Tag: Young Adult (Page 1 of 128)

BOOK REVIEW: This Vicious Grace by Emily Thiede (The Last Finestra #1)

BOOK REVIEW: This Vicious Grace by Emily Thiede (The Last Finestra #1)This Vicious Grace (The Last Finestra #1)
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Three weddings. Three funerals. Alessa’s gift from the gods is supposed to magnify a partner’s magic, not kill every suitor she touches.

Now, with only weeks left until a hungry swarm of demons devours everything on her island home, Alessa is running out of time to find a partner and stop the invasion. When a powerful priest convinces the faithful that killing Alessa is the island’s only hope, her own soldiers try to assassinate her.

Desperate to survive, Alessa hires Dante, a cynical outcast marked as a killer, to become her personal bodyguard. But as rebellion explodes outside the gates, Dante’s dark secrets may be the biggest betrayal. He holds the key to her survival and her heart, but is he the one person who can help her master her gift or destroy her once and for all?

Emily Thiede's exciting fantasy debut, This Vicious Grace, will keep readers turning the pages until the devastating conclusion and leave them primed for more!

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  1. Choose a Fonte.
  2. Do not kill them.
  3. Aplify their magic to save everyone and everything on Saverio—or become the first to die.

Forgive me if this review is a wonky, as I’m trying to shake off the rust. It’s been a minute since I wrote a review (family life and work really suck up all of my time and energy), but as soon as I finished this book I knew it was time to get back at it.

This Vicious Grace was the first book finished book of the year for me and what I imagine will be one of my favorites. It was a breath of fresh air in the YA fantasy realm, where I feel I’ve gotten much more picky and have a hard time being impressed. The fact that was by a debut author makes it even more surprising (and better)!

From the very first lines, I knew there was something about this book. The Finestra, Alessa, was mourning her third Fonte, who she had accidentally killed with her powers. As a chosen Finestra, her calling is to amplify a Fonte’s (partner) powers, in so to ward off a deadly attack on their country. Alessa’s touch is deadly to almost everyone else, and because of this, she is incredibly lonely. She is essentially royalty, but she is not respected or loved, and with a third Fonte’s death, support is waning for her.

She’d give anything for a hand to hold. Or a hug. She would kill for a hug. Literally.

After an attempt is made on her life and her guards help her attacker escape, Alessa decides to make some changes. It is during a trip out of to the seedier parts of her city that she meets Dante. Dante, with his tough exterior and slightly less tough interior, eventually agrees to be Alessa’s bodyguard until it’s time for her to take her next Fonte and face the evils headed to test them.

And for the first time in an incredibly long time, Alessa is no longer lonely. She is making connections and remembering how to feel again. Slowly, her personality comes out and she grows into her role as Finestra. Alessa’s growth as a character was really lovely to read. Her struggles, her vulnerabilities further solidified just how strong and caring she is. This really shines as we meet a host of side characters and I couldn’t believe how much I came to enjoy them as I got to know them.

“I can’t blame anyone for keeping their distance.”

He gave her a level stare. “Then let them walk around you.”

There’s some twists and turns as the final battle nears and I found myself desperate to get to the end. I needed to know who was going to be OK and who wouldn’t be so lucky. It honestly reminded me a lot of Mockingjay – a battle leaves a lot of scars (physically and emotionally) and sacrifices can have a lot of unintended consequences. I think the author really scraped the surface of the fallout from the main battle and set up the next book quite well.

“You’re the hero. I’m just asking a girl to hold my hand.”

Sorry I’m getting vague here, but I don’t want to spoil anything. But if you’re looking for a unique world, a slow-ish burn romance, a soft yet fierce MC, a snarky and tortured main boy, lovable side characters and a found family trope, then you’re in the right place. I’m super excited to see what happens next. I truly hope this isn’t another series where I loved the first book and am totally disappointed by the sequel. I know only time will tell. But overall I was a huge fan of Alessa, Dante, all their friends and of this book as a whole. I know I’m writing this book review in January and it doesn’t even come out until June, but don’t sleep on this book.

BOOK REVIEW: Aurora’s End (The Aurora Cycle #2) by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff

BOOK REVIEW: Aurora’s End (The Aurora Cycle #2) by Amie Kaufman, Jay KristoffAurora's End (The Aurora Cycle #3)
by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The squad you love is out of time. Prepare for the thrilling finale in the epic, best-selling Aurora Cycle series about a band of unlikely heroes who just might be the galaxy's last hope for survival.

Is this the end?
What happens when you ask a bunch of losers, discipline cases, and misfits to save the galaxy from an ancient evil? The ancient evil wins, of course.
Wait. . . . Not. So. Fast.
When we last saw Squad 312, they working together seamlessly (aka, freaking out) as an intergalactic battle raged and an ancient superweapon threatened to obliterate Earth. Everything went horribly wrong, naturally.
But as it turns out, not all endings are endings, and the te4am has one last chance to rewrite thirs. Maybe two. It's complicated.
Cue Zila, Fin, and Scarlett (and MAGELLAN!): making friends, making enemies, and making history? Sure, no problem
Cue Tyler, Kal, and Auri: uniting with two of the galaxy’s most hated villains? Um, okay. That, too.
Actually saving the galaxy, though?
Now that will take a miracle.

Review

Squad 312 forever.

This series and these characters will live in my mind and in my heart for the rest of my life. The only reason I didn’t read it IMMEDIATELY after it came out was because I had wanted to re-read Aurora Burning and have everything FRESH in my mind. I remembered how it ended, I remembered screaming at my Kindle and thinking it was going to put me into premature labor (lol jk) but remembering the last few pages are a lot different than being fully re-immersed into that world and I am SO glad I waited to start this one.

The first thing you need to know about this book, like the tagline says, is that it’s…ABOUT TIME. Sure, yeah, you could easily take that as “it’s about time we are getting our hands on this damn book because I have been DYING from that cliffhanger from book 2” BUT it is straight up ABOUT TIME. And right when I found that out, I was in. I was ALLLLLLLLLLL in. Time travel has always been my jam. Trying to figure out if time is a loop, if it’s fixed, if we have to worry about a multiverse of dimensions….it’s all a mindfuck that I welcome eagerly. The next bit will feature mild spoilers so proceed with caution.

Our heroes are split into three groups here. Fin, Scarlett, and Zila have been blasted into the past and are forced to live the same day with a woman from that time (Nari) over and over and OVER.

Tyler starts with Saedii post-battle and then after something triggers a very intense and alarming vision, continues on to warn the Aurora Academy that the Ra’haam are coming for them.

Auri, Kal, and Caersan are blasted into a VERY bleak future and need to rush to fix the Weapon or order to prevent the very Ra’haam infested future they were sent to. When I say it’s dark–I mean it. These chapters hurt the most BY FAR.

Even though the squad had been split up, it honestly didn’t feel that way. They were all trying their best to get back to one another to what they keep trying to do best–save the world. They are all constantly on each other’s minds and there is no doubt the lengths each would go in order to be reunited. Plot wise I think that’s just about all I can talk about with giving away HUGE spoilers that had me screaming, crying, laughing…basically experiencing the full range of human emotion.

I was reminded throughout this entire book, but especially at the end, that this series and these characters are so special because of their love for one another. They are each other’s CHOSEN and found family and not even centuries of time and zillions of lightyears is going to change that. Without going into any detail their love for one another saved each other and the entire galaxy and that is what is going to stick with me the most.

Squad 312, it has been a pleasure and an honor. You are all crazy and amazing and I thank you each for your service to the galaxy and to us readers. You’ll forever have a crazed fan in me.

Huge thanks to Knopf Books For Young Readers and NetGalley for allowing me to read an eARC of this in exchange for my honest opinion.

BOOK REVIEW: Once Upon a Broken Heart (Once Upon a Broken Heart) by Stephanie Garber

BOOK REVIEW: Once Upon a Broken Heart (Once Upon a Broken Heart) by Stephanie GarberOnce Upon a Broken Heart (Once Upon a Broken Heart #1)
by Stephanie Garber
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

How far would you go for happily ever after?

For as long as she can remember, Evangeline Fox has believed in true love and happy endings...until she learns that the love of her life will marry another.

Desperate to stop the wedding and to heal her wounded heart, Evangeline strikes a deal with the charismatic but wicked Prince of Hearts. In exchange for his help, he asks for three kisses, to be given at the time and place of his choosing.

But after Evangeline’s first promised kiss, she learns that bargaining with an immortal is a dangerous game—and that the Prince of Hearts wants far more from her than she’d pledged. He has plans for Evangeline, plans that will either end in the greatest happily ever after or the most exquisite tragedy….

Review

Evangeline had to look down at the damp cobbles to make sure her feet were still on the ground and that she hadn’t taken flight, for parts of her were soaring. Stepping into the North didn’t just feel like the start of something, it felt like the start of everything.

The ONLY thing I regret about my currently and seemingly never-fading obsession with Dramione fanfiction is that I have been putting off reading so many great YA titles that have released in the last few months. I feel like I was trying to talk myself into reading this (and Chelsea demanding that I read this) for WEEKSSSSSS. Which is such a crime. SUCH A CRIME. While it did take me a little bit to actually get my brain into the right mindset (solely just remembering what kind of a world all of this is set in AND getting acclimated to the Magnificent North) once I was able to focus I devoured the rest of this book. I just love that every single one of Garber’s books to date have such a deliciously whimsical feel to them while also showing us different pockets of darkness here and there. It’s almost like she hands each reader a pair of rose-tinted glasses to read with only for a lens to crack part-way through and have to be taken off. BOOM. The Fates are back and people are dying or being hunted and prophecies are unearthed and deals are being made.

As much as I love reading about the world of Caraval and now the North, I’m not sure I would survive there, lol. I’m way too trusting and in real life take way too much at face value. Evangeline though…I think she’ll do just fine. She befriended a Fate or two and was really on her way to taking control of her destiny towards the end of this book. It took me a little bit to figure out if I actually was going to like her at first but…she really isn’t all that helpless. No, she’s just a normal girl who would do anything for those she loves and that is truly special. I will say I spent the entire book mistrusting Marisol and still am not convinced she’s entirely an innocent. Jacks….oh where do I even begin? I think that it’s pretty important to, at the very least, re-read all of the scenes he’s in from Legendary and Finale. I had ENTIRELY forgotten all of the glimpses we were given of him in those books and they truly make a difference. I forgot how much he DID feel for Tella and how that obviously would have MAJORLY impacted him from the first time he met Evangeline to the next. Poor boy. Lot of little moment that add up between them in this one. I have some theories and hope for book two and I can’t wait to see what does and doesn’t come true!

BOOK REVIEW: Cupcake by Cookie O’Gorman

BOOK REVIEW: Cupcake by Cookie O’GormanCupcake by Cookie O'Gorman
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

I know what you're thinking.

You're thinking this will be just one more story of the ignored, "big-boned " girl, who sheds her glasses and a few extra pounds and finally attracts the notice of the most popular guy in school.

Except it isn't. Because I'm not unpopular. Not all that ignored. And I love the way I look―just as I am.

Then someone puts my name in for Homecoming Court.

The bigger surprise?

People actually vote for me!

Now, I'm a "princess"―whether I like it or not―but the guy I'm paired with isn't exactly Prince Charming.

Rhys Castle is the strong, silent type who always wears a frown―he's certainly never smiled at me. I'm 99.9% sure he hates being on Court and being my partner, but surprisingly…he doesn't switch when he gets the chance.

Turns out Rhys has a secret―something that makes him run hot and cold throughout the entire three weeks of Homecoming festivities. Whether he's stepping on my feet during dance lessons or gallantly escorting me through the Homecoming parade, I can't get a read on this guy, and for the first time, I find my confidence wavering.

But there's more to Rhys than meets the eye. And the more the spotlight shines on me, I realize there's more to me, too.

Review:

Cupcake was a laugh out loud, adorable, heartwarming story!  With characters that felt real and a storyline that was oh so easy to devour, I finished this book in two sittings.  Cupcake became an instant favorite and romance lovers will definitely enjoy this book!

“Hi, my name is Ariel,” I said, feeling so embarrassed. “Because my mom loves Disney, I was named after a mermaid who collects forks and talks to fish.” Rhys’s lips twitched at that, but I forged ahead. “Surprisingly, I don’t hate it. I just wish the name fit me better.”
I nodded for him to go.

Ariel Duncan, aka Cupcake, had a heart of gold.  She was kind, caring, compassionate and I loved her passion for baking!  I connected with her on such a deep level with baking ♥.  She not only stress baked too, but I loved how she baked to bring others joy.  I desperately wanted to be bestie’s with her!

“Do you enjoy embarrassing me?” I asked.
Rhys pretended to think about it as he handed back my phone. “Honestly? I don’t hate it,” he said with a smirk.
Jerk.

During the announcements for Homecoming court, Ariel was shocked to hear her name listed!  She was to be a Princess.  Which led to her being paired with a sexy, blue eyed quarterback named Rhys Castle.  Rhys was such an unknown.  Yes he was gorgeous, but he could come off as cold and grumpy.  And Ariel was stuck being his partner for the next three weeks for all of the Homecoming festivities.

“Are you going to put your hand on my shoulder or what?”
I scoffed. “Of course. I was just about to do that.”
It was clear Rhys was laughing internally. His eyes dared me to make the first move. In what seemed to be slow motion, I watched my hand rise and then rest gently on his shoulder. In answer, his hand moved to my waist.
My breath hitched.

Ariel and Rhys had to do everything together from dancing, trust exercises to so much more to prep for homecoming.  I loved every minute of it!  From getting to know each other to the inevitable dancing where they had to touch, I couldn’t stop smiling.  It was adorable watching them try to connect and work together.  It felt real how everything played out and I could easily see myself watching their story as a movie!  It was a ton of fun!

“Did you like Dirty Dancing?”
“I did.” Rhys lifted a brow. “If that was us, though, you’d be Johnny, and I’d be Baby, aka the one who carries a watermelon.”
I laughed in delight.

I was obsessed anytime Rhys was on the pages!  I desperately wanted to know what he was thinking.  Because while he came off as quiet and distant, we also got to see moments where he was kind and thoughtful.  He seemed so much more than meets the eyes and as the story progressed, he made me fall so hard for him!  Sometimes the simplest words from Rhys made my heart melt.  But still, I wanted to know exactly where he stood with Ariel and what secret he was keeping too!

“You like him,” she said.
I blinked, not having expected that. “N-no, I don’t.”
“And she stutters on the denial.” Toni stared at my face then shook her head. “You must like him a lot, huh?”
My tongue felt paralyzed for a moment. I was so surprised.

Rounding out this story were side characters I adored.  From Ariel’s mom who was loving and caring.  To Ariel’s bestie Toni who was her biggest champion!  I loved that she had Cupcake’s best interest in heart.  That she stood by her side and cheered her on every step of the way.  She was a true friend.  And even the “mean girl” Lana’s story turned into more.  I’m not saying anything else other then I loved how it didn’t take the typical path, yay!

Feeling a bit funny about it, I placed the tiara on my head, then turned to Rhys.
“Well?” I said. “Is it straight?”
“Almost,” he said. “Here, let me.”
As he reached up, I held my breath. His hands were gentle as he adjusted the tiara. When his eyes met mine, he pushed a stray lock of hair behind my ear.
“You look perfect.”

Warmth, humor and romance splashed across the pages and I loved every minute of it!  Cupcake was a feel good story that left me with a smile on my face!  If you adore YA and romance, then definitely make sure you have this one on your tbr!

For the first time in my life, I actually felt like a princess.
And it had nothing to do with the tiara. Or even the boy.
It was all me.

PS Even the acknowledgements had heart!  Her comment about the cake and princess, oh my heart that made me cry.  Hugs!

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Broken Skies by Theresa Kay

BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Broken Skies by Theresa Kay

I first read Broken Skies almost 4 years ago and I still continue to think about it today. The characters and their story are permanently etched into my heart. So you’ll definitely want to check out my 5 Star Review below and enter a fabulous giveaway! Enjoy♥

BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Broken Skies by Theresa KayBroken Skies (Broken Skies #1)
by Theresa Kay
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Jax will do anything to save her twin . . . even team up with a teenage alien left behind by the same ship that took her brother.

She agrees to help the alien get back home, and in return, he agrees to sneak her into the alien city to find her sibling.

Too bad it's not that simple.

Jax soon finds that she's drawn to the alien boy with bright green hair and jewel-like scales on his back and he's equally affected by her, the courageous redhead with haunted eyes. But she doesn't know the alien's true motives, and he has no idea that she is much more than she seems.

Worse, the connection forming between them has unknown consequences.

The humans and the aliens are both hiding deadly secrets and the forbidden bond linking the two teens threatens to reveal everything. What started as an uneasy alliance and a seemingly straightforward rescue mission could spark an inter-species war.

The Broken Skies series is a completed series filled with action, adventure, aliens, and romance. Perfect for fans of the Lux series, Under Different Stars, and The Fifth Wave.

Review:

Broken Skies gripped me to the core and was truly outstanding. The story continually built and became more intricate, causing me to become obsessed with this book. It’s all I can think about. Seriously. The pages were scattered with hardships and butterfly inducing moments that were breathtaking. I never wanted this book to end.

“It’s going to be okay,” he says.
But I know it’s not. I don’t know if anything is ever going to be okay again.

After the war left 10% of the population alive, the aliens, known as the E’rikon, arrived to share Earth. They kept to themselves, until a group of them kidnapped Jax’s brother, Jace. In the commotion, a teenage E’rikon was left behind with no way to navigate home. In a desperate attempt to get her brother back, Jax agreed to help navigate Lir to his city in exchange for getting inside to find her brother. What started out as a simple journey, escalated into something that kept me on the edge of my seat!

The fingers of one hand curl into claws, perfect for ripping and tearing. I won’t go quietly. Icy fear has no place in my body now. Instead, I’m filled with fire, burning me from the inside out and just waiting to be released.

I already knew I loved Jax the first few pages into Broken Skies. She was resourceful, savvy and I loved that she was the one responsible for taking care of them for their journey. Whenever she opened her mouth and fumbled over some words or would start blabbering, she made me laugh, smile and truly care for her. But at the same point, she was somewhat broken. She had hardships from her past that she struggled with, and I desperately wanted her to overcome them.

“You are everything I was taught humans were not.”

Lir was charming, sarcastic and I fell head over heals in love with him. He was gentle, sweet, sincere, sexy and smart. I honestly could not get enough of him! And of course I still felt that way about him, even after he kept secrets from Jax. Although, they were wonderful secrets that added so much depth. Ohhhhh, Lir was everything I love in a male character.

Lir stands and reaches a hand out to me. I eye it for a moment before accepting it and allowing him to pull me to my feet. Trust has to start somewhere, I guess.

Jax and Lir were unforgettable characters. And when they were together, their relationship was sweet, slow and natural. Nothing was rushed. Nothing was forced. It was so much fun to watch them evolve. Sigh, I am still on a book high. This book was so much fun and I’m dying until I can read the second book. But until then, I can’t recommend this book highly enough. You must discover this world, characters and story! I look forward to reading the rest of Theresa Kay’s books, because her storytelling has enraptured me!

***ARC was kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review***

 

**Broken Skies Is Currently On Sale for Only .99 cents!!**

Amazon

Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers)

Broken Skies #1
Reviews:

Jen

Fractured Suns #2
Reviews:

Jen

Shattered Stars #3
Reviews:
Jen

 

About Theresa Kay:
Theresa Kay writes stories that feature flawed young adult and new adult characters in science fiction, urban fantasy, or paranormal worlds, all with a touch of romance thrown in for good measure. She’s constantly lost in one fictional universe or another and is a self-proclaimed “fangirl” who loves being sucked into new books, movies, or TV shows. Living in the mountains of central Virginia with her husband and two kids, she works as a paralegal by day and spends her free time reading tons of books, binging Avengers movies, anime, and Doctor Who, or playing Tomb Raider and Assassin’s Creed.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

 

 

Giveaway:

 

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