Review: Beasts of the Frozen Sun by Jill Criswell – Blog Tour

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Title: Beasts of the Frozen Sun
Author: Jill Criswell
Series: Frozen Sun Saga #1
Publisher: Blackstone
Publication Date: August 6, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: Received a copy in exchange for an honest review on this blog tour

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Rating: 3.5 stars

Burn brightly. Love fiercely. For all else is dust.

Every child of Glasnith learns the last words of Aillira, the god-gifted mortal whose doomed love affair sparked a war of gods and men, and Lira of clan Stone knows the story better than most. As a descendant of Aillira and god-gifted in her own right, she has the power to read people’s souls, to see someone’s true essence with only a touch of her hand.

When a golden-haired warrior washes up on the shores of her homeland–one of the fearful marauders from the land of the Frozen Sun–Lira helps the wounded man instead of turning him in. After reading his soul, she realizes Reyker is different than his brethren who attack the coasts of Glasnith. He confides in her that he’s been cursed with what his people call battle-madness, forced to fight for the warlord known as the Dragon, a powerful tyrant determined to reignite the ancient war that Aillira started.

As Lira and Reyker form a bond forbidden by both their clans, the wrath of the Dragon falls upon them and all of Glasnith, and Lira finds herself facing the same tragic fate as her ancestor. The battle for Lira’s life, for Reyker’s soul, and for their peoples’ freedom has only just begun.

Review:

I really wanted to love this one. The cover is gorgeous and the synopsis sounded right up my alley. Unfortunately, it wasn’t my cup of tea. There was nothing particularly wrong about it, and it certainly wasn’t bad. It just didn’t captivate me the way I was hoping.

The characters weren’t my favourite. Lira and Reyker weren’t terrible though. They were good, strong people who experienced growth and used logic and loved each other very much. I just personally wasn’t very enamoured by them and wasn’t that concerned about what would happen to them. But like I said, they weren’t bad characters, I just didn’t personally mesh with them.

The writing however was great. I think Jill Criswell really knows how to develop a fantasy world and its magic system at a rate that allows you to be invested in the story itself yet be able to learn all the details you need to know as you go along so you’re never left confused. She never info-dumped for pages on end, which let’s be real, can ruin a book real quick. And damn, does she know how to write in detail. The war and torture scenes in the book were very vivid.

My main issue with this book was the way the story progressed. I found that it kept moving around in the exact same pattern. Danger is on the horizon. Then things go well. But oh wait, out of nowhere something awful happens. Then Lira is good. Things seem normal. Repeat. After a short time it made things predictable. You may not have known exactly what would happen down to the last detail, but you could figure out the overall idea and know when something good or bad was going to occur.

Overall it was a good book, and I would suggest that any YA fantasy fan, whose interest is piqued by this synopsis, pick it up. It just wasn’t my style.

About Jill Criswell:

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Jill Criswell is a writer of Young Adult Historical Fantasy. She was born and raised in the swamps of northeastern Florida. She earned degrees in English and Psychology and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida. Her greatest passion, besides reading and writing, is traveling the world; she’s visited fifty countries across six continents, falling in love with places like Iceland, Namibia, and Cambodia. She works as a university English teacher and lives in South Carolina, near the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, with her husband and daughter (who is named after a volcano in Iceland).

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Review: How the Light Gets In by Katy Upperman – Blog Tour + Giveaway

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Title: How the Light Gets In
Author: Katy Upperman
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: August 6, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Source: Received a copy in exchange for an honest review on this blog tour

Goodreads
Indigo | Amazon |Barnes & Noble

Rating: 3 stars

Since her sister’s tragic death, seventeen-year-old Callie Ryan has basically given up. Her grades have plummeted, she’s quit her swim team, and she barely recognizes the people her parents have become.

When she returns to her aunt’s run-down coastal Victorian one year after Chloe’s death, Callie resigns herself to a summer of guilt and home renovations. She doesn’t expect to be charmed by the tiny coastal town or by Tucker Morgan, a local boy brimming with sunshine.

But even as her days begin to brighten, Callie’s nights are crowded with chilling dreams, unanswered questions, and eerie phenomenon that have her convinced she’s being haunted. Will Callie be able to figure out what her sister is trying to communicate before it’s too late?

Review:

I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting going into this, but I know it wasn’t what I read.

Throughout the novel I never connected to Callie or any of the other characters. It doesn’t take a lot for me to get emotionally invested, but for some reason that never occurred with this book. No one seemed captivating enough to gather my attention long enough for me to care about what would happen to them.

I wasn’t expecting the ghost aspect of the story to be as prominent as it was. Of course because of the synopsis, it was going to be present, but it was a lot and didn’t really do much for me as a reader. Maybe that is one of the reasons I never seemed to care for any of the characters, especially Callie.

The one thing I did find intriguing was the mystery surrounding Stewart house and the old, hidden away items that Callie found while working on the house. That story captured my attention instantly and I was looking forward to the moments when we would be able to learn more about the past inhabitants of Stewart House and Bell Cove.

Overall this book was just ok for me. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t terrible either. I was never invested with any of the characters or their stories and come my end of the year wrap up, I probably won’t remember much.

Giveaway:

Prize: Win (1) copy of HOW THE LIGHT GETS IN by Katy Upperman and some swag (INT)

Starts: August 12th 2019
Finishes: August 26th 2019

Enter HERE

Check out the other lovely people participating in the tour here

About Katy Upperman:

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Katy’s debut novel, Kissing Max Holden, was published August 1, 2017, and her sophomore effort, The Impossibility of Us, released July 31, 2018. Her third novel, How the Light Gets In, will be out August 6, 2019. All three books are with Swoon Reads/Macmillan. She’s represented by Victoria Marini of the Irene Goodman Agency.

 

 

 

 

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Review: In the Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton – Blog Tour + Giveaway

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Title: In the Neighborhood of True
Author: Susan Kaplan Carlton
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Publication Date: April 9, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Ficton
Source: Received an copy from NetGalley/the pubsliher/Fantastic Flying Book Club in exchange for an honest review on this blog tour

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Rating: 5 stars

A powerful story of love, identity, and the price of fitting in or speaking out.

After her father’s death, Ruth Robb and her family transplant themselves in the summer of 1958 from New York City to Atlanta—the land of debutantes, sweet tea, and the Ku Klux Klan. In her new hometown, Ruth quickly figures out she can be Jewish or she can be popular, but she can’t be both. Eager to fit in with the blond girls in the “pastel posse,” Ruth decides to hide her religion. Before she knows it, she is falling for the handsome and charming Davis and sipping Cokes with him and his friends at the all-white, all-Christian Club.

Does it matter that Ruth’s mother makes her attend services at the local synagogue every week? Not as long as nobody outside her family knows the truth. At temple Ruth meets Max, who is serious and intense about the fight for social justice, and now she is caught between two worlds, two religions, and two boys. But when a violent hate crime brings the different parts of Ruth’s life into sharp conflict, she will have to choose between all she’s come to love about her new life and standing up for what she believes.

Review:

From the moment I began this story, I was instantly hooked. It started with Ruth in a courtroom about to testify about the hate crime that occured during the novel. What was the hate crime? What was she specifically there to testify for? What was she going to say? So many questions popped into my mind in the first few pages, and I knew I needed to have all of them answered.

Ruth, her mother, and her sister have moved from New York to Atlanta to live with her grandparents after her father’s sudden and unfortunate death. Fontaine and Mr. Hank (the grandparents) are Christian, but Ruth and her family are Jewish. In Atlanta in 1958, being Jewish was not something that was very accepted. Ruth hides this part about her as she goes to a Christian school and is influenced by Fontaine to get involved in debutante life.

The glitz and the glamour capture Ruth, along with Davis, the boy with the lovely smile and cute dimple. In her infatuation, Ruth continues to hide the real her. Until a violent hate crime occurs, and Ruth must ultimately decide the person she wants to be.

This book was incredible. Incredible. I was sucked in from the very beginning and just couldn’t put it down. The writing really brought the setting of the 1950s to life. I could picture the fashion, the speech, and the manerisms so clearly in my mind. It was almost like watching a movie.

But what was most important about this book was how Susan Kaplan Carlton chose to tackle such a prevalent issue. Sure, this was book set in 1958 and schools and busses and movie theatres are no longer segregated and you won’t be turned away from a debutante ball if you’re Jewish, but you can’t sit there and tell me that people do not experience awful prejudices in 2019. It may not be as clean cut as 1958, but it sure as hell exists.

And just as it was important in 1958 for Ruth to decide whether or not to do the right thing, it is also important for us to absolutely decide to do the right thing in 2019.

Susan Kaplan Carlton has graced us with a lovely novel and I think you should all pick it up when you have a chance. Every single thing about it was great. When someone can present such a vital topic with a beautiful story and elegant writing, it’s not something you want to miss out on.

Check out the tour schedule here!

Enter the giveaway here!

  • Prize: Win (1) of (2) copies of IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF TRUE by Susan Kaplan Carlton (US Only)
  • Ends April 16, 2019

About Susan Kaplan Carlton:

Susan Kaplan Carlton, a longtime magazine writer, currently teaches writing at Boston University. She lived for a time with her family in Atlanta, where her daughters learned the fine points of etiquette from a little pink book and learned the power of social justice from their synagogue. Carlton’s writing has appeared in Self, Elle, Mademoiselle, Seventeen, Parents, and elsewhere. She is the author of the young adult novels Love & Haight, which was named a Best Book for Young Adults by YALSA and a Best Book by the Children’s Book Committee at Bank Street Books, and Lobsterland.

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Review: This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher – Blog Tour + Giveaway

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Today I am so excited to present to you my review of This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher. A million thanks to Fantastic Flying Book Club for letting be a part of this book tour. You can check out the schedule here.

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Title: This Lie Will Kill You
Author: Chelsea Pitcher
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: December 11, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Source: Received an advanced copy from the publisher and Fantastic Flying Book Club for the purpose of this book tour

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Chapters | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | iBooks

Rating: 5 stars

Tell the truth. Or face the consequences.

Clue meets Riverdale in this page-turning thriller that exposes the lies five teens tell about a deadly night one year ago.

One year ago, there was a party.
At the party, someone died.
Five teens each played a part and up until now, no one has told the truth.

But tonight, the five survivors arrive at an isolated mansion in the hills, expecting to compete in a contest with a $50,000 grand prize. Of course…some things are too good to be true. They were each so desperate for the prize, they didn’t question the odd, rather exclusive invitation until it was too late.

Now, they realize they’ve been lured together by a person bent on revenge, a person who will stop at nothing to uncover what actually happened on that deadly night, one year ago.

Five arrived, but not all can leave. Will the truth set them free?
Or will their lies destroy them all?

Review:

One year ago, at a party in December, a series of events happened that led to the death of a teenager. Five teens had played a part in that death, but no one really knew what happened. Fast forward one year, and each of these students receive an exclusive invitation to compete for a $50,000 scholarship. After the events of last year’s party, they could each use that money for college so they all attend.

Once there, they realize they may have been a little hasty in accepting that invitation. Someone is hellbent on revenge and determined to find out the truth of what happened that night, and they will do whatever is necessary to know the entire story from start to finish.

Each of the characters were so strongly developed. I adored each persons’ chapters and being able to get into their brain to see exactly how they were feeling about the events that transpired at last year’s party, as well as the events at the revenge party. Ruby’s chapters were by far my favourite though. She was such a complex and interesting character with an insane life. No joke, I have no idea how that girl is still standing.

The writing was easily my favourite part of the book. Like I just mentioned, the characters were written beautifully. Not only that, the descriptions threw you into both the past and the present so clearly. I could picture everything as it was happening, and my god, if I never even have to think of a porcelain doll ever again, it’ll be too soon.

I was constantly on the edge of my seat wanting to know what was going to happen. While it was pretty obvious from the prologue who organized the revenge party, I was engaged all the way through wanting to know every single detail of both the past and present.

Overall, I would highly suggest picking up this book. While, yes, it is obvious who the party is organized by, I think the book is so thrilling and mysterious that it’s easy to look past that and have a wonderful reading experience.

Enter Chelsea Pitcher’s giveaway here:

  • 1 of 10 copies of This Lie Will Kill you, US only
  • Ends December 19, 2018

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About Chelsea Pitcher:

Chelsea Pitcher is a karaoke-singing, ocean-worshipping Oregonian with a penchant for twisty mysteries. She is the author of THE S-WORD, THE LAST CHANGELING & THE LAST FAERIE QUEEN.

Watch for her new YA thriller, THIS LIE WILL KILL YOU, coming December 11, 2018 from S&S/McElderry!

Review: Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful by Arwen Elys Dayton – Blog Tour + Giveaway

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Today I am so excited to present to you my review of Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful by Arwen Elys Dayton. A million thanks to Fantastic Flying Book Club for letting be a part of this book tour. You can check out the schedule here.

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Title: Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful
Author: Arwen Elys Dayton
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: December 4, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Source: Received an advanced copy from the publisher and Fantastic Flying Book Club for the purpose of this book tour

Goodreads
Chapters | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | iBooks

Rating: 5 stars

For fans of television shows Black Mirror and Westworld, this compelling, mind-bending novel is a twisted look into the future, exploring how far we will go to remake ourselves into the perfect human specimen and what it means to be human at all.

Set in our world, spanning the near to distant futures, Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful is a novel made up of six interconnected stories that ask how far we will go to remake ourselves into the perfect human specimens, and how hard that will push the definition of “human.”

This extraordinary work explores the amazing possibilities of genetic manipulation and life extension, as well as the ethical quandaries that will arise with these advances. The results range from the heavenly to the monstrous. Deeply thoughtful, poignant, horrifying, and action-packed, Arwen Elys Dayton’s Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful is groundbreaking in both form and substance.

Review:

Wow. That’s all my brain can seem to conjure up after this reading this book. Just wow.

Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful is a collection of six intertwined stories that are set beginning in the near future all the way to years and years from now. They explore the possibility of what our future and those extending past our life spans could very possibly look like.

One of the best parts of this anthology, despite the fact that the stories were intertwined, was that it never once felt repetitive or boring. Every story was so different from the last and made you think about the future in different ways. Because each story differentiated from one another in the way that they did, I find it incredibly impressive the way Arwen Elys Dayton was able to intertwine them in what seemed to be such an effortless way.

Each of the characters were so different from the last despite the fact that they all revolved around the same prominent theme. They all had their own voice within the stories that made each one memorable and affected your opinions of them in different ways.

This book was incredible. I literally cannot stress that enough. It really makes you contemplate the future and where we are headed as a species and I honest to god think everyone should read this book. It’s one of those ones that’s going to stick with you long after it’s over.

Enter Arwen Elys Dayton’s giveaway here:

  • 1 copy of Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful, US only
  • Ends December 11, 2018

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About Arwen Elys Dayton:

Arwen Elys Dayton is the author of the Seeker series—Seeker, Traveler, and Disruptor and the e-novella The Young Dread—and the science-fiction thriller Resurrection. Arwen lives with her husband and their three children on the West Coast of the United States.

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