Review of Song of the Dead by Sarah Glenn Marsh (physical arc)

 

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Song of the Dead by Sarah Glenn Marsh

 

The Dead must stay buried.

Karthia is nothing like it used to be. The kingdom’s borders are open for the first time in nearly three hundred years, and raising the dead has been outlawed. Odessa is determined to explore the world beyond Karthia’s waters, hoping to heal a heart broken in more ways than she can count. But with Meredy joining the ocean voyage, vanquishing her sorrow will be a difficult task.

Despite the daily reminder of the history they share, Odessa and Meredy are fascinated when their journey takes them to a land where the Dead rule the night and dragons roam the streets. Odessa can’t help being mesmerized by the new magic–and by the girl at her side. But just as she and Meredy are beginning to explore the new world, a terrifying development in Karthia summons them home at once.

Growing political unrest on top of threats from foreign invaders means Odessa and Meredy are thrust back into the lives they tried to leave behind while specters from their past haunt their tenuous relationship. Gathering a force big enough to ward off enemies seems impossible, until one of Queen Valoria’s mages creates a weapon that could make them invincible. As danger continues to mount inside the palace, Odessa fears that without the Dead, even the greatest invention won’t be enough to save their fates.

In this enthralling, heartrending sequel to Reign of the Fallen, Odessa faces the fight of her life as the boundaries between the Dead and the living are challenged in a way more gruesome than ever before.

Continue reading “Review of Song of the Dead by Sarah Glenn Marsh (physical arc)”

Review of Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh

 

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Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh

 

Odessa is one of Karthia’s master necromancers, catering to the kingdom’s ruling Dead. Whenever a noble dies, it’s Odessa’s job to raise them by retrieving their souls from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised–the Dead must remain shrouded, or risk transforming into zombie-like monsters known as Shades. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, the grotesque transformation will begin.

A dramatic uptick in Shade attacks raises suspicions and fears among Odessa’s necromancer community. Soon a crushing loss of one of their own reveals a disturbing conspiracy: someone is intentionally creating Shades by tearing shrouds from the Dead–and training them to attack. Odessa is faced with a terrifying question: What if her necromancer’s magic is the weapon that brings Karthia to its knees?

Continue reading “Review of Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh”

Review of The Girl and the Grove by Eric Smith (digital arc)

 

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The Girl and the Grove by Eric Smith

 

Teenager Leila’s life is full of challenges. From bouncing around the foster care system to living with seasonal affective disorder, she’s never had an easy road. Leila keeps herself busy with her passion for environmental advocacy, monitoring the Urban Ecovists message board and joining a local environmental club with her best friend Sarika. And now that Leila has finally been adopted, she dares to hope her life will improve.

But the voices in Leila’s head are growing louder by the day. Ignoring them isn’t working anymore. Something calls out to her from the grove at Fairmount Park.

Continue reading “Review of The Girl and the Grove by Eric Smith (digital arc)”

Can’t Wait Wednesday 2/28/18

 

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Can’t Wait Wednesday/Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Wishful Endings and was previously hosted by Breaking the Spine.   It was created to show off a future release that you are excited for.

 

 

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The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton

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Reviews of The Shadow Queen and The Wish Granter by C.J. Redwine

 

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The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine

 

Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.

In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.

But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.

Continue reading “Reviews of The Shadow Queen and The Wish Granter by C.J. Redwine”

Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel: Release Week Plus Giveaway

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Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel

Publisher:  Entangled Teen

Publication Date:  September 5, 2017

 

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Continue reading “Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel: Release Week Plus Giveaway”

Review of Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel (digital arc)

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Summary from Goodreads:

A simple but forgotten truth: Where harbingers of death appear, the morgues will soon be full.

Angie Dovage can tell there’s more to Reece Fernandez than just the tall, brooding athlete who has her classmates swooning, but she can’t imagine his presence signals a tragedy that will devastate her small town. When something supernatural tries to attack her, Angie is thrown into a battle between good and evil she never saw coming. Right in the center of it is Reece—and he’s not human.

What’s more, she knows something most don’t. That the secrets her town holds could kill them all. But that’s only half as dangerous as falling in love with a harbinger of death.

 

My thoughts:

What a fun, exciting read!  Angie had a rough life when she was growing up.  Her drug addicted mom took off with her.  Shortly after her dad found her again, her mom died from an overdose. She moved in with her dad in a small Pennsylvania town.  While she had a couple amazing friends, Deno and Lacey, she was sort of an outcast.  Angie was a band geek, but on the weekends, she transformed herself into a popular DJ.  I actually loved the story of her music and how it made her feel like she was better than what the bratty high school girls thought of her.

Angie’s new neighbor, Reece, is attractive, but strange.  Angie sees something odd with him and there seem to be crows everywhere since his family moved in.  It doesn’t take long for Reece to come clean with her and explain that he’s a harbinger of death and that there are also beekeepers around.  Her town is going to have a major tragedy and they are all there for it.  Reece and Angie start to fall in love, but he’s cursed and will need to move on after the deaths.  But the beekeeper thinks he can make Reece take his curse and figures a way to use Angie to do it.

The pacing of this book was great.  I sat down to read for thirty minutes tonight and ended up reading for an hour and a half to finish.  I just couldn’t put it down.  I found the myths of the harbingers and beekeepers so interesting.  Lacey and Deno were favorites. I also really love Angie’s dad and their relationship.  I will admit to freaking out hoping that her dog would be safe, too.  What can I say?  I’m obsessed with happy endings for pets.

I can’t really get into too much more without giving away important parts of the book.  I just hope everyone goes out and gives this one a chance.   Black Bird of the Gallows is set to be published September 5th 2017 by Entangled Teen.  I definitely plan on buying this one.

Thank you to the author, Entangled Teen, and Netgalley for the chance to read and review this book.  I gave this five stars.

I also posted an excerpt from the book here.

You can purchase Black Bird of the Gallows from any of these stores (and more):

amazon

barnes and noble

anderson’s bookshop

book depository

Review of digital ARC Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

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Summary from Goodreads:

I Needed to Win.
They Needed to Die.

Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class—and the nobles who destroyed their home.

When Sal steals a flyer for an audition to become a member of The Left Hand—the Queen’s personal assassins, named after the rings she wears—Sal jumps at the chance to infiltrate the court and get revenge.

But the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. And as Sal succeeds in the competition, and wins the heart of Elise, an intriguing scribe at court, they start to dream of a new life and a different future, but one that Sal can have only if they survive.

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed Mask of Shadows.  I’m pretty sure this is the first book I’ve read with a gender fluid character and I felt that it really added to the story.  Sal watched everyone he/she knew die and has wanted revenge ever since.  Sal decides to try out to be Opal, a member of the queen’s “The Left Hand”.  They are the queen’s assassins and the other Opal died while on an assignment.  Sal was living life as a thief up until then, not able to read or write, but very skilled.  While on their last heist, Sal meets a lady whom they feel something different for.   Sal even let her keep a piece of jewelry. Sal found the paper about the Left Hand auditions, kills someone for the entry, and leaves.

While trying out for The Left Hand, Sal is competing against 22 others.  Sal is 23 (fitting since it’s my favorite number).  The audition includes learning different skills, both physical and mental.  I really liked the poison lessons.  Sal goes in for a lesson to learn how to read and write and finds Elise, the same girl he stole from.  They flirt and she remembered who Sal was right away.

“I was Sallot Leon-one of the last children of Nacea, orphan and street fighter, highway thiefand Twenty Three.”

I loved Sal, but I really found myself loving Maud, the maid.  She was funny and a great side character.  Elise was bold and smart, always a good combo.  I also really enjoyed the rest of The Left Hand.

I won’t ruin anything for anyone who hasn’t read this yet.  Sal competes.  There is a lot of death, some backstabbing, a little romance, and revenge.

I gave this book 4 stars.  It was a little confusing with all the names and places, but the story was fast paced with a lot of action.

I received a digital copy of this book from Netgalley for review. Mask of Shadows will be released August 29th 2017 by Sourcesbooks Fire.

My top ten favorite reads of 2017 so far.

Not all of these books came out in 2017, but I read them in the first 6+ months.  There are technically more than 10, but I’m counting series as one book for this one.

1.  This Savage Song & Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

I’m not even sure I can begin to describe how amazing these books are.  This was my first time reading Victoria Schwab and she’s already become a favorite author and these are on my all time favorite books now.

I’ll try to briefly describe each book without spoilers.  These books follow Kate Harker and August Flynn in a city called Verity.  Verity is split with Kate’s dad running the side where people pay for protection and August’s dad runs the other side and a small army.  Kate is human, but August is a monster.  There are three types of monsters living in Verity (book two partially takes place in another city with other types of monsters).  August is a Sunai which is the rarest type.  They steal souls of sinners with songs.  August is a very gentle person who really wants to keep some humanity.  Kate is trying to prove herself to her dad and is a bit more vicious.  Kate and August meet and find themselves working together to bring peace to Verity after some monsters try to take control.  I’m doing a horrible job trying to explain it, but it’s so good.  The first book starts a bit slow, but there is a lot to the world and monsters that is important.  The second half of the book flies and the second book picks up right away.  So many emotions in this book.   Loved them both so much (the second even more than the first).

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2.  The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

This book is adorable and I love Becky Albertalli.  This is one of those books that just make you smile.

Molly Peskin-Suso has loved many boys, but none of them have loved her back.  Not really love because most were just crushes. She’s a little chubby and it makes her a bit insecure with boys.  Her twin, Cassie, falls for a girl and finds herself in a serious relationship.  She starts pushing Molly to finally kiss a boy.  She ends up meeting two boys and one might just be one who will finally love her back.

This book is full of cute quotes and fun characters.  There is even a small cameo by Simon. Molly’s parents are both women and they are sperm donor babies.  I love the mixture of cultures and sexuality in this book.  There really isn’t anyone who is unlikeable.  I can’t say enough how adorable this book is.

“I don’t entirely understand how anyone gets a boyfriend. Or a girlfriend. It just seems like the most impossible odds. You have to have a crush on the exact right person at the exact right moment. And they have to like you back. A perfect alignment of feelings and circumstances. It’s almost unfathomable that it happens as often as it does.”

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3.  Illuminae & Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Yes, this is another with two books.  I recently wrote a review for both here on another blog, so I won’t really get into it much here.  You can read that here https://confessionsofayareader.blogspot.com/2017/07/combined-review-of-illuminae-and-gemina.html

These books are so unique and different from anything I’ve read before.  They are told in e-mails, chats, pictures, journal entries, etc.  It’s a great science fiction series with book three coming out sometime next year.  Not soon enough for me!

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4.  Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalo

This is a great book for anyone who loves forensics and Jack the Ripper.  Audrey Rose is a 17 year old girl who doesn’t fit in with the females of her time.  She studies forensics with her uncle who is the local coroner.  Bodies from the ripper start showing up and Audrey wants to solve the mystery.

This is my review I wrote right after finishing the book:  I loved this book and it was just what I needed right now. Jack the Ripper has always fascinated me and I loved how the author wove this story and changed small things to fit. Audrey Rose is the perfect protagonist. She was smart and feisty, not wanting to fit into the mold for a proper girl. She is ahead of her time and wants so much more. I also loved Thomas and they were a perfect match for each other. I loved his sarcasm and flirting. The book is not for the squeamish and does discuss a lot with the bodies and murder scenes (as you would expect when studying forensics). I did guess pretty early on who Jack was, but it was still a great mystery. It does make you realize that so many people during that time were looking at everyone in their lives wondering if they might be the Ripper.

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5.  Eliza And Her Mosters by Francesca Zappia

I recently wrote a full review for this book https://confessionsofayareader.blogspot.com/2017/07/review-of-eliza-and-her-monsters-by.html, so I’ll keep this one short, too.

Eliza And Her Mosters is about a girl who writes a super popular online comic series.  She doesn’t really talk to many people in real life and no one knows she’s the author.  Eliza meets the new kid at school, Wallace, and finds out that he’s the most popular fan fiction writer for her series.  She doesn’t tell him who she is, just that she loves the series, too. Wallace starts getting Eliza to do things more often and they become close.  But then Eliza’s secret gets revealed and things don’t go well.

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6.  The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

This is a powerful book.  I read it early this year and I still find myself thinking about it. Warnings for violence, sexual assault, and teen drinking.

Alex Craft’s sister was killed and while everyone knew who the killer was, he was never convicted.  He went unpunished until Alex got to him.  Alex has some issues.  She is violent, but she feels it’s just for vengeance.  She does try to hide who she is, but ends up making some friends.  Peekay and Jack are nothing like Alex, but they all end up spending a lot of time together.  There is a party one night that gets out of control and everyone starts to see who Alex really is.

I won’t get into any more so I don’t ruin the book.  I will say that this is a book everyone should read.

“But boys will be boys, our favorite phrase that excuses so many things, while the only thing we have for the opposite gender is women, said with disdain and punctuated with an eye roll.”

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7.  Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

This is just one of those super cute reads.  It would be perfect for a summer book if you haven’t picked it up yet.

Bailey (Mink) has been living on the east coast with her mom and talking with a boy, Alex, online.  Alex lives in California and has been trying to get Bailey to visit.  She ends up moving with her dad to the same town Alex lives in , but she doesn’t let him know.  Instead, she tries to figure out who Alex is.

Bailey finds a job working at this local museum and meets this cute surfer boy, Porter.  They don’t get along right away and are always fighting, but Bailey finds herself falling for Porter. She’s torn because of her feelings for Alex.  They share a love of old movies and this book has tons of cute book quotes throughout.

Porter quickly became my new book boyfriend.

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8.  The Selection Series by Kiera Cass

This is a series of five main books.  The first three is sort of like a trilogy with another two books that take place much later.   There are a lot of mixed reviews for these books.  People either love or hate them, but I found them fun to read.  I did like the first three best.

I don’t want this to get too long, so I won’t go into each book separately.  The first three books are about a boy, Maxon, who is the prince.  He must find a wife soon and the royal family participates in a “selection” to find the right match.  They bring girls from different castes to make it more fair, but Maxon’s father expects him to marry a higher caste girl. America Singer is from the lowest caste brought there.  She already loves her childhood friend and doesn’t fit in at all.  Over time, she finds herself falling for Maxon and is often times conflicted and torn between the two boys (I was team Maxon for this one).

The fourth and fifth book is about Maxon and his selection pick’s daughter.

These books were a light, fun read and I read all five in a row earlier this year.

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9.  Dumplin by Julie Murphy

This one is a little older and I finally got around to reading it just in time for a book signing with Julie Murphy.  I’m not sure why I waited so long.

Willowdean “Dumplin” is an overweight teenager with a beauty queen mom.  They live in a town in Texas where the beauty pageant is everything.  Her mom still runs it.  Willodean is usually pretty content with her weight, but she finds herself freaking out when a boy who likes her touches her.  We see her struggle with her feelings of normally accepting herself with her feelings of insecurity in certain situations.  Her mom is always trying to get her to lose weight, but it usually doesn’t bother Willowdean.

Willowdean is obsessed with Dolly Parton.  Her aunt who died was and she also bonded with her best friend over it.  But Willowdean is finding herself alone a lot because her best friend has started hanging with the more popular, skinny girls.  Willowdean decides to enter the beauty contest and finds herself as a role model to some of the not so pretty girls who enter with her.

Dumplin is a fun book.  I loved the drag queens and wish there was a bigger part with them. But I ended up really enjoying this book.

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10.  Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

I was a little torn on which book to make number ten.  I chose this one because of how different it was.  Anyone who knows me knows how much I love reading about other cultures and diversity is a huge reason why I read YA.

Alex is a Bruja, but she hates magic and doesn’t want to come into her powers.  She does a spell on her deathday hoping to keep her real powers away, but it backfires and takes her whole family to Los Lagos.  Alex must travel with a boy, Nova, who she doesn’t know well to Los Lagos to try to get her family back.

This book is full of magic, a neat world (Los Lagos), and family.

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Were any of these your favorites, too?  If not, what were yours? Comment below and let me know.  Please make sure you follow my blog, too.