Tag: reading

Doing the wrong thing for the right reason in Lillian Clark’s “Immoral Code”

immoral code
Image belongs to Knopf.

 

Title: Immoral Code
Author:  Lillian Clark
Genre:  YA
Rating:  4.5 out of 5

Five friends. An absentee father who’s a billionaire. One nefarious plot.

Nari is a genius digital hacker. Keagan is her sweet boyfriend who would follow her anywhere. Reese is a visual artist who dreams of traveling everywhere. San is headed to Stanford on a diving scholarship and wants to go to the Olympics. And Bellamy is a physics genius who gets into MIT—then finds out the father she’s never seen is a billionaire, destroying her hopes of financial aid.

Nari’s not going to let her best friend’s dreams be destroyed by some jerk who wants nothing to do with her, so she comes up with a plan:  hack into Bellamy’s dad’s computer empire and plant a code that skims enough money off millions of transactions to pay for Bellamy’s first year of college.

What could possibly go wrong?

This group of characters was fascinating. A group of individuals who form a fantastic team with an unbreakable friendship. I did not entirely care for Nari, who was very bossy and demanding (autocratic comes to mind), but I loved the rest—especially Reese and her vibrant hair. The relationships were complex and believable, and Keagan was my favorite character:  he’s the voice of reason, as well as being the lone “ordinary” soul in the group. Definitely a good read.

Lillian Clark grew up in Wyoming and now lives in Idaho. Immoral Code is her debut novel.

(Galley courtesy of Random House Children’s/Knop Books for Young Readers via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)

#immoralcode #lillianclark #knopfteen #ireadthereforeiam #books #bookstagram #bookreview #reading #netgalley #netgalleyreads #contemporaryya #ireadya #yalit

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Cover Reveal for “Whispers of Shadow and Flame” by L. Penelope

Look at this beautiful cover! I loved the first book in this series, and the follow-up novella that just came out. I can’t wait to read this!

Today we have the cover reveal tour for book 2 in L. Penelope’s Earthsinger Chronicles, Whispers of Shadow & Flame. 

The first book in the series, Song of Blood & Stone was named one of TIME Magazine’s top 10 fantasy books of 2018. Check out the cover reveal and giveaway below!

Title: Whispers of Shadow & Flame (Earthsinger Chronicles, Book 2)
Author: L. Penelope
Published by: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Genre: Fantasy

WhispersofShadowandFlame-PB

Book Description:
The cursed will face the gods. They have nothing to lose.

“A master class in fantasy world-building.” – TIME Magazine on Song of Blood & Stone

The Mantle that separates the kingdoms of Elsira and Lagrimar is about to fall. And life will drastically change for both kingdoms.

Born with a deadly magic she cannot control, Kyara is forced to become an assassin. Known as the Poison Flame in the kingdom of Lagrimar, she is notorious and lethal, but secretly seeks freedom from both her untamed power and the blood spell that commands her. She is tasked with capturing the legendary rebel called the Shadowfox, but everything changes when she learns her target’s true identity.

Darvyn ol-Tahlyro may be the most powerful Earthsinger in generations, but guilt over those he couldn’t save tortures him daily. He isn’t sure he can trust the mysterious young woman who claims to need his help, but when he discovers Kyara can unlock the secrets of his past, he can’t stay away.

Kyara and Darvyn grapple with betrayal, old promises, and older prophecies—all while trying to stop a war. And when a new threat emerges, they must beat the odds to save both kingdoms.

Pre-order the paperback today!

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Whispers-Shadow-Flame-Earthsinger-Penelope/dp/125014809X

BN: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/whispers-of-shadow-flame-l-penelope/1130016254?ean=9781250148094

BAM: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Whispers-Shadow-Flame/L-Penelope/9781250148094?id=7469620796685

 

Book Review: Warrior of the Wild, by Tricia Levenseller

wow
Image belongs to Feiwel & Friends.

Title:  Warrior of the Wild
Author:  Tricia Levenseller
Genre:  Fantasy, YA
Rating:  4.5 out of 5

Rasmira is her father’s heir and has trained her whole life to be a warrior. She’s nothing like all her sisters, and her mother hates her, so she spends her days honing her skills. To become a warrior, she must pass a trial in front of the entire village. When an unthinkable betrayal results in her failing the trial, the only way to redeem herself is to go into the wild and kill the god that has plagued her village for generations.

In the wild she meets Iric and Soren, banished from their own village for failing their trials; Iric because he was never meant to be a warrior and Soren so he could protect Iric. Rasmira has never trusted anyone in her life—except her betrayer and look how that turned out—so she tries to avoid the two, but soon finds herself working with them as all three seek to accomplish their impossible tasks.

But killing a god is no laughing matter, and Rasmira will need every trick at her disposal if she’s to win.

This was an excellent read! Rasmira was a character I connected with immediately, and I took her betrayal so personally. She’s tough and doesn’t want to trust anyone, but Iric and Soren slowly worm their way past her defenses. I loved the character growth of all three and enjoyed watching their different relationships mature and shift.

Tricia Levenseller is from Oregon. Warrior of the Wild is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Feiwel & Friends via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: Spectacle, by Jodie Lynn Zdrok

spectacle-red-final
Image belongs to Tor Teen.

Title:  Spectacle
Author:  Jodie Lynn Zdrok
Genre:  YA, fantasy, historical
Rating:  3.7 out of 5

Sixteen-year-old Nathalie Baudin writes the daily morgue column in 1887 Paris. It’s her job to tell about each day’s new arrivals to the morgue, which the citizens of Paris are fascinated with. It’s morbid, but it’s just a job, until the day Nathalie sees a vision of the murder of the body before her…from the perspective of the murderer.

When the body of another woman is found a few days later, all of Paris is talking about it—and speculating it won’t be the last. Nathalie’s visions may be the only way to help find the killer, but can she figure out who the murderer is before her own life is forfeit?

This wasn’t a bad read. The premise is unique, but I found it a little erratic. Sometimes, Nathalie seemed very childish and naïve—who wanders around a busy city alone when they are the target of a serial killer? And who would go into the Parisian Catacombs like that, especially? I liked the concept, but the execution could use a little bit of polishing.

Jodie Lynn Zdrok holds two MA degrees in European History, and an MBA. Spectacle is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Tor Teen via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)

#spectacle #jodielynnzdrok #torteen #ireadthereforeiam #books #bookstagram #bookreview #reading #netgalley #netgalleyreads #ya #ireadya #historical #paris

 

Book Review: A Danger to Herself and Others, by Alyssa Sheinmel

a danger to herself
Image belongs to Sourcebooks Fire

Title:  A Danger to Herself and Others
Author:  Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Genre:  YA
Rating:  4 out of 5

Hannah should not be institutionalized. Her roommate at an intensive study program, Agnes, fell out a window and was severely injured, but Hannah had nothing to do with it. She and Agnes were friends—best friends—even though Hannah was hooking up with Josh, Agnes’s boyfriend, on the side. But she’d never hurt Agnes.

Her parents are off to Europe, as usual, so Hannah decides to play along with Dr. Lightfoot so she can get out of here and back to her life. School’s about to start, and she can’t afford to be late with her college applications. Hannah is on her best behavior—but nothing seems to make an impact on the doctor until Hannah’s roommate, Lucy, arrives.

With Lucy’s help, Hannah can prove to Dr. Lightfoot that there’s nothing wrong with her, nothing at all, but Lucy will show her truths she never imagined.

Hannah is an unreliable narrator at best, but her story and the way her mind worked drew me in immediately. I knew there was something else going on here, but only started getting glimpses of what that was about halfway through. In the end, the book wasn’t what I expected at all, but I was enthralled.

Alyssa B. Sheinmel was born in California and grew up in New York. A Danger to Herself and Others is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Sourcebooks Fire via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)

#adangertoherselfandothers #alyssasheinmel #sourcebooksfire #firereads #yareads #yalit #yacontemporary #ireadya #ireadthereforeiam #books #bookstagram #bookreview #reading #netgalley #netgalleyreads

 

 

Book Review: Roam, by C.H. Armstrong

roam
Image belongs to Central Avenue Publishing.

Title:  Roam
Author:  C.H. Armstrong
Genre:  YA
Rating:  4.5 out of 5

Abby is 17, new to town, and she and her family are living on the streets as a result of her mother’s bad decision. They had to leave Omaha behind because of the backlash—and the friends who abandoned them.

Now they’re ready to make a fresh start. Abby dreams of having a boyfriend, going to college, and a career in music, but the winter is bad, and they never know where their next meal is coming from. Her stepfather is having trouble finding a job. Her mother is similarly out of luck. Abby’s family needs help, but she’s afraid to tell her new friends the truth, after the devastation of losing all her friends at her old school.

Roam was a difficult book to read. The subject matter is heavy—and sad. I cannot imagine being homeless, much less homeless with two kids. Abby is a strong person, but guarded, after everything she’s been through. Sometimes, asking for help is the hardest thing to do.

C.H. Armstrong holds a B.A. in Journalism, and lives in Minnesota. Roam is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Central Avenue Publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)

 

 

The Best Books I Read in January (2019)

While I’ll continue to post my monthly reading re-caps—my goal is an ambitious 175 books this year—I thought it would be nice to also focus a bit on the three books I enjoyed the most in the previous month.

 

For January, that was:

white stag

White Stag, by Kara Barbieri.

This book had a very dark aesthetic, but I loved so much about it! Janneke was a character I connected with from the first page:  she’s scarred and ugly (in her eyes), she’s weak (compared to the goblins around her), she has no magic, and she longs to go back home (she thinks).  But she’s the strongest character in the book! I love her smart mouth, her sarcasm, and her kick-butt-and-take-names attitude.

Find out more about this author here.

Unmarriageable, by Soniah Kamal.

unmarriageable

Can I say again how much I loved this? I love reading about different cultures, and I love Pride and Prejudice, so this was a win-win read for me. I was fascinated by both the differences and the similarities between this and the original, and I love when a talented author re-does something I love…and does it justice!

Check out the author’s site here.

winter of the witch

And Winter of the Witch, by Katherine Arden.

This book. This book. I’ve loved this entire trilogy so much. It’s dark. It’s cold. And the legends and magic are riveting. The layers of history and culture entwine with fantasy to create this fascinating mixture that is almost impossible to put down.

Find out more about the author here—she’s led an interesting life.

What I Read in January (2019)

Books Read in January: 18

Books Read for the Year: 18/175

Topical Books/Monthly Goal Books:

Perlambria, by C.S. Lewist (classic). Loved this. Can’t believe I didn’t know Lewis wrote a space trilogy.

My Plain Jane, Cynthia Hand (TBR). I loved the premise of this, but…the writers make a habit of inserting themselves into the story and speaking directly to the reader in a somewhat juvenile tone, and that detracted from the story a lot for me.

De-Cluttering at the Speed of Life, by Dana K. White (non-fiction). A few interesting tips here, but not totally life-changing. I like the container concept.

Where the Wind Leads, by Vinh Chung (cultural). An excellent read about a refugee family from Vietnam. A little odd to read about Fort Smith, a place I used to live close to.

Follow Me,  by Mary Jo Pierce (spiritual).

For Review:

an anonymous girl

An Anonymous Girl, by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. Jess lies to get into a psychology study—she needs the money—and thinks it will just be answering a few questions and collecting her money. But she finds herself drawn in, and soon she realizes Dr. Shields is using Jessica to test her estranged husband’s fidelity, and Jessica is caught in one of the doctor’s tangled, dark experiments. Yeah, I finished this book—but I didn’t care for any of the characters.

white stag

White Stag, by Kara Barbieri. Fantastic read! Loved the goblin society, and the concept of this story was riveting. This felt a little dark, but Janneke was a character I loved from the first page. Soran was compelling, the world was fantastic, and I can’t wait to keep reading this series!

the perfect liar

The Perfect Liar, by Thomas Christopher Green. Another book—in the same week, no less—where I didn’t like any of the characters, but continued reading. Susannah and Max have been married for a while, and he’s everything she thought she wanted and fits into her artsy world perfectly. Susannah ignores all the warning signs, until a note is left on their door,  I know what you did. Susannah’s anxiety/issues made me feel sorry for her, but, seriously? You can’t see hints something is wrong with this guy? And Max is a sociopath. Not a book I’d recommend.

unmarriageable

Unmarriageable, by Soniah Kamal. Pride and Prejudice in Pakistan. You had me at that. Alys Binat is a schoolteacher, and the second of five unmarried daughters. She wants to encourage girls to think for themselves, not follow cultural traditions like sheep. When she meets Valentine Darsee, she’s convinced he’s snobby, judgmental, and prideful, not to mention his dislike of her family. YOU SHOULD ALL READ THIS.

famous in a small town

Famous in a Small Town, by Emma Mills. Sophie is a small-town band geek who just wants the marching parade to go to the Rose Bowl parade. When August moves to town, he joins their group, as Sophie convinces them all to help her convince a local-turned-star help the band in their mission. A lovely read! The friendship in this book is fantastic!

breath of dust & dawn

Breath of Dust & Dawn, by L. Penelope. This is a novella that follows Song of Blood & Stone, and tells the story of one of Jack’s adventures in the past. I enjoyed it a lot. It gave a nice twist to the waiting for book two.

the inbetween days

The In-Between Days, by Eva Woods. Rosie Cook was hit by a bus. Or did she walk in front of it. No one knows, not the doctors, her sister, or even Rosie herself, who’s in a coma in an in-between state. She visits memories from her past, gaining more of her memory back as she struggles to awaken from her coma. This book. Wow. It was both sad and inspiring, and Rosie’s mental wakening while still in a coma to the type of person she was was powerful.

the falconer

The Falconer, by Dana Czapnik. This is a hard book to describe. Set in 1993 NYC. Lucy is a basketball star ignored by the boys and in love with her best friend. She’s surrounded by feminists and is struggling to sort out her identity. I loved Lucy’s growth in this novel, but her best friend is a total jerk.

 

*Updated because I forgot to include:  Roam, by C.H. Armstrong. A great read!

Castle on the Rise, by Kristy Cambron (review forthcoming). I enjoyed this story of the fight for Ireland’s freedom (in two of the timelines), and the current timeline that is based on the histories of the first two.

A Danger to herself and Others, by Alyssa B. Sheinmel (review forthcoming). This wasn’t what I expected at all, but it was a good read.

Just Because

Winter of the Witch, by Katherine Arden. The last of the Winternight trilogy, which makes me sad. These books. Phenomenal. Set in ancient Russia, and centering on Vasya, who is much too independent to be a good Russian woman. Magic in the winter. This book series is magic.

Puddin’, by Julie Murphy. Excellent follow-up to Dumplin’.

Stopped Reading

Restoration Heights, by Wil Medearis. I read half of this because the setting fascinated me, but I just couldn’t suspend my belief that an artist/art handler would be asked by an uber-wealthy stranger to investigate the disappearance of a neighbor’s fiance.

Book Review: The Falconer, by Dana Czapnik

the falconer.jpg
Image belongs to Atria Books.

Title:   The Falconer
Author:  Dana Czapnik
Genre:   Fiction
Rating:   4 out of 5

Lucy Adler is seventeen years old in New York City in 1993. Lucy is a basketball star, but she’s frequently the only girl on the street courts, and she’s in love with her best friend and teammate, Percy, son of a wealthy family.

Lucy observes the world around her, always questioning the why of things and seeking to understand. Two female bohemian artists invite Lucy into their circle, and open her eyes to wider issues than basketball and love, as she learns more about being female amidst the struggles women face.

Honestly, I’m not sure what to say about this novel. 1) I don’t generally read sports-related books, but I read this one entirely—and pretty quickly. 2) This is a time-period I relate to—sort of—because I’m only a year younger than Lucy. 3) I know nothing about NYC or art.

The Falconer is very much about Lucy’s internal journal towards knowing who she is and what she wants. What she deserves. She is an exceptional observer, but she doesn’t always know how to process what she sees—especially what she doesn’t like or can’t make sense of. This is about Lucy’s journey—not her feelings for Percy (and he’s a jerk anyway).

The Falconer is Dana Czapnik’s debut novel.

(Galley provided by Atria Books in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: The Inbetween Days, by Eva Woods

the inbetween days
Image belongs to Graydon House/Harlequin.

Title:   The Inbetween Days
Author:   Eva Woods
Genre:   Fiction
Rating:   4 out of 5

Rosie Cook wakes up in a hospital, having been hit by a bus, but no one knows she’s awake. Everyone thinks she’s in a coma, on the verge of death. Rosie can’t remember anything:  who she is, what her life is like, or how she got hit by a bus. She just knows she wants to live.

Then Rosie starts remembering things:  a fight with her sister, a walk on a beach, the day her brother was born. But why these memories? And what do they mean? Rosie has trouble facing what the memories reveal about who she was before she woke up, but if she doesn’t make sense of them and figure out who she really is and what she wants, she may never get the chance to try.

The Inbetween Days is touted as emotional and comic, but I wouldn’t really say it’s a comic novel. There are some funny moments, and every page is full of emotion, but it’s not a humorous book. Rosie wasn’t a very happy person—or a nice one—and her memories are not usually happy ones. However, the story follows Rosie’s change from a person she can’t stand, to one filled with hope and promise, and this is truly an excellent read, although Rosie’s sister, Daisy was the one I really related to.

Eva Woods is a writer and lecturer. The Inbetween Days is her newest novel.

(Galley provided by Graydon House/Harlequin in exchange for an honest review.)