Spoiler Free Review: Haunting the Deep (How to Hang a Witch #2)

Title: Haunting the Deep (How to Hang a Witch #2)

Author: Adriana Mather

Pub. Date: October 3rd, 2017

Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Paranormal

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Pages: 368

Format: eGalley & Physical ARC

    

Haunting the Deep is the follow-up to How to Hang a Witch  & so I’ll leave out the Goodreads synopsis for fear of spoilers. In the same manner its predecessor was based on real life historical events, this sequel is centered around the Titanic. A YA Historical Fiction mixed with paranormal, Haunting the Deep picks up right from where we left off and the same characters are back. I truly enjoyed this follow-up a million times more for so many reasons but most of all it’s the character depth & fast moving plot that was fun and easy to follow, that make Haunting a 5 star read for me. This time around there was less of a Mean Girls vibe (not completely without) & more of  the 1966 cult classic The Craft. After the events of HTHAW, our MC Sam is a bit shaken up & avoiding any and all interaction with a group of girls in Salem that are known as The Descendants. This group is known for their family lineage, each having descended from those accused of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials, Sam herself (like the author) is descended from Cotton Mather who stands on the accusing side. This bad blood pits Sam against the Descendants in the first book however, in Haunting we see a meeting of the minds. Since Sam & the Descendants saw themselves in a terrible predicament in HTHAW, this time around calls for them to set their differences aside. Ghosts have always made themselves visible to Sam but this time around they’ve multiplied and need the help of the living. We follow Sam & the Descendants as they try to piece together what really is going on with the ghosts of those who passed away in The Titanic. The paranormal aspects were tuned up & Sam’s witchy abilities have further developed allowing her to leave her body and enter the spiritual world. I could NOT put this book down for long! I found that it had the perfect balance of paranormal & historical and soaked up all of the details Mather had to have heavily researched.

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If you found yourself wanting more from the characters in HTHAW, this is the follow-up you’re going to want to pick up 😉 although we still get a bit of the mean girl vibe, it quickly develops into something else that I found myself really enjoying. Sam still managed to slightly annoy me but she also grew on me by the end. The real stars of the book (beside the ghosts) were The Descendants Susannah, Mary, and Alice aka MY FAVORITE! haha! Mary unfortunately gets the ditsy role but she also has a heart of gold that makes it hard to dislike her. Susannah is the calmer more mature of the crew and is able to see things before they happen. Alice is unapologetically unfiltered & every time she put Sam in her place I chuckled. I got more of Mrs. Meriwether & her wonderfully tempting pastries and good cheer, I honestly could smell her baking through the pages haha! We also get to see Elijah aka the hot Ghost who has a thing for Sam & who Sam can’t stop thinking about. There was definitely less romance this time around & more of a focus on friendship which I feel, boosted my interest ten fold. I still couldn’t get enough of those Elijah scenes but I really enjoyed The Descendants & fast moving plot so much so that I didn’t miss the romance too badly. There are a few ghosts we meet along the way & everything from their manner of talk & dated clothing fleshed this world out so well, I just couldn’t get enough of the story.

The amount of research that had to have been done to re-create the night of the Titanic down to the music playing is pretty awesome! We get descriptive writing on the clothes worn, the ship itself, way of life for those on the Titanic, and so much more! I feel as if author Adriana Mather’s writing has grown in such a short matter of time leading me super excited for what’s to come in 2018. I absolutely plan on continuing on with this series, I care for these characters & am curious to see how much more developed their witchy abilities get in the next book. Also, Elijah and Sam…essentially both a living person and a deceased one have managed to catch feelings for one another…how is this going to work? I have questions lol! each of the characters in Jaunting the Deep had their own distinct voice & each personality jumped off the page. I found myself transfixed by this story & how well it blended the historical with the Paranormal. I love when a book makes me Google the real life facts to compare & the surprise I receive when I realize how close to the real deal the author kept it. It’s no secret that I love Fantasy but when it comes to Paranormal, witches are my achilles heel & I cannot resist a good story. Haunting the Deep is a treat to those who enjoy Historical Fiction & Paranormal. The title couldn’t be more fitting as the pages truly did leave a haunting impression every night (spooky x 1,000) & I may have possibly needed to leave my nightstand lamp on to fall asleep. Need book 3 but I’ll settle for a release date at the very least Haha! 😉

*Many thanks to Knopf Books for Young Readers, Netgalley, and Adriana Mather for the eGalley copy of Haunting the Deep in exchange for an honest review.


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Review: Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance

Title: Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance

Author: Ruth Emmie Lang

Pub. Date: November 14th, 2017

Genre: Fantasy Fiction

Publisher:  St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 352

Format: eGalley/Netgalley

   

Orphaned, raised by wolves, and the proud owner of a horned pig named Merlin, Weylyn Grey knew he wasn’t like other people. But when he single-handedly stopped that tornado on a stormy Christmas day in Oklahoma, he realized just how different he actually was.

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance is perhaps the most whimsical read I’ve picked up in all of 2017 & I’m so glad to have read it this holiday season. The Goodreads Synopsis for this book is pretty generous in length but if I’m being honest all I needed to read was the snippet above to know this was one I’d want to read. When introduced to Weylyn Grey, I instantly got the Jungle Book & Charlotte’s Web vibes. Here is a kid who has been orphaned at a very young age & ends up being raised by wolves. He’s not just any ordinary kid though, Weylyn has a special connection with animals and can communicate with all species of animal. Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance is a multiple POV story told by the many characters who cross paths with Weylyn Grey. They all share one thing in common, their lives are forever changed after meeting Weylyn & witnessing the odd and extraordinary things that occur whenever he is around. This story is special in that it not only asks its characters to suspend their disbelief but also you the reader. I wouldn’t call it Magical Realism which in my opinion has a whole different feel in writing style but it certainly is very whimsical. This is a very character driven story with a underlying message of what makes a home a home…is it a place? or the people we meet along the way?

Weylyn Grey sees himself living in many places & meeting many others from all walks of life but even he has that one person that is his hearts anchor. Mary, the girl he met when he was a young boy & who ran away from home to spend one whole month with him and the wolves. Each chapter starts off in a new place/different year where Weylyn has tried to settle down in but we also see him pop in & out of Mary’s life. This is mainly because he believes he is a danger to those he loves, strange & mysterious things like sudden tornados striking or storms tapering off. It seems he has the ability to manifest & also dispel weather phenomena. We get to see how others perceive Weylyn, some are nicer than others but all come away with a different perspective on life after witnessing things that can’t be explained.

For those readers who love character driven books, Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance will prove to be a real treat. This is one boys journey to manhood as he touches the lives of many and discovers that home is what you make it. I really enjoyed getting sucked into this world and the nostalgia it stirred in me when recalling some of my favorite childhood reads. Lang’s writing is beautiful & the imagery left me smiling on many occasion. I did wish we had perhaps less characters introduced along the way & a bit more of the love story that is hidden underneath all of the extraordinary. I’m not typically the one to go for the romance but we meet a plethora of characters & their time with Weylyn is brief, I wanted a bit more of Mary since she is the most important person in Weylyn’s life. Overall, this is one story i’m sure will remain with me for a long time & as a person who has also moved around a ton, I can definitely appreciate the message. Best read on a cool night with a hot cup of cocoa, Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance is an atmospheric read sure to feed the imagination!

*Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press, Netgalley, and Ruth Emmie Lang for the eGalley copy of Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance in exchange for an honest review.


Happy Monday Bookworms! Hope you’ve all had a wonderful weekend & managed to squeeze in some good reads. Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance was recently a Book Of The Month pick which made me happy to have my own physical copy, have any of you read this magical book? if so, sound off in the comments down below.


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Review: Artemis by Andy Weir

Title: Artemis

Author: Andy Weir

Pub. Date: November 14th, 2017

Genre: Science Fiction

Publisher:  Crown Publishing Group

Pages: 305

Format: eGalley/Netgalley

  

Jazz Bashara is a criminal.

Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.

Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself—and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.

I’d like to preface this review with how much I REALLY wanted to LOVE this book! I’d read so many glowing reviews for The Martian and having missed that spaceship, figured maybe this would be the one to get me wanting to read all things Weir…sadly, this wasn’t the case. This doesn’t mean I won’t be reading The Martian, it actually has me all the more curious to see whether this was just a case of…well let’s just get into it shall we. Artemis is based on a heist that is pulled off by our MC Jazz Bashara, a Saudi Arabian who was born and raised on the Moon city. As soon as I met Jazz, we hit it off! I love me a good sarcastic character who as they say has no hair on her tongue. Jazz is intelligent, resourceful, cunning, and at the very heart a HUSTLER! haha! she is after the $$$ & has pretty much got the business of smuggling in illegal goods on lock. There isn’t anything that enters Artemis without her knowledge. With the exception of drugs, Jazz will get you anything you need for the right price. Jazz mentions a specific dollar amount (astronomical) that she MUST earn in order to something…it’s never quite disclosed to the reader & I kept reading hoping that by the end it would be revealed only it never was. She has some high profile clients on the Moon & one of them recruits her to pull off a big heist. I won’t reveal what that actually entailed since that would be spoilery but I could’ve used more heisty action.

We follow Jazz as she makes her rounds working her legit regular day job which isn’t anything fancy or high paying, as well as her side hustle. It is inferred that Jazz is so intelligent, she could have an amazing career if she only cared to apply herself. We do see Jazz get herself out of some sticky situations using brilliant ingenuity. I really enjoyed meeting some of the supporting characters in this world & then others not so much. Although I began enjoying Jazz & getting used to her self-deprecating humor, I soon became aware of how excessively male characters were pointing out her promiscuity. Jazz rolls with the comments & never denies anything & yet she has no sexual encounters in the book whatsoever which left me a bit confused as to why she’s depicted as being Queen of casual sex. So, I think it’s safe to say that I was a bit dissapointed with the representation of women. I cannot draw comparisons with the well loved Mark Wattney in The Martian, but I also won’t ignore what I do know of that character & how eerily close Jazz resembles him.

Here’s where it gets a awkward…besides the fact that the only other two women in this book were at odds with Jazz, upon meeting one of them, Jazz assumes the woman is Latina due to having a “Latina complexion.” This left me a bit confused as to what that looks like exactly being that I’m a Latina woman with family from Puerto-Rico, Salvador, and Argentina…over the holiday weekend we took a family photo and the range of skin tones ranged from white to olive to black with blue, green, and brown eyes. In another scene, the author breaks the fourth wall to assume we the readers don’t know what a niqab is by stating “Okay, you can stop pretending you know what a niqab is. It’s a traditional Islamic headwear that covers the lower face.” which again left me with a raised brow and a icky feeling. I was prepared to give this book all the love for it’s diversity but by the end saw how left it went with its efforts and assumptions.

One of things that lured me to request Artemis on Netgalley was its setting…who doesn’t want to read a heist that takes place on the Moon?!?! Over joyed to dive right into the world building, I went in confident this book would suck me in. I LOVE world-building & it only comes second to my love for well fleshed out characters. The city of Artemis is 1 of I believe 5 dome-like cities. The book comes with a pretty cool map that gives you a better idea of what it looks like. Since Jazz is very mobile all throughout the book, we get to familiarize ourselves a tad bit better with this world & I really enjoyed seeing some of the other cities. Now, there is mention of Artemis being the property of Kenya but unfortunately that’s as far as we get in terms of info. which I was a bit bummed out over because I wanted more on that connection. On the writing front, I will admit that I struggled with info dumping. The many scenes where we get Jazz walking us through the particulars of welding & the science behind it left me wanting to get back to the main story line in a hurry. I have a love for the subject of science however, the focus on welding took some of the fun away from the fact that we were on the Moon.  The ending left me feeling as if there is potential for more story & I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t still interested in Jazz’s story, which means I guess you can say I’m conflicted…

*Many thanks to Crown Publishing Group, Netgalley, Goodreads (also won a physical copy) and Andy Weir for the eGalley copy of Artemis in exchange for an honest review.


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WWW Wednesday 11/22/17

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On a World of Words and to participate all you have to do is answer the three W’s listed below. Once you’ve posted your WWW, drop a link to your post in Sam’s comments <3’s!

The questions are:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang

I am 75% into BOEC & OBSESSED with the writing style! perfect for this time of year, I’m so glad I picked it up the week before the holidays because whenever I am reading it, I get sucked into the strange & atmospheric world Lang has created. Told in multiple POV’s we follow several characters that have crossed paths with our MC Wylen who is a boy/man wrapped in mystery & magic. Tons of nature, animals, and stars this is one I’ll hold near & dear to my heart. Oh & our MC has a special connection with animals but that’s all I’ll say cuz I’m trying to be mysterious LOL!


Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

This was not on my November TBR but the mood hit for a darker read & I went with it. I am buddy reading this collection of short stories with Melanie over at Meltotheany who is pretty awesome & I highly recommend visiting /following for EPIC reviews, tags, & awesome Bookish posts. Mel suggested we do one story each night starting this week which I’ve never done & found it would be easier to juggle with my other book. Well! I may just read all my short story collections his way! THANKS Mel! the first story The Husband Stitch is still haunting me. Fantastic writing & imagery, this collection blends many genres into its stories about the violence on women’s bodies.

The Closest I’ve Come by Fred Aceves

Earlier this week I finished reading this book & posted my review on Monday (here). I haven’t come across another book to tackle socioeconomic diversity in YA since reading The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas & so I was happy to have been approved for a galley on Edelweiss.  Our MC is well fleshed out & his character growth is the strongest part of this book. There are trigger warnings for Violence, Alcoholism, and Racism. I gave this book 4 stars for all of the hard issues it tackled & handled well, I only wish some of the supporting characters were a bit more fleshed out.


Artemis by Andy Weir

I finished this book this past weekend & sadly it wasn’t the hit I so badly wanted it to be. I rated it 3 stars because I really enjoyed the MC Jazz Bashara to an extent lol. My main issue with this book can be summed up to 2 things: 1) the awkward sexual dialogue that didn’t come off as natural…I love a sarcastic MC Female or Male & sexual jokes don’t really bug me but it was almost overkill. 2) the overly descriptive ramblings on the science of welding -_- I just couldn’t do it bookworms! sometimes pages long before returning to the main story line, I struggled getting through these parts. Also, there is one other thing that did get a deep frown from me but I am saving that for my review. I have a feeling this was missed by many other reviewers but after bouncing it off others, I can safely say that it’s not just me. I’d like to promise my review will go up this Friday but well you know, Holidays & stuff so we shall see 🙂

Ok, so out of the 8 books I posted on my November TBR I have completed 4 & will finish the 5th book tonight. I will be reading Her body and Other Parties along with my next main book which I’ve decided will be…

Haunting the Deep (How to Hang a Witch #2) by Adriana Mather

I’ve been enjoying the darker reads lately & this one I’ve heard delivers on that end. I’m looking forward to returning to Mather’s atmospheric writing & the TITANIC! 🙂


What are you wonderful bookworms currently reading? planning to read next? any good ones? & if you’re reading any of the ones I mentioned, sound off in the comments down below! & to those who celebrate the holiday, Happy Thanksgiving!❤ ❤ ❤


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ARCstravaganza #14

ARCstravaganza is a weekly meme hosted by the wonderful Flavia over @Flavia the Bibliophile where book bloggers/bookstagrammers have a chance to show off their ARCs/eARCs/Galleys!

Hello Readers! This is my 14th week participating in #ARCstravaganza Monday & this week I’ve chosen Daughter of the Siren Queen (Daughter of the Pirate King #2)I’m coming to you lovely readers with a  really late post, i typically blog in the mornings or afternoons but work has been off the charts busy & I barely get a moment to breathe once I step in my cubicle. I did get a notification from the Post Office letting me know this book had been delivered & it legit was all I could think about for the rest of my day smh haha! I am VERY thankful to Ashley over at Socially Awkward Bookworm for offering me her copy when she saw me tweet my search for it, she ROCKS & also happens to take AMAZING photos so check her out <3’s!

Earlier this year I was very happy to have been approved for a galley of Daughter of the Pirate King & wrote a GUSH review (herewhere I also stated how badly I would need the sequel lol. Whelp my bookish wish has been answered & I CANNNNNNOT tell you how excited I am to read DOTSQ!!! I am currently working on my December TBR & there will be some shuffling cuz I need to dive back into this world ASAP! There isn’t much I can really say about this one since it is a sequel & I don’t want to spoil anyone but PLEASE pick up Daughter of the Pirate King if you’re looking for a fun read with a awesome kick a** female MC 🙂

*currently pinching myself…can’t believe it’s here!

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 *Since this is a sequel, I won’t include the Goodreads synopsis for fear of spoilers. 

What are some ARCS/eGalleys you’re excited to have Bookworms? Have you read Daughter of the Pirate King? Alosa really is the female Jack Sparrow! this is such a fun series (might be a duology) if you’re looking for an adventure packed with amazing characters & tons of laughs…oh & let’s not forget the on-the-page-Chemistry! ❤ ❤ ❤


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Review: The Closest I’ve Come by Fred Aceves

Title: The Closest I’ve Come

Author: Fred Aceves

Pub. Date: November 7th, 2017

Genre: YA Contemporary/Realistic Fiction

Trigger warning: Alcoholism, Physical Abuse, Racism

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 320

Format: eGalley/Edelweiss

   

Marcos Rivas wants to find love.
He’s sure as hell not getting it at home, where his mom’s racist boyfriend beats him up. Or from his boys, who aren’t exactly the “hug it out” type. Marcos yearns for love, a working cell phone, and maybe a pair of sneakers that aren’t falling apart. But more than anything, Marcos wants to get out of Maesta, his hood—which seems impossible.
When Marcos is placed in a new after-school program for troubled teens with potential, he meets Zach, a theater geek whose life seems great on the surface, and Amy, a punk girl who doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. These new friendships inspire Marcos to open up to his Maesta crew, too, and along the way, Marcos starts to think more about his future and what he has to fight for. Marcos ultimately learns that bravery isn’t about acting tough and being macho; it’s about being true to yourself.

The Closest I’ve come follows Marcos Rivas’ life course in a rough neighborhood /violent household & the motivation he finds to want to get out. For Marcos, the daily grind is made up of getting up for school & hanging out with his boys after school to avoid having to go home. Life at home isn’t easy & he is met with either his mothers silence and closed doors or her boyfriends fists. Mentally checked-out, Marcos’ mother is a alcoholic who doesn’t really have much of any relationship with him. Marcos himself would love to play the role of over protective son however, the truth is that internally, more than anything he wishes she would show any signs of caring for him. Life outside his home isn’t exactly the best either but in his community he has developed friendships that have become a safe place to turn to. Academics have never really been Marcos’ main focus & with no one in his corner rooting and or encouraging him to apply himself, he hasn’t given much thought to life after High School. He believes that Maesta is the end all be all for him and many other teens like him. We come across teachers who provide Marcos with the confidence he needs & who most of all, believe in him.

At times, The Closest I’ve Come was difficult to read because of the violence Marcos experiences at the hands of his mothers boyfriend. It seemed like all the odds are set against this kid & with nothing really inspiring him & his own home being so volatile, I wondered when he would catch a break. With little to no money whatsoever, we see our MC try to earn cash the right way by cleaning parking lots but we also see one of his friends who is a straight A student go about it illegally by delivering drugs. Having myself lived in for many years what was considered a “ghetto” neighborhood, the reality is that too many bright futures are dimmed before they even get a chance to begin. There were so many tough themes in this book paired with positive reinforcement from Marcos’ educators that I found myself rooting him on in realizing that he is valued.

We see a tremendous amount of character growth take place within our MC Marcos which is perhaps the strongest aspect of The Closest I’ve Come. Aceves wrote Marcos’ character in first Person POV which allows the reader to really get into his thought process. From the way he views his barely existent relationship with his mother to how he handles rejection, Marcos isn’t a confidant cocky teenage boy. His physical appearance is something he is always hyper aware of because he lacks funds to buy clothes or pay for grooming. Something as simple as a haircut could boost his confidence briefly & a lot of the time he didn’t get the end result he was seeking but the effort was there. I LOVED this character & how humble he is the core, he definitely had me in his corner the whole way through. We meet some of his friends from around his neighborhood, mostly through visits to the courtyard to shoot hoops. There’s a sense of loyalty from these guys that I’ve seen for myself in neighborhoods where most don’t have it to make ends meet. I enjoyed one particular scene where one of the guys sets up shop on his stoop to cut hair for a couple of dollars, very much like a brotherhood. Although we meet many of Marcos’ acquaintances, they aren’t as fleshed out as our MC but nonetheless they serve their purpose in giving the reader a picture of what Marcos has in his life. The friends he has don’t really know how bad his home life is but I was glad to see them rise to the occasion when he really needed them.

Told in first person POV, The Closest I’ve Come is raw & uncensored giving Marcos’ voice & narrative life. Own Voices Latinx author Fred Aceves was raised in a poor working class neighborhood just like the one he brings to life in this book. From the dialogue between Marcos and his friends in the streets to his stream of consciousness on life after High School, our MC is raw & uncut just like the world he lives in. Many who come from similar backgrounds will find this book to be very relatable. To those who don’t, The Closest I’ve Come is a insiders look to a reality that exists in our real world. Not only do we get POC representation but we also see socioeconomic diversity when Marco meets & befriends a HS student from a wealthy background. The challenges Marco has in his life are going to resonate with others & that is one of the biggest reasons I am happy to see this narrative hit the shelves.

*HUGE thanks to HarperTeen, Edelweiss, and Fred Aceves for the eGalley copy of The Closest I’ve Come in exchange for an honest review.

Happy Monday Bookworms! hope you all had a wonderful weekend & managed to squeeze in some good books. With so many diverse reads coming our way, which ones are you looking forward to? any Own Voices on your 2018 TBR?


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Review: Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Title: Renegades (Renegades #1)

Author: Marissa Meyer

Pub. Date: November 7th, 2017

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends/Fierce Reads

Pages: 576

Format: Physical ARC

Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

    

Are you a Renegade or a Anarchist? is it really as simple as choosing a side? and is it really good vs. evil? The city of Gatlon has been divided by those who admire the Renegades & those who detest them. Our MC Nova aka Nightmare is a Prodigy, someone born with superhuman abilities. Nova at a very young age was raised by her parents to trust in the Renegades to save the day however, too soon she learned this was not the case for her. When tragedy struck Nova at the age of 6, everything she believed in crumbled & the seed of resentment towards the Renegades began to grow deep within. Vowing vengeance, Nova takes to life underground with other Anarchists intent on the destruction of the Renegades. The overall consensus is that Renegades aren’t out on the streets saving lives, they are glorified super stars that the people have come to idolize through parades and intense media coverage. The Renegades themselves believe everything they do is in the best interest of society. However, not just anyone can become a Renegade, Prodigies interested in joining must go through what is known as the Renegade Trials. Based on your super human ability, Renegade teams can choose you to join their squad very much like the American tv show The Voice haha!

We follow Nova as she sets out to get back at those she believes have failed her and the city she lives in. I enjoyed seeing how Nova went about positioning herself to enact her plan however, I do believe plot pacing took a hit. Renegades is generous on the page count & although I LOVED every single one of the characters, there were some moments of no real activity. That being said, my enjoyment wasn’t too impacted & towards the end there are certain elements introduced that serve sort of as a jet-pack concluding with a strong and unsuspecting finish.

Although the story does focus mostly on Nova, we meet a slew of characters both Renegades and Anarchists alike. The finished copy actually has a small glossary in the front of the book. Nova was pretty much raised in a underground subway tunnel surrounded by a handful of other Anarchists. It’s made clear that the Anarchists ranks have taken a severe hit and not many are left. Nova spends her time with her adopted family of Anarchists Queen Bee (has a special connection to bees), Cyanide (King of poisons & natural gasses), Phobia (will draw the fear right out of you), The Detonator (BOOM!), and The Puppeteer (creepy as hell lol) who are all Prodigies with innnnneresting abilities. I REALLY liked all of the Anarchists which speaks to how well Meyer blurs the lines between who is good and who is evil.

The Renegades are more of a corporation expanding world wide with many arriving in Gatlon city to train. We meet Adrian Everheart at the start of the story while he is experimenting with his abilities (vague for fear of spoilers). Adrian is the adopted son of Captain Chromium & Dread Warden who are both leading political figures and part of the Council which governs over the Renegades in protecting Gatlon. I appreciated the LGBTQ representation with Adrian’s dads who although they are side characters, are still very important people in leading roles in fictional Gatlon city & that’s pretty damn awesome!  Adrian is team leader of his squad & we are introduced to Red Assassin (Gem & Rubies manipulator), Monarch (special connection with butterflies), and Smokescreen (smoke manipulator who is also disabled). However, Adrian is the character we spend most our time with & I ended up loving him to pieces. Although we get some moderate page time with Adrian’s squad, I do wish they were as fleshed out as the Anarchists were.

Any time I can get my hands on a Marissa Meyer story, I will! One of my all time favorite YA authors, I cannot resist her writing and the worlds she creates full of complex & morally gray characters. By the time you reach the end of Renegades, it will be hard for you to choose a side. Although the Renegades mean well, are they really helping or hurting the people of Gatlon city? & although the Anarchists claim to want independence for the people of Gatlon city, is full fledged freedom with no government really the answer? I myself haven’t chosen a side yet & love that about this story. Start to finish I enjoyed my time with these characters & found myself at times rooting for both sides lol. The plot could’ve been paced a bit better & I would like to see the other characters fleshed out a bit more, particularly on the Renegade side. Other than that, I CANNOT WAIT for the sequel!!! anyone who has already devoured this knows that with that ending, the suffering will be long & hard haha! MARISSA HAS DONE IT AGAIN!!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

*Special thanks to Fierce Reads for providing ARCS of Renegades in exchange for an honest review

*Images not my own, gathered from Marissa Meyer’s Pinterest Board. She has loooooads of pics but these called out to me most 🙂

Hello bookworms! many of you are either in the middle of or finishing up Renegades…isn’t it sooo good?!?! I finished it in the tub & tweeted my reaction to the finale while trying my hardest not to drop the book smh LOL! more importantly, are you a Anarchist or a Renegade? 😉


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Review: You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins

Title: You Bring the Distant Near

Author: Mitali Perkins

Pub. Date: October 31st, 2017

Genre: YA Contemporary, #Ownvoices

Publisher:  Macmillan Children’s Publishing

Pages: 320

Format: eGalley/Netgalley

    

Five girls. Three generations. One great American love story. You Bring the Distant Near explores sisterhood, first loves, friendship, and the inheritance of culture–for better or worse. Ranee, worried that her children are losing their Indian culture; Sonia, wrapped up in a forbidden biracial love affair; Tara, seeking the limelight to hide her true self; Shanti, desperately trying to make peace in the family; Anna, fighting to preserve Bengal tigers and her Bengali identity–award-winning author Mitali Perkins weaves together a sweeping story of five women at once intimately relatable and yet entirely new.

You Bring the Distant Near truly felt like a gift I was unwrapping Christmas morning. It’s not often that we get stories based on Indian culture yet here we have a multi-generational book spanning the lives of 5 women in the Das family. We first meet Ranee & Rajeev Das, the parents of Tara & Sonia Das as they move from Bangladesh to London & finally Queens, New York. Rajeev Das is a hard worker & provider for his family, his wife Ranee wants them to own a beautiful home in a safe neighborhood. The Das family has very humble beginnings in a apartment in Queens that is located in a predominantly black neighborhood. We see Ranee struggle with her own prejudices & how her fear leads her to restrict Tara & Sonia. We also get an inside look on her marriage & the disconnect that often leads to arguments in the Das home. Underneath it all however, is a whole lot of love. This book truly has it all! the immigrant experience, marital woes, intersectional issues, colorism, feminism, Islamophobia, complex characters and so much more. I couldn’t put this book down other than to shed some tears every now & again. Seeing three generations of women try to retain some of their culture while also trying to fit in to their new lives was rewarding for me as a reader. Having had some of my own family immigrate from Salvador to the United States, I knew assimilating would be difficult but never really thought about how difficult it must be to try & retain some of their own culture. I found myself rooting for these characters to win their battles & stand up for what they believe is right. This isn’t by any means a fast paced book, it is however a heart warming read that gives you a inside look to a culture & people not often seen in YA books.

The author kindly included a family tree at the very beginning of the book but I found I didn’t really need it since the characters were very well fleshed out. 5 women’s stories spanning over 3 generations, all so very different from each other but the one thing they have in common is their wish to hold onto some if not all of their roots. I LOVED all of these characters, they’re the type to stick with you way after you’ve read the last page.

Rajeev & Ranee Das- mother & father to Tara & Sonia are struggling to meet eye to eye when it comes to settling down on a place to live. Rajeev is sweet & the definition of a proud & doting father. He has a ton of love for his daughters & I found myself crying the most whenever he interacted with Tara & Sonia because this is the closest a character has come to resembling my own father & how he cared for my sister & I. Rajeev is incredibly supportive of his daughters & encourages them to follow their dreams. Our matriarch Ranee Das on the other hand is the law in her home & perhaps has the most character growth in this book. She has a ton of prejudices to sort through & we get to see her struggle with her marriage, daughters, grand daughters and her own internal struggle to both let go & hold on to some cultural beliefs. I loved seeing how realistic this marriage was portrayed & the underlying love that shines through.

Tara & Sonia Das- Since the majority of this book is told in alternating POV’s between these two sisters, I felt that I really got to know them. Tara aka Star is in love with acting, drama, entertaining, and fashion. She loves studying different icons on tv & imitating their style. This is something she sees as a useful tool whenever she has moved to a new country & started a new school. Tara is also the sister everyone considers the beauty who is sure to find a suitable husband. Sonia aka Sunny is a reader & writer, she loves retreating into her own world where she can journal & read non-fiction. The move to NYC places her on course to becoming a feminist & activist. I enjoyed seeing the contrast between Sunny, Star, and Ranee. Sunny is very vocal in squashing any prejudices coming from her mother which is why they clash the most. Sunny is also of darker complexion & we see the affects of colorism both in her home & with other Indian neighbors.

Chantal & Anna-  the daughters of Sunny & Star, the latter part of YBTDN is told in alternating POV chapters with these cousins. We still get to see their parents but the focus shifts to their high school lives. Chantal is Sunny’s daughter & she is trying to find peace between her two grandmothers. Chantal is bi-racial & we get to see the very realistic familial battles that take place when two very different cultures come together through marriage. Anna is Star’s daughter & she for the most part has been raised in Mumbai. Her parents do travel with her to & from NYC to Mumbai but she has no interest in American life. We see her get uprooted & the difficulties she faces when trying to hold on to her roots.

Grandma Rose- doesn’t come into the picture til’ we meet Chantal later in the book but I seriously LOVED seeing her duke it out with Ranee for title of best grandma. Grandma Rose is black & is very involved in Chantal’s life. I loved seeing her pride & confidence in Chantal, she really is her #1 fan. Some of my favorite scenes were those between Rose & Ranee, these two had me smiling & shaking my head.

Rich in culture & family dynamics, You Bring the Distant Near is easily a top contender for my top 10 favorite books of this year. For any bookworms looking for #ownvoices reads, I highly recommend picking this book up. In just 320 pages we get wonderful character development & a ton of tough topics thrown in the mix making this one hell of a journey. I felt a range of emotions seeing this family try to set down new roots in a strange land while also learning to adapt when life throws you a curve-ball. I also found myself wanting more story once I finished reading & perhaps that’s due to how well it was structured. The alternating POV chapters between Sunny & Star and later their daughters Chantal & Anna really allow you to form attachments. This bookworm would love to see more of the Das family & their growing pains. I am so happy to have read YBTDN & wish only to see more from this author in the very near future *fingers crossed*

*HUGE thanks to Macmillan Children’s Publishing, Netgalley, and Mitali Perkins for the eGalley copy of You Bring the Distant Near in exchange for an honest review.

Happy Monday Bookworms! hope you all had a wonderful weekend & managed to squeeze in some good books. You Bring the Distant Near is hands down a highlight in my October reading. Have any of you lovely bookworms had the chance to read YBTDN? or plan on adding it to your TBR? Sound off in the comments down below 😉


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Review: Berserker by Emmy Laybourne

Title: Berserker (Berserker #1) 

Author: Emmy Laybourne

Pub. Date: October 10th, 2017

Genre: YA Fantasy/Historical Fiction

Publisher:  Feiwel & Friends

Pages: 352

Formats: eGalley/Netgalley & physical arc won from a Goodreads Giveaway

Rating: 3.75 Stars

Are Hanne’s powers a gift from the old Norse gods, or a curse?

Her brother Stieg swears their powers are a gift from the old gods, but Hanne Hemstad knows she is truly cursed. It’s not Stieg’s fault that their father is dead, their mother has left, and their brother Knut has been accused of a crime he didn’t commit.

No, the fault lies with Hanne and her inability to control her murderous “gift”–she is a Berserker. When someone she loves is threatened, she flies into a killing state. The siblings must leave Norway for the American frontier or risk being brought to justice.

Aided by a young cowboy who agrees to be their guide, Hanne and her siblings use their powers to survive the perilous trail, where blizzards, wild animals, and vicious bounty hunters await.

Will they be able to reach their uncle, the one man Hanne believes may be able to teach her how to control her drive to kill? With Berserker, Emmy Laybourne, the author of Monument 14, presents her vision of an American west studded with Viking glory.

Berserker wasn’t at all what I was expecting & for a minute there I wondered aloud what exactly I was reading? the answer took me by surprise & intrigued the hell out of me enough for this frightful bookworm to read through the bloody scenes. I can only describe Berserker as Norse Mythology meets the American Frontier with hints of the classic novel Of Mice and Men & guess what bookworms?!?! IT WORKS!!! part of the reason I think that it did is because Laybourne has created her own lore in this world instead of using everything we know about Norse Mythology. The opening scene really sets the tone for this short read, bloody and raw. Our MC Hanne & her siblings (with the exception of the youngest) all have been gifted/cursed with special abilities from the Viking Gods. It is believed that the Viking God Odin gifted three of his favorite Kings with special abilities known as The Nytte. This gift/curse doesn’t come without its consequences, there is a big price to pay as a result of using their ability. The odds of inheriting The Nytte are greater if both parents are descended from these kings & such is the case for our MC & her siblings. They don’t know the names of each ability or even if they quite believe in the origin of these abilities but they’ve learned to use them to make a living. Hanne is a Berserker which is the only gift that is focused on taking life whenever someone she loves in danger. While in Norway, her father has her using her “gift” to slaughter pigs for local farmers (detailed in the book) because her technique leads to better quality meat. A incident on the farm triggers Hanne’s Berserker abilities ending in tragedy & the need to go on the run. While on the run they manage to catch the interest of a man who has made it his mission to find Nyttes daughters & sons with a keen interest in their abilities. Although this mans intentions are not readily made known, Hanne doesn’t trust him & will keep her siblings running to put as much distance as possible between the law & this stranger.

*In order not to spoil anything, i won’t be including each characters Norse gift/curse…besides it’s more fun finding out for yourself along the way 😉

Hanne- The MC aka the Berserker & sort of the matriarch of the family. She loves her family fiercely & her abilities have sharpened her senses to the point where if any danger is even headed their way she is ON IT! Hanne doesn’t see The Nytte as a gift but rather a curse she can’t control & when it strikes it leaves her mortified at the end results. When I picture Hanne there is only one Goddess that comes to mind…Lagertha!

Stieg- not sure if he’s the oldest or second oldest to Hanne but either way he is more of the patriarch of this family. Stieg is a intellectual with a passion for knowledge & conversation. He knows more than one language & will never pass up the opportunity to teach. Stieg also has a ability that he uses sparingly whenever in dire straights. What I liked about Stieg is that he wasn’t made out to be the stereotypical bookworm, he’s just as much down to have fun as he is to hit the books. Also, his ability is pretty bad a** 😉

Knut- Knut reminded me most of Lennie from Of Mice and Men which meant that I was already on Over protective mode upon meeting him. Tender hearted standing at 6’2, Knut also carries The Nytte & it is tied to his physical strength. There’s no way you won’t love him when you meet him 🙂

Sissel- my least favorite of the siblings, she is the youngest and most spoiled. Sissel is all about comfort and finding a good match for marriage, in other words being taken care of. Sissel is described as frail in physical appearance & very likely to have had The Nytte skipped her. This being book 1 in the series, I can’t help but wonder if Laybourne has special plans with this sibling…

Owen- The cowboy the siblings pay to safely guide them to a uncle who could possibly help Hanne control her Berserker abilities. He is actually one of my favorite characters in this book, its just him and his dog Daisy until he meets the siblings. Owen loves Daisy to pieces & has trained her to help herd cattle with dreams of one day training pups on a farm to do the same. He minds his business & lives a simple life until chaos is introduced and he has a decision to make…

I managed to fly through my reading of Berseker because of my general interest in Norse Mythology & the ease with which Laybourne used the well known mythos as a jumping board. This is a VERY bloody read & had some cringe worthy passages that surprisingly engrossed me. Why the 3.75 rating? well for starters, this is still a good rating in my book & translates into a 4 star rating on Goodreads. The siblings were for the most part traveling in this book trying to reach their uncle to help Hanne & I enjoyed that adventure very much. However, my only complaint is how neatly the ending was presented compared to how bloody, chaotic, and raw Berserker was for the most part. Berserker could also easily be viewed as a stand-alone which really left me thinking where the series would take Hanne and her siblings. I’m still curious & have every intention on continuing on to read the next book. It may very well be that in the sequel the siblings find a way to reverse or at least stop the consequences of their abilities…So, I do have questions bookworms which means I’ll be returning to this world when the next book is released 😉

HUGE thanks to Feiwell & Friends, Netgalley, Goodreads, and Emmy Laybourne for the ARC copy of Berserker.

Hello Bookworms! Happy FriYAY! have any of you read Berserker? has it made its way onto your radar? If you’re a fan of Norse Mythology, Berserker will probably intrigue you & Laybourne will surprise you with her twist on Viking lore. It’s a bloody gripping read! 😉


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Gush Review: Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad #1) by Scott Reintgen

Title: Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad #1)

Author: Scott Reintgen

Pub. Date: September 12th, 2017

Genre: YA Science Fiction

Publisher:  Crown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 384

Formats: eGalley

    

Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.

Forever.

Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden—a planet that Babel has kept hidden—where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.

But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.

Fast paced non-stop action from the minute you start the EPIC ride that is Nyxia! This is one will leave you with a bad case of “just one more chapter & then I’ll stop”

We get introduced to this diverse set of characters who have all basically signed on the dotted line & joined Babel as recruits. The Mission: to board the ship departing Earth & headed for Eden aka a newly discovered habitable planet with alien life. In Eden the recruits will mine a substance called Nyxia. This substance has been heavily researched & found to be invaluable. The major corporation Babel has recruits from all parts of the world on the ship headed for Eden after having them sign contracts promising huge pay-outs for their families back on Earth as well as themselves upon their return to Earth. For these specific recruits the money is worth leaving all they love behind, they are all poor & many have terminally ill parents. Our MC Emmett Atwater has signed but his gut feeling is telling him that something just isn’t right & that there’s more than meets the eye with Babel. Alliances & enemies will be made once the specifics are laid out & what once appeared to be a lucrative deal turns into survival of the fittest.

“We’re poor,” Roathy says without a trace of shame. “They picked us because we’re poor. We can be kings and queens, sure, but only if we bow first”

Nyxia’s cast of characters come from all over the world & the author Scott Reintgen came up with an ingenious way to overcome the language barrier. Each of the recruits are given high tech suits & small quantities of Nyxia that can be molded into literally just about anything. Inclusively, they’ve given them mouth pieces which function as translators. This being science fiction, I was very happy to see all of the different equipment & functions that facilitated communication between these characters. Our MC Emmett Atwater is a young black male from Chicago who considers himself a Southpaw. Emmett is very guarded, intelligent, and has his eye on the prize. With two very loving parents at home, one of which has Cancer, Emmett is driven by their need for better medical coverage. I have read a TON of YA books across many sub-genres but it wasn’t until I picked up Nyxia & discovered Emmett that I could say I had a favorite male MC. I can list teh reasons I love him but the truth is that parts of the fun is seeing him discover parts of himself he never knew he had in him 😉

In total there are 10 recruits to board the light ship & although I enjoyed them all so much there are a couple of stand outs.

Kaya ends up being sort of roomates with Emmett & if there’s one thing that will instantly make me fall for a character is finding out they are a fellow bookworm.When she pulled out a copy of my favorite childhood book I gasped haha! Kaya is Japanese and through the translating mouth piece is able to talk to Emmett with no barrier. Their scenes reading together were some of my FAVORITE! Kaya is also a strategist & Emmett’s first alliance, LOVE this character! Then there’s Bilal who comes from a small village in Palestine where he & his family are very poor. Bilal is always smiling & an overall positive presence, he is the type of person we could use more of in real life. Bilal befriended Emmett through perseverance, never taking Emmett’s stand offish attitude as a deterrent. Azima is from Kenya & emanates strength, beauty, and intelligence she is silent when we meet her but soon realize she is a force to be reckoned with. Jasmine aka Jazzy is from Texas & she carries with her that southern charm. It be best not to sleep on Jazzy though now that she’s far from the world of beauty pageants & focused on the same goal as the rest of the recruits (to remain vague cuz spoilers). Katsu…many might not like his boisterous personality but I found him funny at times, he is also Japanese & enjoys making others laugh through random outbursts & jokes.

Last but not least Emmett’s father who imparts such valuable pieces of wisdom to his son, stole my heart from the moment I met him. His confidence in Emmett to do the right thing & the history he keeps alive to strengthen his son brought me to tears a few times. Many of my highlighted passages in my galley were of conversations between Emmett & his dad. These characters are all amazing but they are also very flawed & hurting inside, but they were also very relatable & I am so glad to have met them even if it was within the pages of this book.

So of course after I finished reading Nyxia & finding myself in a EPIC book hangover, I did what I always do hehe. I went looking for the authors note & bio to meet the person behind the book. Scott Reintgen is a teacher of English & creative writing and when he set out to create the characters in Nyxia, he aimed to give his students characters they can relate to & see themselves in. Scott also had some of his students beta read for him which I found to be brilliant! In his author bio is written “The hardest lesson he learned was that inspiration isn’t equally accessible for everyone. So he set out to write a novel for the front-row sleepers and back-row dreamers of his classrooms”…I’d say he accomplished what he set out to do, this AMAZING diverse set of characters are relatable. Combined with the fast paced non-stop adrenaline inducing plot, Nyxia is hands-down my favorite YA Sci-Fi book of 2017! ❤ ❤ ❤

*HUGE Thanks to Crown Books for Young Readers, Netgalley, and Scott Reintgen for the eGalley copy of Nyxia in exchange for an honest review.

Hello Bookworms! I was so excited to write this review since I couldn’t stop raving about it & Twitter/Goodreads wasn’t enough to spread the word hehe. Have any of you read Nyxia? or possibly plan to? what are some of your favorite YA Sci-Fi books? Sound off in the comments <3’s!