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: 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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