Book Reviews

The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young

The Girl the Sea Gave BackTitle: The Girl the Sea Gave Back
Author: Adrienne Young
Rating: ★★★★

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Buddy read with Breanna.

The new gut-wrenching epic from the New York Times bestselling author of Sky in the Deep.

For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.

For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again—a home.

Probably my favorite part of the whole novel is that some of our favorite characters from Sky in the Deep come back! While the reader doesn’t need to read Sky in the Deep to enjoy this novel, it helps to paint a picture of the time and know the history of the clans.

Tova, our protagonist, is a truthtongue from Kyrr. A truthtongue has the ability to predict the future by casting die. Found washed up on shore in a burning boat, the Svell people raised her.

However, the Kyrr being a Svell enemy, they act haughty to Tova. Her life being fated by the die, one wrong prediction and it could mean the end of her life.

Halvard, our other protagonist made an appearance in Sky in the Deep, but as a mere child. Now, ten years later, he is chosen to lead the Nadhir (once Aska and Riki clans).

The reader finds him/her in another enemies-to-lovers romance.

“Augua ór tivar. Ljá mir sýn.”
Eye of the gods. Give me sight.

In a story of deceit, death, peace, and most importantly, family, The Girl the Sea Gave Back doesn’t disappoint! This novel left me wanting more and I can see so many more spin-offs that Young can grace us with (please, pretty please!).

The expected publication date is September 3, 2019.

 

Book Reviews, Bookish Features

[BLOG TOUR + Q&A] The Last Hope (The Raging Ones, #2) by Krista & Becca Ritchie

lasthope-blogtourbanner

Welcome to my stop on The Last Hope book tour! Thank you to Wednesday Books for organizing the tour and allowing me to participate as a tour stop!


ABOUT THE BOOK

The Last Hope

Title: THE LAST HOPE (The Raging Ones, #2)
Author: Krista & Becca Ritchie
Pub. Date: August 13, 2019
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Formats: Hardcover
Pages: 400
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NTBD

A stunning conclusion to the sci-fi romance duology by writing duo Krista & Becca Ritchie, The Last Hope is filled with twists and turns you’ll never see coming.

Sacrifice all you have to survive. 

Imprisoned for weeks on an enemy starcraft, Franny, Court, and Mykal have sat with an unfathomable revelation. But as they fight to stay alive, escaping prison means trusting a young mysterious stranger. He knows everything about their lost histories, and when answers aren’t given freely, the bonded trio are forced to join a mission. One that will determine the fate of humanity.

Legend says, a baby—the first of her species—has the power to cloak and teleport planets. Tasked with retrieving the infant, Court fears the baby is just a myth, and if they fail, they’ll never find the truth about their origins.

As Court and Mykal grow closer, their linked bond becomes harder to hide, and dynamics change when Franny begins to fall for someone new. Vulnerable and with no choice, the hunt for the baby sends the trio on a dangerous path to Saltare-1: a water world where their enemies can’t die and survival comes at a high cost.

Buy the novel:
Here


REVIEW

After all that we’ve been through, we deserve a better ending.

The story leads off right where we last saw our beloved trio, Franny, Court, and Mykal…captured and in prison. When a stranger offers a way out, they are quick to accept the offer. Slowly, they start to discover secrets from their past and the reason for their existence. Will they choose freedom or saving the planet?!

In a world where everyone knows the day they will die, we follow three teenagers on a journey to defy all odds. But these three have a bigger secret…they are linked and can feel the thoughts and feelings of the other. After three admirals sacrifice their lives for the trio to be released, they start to realize that their lives are apart of something more. And Stork, their rescuer, won’t tell them anything.

Set to rescue a baby from Saltare-1 and save Earth, Franny, Court, and Mykal discover more about each other, but most importantly, about themselves. Through the majority of the book, we witness the self-exploration of the three. We see the undying love they have for each other through their self-sacrifice and risks they each take in order to ensure the safety of the others.

Does anyone else have a crush on Stork?! Ever since meeting him, I knew that he was probably going to be my favorite character. Everything he goes through to do things the correct way and cause the least amount of pain to our protagonists shows how crazily connected everything is in the story. I ship him and who he couples with (sorry, no spoilers!)

Krista and Becca are so creative! The ending is everything I could ask for and more! I feel like a proud parent.

The Last Hope is the epic conclusion to The Raging Ones duology. While this novel is part of a series, it can be read as a standalone. The Last Hope is a story of survival, self-exploration, and friendship.

★★★


ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Krista & Becca Ritchie_Author PhotoKrista & Becca Ritchie are New York Times Bestselling Authors and identical twins, one a science nerd, the other a comic book geek. With their shared passion for writing, they combined their mental powers as kids and have never stopped telling stories. Graduates from the University of Georgia in Biology and English & Journalism, the twin writing duo now lives in Atlanta. The Raging Ones is their first young adult novel.

Follow Krista & Becca:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Krista’s Goodreads | Becca’s Goodreads


Q & A

Q: What was the hardest scene to write? What was the easiest?

A: The action at the end was quite challenging. We wanted every moment to be adrenaline-filled while also making sure that each character had the correct closure since it’d be some of the final scenes in the book. The beginning was the easiest by far. THE LAST HOPE picks up right where THE RAGING ONES leaves off – with Franny, Court, and Mykal in peril – and grabbing hold of those emotions felt seamless as we began writing.

 

Q: Did you hide any secrets in your book? (names of friends, little jokes, references to things only some people will get)

A: We hid some little Easter eggs in THE RAGING ONES! We reference “surface plasmons” – and our granddad, a theoretical physicist, first predicted the existence of surface plasmons in the 50s. And we largely joke about the fish-out-of-water humor between Mykal and Stork in THE LAST HOPE as being Guardians of the Galaxy style of humor. Especially when Mykal has no idea what the word “guy” or “boyfriend” means and Stork tries to define these for him.

 

Q: What do you hope people remember about it?

A:The characters. The soul-mate bonds and even the platonic love between friends. Whenever we write, our biggest goal is to write characters that stay with readers.


 

Book Reviews

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

Sky in the DeepTitle: Sky in the Deep
Author: Adrienne Young
Rating: ★★★★★

Part Wonder Woman, part Vikings—and all heart.

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

For the first time ever, I adore absolutely every character…besides the bad guys. This is one of those “can’t put down” novels. From the beginning until the end, the reader gets intertwined with the story and the characters start to feel like family. For a debut, Young did amazing. Not only are the protagonists complex, but it seems like every other character in the story is, as well.

vegr yfir fior – honor above life

The relationships are real. Most times, readers are given a perfect relationship between to people and entirely unrealistic. This idea of a flawed, but loving relationship is clearly depicted between Eelyn and her brother, Iri. For her entire life, Eelyn has been taught to put her clan above all, even family and friends. Iri, her brother, died in battle long ago…or so she thought. When she comes to find him not only alive, but immersed in a rival clan, and what she had been taught her entire life starts to unravel. But Eelyn reacts is exactly how any other person would react…she doesn’t instantly forgive him. She feels betrayal, anger, fear, and love.

“I’ll go where you go.”

Probably my favorite character in the entire novel is Fiske. With how protective he is, caring, and understanding, who wouldn’t love him?! He doesn’t give up on anyone and is so positive. I definitely am crushing hard.

Young does a great job of presenting an action-packed story full of emotion, bravery, and adversity. I wish I read this earlier!

Book Reviews

Grim Lovelies (Grim Lovelies, #1) by Megan Shepherd

Grim LoveliesTitle: Grim Lovelies (Grim Lovelies, #1)
Author: Megan Shepherd
Rating: ★★

Seventeen-year-old Anouk envies the human world, where people known as Pretties lavish themselves in fast cars, high fashion, and have the freedom to fall in love. But Anouk can never have those things, because she is not really human. Enchanted from animal to human girl and forbidden to venture beyond her familiar Parisian prison, Anouk is a Beastie: destined for a life surrounded by dust bunnies and cinders serving Mada Vittora, the evil witch who spelled her into existence. That is, until one day she finds her mistress murdered in a pool of blood—and Anouk is accused of the crime.

Now, the world she always dreamed of is rife with danger. Pursued through Paris by the underground magical society known as the Haute, Anouk and her fellow Beasties only have three days to find the real killer before the spell keeping them human fades away. If they fail, they will lose the only lives they’ve ever known…but if they succeed, they could be more powerful than anyone ever bargained for.

From New York Times bestselling author Megan Shepherd, Grim Lovelies is an epic and glittering YA fantasy. Prepare to be spellbound by the world of Grim Lovelies, where secrets have been long buried, friends can become enemies, and everything—especially humanity—comes at a price.

Grim Lovelies: ★★

In the streets of Paris, magic rules all. The Haute, a social class made up of magical witches and goblins have power over all other social classes. Pretties, humans who live alongside the Haute, live unbeknownst to the magic surrounding them. Then, finally, Beasties…animals forbiddingly turned into humans in order to serve the Haute.

Anouk, Beau, Cricket, Luc, and Hunter Black are the Beasties Mada Vittora turned from animals to humans. Witches have human “sons” who they use the blood of in order to attain more power for casting spells. Mada Vittora’s son, Viggo, is as rotten as the witch who keeps the Beasties as slaves. One day, Mada Vittora is murdered, and the Beasties have three days to find another witch to cast the Beastie spell on them or they will be turned back to the animals they were once more.

I just didn’t buy this story. The romance came out of nowhere and wasn’t believable. Anouk could make every mistake there is and somehow she always overcame it…and with such perfection. I mean, no training and able to perform magic no one else in the whole word can achieve after their whole life being devoted to it?! Come on! Probably one of the most annoying things is Beau calling her “Cabbage”. I don’t even know how it came about and who would want a nickname of a smelly vegetable?!

Not surprisingly, Shepherd created more likable characters that saw much more growth than the “good guys”. Viggo probably ended up being my favorite character. But, even then, they weren’t even real villains. They were so wishy-washy and so easily manipulated for good. I mean, Anouk, pretty much caused more harm to the protagonists than the villains even did. Or, even the side characters.

I was really excited for something a little darker for once, but this fell flat for me. I didn’t care for any of the protagonists and for someone who is a big fan of villains, even these didn’t seem to hit the spot. Hopefully other people enjoyed this more than I did! The premise for the next installment seems promising? Maybe? Hopefully?

villains

Book Reviews

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

House of Salt and Sorrows

Title: House of Salt and Sorrows
Author: Erin A. Craig
Rating: ★★★★

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Buddy read with Breanna.

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.

For those of you who know me, you know that I love myself a good mystery!

Annaleigh was once one of many, but death has come to her sisters in line of succession. Known as being “cursed” by neighboring families, the girls find themselves struggling to find suitors.

Suddenly seeing the ghosts of her dead sisters, Annaleigh starts to believe the deaths of her sisters was no accident, but pre-determined.

twins

When a friendly person starts to help Annaleigh uncover the mysteries behind her sister’s deaths, danger lurks closer than ever before. Will she figure out the mystery behind her sister’s deaths before she is next?

“It shouldn’t matter what your parents did, just what you do as a person.”

Craig introduces readers to a place where ghosts roam freely, death could be the next step you take, and nothing is truly as it appears. The author does a great job of creating the creepy murder mystery atmosphere, but adds a touch of paranormal into the picture.

The expected publication date is August 6, 2019.

Book Reviews

Seafire (Seafire, #1) by Natalie C. Parker

SeafireTitle: Seafire (Seafire, #1)
Author: Natalie C. Parker
Rating: ★★★

After her family is killed by corrupt warlord Aric Athair and his bloodthirsty army of Bullets, Caledonia Styx is left to chart her own course on the dangerous and deadly seas. She captains her ship, the Mors Navis, with a crew of girls and women just like her, who have lost their families and homes because of Aric and his men. The crew has one mission: stay alive, and take down Aric’s armed and armored fleet.

But when Caledonia’s best friend and second-in-command barely survives an attack thanks to help from a Bullet looking to defect, Caledonia finds herself questioning whether to let him join their crew. Is this boy the key to taking down Aric Athair once and for all . . . or will he threaten everything the women of the Mors Navis have worked for?

Seafire: ★★★

Caledonia Styx is the captain of the infamous Mors Navis. After her family and many other families are destroyed by Aric Athair, Caledonia and her crew of mismatched women do everything in their power to stop Athair and try to restore the families lost as much as they can. But when one of the enemy boards the ship, will he only make matters worse or aid in the destruction of Athair?

pirate

When this novel came out, there were many other novels with nautical themes coming out at the same time. Having just read one, this one left me a little flat. There were many parts that I enjoyed, but many others that just had me feeling, “meh”. I wanted to love it. The premise was intriguing: an all-female crew of a ship!

I cannot promise you safety. I thought I could, but we don’t live in a safe world. We live in a world with no good options, but it’s because of you that we can make the best of them.

Probably my favorite theme of the entire novel was unity. Not only do we see it from the crew, but every other group we come across of the journey that the girls take. “Family” not necessarily in the form of blood is a big bonding theme shown throughout the novel. The selflessness for the greater good of humanity is a constant subject.

“The thing about family is sometimes you don’t have to ask us to do stupid things, and sometimes you don’t get to tell us we can’t.

arya

Girl power is probably the strongest theme throughout the novel. Women are more powerful than they appear. In most instances, women have just as much power, if not more, than the men. We see many of the leaders (besides Athair) who are women.

There are no children anymore. Just babes and the rest of us. Remember, when they call you girl, they’re trying to tell you something. They’re trying to tell you that they’re more than you, that the body you’re in makes you less. But you know, and I know, that you’re exactly what you need to be.

Parker does a great job emulating the strength and power women can also have. The sense of strength and capability established by this all-women crew instills pride and gratitude to always try your best, even when others doubt you. The unity and sense of family presence throughout the novel is heart-warming. I’m excited for what the next installment has in store!

Book Reviews

These Rebel Waves (Stream Raiders, #1) by Sara Raasch

These Rebel WavesTitle:These Rebel Waves (Stream Raiders, #1)
Author: Sara Raasch
Rating: ★★★★

Adeluna is a soldier. Five years ago, she helped the magic-rich island of Grace Loray overthrow its oppressor, Argrid, a country ruled by religion. But adjusting to postwar life has not been easy. When an Argridian delegate vanishes during peace talks with Grace Loray’s new Council, Argrid demands brutal justice—but Lu suspects something more dangerous is at work.

Devereux is a pirate. As one of the outlaws called stream raiders who run rampant on Grace Loray, he pirates the island’s magic plants and sells them on the black market. But after Argrid accuses raiders of the diplomat’s abduction, Vex becomes a target. An expert navigator, he agrees to help Lu find the Argridian—but the truth they uncover could be deadlier than any war.

Benat is a heretic. The crown prince of Argrid, he harbors a secret obsession with Grace Loray’s forbidden magic. When Ben’s father, the king, gives him the shocking task of reversing Argrid’s fear of magic, Ben has to decide if one prince can change a devout country—or if he’s building his own pyre.

As conspiracies arise, Lu, Vex, and Ben will have to decide who they really are . . . and what they are willing to become for peace.

These Rebel Waves: ★★★★

A politican, a spy, and a pirate walk into a bar…nah, more like try to save the world!

“Everyone, remain calm,” she announced. “I’m about to blow some shit up.” “Nay!” Vex shouted from the pilothouse. “We’ve a kid here now, all right?” “Sorry. I’m about to chaotically rearrange some shit up.” “That wasn’t the problem—” Vex started to say at the same moment Lu cried, “Don’t—”

First of all, look at that cover! Not only that, but I have the FairyLoot edition and I’m in love with the green sprayed edges. So beautiful!

So, pretty much everyone I follow on Goodreads gave this novel a lower rating, besides for one. I really enjoyed this novel! And for the first time ever, I think I fell in love with the world. I want to visit Cansu and the secret spot. I want to hop aboard the Meander. 

I believe this idea is unique. Very rarely do we read stories based upon the effects of botanical magic. We have the Argridians who pray to a Pious God and want to cleanse everyone else of the “evil” these magical plants possess. This is a different kind of “evil” from what I’ve seen in most novels because it is not inherently human.

Not only that, but there are so many reasons that war is looming. We see the difficulties of immigration, prejudice, and other political issues known to us in our very own world.

“My sister used to say you could tell a person’s character by what they considered their weaknesses, rather than their strengths.”

For once, there wasn’t one character who irritated me beyond measure. The closest one would have to be Jakes. I love Adeluna (Lu)! And who wouldn’t fall in love with Vex?! But even more than that, Raasch created some amazing supporting characters. I want friends like Vex, Edda, and Nayali (and I think, am lucky to have them!).

Adeluna “Lu”: Growing up as a spy for her father as a child, Lu tries to forget the harm she caused others while being an assassin. Bent on using magic to overthrow Argrid, she doesn’t realize the extent the Council (her parents are part of) is truly “helping” others. What I love about love is how genuine of a person she is. She would do anything for the people she cares about. But there is a secret even Lu can’t unfold.

Devereux “Vex”: Pirate, thief, scoundrel. Vex is a black market trader of magic plants forbidden on the island. People believe Vex is behind the abduction of a political scandal, making all who use the magical plants as a means to life a target. Hired by Lu to find the Argridian, this wittier Jack Sparrow is my favorite character. His loyalty, devotion, and selflessness to those he loves easily overpowers his flaws.

Benat “Ben”: his father is the king of Argrid. Unbeknownst to others, he works with the same magic his father is strictly against. But when his father asks him to pursue his dreams and work with these magical plants, will it be for the betterment of his country, or for Argrid’s gain?

“You forgive yourself for what you’ve done,” Edda told her. “You admit mistakes. You learn from them. And you improve.”

I expect to hear more from Ben’s perspective in the sequel, I hope love blooms between Lu and Vex, and we hear more from Nayali and Edda!

That ending, though! I’m excited to see what will become of that!