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


3 winners will receive a finished copy of THE FIRE KEEPER, US Only. Enter here.


I am a Book Depository affiliate, click here to purchase books through my link.

Skillshare is an online community full of amazing classes and brilliant teachers. Try out two free months with my code here!

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:


I am a Book Depository affiliate, click here to purchase books through my link.

Skillshare is an online community full of amazing classes and brilliant teachers. Try out two free months with my code here!

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:


I am a Book Depository affiliate, click here to purchase books through my link.

Skillshare is an online community full of amazing classes and brilliant teachers. Try out two free months with my code here!

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:


I am a Book Depository affiliate, click here to purchase books through my link.

Skillshare is an online community full of amazing classes and brilliant teachers. Try out two free months with my code here!

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:


I am a Book Depository affiliate, click here to purchase books through my link.

Skillshare is an online community full of amazing classes and brilliant teachers. Try out two free months with my code here!