic is that in real life, these two are falling in love with each other while destroying each other anonymously online.

5. The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper
Expected Publication: February 4th, 2020
Cal is a senior in high school with plans to become a journalist and he finally landed his dream internship at BuzzFeed. But Cal's father just got selected to travel to Mars, meaning they have to move to Houston, plus take part in a silly reality TV show. The silver lining? He's falling in love with Leon, another astronaut's son. 

6. Be Not Far From Me by Mindy McGinnis
Expected Publication: March 3rd, 2020
From author of Heroine and The Female of the Species comes a survival story similar to Hatchet. One night Ashley goes out hiking with her friends in the Smoky Mountains to a party. When she gets drunk and catches her boyfriend cheating, she runs off and trips down a ravine. She must survive with nothing but her clothes and a nasty cut down her leg.
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7. The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu
Expected Publication: March 3rd, 2020
From author of Warcross, The Young Elites, and Legend comes a historical fantasy retelling the story of Wolfgang Mozart.
34213299. sy475

8. Harley in the Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman
Expected Publication: March 10th, 2020
Harley Milano dreams of being a professional trapeze artist. After a fight with her parents who insist she stay in school, she runs away to join a traveling circus.
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9. All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban
Expected Publication: March 17th, 2020
Six students who couldn't be more different are invited to a scholarship dinner, only to discover that it was all a trap, and become locked in a room with a bomb.

10. Loveless by Alice Oseman
Expected Publication: April 30th, 2020
Georgia is 18 years old and has never been in a relationship or had a crush on anyone. Now at university, coming to terms with being Aroace, she must try to find a source of happiness.
42115981. sy475

What books are you excited to read this year?

Friday, January 3, 2020

Buddies, Bullies, and Baseball by Phyllis J. Perry

41217744. sy475 Buddies, Bullies, and Baseball is a middle grade inspirational book that was sent to me by the publisher. Fifth-grader Jack is having trouble at school dealing with bullies Steve and Cliff. They steal his lunch, flatten his bike, ruin his work and steal items precious to him. Jack has pretty much given up hope until a new kid shows up to school- Hans, from Germany. They soon become great friends, and while working on a project together, Hans gives him the strength to stand up for himself.

The cover is cool and I enjoy the symbolism of the yellow. This short, cute read is perfect for leisure reading! Its concept is one that (mostly) everyone can relate to. While being a relatively common topic of overcoming bullying, this book still managed to include some unique elements, like its inclusivity of other cultures and languages. I enjoyed Jack's character development. He went from being scared and pessimistic to being confident and willing to stand up for himself.

I enjoyed how Steve's character was portrayed by the end and the important messages he gave with the origins of his mean behavior stemming from his difficulty at home. Sometimes we forget that school is not all that a person is. I could totally see myself in Lizabeth's character. Hans was a unique character to say the least. I liked how this book tackled stereotypes and common assumptions, showing that despite his not knowing English, he still is intelligent and has many talents.

I highly recommend this book!

Title: Buddies, Bullies, and Baseball
Author: Phyllis J. Perry
Publisher: TCK Publishing
Pages: 104
Series: No
Rating: 5 Stars

Monday, December 30, 2019

White Blossom (Dark Irregular Book 2) by Kaitlyn Legaspi

49193969White Blossom is the second book in the YA Fantasy series Dark Irregular. This book will be published on January 31, 2020 and was sent to me by the author.

After sealing the Dark Irregular inside of her, Kanna is living life adjusting to the means of being a princess and studying her magic peacefully. However, soon she and her friends are thrown into action when the Dense Shadows start attacking. In addition, another irregular, the Lone Irregular, is trying to tear down the barrier that separates the shadow world from the living. In order to prevent this catastrophe, Kanna must find the White Flower of the Imperial Majesty- even if it means sealing another irregular inside her.

While the writing quality, plot development, world building and imagery were excellent as expected, it is the characters of this series that make White Blossom special and is what this review will focus on.

Kanna is a fearless leader who might be the most noble, selfless character I have ever encountered, and she never ceases to amaze me! She is constantly willing to risk her life for strangers and make the world better at any personal cost. We need more Kannas in this world with her kind and gentle soul. Kanna's character development was clear compared to the first book. She is now proud of who she is, and willing to accept her role as Princess. Her powers have also grown substantially.

The secondary characters have a wide variety of personalities that fully represent the types of people in the world. I enjoyed the reemergence of Kenneth's character and his darker side that drove a wedge between their relationship. I loved the mystery surrounding Ronan's character and the themes of acceptance and love regarding his appearance. I was concerned initially by the large amount of characters, but Legaspi was successfully able to maintain many storylines and personalities without it becoming too crowded. I liked how the "villian" of the story, the Lone Irregular, still had some light and kindness despite the frighting stories.

I love how the cover is simple, yet symbolic, with the red ribbon that will play a large role in Kanna's fate. I was very saddened by the ending of this book, and I hope the next book, Grey Heart, can still have an optimistic tone despite the circumstance and that her relationship with Kenneth can still find a way to succeed!

I highly recommend this book! Click here to see my review of the previous book in this series, Dark Irregular.

Title: White Blossom (Dark Irregular Book 2)
Author: Kaitlyn Legaspi
Publisher: Kaitlyn Legaspi
Pages: 282
Series: Yes, Book 2 of 3
Rating: 5 Stars

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Frozen Secrets (Europa Academy Book 1) by Myles Christensen

48126868Frozen Secrets is the first book in the Europa Academy series. This book will be released on January 25th, 2020 and was sent to me by the author. In a futuristic society, a colony is started on Jupiter's moon, Europa. Unfortunately, it's not all fun and games because soon the thirteen-year-old protagonist Max Parker and his friends witness a crime and learn more than they should regarding a tragic death, causing the criminal organization Xenon League to be determined to silence and end the life of these the teens. Sometimes, curiosity really can kill the cat.

The concept fascinated me since I learned in Astronomy about how Europa has a large potential for life and mineral resources. Just a few weeks ago NASA discovered the presence of water vapor. I enjoyed the author's invention of new hydrogen isotopes, elements, and molecules, like Catarium, Xenite, and Xenium. I was actually shocked to realize that the science mentioned wasn't real! It was clever how they were modeled after Xenon tri-Oxide since that isotope plays a large role in nuclear fusion. I loved the messages regarding the dangers of nuclear energy and the overall tone felt more realistic than science fiction. The amount of research, dedication, and effort put into making it as scientifically accurate as possible is extraordinary.

The imagery was superb and the cover is awesome! There was a clear plotline with a constant increase in intensity. I love how there were multiple climaxes throughout the book and the story kept evolving in new directions. I liked the irony of the name Max Parker as they are relatively average and common names while his character is anything but! I enjoyed the mystery of which characters were allies versus enemies, and I was surprised by the end. Speaking of the end, the book was wrapped up perfectly, resolving the main conflict but also leaving room for another tale. I particularly liked the touch of romance that has plenty of room to expand upon in the coming books.

I absolutely loved this book and it marks a great start to 2020 and the future of astronomy! I can't wait to read the next book in this series.

Title: Frozen Secrets (Europa Academy Book 1)
Author: Myles Christensen
Publisher: Moon Zoom Press
Pages: 298
Series: Yes, Book 1
Rating: 5 Stars

Friday, December 20, 2019

The 39 Deaths of Adam Strand by Gregory Galloway

The 39 Deaths of Adam Strand is a YA mix of fantasy and realistic fiction. Adam Strand has a relativity unique ability: he cannot stay dead. Ironically, even though Adam has died 39 times (suicide, accidental, and even murder), but somehow still wakes up the next day totally unharmed.

Initially I thought the irony was very clever, however I quickly became disappointed in this book.  According to the book, all Adam does is sleep, drink, and die. The reader gets bored very quickly of the same shenanigans and little to no plot structure at all. Several things in this "plot" make absolutely no sense. First, if Adam was truly immortal like the book says he is and he is viral on the internet, wouldn't the CDC or the FBI become involved and want to speak to him, quarantine him or experiment on him? The emotions and reactions of the characters in this book were also extremely unrealistic, especially Adam's parents, who one would think to be shocked and bewildered that their son is basically immortal.

I was also hoping for an inspirational message about the importance of life and an attitude change in Adam, but he had very little character development. There is nothing uplifting at all, not even a religious element. I was also disappointed in how it didn't even strike Adam how lucky he is- like think of how he could be a war hero or an astronaut? I am also fascinated by the magic of it all, and I would have loved some imagery of how his skin magically heals or how a bullet hole closes. 

All in all I found this book disappointing, confusing, and boring. I do not recommend this book!

Title: The 39 Deaths of Adam Strand
Author: Gregory Galloway
Publisher: Speak
Pages: 336
Series: No
Rating: 1 Star
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