Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Everbound by Brodi Ashton | Review

Posted January 11, 2017 by Samantha in reviews / 0 Comments

Everbound by Brodi Ashton | ReviewEverbound (Everneath, #2) by Brodi Ashton
Published by Balzer + Bray on December 23rd 2013
Genres: YA Contemporary, YA Fantasy
Pages: 384
Goodreads
two-stars

Two months ago, the Tunnels of the underworld came for Nikki Beckett. That night, Nikki's boyfriend, Jack, made the ultimate sacrifice. All Nikki wants is to save Jack before it's too late. All Cole wants is to find his queen - and he thinks Nikki is the one. Both determined, both desperate, Nikki and Cole form a tense alliance, leading them on a dangerous journey to The Heart of The Everneath.

Everbound is the second book in the Everneath trilogy, which was marketed as a Hades and Persephone retelling. I already have a review here of the first book, Everneath, stating how that was not the case.

Everbound continues in the same vein as the first book. The reader gets a tad more information about the world, but not much. The writing is still very simple, and easy to read. I enjoyed this one slightly more, as the characters get to visit the Everneath, and trips to the underworld are always a good time in my opinion. But the plague of the fake love triangle continues, and it continues to be useless. As I said in my review of the first book, this isn’t a real love triangle as it’s not as if both love interests have an equal chance. The protagonist has made it very clear from the beginning who she wants to be with. So dangling the other love interest in front of readers as if there is a possibility she is going to choose him…..is a joke. And a waste of a subplot.

Like I said in the first review, I will finish out this series as it is marketed as a Hades and Persephone retelling and one of my goals is to read and review all of the well known titles that are supposed to be Hades and Persephone retellings, but this is not necessarily something I would recommend.

two-stars

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Polaris by Mindee Arnett | Review

Posted January 9, 2017 by Samantha in reviews / 0 Comments

Polaris by Mindee Arnett | ReviewPolaris (Avalon, #2) by Mindee Arnett
Published by Balzer + Bray on January 20th 2015
Genres: YA Science Fiction
Pages: 432
Goodreads
three-stars

Jeth Seagrave and his crew of mercenaries are pulled into one last high-stakes mission in this breathtaking sequel to Mindee Arnett’s fascinating and fast-paced sci-fi thriller Avalon.
Jeth Seagrave and his crew are on the run. The ITA, still holding Jeth’s mother in a remote research lab, is now intent on acquiring the metatech secrets Jeth’s sister Cora carries inside her DNA, and Jeth is desperate to find the resources he needs to rescue his mother and start a new life outside the Confederation. But the ITA is just as desperate, and Jeth soon finds himself pursued by a mysterious figure hell-bent on capturing him and his crew—dead or alive.
With nowhere to run and only one play left, Jeth enters into a bargain with the last person he ever thought he’d see again: Daxton Price, the galaxy’s newest and most fearsome crime lord. Dax promises to help Jeth, but his help will only come at a price—a price that could mean sacrificing everything Jeth has fought for until now.
The conclusion to the story Mindee Arnett began in her acclaimed novel Avalon, Polaris is a dangerous journey into the spaces between power and corruption, life and death, the parts of ourselves we leave behind, and the parts we struggle to hold on to.

Polaris is the final book in the Avalon duology. The first book, Avalon, follows Jeth and his band of friends who steal space ships for an interstellar crime boss. I thought the first book had a ton of potential and was a fun ride. It deals with a Bermuda triangle-like part of space that messes with the threads of reality, and set up a lot of potential for the second book.

This series ran out of time, sadly. It’s one of those rare instances where a trilogy would have been a better fit than a duology. It packed a lot of information into the second book, and it didn’t have enough time to wrap everything up successfully. There were so many points that weren’t explored enough, and whether it was character relationships, character development, or cool elements of the world. I can always use more description of scifi tech, particularly in this world where a lot of interesting, unique things were introduced, but so many of the elements were dropped. Even the villain felt one dimensional in a lot of ways.

I wish this series had more time. It was still fun, but it could have been so much more.

three-stars

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Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge | Review

Posted January 8, 2017 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge | ReviewCruel Beauty (Cruel Beauty Universe, #1) by Rosamund Hodge
Published by Balzer + Bray on January 28th 2014
Genres: YA Fantasy
Pages: 352
Goodreads

Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl's journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.
Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.
Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.
With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.
But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle—a shifting maze of magical rooms—enthralls her.
As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

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Everneath by Brodi Ashton | Review

Posted January 4, 2017 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

Everneath by Brodi Ashton | ReviewEverneath (Everneath, #1) by Brodi Ashton
Published by Balzer + Bray on January 24th 2012
Genres: YA Paranormal Romance
Pages: 370
Goodreads
two-stars

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath. Now she’s returned—to her old life, her family, her boyfriend—before she’s banished back to the underworld . . . this time forever. She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can’t find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.
Nikki longs to spend these precious months forgetting the Everneath and trying to reconnect with her boyfriend, Jack, the person most devastated by her disappearance—and the one person she loves more than anything. But there’s just one problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who enticed her to the Everneath in the first place, has followed Nikki home. Cole wants to take over the throne in the underworld and is convinced Nikki is the key to making it happen. And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back, this time as his queen.
As Nikki’s time on the Surface draws to a close and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she is forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole’s queen.
Everneath is a captivating story of love, loss, and immortality from debut author Brodi Ashton.

I’m always on the search for good Hades and Persephone retellings. This summary gave me hope. It talks about a girl who survived the underworld and comes back to the surface. Even without the obvious Persephone themes, those are some of my buzzwords. The marketing and design of the cover also scream Hades and Persephone. Unfortunately… that was all a ruse.

This is not a Hades and Persephone retelling. This is more of an Orpheus and Eurydice retelling, with a random “love triangle” thrown in. Except I wouldn’t even consider it a love triangle, because, to me, that implies that both love interests have an equal chance. They don’t. It’s very obvious from the beginning who Nikki has chosen. Which is fine, except it makes the whole love triangle thing even more pointless than it usually is.

If this was marketed like the Orpheus and Eurydice retelling that it is, I think it would be more successful and would have gotten a higher rating from me as I would have had realistic expectations. I know Hades and Persephone is pretty marketable right now, but it’s not as if Orpheus and Eurydice is unpopular. In fact, there are plenty of people seeking retellings of the myth as well.

Aside from all of that, the writing style isn’t anything to write home about. Although it’s a quick read, there are a few things used that I don’t tend to enjoy. Most prominently, the always annoying Capitalization Of Random Words To Denote Importance In This World. For example, Everlings. Eveneath. Feed. The author then chooses to not really explain these things at all, just uses the capitalization to show they are ~important~. The reader is very much thrown into the story with no explanation.

Overall, I considered this story a letdown. The characters weren’t anything to write home about, the writing is fairly mediocre, and I don’t find the romance very compelling. I have continued with the series, because it’s easy and I do plan on reading anything even vaguely “Hades and Persephone”, but it’s not something I’d recommend to most people.

two-stars

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Bone Gap by Laura Ruby | Review

Posted August 8, 2016 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby | ReviewBone Gap by Laura Ruby
Published by Balzer + Bray on March 3rd 2015
Genres: YA, YA Contemporary, YA Magical Realism
Pages: 368
Goodreads

Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps—gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever. So when young, beautiful Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised. After all, it wasn’t the first time that someone had slipped away and left Finn and Sean O’Sullivan on their own. Just a few years before, their mother had high-tailed it to Oregon for a brand new guy, a brand new life. That’s just how things go, the people said. Who are you going to blame?
Finn knows that’s not what happened with Roza. He knows she was kidnapped, ripped from the cornfields by a dangerous man whose face he cannot remember. But the searches turned up nothing, and no one believes him anymore. Not even Sean, who has more reason to find Roza than anyone, and every reason to blame Finn for letting her go.
As we follow the stories of Finn, Roza, and the people of Bone Gap—their melancholy pasts, their terrifying presents, their uncertain futures—acclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, magic and mystery, regret and forgiveness—a story about how the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are.

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Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch | ARC REVIEW

Posted November 2, 2015 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes, #2) by Sara Raasch
Published by Balzer + Bray on October 13th 2015
Genres: YA Fantasy
Pages: 479
Goodreads

It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell.
Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron sees this find as an opportunity—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira fears the danger the chasm poses—the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?
Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Januari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats?
As the web of power and deception weaves tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter, but for the world.

 

 

 

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Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa | ARC REVIEW

Posted August 31, 2015 by Samantha in reviews / 0 Comments

Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa
Published by Balzer + Bray on September 8th 2015
Genres: YA Contemporary
Pages: 360
Goodreads

A captivating and profound debut novel about complicated love and the friendships that have the power to transform you forever, perfect for fans of The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Mira is starting over at Saint Francis Prep. She promised her parents she would at least try to pretend that she could act like a functioning human this time, not a girl who can’t get out of bed for days on end, who only feels awake when she’s with Sebby.
Jeremy is the painfully shy art nerd at Saint Francis who’s been in self-imposed isolation after an incident that ruined his last year of school. When he sees Sebby for the first time across the school lawn, it’s as if he’s been expecting this blond, lanky boy with mischief glinting in his eye.
Sebby, Mira’s gay best friend, is a boy who seems to carry sunlight around with him. Even as life in his foster home starts to take its toll, Sebby and Mira together craft a world of magic rituals and impromptu road trips, designed to fix the broken parts of their lives.
As Jeremy finds himself drawn into Sebby and Mira’s world, he begins to understand the secrets that they hide in order to protect themselves, to keep each other safe from those who don’t understand their quest to live for the impossible.

 

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Snow Like Ashes by Sarah Raash | REVIEW

Posted March 27, 2015 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 1 Comment

Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes, #1) by Sara Raasch
Published by Balzer + Bray on October 14th 2014
Genres: YA Fantasy
Pages: 416
Goodreads

A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.
Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.
Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.
So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

 

 

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