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: 10/4/19


Today’s review is part of a blog tour with Rockstar Book Tours! Check below for a giveaway, US only.


The Fire Keeper by  J.C. Cervantes, Irvin Rodriguez (Illustrations)
Book stats:
Genre(s): Middle grade, fantasy, mythology
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 432
Publish date: September 3rd, 2019
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion, Rick Riordan Presents
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Purchase: Amazon – KindleAudibleB&NiBooksKoboBook Depository

Zane Obispo’s new life on a beautiful secluded tropical island, complete with his family and closest friends, should be perfect. But he can’t control his newfound fire skills yet (inherited from his father, the Maya god Hurakan); there’s a painful rift between him and his dog ever since she became a hell hound; and he doesn’t know what to do with his feelings for Brooks. One day he discovers that by writing the book about his misadventures with the Maya gods, he unintentionally put other godborn children at risk. Unless Zane can find the godborns before the gods do, they will be killed. To make matters worse, Zane learns that Hurakan is scheduled to be executed. Zane knows he must rescue him, no matter the cost. Can he accomplish both tasks without the gods detecting him, or will he end up a permanent resident of the underworld?

In this cleverly plotted sequel to The Storm Runner, the gang is back together again with spirited new characters, sneaky gods, unlikely alliances, and secrets darker than Zane could ever have imagined. Secrets that will change him forever.


To preface this review, two things: I haven’t read a middle grade book since I was actually old enough to fit the target age range for it, and I also haven’t read the first book of this series.

Having said that, this book did a great job of getting me up to speed with what I’d missed from the first book. Honestly, I always questioned why authors recapped things briefly in second, third, etc. books when I’d clearly read the first and didn’t need to be reminded. Now I realize it’s for situations like this haha.

I like that the author included other gods besides the Greek and Roman pantheons, because we see so many books set there within the mythology book type. There’s a specific emphasis on Mayan gods in this series, which I haven’t read a lot about. I loved the chance to learn more, even if it was in a fictional setting.

The pacing of the book was very well done, it kept me reading even when I thought about putting it down for the night. Overall this is a really solid book, and the only true reason I didn’t give it five hearts was that middle grade is just not my cup of tea. I did appreciate being sent the book for review however, and I can tell that the author has a great writing style. Perhaps she’ll dip her toe into YA later on and I can pick up another book… 🙂

Rating:


About J.C.: 

J.C. Cervantes is the New York Times best-selling author of The Storm Runner, The Fire Keeper, and Tortilla Sun. Her books have appeared on national lists, including the American Booksellers Association New Voices, Barnes and Noble’s Best Young Reader Books, and Favorite MG Science Fiction/Fantasy Top Ten Books, as well as Amazon’s Best Books of the Month. She has earned multiple awards and recognitions, including the New Mexico Book Award, and the Zia Book Award.

J.C. lives in New Mexico (otherwise known as the Land of Enchantment) can read, write, and talk backwards, always roots for the underdog, and believes in magic.

Her work is represented by Holly Root at Root Literary.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads


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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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Review Rendezvous: 7/20/19


Little Lovely Things by Maureen Joyce Connolly
Book stats:
Genre(s): Contemporary, thriller, mystery
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 289
Publish date: April 2nd, 2019
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Book Depository

LLT

A mother’s chance decision leads to a twist of fate that is every parent’s worst nightmare.

Claire Rawlings, mother of two and medical resident, will not let the troubling signs of an allergic reaction prevent her from making it in for rounds. But when Claire’s symptoms overpower her while she’s driving into work, her two children in tow, she must pull over. Moments later she wakes up on the floor of a gas station bathroom-her car, and her precious girls have vanished.

The police have no leads and the weight of guilt presses down on Claire as each hour passes with no trace of her girls. All she has to hold on to are her strained marriage, a potentially unreliable witness who emerges days later, and the desperate but unquenchable belief that her daughters are out there somewhere.

Little Lovely Things is the story of a family shattered by an unthinkable tragedy. Played out in multiple narrative voices, the novel explores how the lives of those affected fatefully intersect, and highlights the potential catastrophe of the small decisions we make every day.


This book was quite the interesting read. I can’t say I’ve read a good thriller in a while, but I liked the premise of this one. Having been in the situation where I’ve passed out before, I understand the panic that comes with the feeling right before it happens and could easily see how that leads Claire to this situation.

I also enjoyed the interspersed mentions of Jay, a potential witness to the crime, and his own background as a Native American. He has some skills that help Claire work towards the solution to this horrific event. There was also the balance of Claire’s marriage, which was intriguing. It explored the idea of what happens when something unthinkable happens, and the blame seems to lay on one particular person in the relationship. Could you stay with your own spouse if they got your children kidnapped?

Overall, highly enjoyed the read. Can’t say it’s my favorite in the entire world, but certainly worth the time to delve into this story.

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

Rating:


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Review Rendezvous: 7/13/19


The Silence Between Us by Alison Gervais
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, contemporary, romance
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 320
Publish date: August 13th, 2019
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Book Depository

tSBU

Moving halfway across the country to Colorado right before senior year isn’t Maya’s idea of a good time. Leaving behind Pratt School for the Deaf where she’s been a student for years only to attend a hearing school is even worse. Maya has dreams of breaking into the medical field and is determined to get the grades and a college degree to match, and she’s never considered being Deaf a disability. But her teachers and classmates at Engelmann High don’t seem to share her optimism.

And then there’s Beau Watson, Engelmann’s student body president and overachiever. Maya suspects Beau’s got a hidden agenda when he starts learning ASL to converse with her, but she also can’t deny it’s nice to sign with someone amongst all the lip reading she has to do with her hearing teachers and classmates. Maya has always been told that Deaf/hearing relationships never work, and yet she can’t help but be drawn to Beau as they spend more and more time together.

But as much Maya and Beau genuinely start to feel for one another, there are unmistakable differences in their worlds. When Maya passes up a chance to receive a cochlear implant, Beau doesn’t understand why Maya wouldn’t want to hear again. Maya is hurt Beau would want her to be anything but who she is—she’s always been proud to be Deaf, something Beau won’t ever be able to understand. Maya has to figure out whether bridging that gap between the Deaf and hearing worlds will be worth it, or if staying true to herself matters more.


My first impression of this book is that I highly enjoyed it. It’s not often you get to see disabilities and chronic illness depicted in young adult fiction, and I’m glad to have the opportunity to read this book. Plus there is the fact that this could be considered an Own Voices novel, as the author is hearing impaired herself.

Some people may see Maya’s attitude as off-putting, especially with how short she is with other people when she first gets to her new school. But as a person coming from the other side of the equation, I can completely understand why Maya is characterized as “difficult” or sometimes even a bit short-tempered. There is only so many times you can handle people babying you because they think you can’t do something, or if someone acts without taking the shortest second to consider your feelings as the disabled person, before you kinda just snap at people instead of being “nice”.

I can’t say that I liked the character of Maya’s mom, who seemed kind of irresponsible in how she was treating her kids. She moved them without seeming to think about her son’s condition, and then left them alone for a business trip? Caring for someone with a chronic illness, especially a child, is not something a seventeen-year-old – deaf or not – can handle by herself.

Overall, a very good book, one that I highly recommend you read for a glimpse into a different type of life.

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

Rating:


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