Publisher: Razorbill

The Darkest Magic by Morgan Rhodes | Review

Posted January 15, 2017 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

The Darkest Magic by Morgan Rhodes | ReviewThe Darkest Magic (Spirits and Thieves, #2) by Morgan Rhodes
Published by Razorbill on June 28th 2016
Genres: YA Fantasy
Pages: 426
Goodreads

In the second installment of New York Times bestselling author Morgan Rhodes's highly acclaimed Falling Kingdoms spin-off series, danger looms and the mystery deepens as two warring evils vie for possession of one elusive, powerful book.
Modern-day Toronto: Sisters Crystal and Becca Hatcher are reunited after reclaiming the Bronze Codex and narrowly escaping death. They have no one to trust but each other, and the only thing keeping them safe is the book that sent Becca's spirit to Ancient Mytica--the same book that their enemies would kill them for.
Ancient Mytica: Maddox grapples to keep his newly discovered powers under control, while the ruthless goddess Valoria hunts him down.
Modern-day Toronto: Farrell embraces his dark side as he unwittingly falls further under the spell of Markus, the mastermind leader of the nefarious Hawkspear Society, who will stop at nothing to find Crys and Becca--and the remarkable book in their possession.
New York Times bestselling author Morgan Rhodes takes readers into exhilarating new high-fantasy territory with volume two of the Book of Spirits and Thieves series, an epic contemporary saga perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander.

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Am Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir | Review

Posted January 12, 2017 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

Am Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir | ReviewAn Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1) by Sabaa Tahir
Published by Razorbill on April 28th 2015
Genres: YA Fantasy
Pages: 446
Goodreads

Laia is a slave. 
Elias is a soldier. 
Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

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The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead | ARC Review

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

The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead | ARC ReviewThe Glittering Court (The Glittering Court, #1) by Richelle Mead
Published by Razorbill on April 5th 2016
Genres: YA Alternate History
Pages: 400
Goodreads

Big and sweeping, spanning from the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court.
Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies who appear destined for powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training, and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court.
When Adelaide discovers that Cedric is hiding a dangerous secret of his own, together they hatch a scheme to make the best of Adelaide’s deception. Complications soon arise—first as they cross the treacherous seas from Osfrid to Adoria, and then when Adelaide catches the attention of a powerful governor.
But no complication will prove quite as daunting as the potent attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. An attraction that, if acted on, would scandalize the Glittering Court and make them both outcasts in wild, vastly uncharted lands…

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The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury | Review

Posted January 10, 2017 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury | ReviewThe Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury
Published by Razorbill on February 23rd 2016
Genres: YA Fantasy
Pages: 340
Goodreads

She is the most powerful Jinni of all. He is a boy from the streets. Their love will shake the world...
When Aladdin discovers Zahra’s jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn’t seen in hundreds of years—a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra’s very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes.
But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?
As time unravels and her enemies close in, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire in this dazzling retelling of the Aladdin story from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury.

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Soundless by Richelle Mead | Review

Posted January 5, 2017 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

Soundless by Richelle Mead | ReviewSoundless by Richelle Mead
Published by Razorbill on November 10th 2015
Genres: YA, YA Dystopian, YA Fantasy
Pages: 266
Goodreads

In a village without sound…
For as long as Fei can remember, no one in her village has been able to hear. Rocky terrain and frequent avalanches make it impossible to leave the village, so Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.
When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink. Many go hungry. Fei and all the people she loves are plunged into crisis, with nothing to look forward to but darkness and starvation.
One girl hears a call to action…
Until one night, Fei is awoken by a searing noise. Sound becomes her weapon.
She sets out to uncover what’s happened to her and to fight the dangers threatening her village. A handsome miner with a revolutionary spirit accompanies Fei on her quest, bringing with him new risks and the possibility of romance. They embark on a majestic journey from the peak of their jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiguo, where a startling truth will change their lives forever…
And unlocks a power that will save her people.

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A Book of Spirits and Thieves by Morgan Rhodes | REVIEW

Posted July 13, 2015 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

A Book of Spirits and Thieves (Spirits and Thieves, #1) by Morgan Rhodes
Published by Razorbill on June 23rd 2015
Pages: 359
Goodreads

Modern-day sisters discover deadly ancient magic in book 1 of this Falling Kingdoms spin-off series!
Worlds collide in this suspenseful, page-turning Falling Kingdoms spin-off series, which explores a whole new side of Mytica—and an even darker version of its magic.
Crystal Hatcher, Modern-day Toronto: It’s a normal afternoon in her mother’s antique bookshop when Crys witnesses the unthinkable: her little sister Becca collapses into a coma after becoming mesmerized by a mysterious book written in an unrecognizable language.
Maddox Corso, Ancient Mytica: Maddox Corso doesn’t think much of it when he spots an unfamiliar girl in his small village. Until, that is, he realizes that she is a spirit, and he is the only one who can see or hear her. Her name is Becca Hatcher, and she needs Maddox to help get her home.
Farrell Grayson, Modern-day Toronto: Rich and aimless Farrell Grayson is thrilled when the mysterious leader of the ultra-secret Hawkspear Society invites him into the fold. But when he learns exactly what he has to do to prove himself, Farrell starts to question everything he thought he knew about family, loyalty, and himself….
Fate has brought these young people together, but ancient magic threatens to rip them apart.

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13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher | REVIEW

Posted May 18, 2015 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Published by Razorbill on October 18th 2007
Genres: YA Contemporary
Pages: 288
Goodreads

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.
On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.
Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

 

 

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Falling Kingdoms Series (Books 1-3) by Morgan Rhodes | REVIEW

Posted February 23, 2015 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 2 Comments

Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms, #1) by Morgan Rhodes, Michelle Rowen
Published by Razorbill on December 11th 2012
Genres: YA Fantasy
Pages: 412
Goodreads

In the three kingdoms of Mytica, magic has long been forgotten. And while hard-won peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest now simmers below the surface.
As the rulers of each kingdom grapple for power, the lives of their subjects are brutally transformed... and four key players, royals and rebels alike, find their fates forever intertwined. Cleo, Jonas, Lucia, and Magnus are caught in a dizzying world of treacherous betrayals, shocking murders, secret alliances, and even unforeseen love.
The only outcome that's certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?
It's the eve of war.... Choose your side.

Princess: Raised in pampered luxury, Cleo must now embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of magic long thought extinct.
Rebel: Jonas, enraged at injustice, lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country cruelly impoverished. To his shock, he finds himself the leader of a people's revolution centuries in the making.
Sorceress: Lucia, adopted at birth into the royal family, discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.
Heir: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, firstborn son Magnus begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword....

 

 

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Zodiac by Romina Russell | Review

Posted January 30, 2015 by Samantha in reviews / 0 Comments

Zodiac by Romina Russell | ReviewZodiac by Romina Russell
Published by Razorbill on December 9th 2014
Genres: YA Science Fiction
Pages: 325
Goodreads
two-stars

At the dawn of time, there were 13 Houses in the Zodiac Galaxy. Now only 12 remain….
Rhoma Grace is a 16-year-old student from House Cancer with an unusual way of reading the stars. While her classmates use measurements to make accurate astrological predictions, Rho can’t solve for ‘x’ to save her life—so instead, she looks up at the night sky and makes up stories.
When a violent blast strikes the moons of Cancer, sending its ocean planet off-kilter and killing thousands of citizens—including its beloved Guardian—Rho is more surprised than anyone when she is named the House’s new leader. But, a true Cancerian who loves her home fiercely and will protect her people no matter what, Rho accepts.
Then, when more Houses fall victim to freak weather catastrophes, Rho starts seeing a pattern in the stars. She suspects Ophiuchus—the exiled 13th Guardian of Zodiac legend—has returned to exact his revenge across the Galaxy. Now Rho—along with Hysan Dax, a young envoy from House Libra, and Mathias, her guide and a member of her Royal Guard—must travel through the Zodiac to warn the other Guardians.
But who will believe anything this young novice says? Whom can Rho trust in a universe defined by differences? And how can she convince twelve worlds to unite as one Zodiac?
Embark on a dazzling journey with ZODIAC, the first novel in an epic sci-fi-meets-high-fantasy series set in a galaxy inspired by the astrological signs.

When I heard about this book being released, I was very intrigued. I found the premise of a science fiction book based on the zodiac to be so interesting. Overall, there were a few high points in this story surrounded by low points.

This book felt broken up into three distinct parts. The beginning was engaging, but I found myself a little lost. Rho definitely has “special snowflake” syndrome. There is a back story regarding her abilities later on in the story, but it still wasn’t enough for me to find what occurs with her throughout the story to be believable.

I had (and still have) a lot of hope for this world. There is a lot of world building in the book, because of all the different planets and worlds of the galaxy being so different, but at times it felt very info-dumpy. We get to see so many parts of this world, and I found myself getting confused at times, and just being given too much unneeded information. But the imagery we do get of the worlds is beautiful and very unique. I imagined this world in a beautiful CGI style. I will say that if this book included a map, that would be very helpful.

WARNING: Love triangle. There is a love triangle in this series that I do not feel is very well done. One love interest feels very much like insta-love (they have “known” each other for years but have never once spoken) and the other love interest is a kind of insta-lust (which is more bearable.) But overall, the love triangle aspect felt very unnecessary.

Given Rho’s special snowflake nature that I mentioned before, I found it very hard to connect to the characters in this story. I felt that Rho made a lot of unrealistic decisions and jumped between feeling like a teenager and an old wise woman. There wasn’t a ton of consistency or believability. I did very much enjoy one of the love interests, who reminds me of a Hans Solo type character (my favorite) and hope to see more of him in the future books.

The last 50 pages or so were a whirlwind, and made up for a lot of the book. Those last 50 pages are the reason I plan to continue on with the next books in the series. Some of the events that happened made me think there is a possibility of me enjoying the future of the series. There is a 50/50 chance at this point. I’m willing to take that chance, because of the originality of the world and plot.

two-stars

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Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes | Review

Posted January 17, 2015 by Samantha in reviews / 1 Comment

Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes | ReviewGathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes, Michelle Rowen
Series: Falling Kingdoms #3
Published by Razorbill on December 9th 2014
Genres: YA Fantasy
Pages: 416
Goodreads
five-stars

In GATHERING DARKNESS, book three of the New York Times bestselling Falling Kingdoms series, the stakes have never been higher as three teams push forward on a race to find the Kindred, the four elemental crystals possessing ancient all-powerful magic, first:
Prince Magnus has just witnessed torture, death, and miracles during the bloody confrontation that decimated the rebel forces. Now he must choose between family and justice as his father, the cruel King Gaius, sets out to conquer all of Mytica. All Gaius needs now are the Kindred - the four elemental crystals that give godlike powers to their owner. But the King of Blood is not the only one hunting for this ancient, storied magic...
• THE KRAESHIANS join the hunt. Ashur and Amara, the royal siblings from the wealthy kingdom across the Silver Sea, charm and manipulate their way to the Kindred, proving to be more ruthless than perhaps even the King of Blood himself.
• THE REBELS forge ahead. Princess Cleo and vengeful Jonas lead them, slaying with sweetness, skill, and a secret that can control Lucia's overpowering magic - all so they can use the Kindred to win back their fallen kingdoms.
• THE WATCHERS follow Melenia out of the Sanctuary. They ally in the flesh with King Gaius, who vows to use Lucia's powers to unveil the Kindred.
The only certainty in the dark times is that whoever finds the magic first will control the fate of Mytica... but fate can be fickle when magic is involved.

I LOVED everything about Gathering Darkness. It built on the foundation of the previous books, and is the best book of the series so far. I thoroughly enjoy the character development in this series, and the characters did not disappoint in this installment. They have all come so far since book one, and are not the same people we’ve seen in previous books.

My only complaint about this book was that the Kraeshians seemed very flat and two-dimensional as characters. But, ultimately, I overlooked that because of how well our main characters are developed.

We have reached the middle of the series, and the climax of this book has me very excited for the rest of the series.

This series is a very fun ride, and I recommend it for any fan of character-driven fantasy.

five-stars

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