An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir introduces Laia and her brother Darin, who both live with their grandparents. When the Empire raids their home, Darin runs and instructs Laia to hide his sketchbook. They’re both caught and taken back inside to watch their grandparents lose their lives. Elias is introduced next. He’s a soldier of the Empire, known as a Mask. Masks are skilled soldiers and trained killers. Elias watches with the rest of the Masks as a deserter is whipped to death by the Commandant. This sickens him because he’s planning on deserting also and he thinks that he will be the next to die at the hands of the Commandant. The Commandant is Elias’ mother and she holds nothing but hatred for her son. The story alternates between Laia and Elias and suspense flows throughout the entire book, each section ending on a cliffhanger. Laia enters the Empire as the Commandant’s slave and as a spy for the resistance, in exchange for helping Darin. A new era is upon the Empire and The Trials have been set and will challenge four Masks, only two will survive and one of them will be the new Emperor. Relationships grow more complicated for both Laia and Elias and the struggle for their lives becomes more desperate. This rollercoaster of a story keeps the suspense heightened to the very last page! 5 well-deserved stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️!
Sea of Strangers, the sequel to Island of Exiles. I don’t understand the different use of pronouns and it’s distracting but the author’s descriptive details make a scenic world once again. On their journey, the travelers encounter magic, other cultures, dangerous terrain and poisonous birds. They become a strong team and learn to work together and Khya learns that she’s capable of so much more than she ever could have believed. The ending is interesting and intense and my favorite part! 4 stars for a sequel with as much spirit as the first book of the Ryogan Chronicles!
Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for the opportunity to read and review Hotel Scarface by Roben Farzad. This nonfiction account of 1970’s-1990’s Miami begins with action. The book continues, highlighting certain characters of the time and tells everything honestly and boldly. I became overwhelmed with the money, drugs, violence and human degradation as I continued to read. It’s difficult to comprehend that this is reality and people’s lives. The notes at the end of the book state that a remake of Scarface will take place in 2017. The whole time I was reading this book, I visualized the original Scarface movie. 4 stars for a true account of crime in Miami!
Uncanny by David Macinnis Gill opens with Willow as she’s turning sixteen and her friends and family are throwing her a “surprise” party when a blackout occurs. A spirit takes over a recently deceased corpse and vows to keep the worst creature ever in prison. Willow and this spirit become entwined in
evil that threatens to kill everything they hold dear. Creepy and full of action, Uncanny is a twisted, supernatural read with wonderfully descriptive writing that brings the story to life and entertains. One part I loved was this clever piece of writing-“Numbers were alphabet soup, my eyes were roasted marshmallows, and my tongue felt like a wad of chewing gum.” Interesting characters and the magical concept make Uncanny a great supernatural read. 4 stars!
Saving Brad by Siobhan Davis is the fifth book in the Kennedy Boys series. The author brings the reader up to speed with perfection and the complex storyline continues with the characters returning to their sophomore year at Harvard. Rachel and Brad deal with their tumultuous relationship among both of their families’ problems. They realize that they’re becoming friends after they both finally let their guard down. Suspense filled storyline and dynamic characters are Siobhan Davis’ mark and make this book another highly recommended new adult read. 5 stars!
I voluntarily reviewed an advance complimentary copy of this book.
Haunting the deep by Adriana Mather is the sequel to How To Hang a Witch by the same author. It’s great to be back in Sam’s life. I find the historical connections that the author has to her books’ content amazing. The historical connection has Sam as a descendant of Cotton Mather in the first book, How To Hang a Witch and ancestors that survived the Titanic tragedy for this book! Sam has been ghost free for six months now and suddenly she’s seeing apparitions again. Abby, who asks Sam for her boot hook, and a dripping wet man that smells like sea water are appearing. The ghosts end up complicating Sam’s life again, but this time she has help from the Descendants. Sam has received mysterious objects and has been dreaming of being a passenger on the Titanic. While Sam is dreaming of being on the Titanic, she has no memories of her present self and she’s being manipulated by an unknown person or spirit. Elijah is helping to figure out what or who is causing the hauntings also. When Sam figures out who’s causing the problem behind the ghostly episodes, she needs all the help she can get! 5 stars for this fun, suspenseful sequel!
Thanks to NetGalley and Feiwel & Friends for the opportunity to read Berserker by Emmy Laybourne! Hanne has inherited Norwegian Berserker powers and supposedly this is what drove her mother away. Hanne lives with her drinking father, two brothers and a younger sister. Her eldest brother Steig wants to move to America, get a teaching job and bring his siblings to America when he has enough money. Hanne’s story alternates with Owen Bennett’s, who’s treated badly by his family because he’s the product of Mr. Bennett’s past affair. Hanne is overtaken by the Berserker powers when she senses that her family is in danger and she kills the three men that mean to cause harm to her family and her father ends up dying also. The four siblings run away from their home. Meanwhile, two men, Rolf and Ketil, are sent by a Baron, their employer, to hunt down any Nytte, anyone with Norwegian descent that has inherited Viking strengths. They all travel to America. Owen meets the siblings when he saves Sissel from a moving train so she can be with her family. Owen becomes the family’s guide. Along the way to their uncle’s home in Montana, the group braves many setbacks and they also meet Ketil and Rolf. The story comes full circle with much action and adventure involved and the loyalty of friends and family is what I enjoyed the most in this book. 4 stars for a suspense filled mythological adventure!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary consideration.
Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Teen for the opportunity to read and review Never Apart by Romily Bernard. This story is different from what I expected but I still enjoyed the concept, the characters, and the twist. It began as a science fiction story dealing with parallel universes and it turned into so much more! I don’t want to ruin the plot for any potential readers, so I will just say that the story alternates between then and now, the characters of Grace, Ander and Finn kept my interest and their actions kept me guessing. 4 stars for a unique book!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary consideration.
The Last of the Firedrakesby Faarah Oomerbhoy is a tale about a girl named Aurora. Aurora had been with her adoptive family since she was two years old until their fatal car accident and now she’s living with her adoptive father’s brother and his family. Her aunt is rude and lets Aurora know often that she’s not cared for and her cousin gives her the same treatment. The family visits an estate where Uncle christopher gives Aurora away to a dangerous looking man, named Lord Oblek. Lord Oblek takes her back into the tapestry that he came out of. Aurora is taken to a prison and placed in a pit with other prisoners who are scheduled to be executed the next morning, Kalen and Finn. The two of them are Fae and each has a distinct personality. The Black Wolf, Rafe who is a mage, saves all three from the prison confines. When they arrive at their safe meeting place, Rafe discovers who Aurora truly is as she tells him how she came to be a prisoner. Aurora is the rightful heir to the kingdom that Morgana stole from the king and queen when Aurora was two years old. Aurora needs to stay hidden or Morgana will have her killed just as she killed the king and queen all those years ago. The safest place for Aurora, according to Rafe, is with her granduncle Duke Gabriel Silverthorne. Once she has met the duke and his family, Aurora is sent to attend a magic school, Evolon, to receive magical training. On the way she meets with a thousand-year old Fae that changes Aurora’s appearance so Morgana will not find her. Aurora now goes by Rory and she’s enjoying and learning from her classes but she’s still trying to get used to her plain appearance a little at a time. This book has many similarities to Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings but stands well on its own merits of dynamic characters, increasing plot twists and conflict. The setting is described beautifully and The Last of the Firedrakes is a wonderfully told fantasy worth 5 stars!
The Rise of the Dawnstar by Farah Oomerbhoy was fantastic! Wow, this sequel to the Last of the Firedrakes really packs a punch! Full of action, adventure, intrigue and plot twists, this story continues to pull me further into its world. Love, loss and uncovered secrets built intense relationships and kept my interest. I can’t wait for the next book in the Avalonia Chronicles. 5 stars!
Fires of Invention by J. Scott Savage is the beginning of a fun steampunk series. Trenton has always tinkered around with machines not realizing how much he enjoys it and how good he is at mechanics and engineering. He’s going against community rules- no inventing or improving technology. The authorities believe technology is dangerous and will destroy Cove. Trenton finds an interesting device when he fixes a machine and his life changes after that. He meets Kallista and together they dive into the greatest mystery surrounding their community. Fun and adventurous, this steampunk fantasy moves at a quick pace, 4 stars.