Review Rendezvous: 10/5/19


Blackout by Nina Walker
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, romance, dystopian
Medium: eBook
Number of pages: 324
Publish date: April 26th, 2018
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Book Depository

Bound by blood and betrayal, she’ll destroy this kingdom.

Trembling in the wake of devastating treachery, can the Loxely sisters finally bring down the Royals?

United in the cause of saving their kingdom and bringing their family back together, Jessa and Sasha will face their greatest tests yet. Jessa’s wedding is coming at her faster than she can stop it, but it’s Sasha who is running out of time. Things aren’t as they seem in the palace, and the one person who can save them is the one they’ll never trust again.


This is the third book in this series, so if you don’t want to be spoiled for the first two, don’t read this review yet!

If you’re still reading, you’ve read these books already or you don’t care about spoilers (tbh that’s totally me on some books lol)

Anywho, we pick back up with Jessa right after she has been officially engaged to Lucas. Lucas sold out the Resistance’s invading force in order to get his father to sanction his marriage to Jessa. We also get a lot more Lucas and Sasha point of view I felt like, but they were there in the last book too so maybe that’s just me.

Sasha and the girls’ father are in holding being interrogated about the Resistance. I like how the girls were played against each other, Sasha refusing to give in and Jessa, being more emotional, doing whatever she can to protect her family.

There is a lot of freedom with Lucas in this book though, he uses his mystical white magic quite a bit and only encounters any problems right at the end of the book. I feel like it was almost a little coincidental, but maybe that’s setting things up for the last book.

I did like how we got to see Jessa’s anger against Lucas really make a mark. I wasn’t sure for a while if they were actually going back together. But, towards the end of the book she actually agrees to give him a chance at friendship again, and then maybe more later. Of course, this is right before everything goes to hell.

Sasha, on the other hand, strikes me as almost that stereotypical young boy excited to go off to war. She has some redeeming points (no one else in her area can do what she does, and the people fighting against the crown need her), but she also glamorizes things I think. She’s definitely up for a push off her high horse.

I really want to read more of the series, I’m exciting to see where all the threads tie together in the end 🙂

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:


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Review Rendezvous: 9/28/19


Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, contemporary, romance
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 385
Publish date: May 30th, 2017
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Book Depository

Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.

But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.


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I’m going to start off with saying I LOVED THIS BOOK, so this is going to be a highly biased review. I literally bought it a week after I read it from the library so I could have the actual book for myself and support Zappia. I can’t tell you the last time I bought an actual, full-price book, as the rest of my library comes mostly from Goodwill or Half Price Books.

That being said, if you’re from fandom, you will also highly enjoy this book. I love the depiction of Eliza and her involvement in fandom and with online friends. Many people my age and younger grew up harped on about the notion of online friendship being dangerous. There is something to say about being safe with who you trust online, but certainly people have made great friendships (myself included) that started without seeing someone else in person.

I don’t normally read contemporary, but I couldn’t put this book down. It also has little illustrations of Eliza’s art inside, which was a perfect addition. This book explores the themes of mental health in a realistic way. I have never personally faced the things that Eliza wrestles with, so I can’t say whether or not it’s done accurately, but it seemed so from my outside point of view.

The one thing that I didn’t end up liking about it was how the love interest, Wallace, reacted at about the 75% mark after Eliza’s secret is revealed. He was super entitled and it made me automatically dislike him. He did try to repair things by the end though, so at least there’s that. I did love the rest of the book too much to knock off a star for that, though.

This is the perfect feel-good book you want to read on a sunny afternoon, and I highly recommend it. I’m not sure if Zappia has anything else in the pipeline, but I will be more than happy to check those out if she does!

Rating:


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Review Rendezvous: 9/21/19


Fracture by Nina Walker
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, dystopian, fantasy
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 336
Publish date: October 19th, 2017
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Book Depository

Broken by magic and murder, he’ll risk everything for revenge.

Prince Lucas is falling to pieces. He couldn’t save his mother, and now his father is hesitant to execute the man responsible for her death. Lucas only has Jessa, the last shred of light left in his dark world. But she’s conflicted.

What if he loses her too?

Jessa made a commitment. Her family, the resistance, even her own country is counting on her to succeed. She must be initiated and gain the trust of the king. She jumps headfirst into her alchemy trials, determined to impress the court. She knew the tests would be dangerous, but never expected they might reveal her secrets.

And what happened to her friend, Sasha, anyway?


Before you continue, this is the second book in the series, so spoilers for book one will be involved. Read at your own risk. That being said, I’m back with the second book in the Prism series, the first of which I reviewed a few years ago. You can read that review here.

We’re back with Jessa just after she staged an escape from the palace with Lucas at the end of book one. She’s now back in the palace, the Resistance having placed her back in so they can develop their spy network there. I can’t remember if we rotated perspectives in the last book, but now in book two we see from the perspectives of Jessa, Lucas, and Sasha, Jessa’s long-lost sister who escaped and came back as a spy before Jessa arrived at the palace.

The big bad from the last book, Thomas, has just been chilling in jail. He should be answering for the crimes against the crown, but due to his red magic, the king probably wants to use him. Clearly Lucas is upset about this since the dude killed his mother, but his father has bigger political plans.

There’s a lot of scheming and planning in this book, it’s definitely setting up a wider conflict for the next two installments. There’s also a fair amount of training involved, so it was nice to see the magic system expounded upon. If you don’t remember from the first book, the magic system in this world has to do with the use of color, hence the name of the series. I thought it was super unique, still do, and I love the take this book makes blending both dystopian elements and fantasy together.

We also see a bit of a broader view of the rest of the world, not just New Colony. West America – which seems to mostly be the west coast and some midwest of the current country – is threatening to overtake New Colony, so King Richard decides to do something about that before they can.

I also really liked the development of Lucas’ character. I didn’t sense a lot of growth in Jessa, most of the events happen to her instead of her doing much about it herself (which might actually be good, since she’s in the dark about a lot of plans and would’ve totally screwed them up). But Lucas, he shows a lot more of his true colors in this book. I’d almost say he’s functioning as more of a protagonist in this one. It could be because we have the chance to get into his head more here, but I appreciated seeing him make his own choices. Granted, his future is heading in a way that might not be looking good for the relationship between him and Jessa, but I can’t say much on that without giving away spoilers.

Overall, I really did like this book. I can’t give it five stars, just because there’s a lot more downtime in this book, and I am extremely excited to see where this goes in the next two books!

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:


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Review Rendezvous: 9/14/19


The Liar’s Daughter by Megan Cooley Peterson
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, contemporary
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 288
Publish date: September 10th, 2019
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Book Depository

Piper was raised in a cult.
She just doesn’t know it.

Seventeen-year-old Piper knows that Father is a Prophet. Infallible. The chosen one.

She would do anything for Father. That’s why she takes care of all her little sisters. That’s why she runs end-of-the-world drills. That’s why she never asks questions. Because Father knows best.

Until the day he doesn’t. Until the day the government raids the compound and separates Piper from her siblings, from Mother, from the Aunts, from all of Father’s followers–even from Caspian, the boy she loves.

Now Piper is living Outside. Among Them.

With a woman They claim is her real mother–a woman They say Father stole her from.

But Piper knows better. And Piper is going to escape. 


Honestly I haven’t met a contemporary I’ve liked this much in quite a bit. I found this book when I saw the release day blitz over on the author’s Instagram. Which was literally three days ago. I bought the book the second I found out about it, I was that interested. Thank goodness for Amazon Prime shipping 🙂

What really drew me to this book was the premise. I’ve never read a book that featured a character escaping from a cult, and it looked quite unique. There’s probably others out there with a similar situation, but I saw this one and immediately needed to read it. Peterson’s voice is really well done in the book, and the way the chapters are laid out goes back and forth between settings before Piper is removed by CPS and after. The before scenes are really creepy as a reader knowing that she’s in the cult, and seeing how she thinks it’s completely normal.

It’s also a bit sad, how deep Piper’s faith in the cult goes. Peterson really did well in the characterization, which is in part due to her own experience with a cult. When people tell you ‘write what you know’, this is a beautiful interpretation of that advice. The author draws on her own emotional experiences and everything that happened to her to successfully draw you in and keep you connected to the story.

Honestly, the only thing that kept me from giving this book five stars was the fact that there wasn’t a huge conflict. The down side of already knowing from the beginning that she gets out is that it’s inevitable. Maybe there was more of a conflict that I didn’t see, but otherwise this was a super good book, I highly recommend it!

Rating:


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Review Rendezvous: 7/27/19


No Place Like Here by Christina June
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, contemporary, romance
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 272
Publish date: May 21st, 2019
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble

NPLH

Ashlyn Zanotti has big plans for the summer. She’s just spent a year at boarding school and can’t wait to get home. But when Ashlyn’s father is arrested for tax evasion and her mother enters a rehab facility for “exhaustion,” a.k.a. depression, her life is turned upside down.

The cherry on top? Ashlyn’s father sends her to work with a cousin she doesn’t even know at a rustic team-building retreat center in the middle of nowhere. A self-proclaimed “indoor girl,” not even Ash’s habit of leaving breadcrumb quotes—inspirational sayings she scribbles everywhere—can help her cope.

With a dangerously careless camp manager doling out grunt work, an overbearing father trying to control her even from prison, and more than a little boy drama to struggle with, the summer is full of challenges. And Ashlyn must make the toughest decision of her life: keep quiet and follow her dad’s marching orders, or find the courage to finally stand up to her father to have any hope of finding her way back home.


This book was a lovely read from beginning to end. I highly enjoyed the setting, an outdoor camp up in the mountains. Brought back fun memories from similar camps I’ve been to. The way Ashlyn gets there – dad’s in jail, mom’s in treatment for depression – is not a great situation, but she manages to turn it around into something better.

I loved how there was a lot of focus on family relationships and not as much on romance. Sure, there is definitely romance involved, but at the book explores Ashlyn’s relationships with other people far more.

The contrast between the “rich” life Ashlyn was used to and the camp that she ended up at was intriguing. I like that she didn’t embody the typical spoiled city girl idea, though she still had some of those traits.

Overall, very nice read. This one is a good book for people who are a little burnt out on the typical YA romance-y type and want a change of pace.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:


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