Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger

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Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger is a unique story involving mythology characters that control the weather. Vane lost his parents in a tornado when he was younger, while he was saved by a mysterious girl that haunts his dreams. Now she’s interfering in his social life, but he isn’t sure what’s going on. She, Audra, shows herself to Vane and he’s relieved that she is real. At the same time, he’s confused about what she’s telling him he is and what they have to do. Audra blames herself for the death of Vane’s parents and her own father. Audra and Vane have to conquer the Stormwalkers and they have a limited amount of time to prepare. Their relationship goes for a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, but they learn to trust each other and build strength together. I give Let the Sky Fall 4 stars, for the first in a series that brings romance, action and fantasy together for a clean read!

Valkyrie: The Runaway by Kate O’Hearn

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for the opportunity to read and review The Runaway by Kate O’Hearn, the second book in the Valkyrie series based on Norse mythology. Freya, Archie and Maya are still being punished for leaving Asgard and, while the challenge games are taking place, they are only allowed to watch one each day. But then Odin sends them on a mission back to earth and Freya learns much about her family and their secrets. The adventure and action are nonstop in this sequel and the intertwined characters make it even more interesting! I rate this book 5 stars for a fun, clean fantasy read!

Valkyrie by Kate O’Hearn

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Valkyrie by Kate O’Hearn is based on Norse Mythology. What’s not to love!? After reading the dedication, I have complete respect for the author. She wrote a compassionate and helpful letter to victims of bullying! Freya is born into the Valkyrie world, but she doesn’t enjoy watching battles, dislikes warriors and humans and definitely doesn’t want to be a Valkyrie. That is her destiny, regardless of how she feels. She gets to know her first reaping, Tyrone, and she begins to see that human warriors have changed. Tyrone loves his family and makes Freya promise that she will go to Earth (Asgard) and check on their safety. Loki wants to help her travel to Earth, even though it’s forbidden and Freya is not sure she can trust him. Freya’s heart opens up to humans when she sees the good that most do, while she grows more angry at the evil in the world. This story, based on Nordic mythology, contains action, adventure, kindness, suspense and fun – 5 stars!

In Truth & Ashes

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review In Truth and Ashes by Nicole Luiken, the third and last book in the Otherselves trilogy. This last book of the series focuses mainly on the true world and the characters that live there. Since Qetarah was taken care of, her mentor Malachi is the villain trying to get rid of the four worlds. Belinda fell into my heart because of her tyrant of a grandmother and her friend Demian is interestingly mysterious! Nicole Luiken brings all of the information from the last two books and its four worlds seamlessly into In Truth and Ashes to make a complicated world with dynamic and complex characters into a wonderful fantasy adventure series – 4 stars!

Amid Wind & Stone by Nicole Luiken

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Received a reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Amid Wind & Stone by Nicole Luiken. This is book two of the Otherselves series, which brings two more worlds into the story along with all of the characters, relationships and politics of each world- air and stone, on top of the same information from the fire and water worlds. The author’s creative imagination is astounding because of the complexity of each world and how she brings everything together and makes it all work to become a full-on adventure, fantasy story. I give this book 4 stars for the devious antagonist, the complete world building and the interesting characters!

Through Fire & Sea by Nicole Luiken

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Received a reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Through Fire & Sea by Nicole Luiken! Leah is renamed Jehannah by her father, the duke, so he can send her with Queen Qeterah and spy for him. Leah is an illegitimate daughter of the duke’s and he’s sending Leah with the queen in place of his daughter Jehannah. The queen needs an heir from each duchy or region to be able to send and receive messages with the other regions. The queen shows Leah the mirror hall and explains how there is one true world and four others – air, stone, fire and water. Leah lives in the Fire World and they use fire to send and receive messages and rely on volcanoes for stability of their kingdoms. Leah falls into a mirror while cleaning it and inadvertently sees her Water World doppelganger or otherself, Holly. Nicole Luiken builds an amazing and complex world and pulls the story together seamlessly. This first book in this series concentrates on the characters from the two worlds, fire and water. The two worlds collide when the queen meets her doppelganger in the Water World. Exciting and interesting, Through Fire & Sea is the beginning of a series full of adventure and fantasy, 4.5 stars!

The Grisha Trilogy

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Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo is the start of the Grisha Trilogy about two orphans, Alina and Mal. Alina and Mal are being interviewed by Grisha as children, then the story jumps ahead to their young adulthood. Mal is a tracker in the army and Alina is an assistant to a cartographer. The army is crossing The Fold, a place where monsters called Volcra live. Volcra attack and Mal and Alina protect each other. As the Volcra claw at her back, Alina lights up. She’s suspected of being a Sun Summoner and people will want her to light up The Fold so traveling can be safer and ports can be used once again. The Darkling takes Alina to Os Alta for her safety, her training and to serve the kingdom. Alina feels like she doesn’t fit into this life any better than her last dwelling and job as a mapmaker. She hasn’t seen Mal since she was taken to the palace. Alina has a revelation as a forgotten memory resurfaces. Alina’s power comes forth and as her power grows, it becomes easier for her to call upon and she learns who she can and cannot trust and who she truly loves. I like how the author has woven Russia into the story. Leigh Bardugo is an impressive author and her debut novel, Shadow and Bone, brought anxiety to my mind and tears to my eyes – 5 stars!

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Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo is the second book in the Grisha Trilogy. Mal and Alina escape from the Darkling and are trying to earn enough money to travel to a place where no one has heard of the Grisha. Before they can move on, the Darkling finds them again. The White Stag captured in the first book was only the first of the amplifiers the Darkling wants. He is now after the Sea Whip. The crew is overthrown by a privateer who rescues Mal and Alina from the Darkling, just as the Sea Whip is captured and killed. Alina now has a second amplifier and reads a story about a third one, the Firebird. The privateer, Sturmhond, has many tricks and secrets up his sleeve. While Alina is put in charge of the Second Army with Mal as the Captain of the Guard, the kingdom is searching for the Darkling and preparing for war. Alina learns that the amplifiers were not discovered, but created, which makes their safety more questionable and makes them even more of a mystery. Lives are lost and some are forever changed in the battle with the Darkling. Once again, Leigh Bardugo has entered the Grisha’s world with magnificent writing and dynamic characters- 5 stars!

 

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Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo is the third and final book in the Grisha Trilogy. The Apparat is supposedly caring for Alina, the Sun Summoner, while all of her allies have been accused of treason. The group escapes and goes in search of the Firebird, the third and last amplifier. Once again, Nikolai saves them and he brightens up everything with his clever wit and resilient personality. The elevator scenes made me laugh, with the great dialogue! The group fights the Darkling again and horrible things happen. The author brings the characters to life with her details and the development of Genya is impressive and creates empathy for her struggles and amazement for her bravery at the same time. The descriptive world building made me feel as though I was in the middle of the action. I could feel the air move as the Firebird flew by and my ears hurt with its screech. Unpredictable, suspenseful and touching in all the right ways – 5 stars!

I look forward to reading the Six of Crows Duology that is set in the same world as the Grisha Trilogy!

Labyrinth Lost

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A family that celebrates Deathdays instead of sixteenth birthdays, Bat Mitzvahs or Quinceaneras lives in Brooklyn, New York and everyone is excited to celebrate Alejandra’s (Alex’s) Deathday. Alejandra isn’t happy about the magic in her family and she is definitely not looking forward to her Deathday celebration. She has been told that she is an enchantrix, which means she is powerful. Alex wants it all to go away and she eventually gets what she wishes for. A shadow demon attacks their home, so the family decides to have Alex’s Deathday party the very next day. At the party, the ceremony backfires and a demon takes Alex’s family and she has only Nova, a mysterious young man, to help get them back. To save her family, Alex has to conquer the mythology of Los Lagos, another realm ruled by The Devourer. I enjoy Nova’s personality and the banter between him and Alex makes me laugh. This story is beautifully written and reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland and Greek mythology. Inspired by Latin American religions and cultures all brought into the present time – 4 stars!

Bottled

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Thanks to Clean Reads for the opportunity to read and honestly review Bottled by Carol Riggs! This fantasy story involves a woman trapped in a spell, cast by a djinn, who serves her changing masters over the centuries. A traditional story with a female protagonist, a horrible villain, romance and suspense. This is a clean read book and enjoyable!

Children of Icarus

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Thanks to NetGalley and Switch Press for the download of Children of Icarus by Caighlan Smith! This story begins with the story of Icarus, which sets the scene for the rest of the book. Clara and her friend, the main character, are going to the Temple of Icarus to see if they will be chosen as angels, as children of Icarus, and will become Icarii. The chosen enter the labyrinth and what awaits them is unexpected. Violence ensues. A group saves them and takes them with as they travel out of the labyrinth and into Fates. The older Icarii explain their future – each of them makes a choice between being a scavenger or a caretaker. Once they reach Fates, their new lives begin. The main character says “Clara” in her sleep and another girl assumes that is her name. Collin, the real Clara’s brother, finds her and it has been so long since they’ve seen each other that he only recognizes her because of Clara’s hair ribbon that she is wearing. Collin later finds parts of the real Clara while he’s on a scavenging trip and calls the main character Nameless and treats her violently. She is sent away with Gina and Felix, who both end up dying and the only people left are her and The Executioner. The Executioner teachers her survival skills and becomes her friend. When The Executioner sacrifices herself to save Nameless, she reads a letter left for her by The Executioner and discovers who she is and the truth about who The Executioner is also. Confusing storyline made sensible by the author – 4 stars!