Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch | ARC Review


Stats:

Title: Ice Like Fire (Book #2)
Author: Sara Raasch
Publisher: Balzar + Bray, 2015
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy
Page Count: 479
Where to Purchase: Amazon, The Book Depository, Barnes and Noble

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Entwined by Heather Dixon | Review

Stats:

Title: Entwined
Author: Heather Dixon
Publisher: Greenwillow Books, 2011
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy of Manners
Page Count: 472
My Rating: 3 stars
Where to Purchase: Amazon, The Book Depository, Barnes and Noble

Synopsis (from goodreads):

Just when Azalea should feel that everything is before her—beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing—it’s taken away. All of it. And Azalea is trapped. The Keeper understands. He’s trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. So he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest, but there is a cost. The Keeper likes to keep things. Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

my thoughts:

This book had been sitting on my shelf for years, so I decided to listen to it on audiobook since I couldn’t motivate myself to pick up the physical copy.

As far as the audiobook, I felt that the narrator was perfect for this book. She managed to create different voices for each of the sisters so I could kind of keep track of their ages, which was helpful as we have a lot of sisters to keep track of. Even with the engaging narrator, I still struggled to connect to this book. I felt that it was too long, and dragged on. The first half of the book was especially slow, and left me thinking “so what?” The characters were especially irritating and immature in the first half. Seriously, all they cared about was dancing. I have noticed that Dixon tends to write YA that leans younger (as she did with Illusionarium), and that was true for this book as well.

I felt that the last part of the book picked up some. We finally got to see the big conflict of the book happen, which had been building up all through the first half. We also got to see some maturity from our characters, and more of a focus on the familial relationships, which I enjoyed.

Overall, I’m glad I listened to this on audiobook, because I do not think I ever would have devoted the time to the physical copy. While I ended up enjoying some elements, I thought the book was overall too long, and I wasn’t very attached to the story or characters.

Do you have any fantasy of manners that you enjoy?

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Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman | ARC Review + Giveaway

vengeanceroadStats:

Title: Vengeance Road
Author: Erin Bowman
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015
Genre: Young Adult – Historical Fiction/Western
Page Count: 336
My Rating: 4 stars
Where to Purchase: Amazon, The Book Depository, Barnes and Noble

* I received an ARC of this book at BEA, and was also mailed a second ARC from the publisher for review. All opinions are my own.

synopsis (from goodreads):

When Kate Thompson’s father is killed by the notorious Rose Riders for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. What she finds are devious strangers, dust storms, and a pair of brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, she gets closer to the truth about herself and must decide if there’s room for love in a heart so full of hate.

In the spirit of True Grit, the cutthroat days of the Wild West come to life for a new generation.

my thoughts:

This book was exactly what I wanted in a Western. As a fan of the genre, I was craving exactly what I got with this book. A lot of the speech is written phonetically, which really helps to world build. The beautiful map doesn’t hurt either.

I enjoyed our main character. She has a lot of snark and is both stubborn and reckless; exactly what you want in this kind of story. I was also pleasantly surprised by the fact that there was not a love triangle in this book. The synopsis made me think that it might go that way, but thankfully, it did not and the book was better off for it. Being a standalone, there was no time for that kind of plot.

Overall, there were some elements of the story that were predictable and fit into many of the Western tropes, but I found that more comforting and nostalgic than annoying. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a solid Western that doesn’t want to sit through multiple books to have the story wrapped up.

giveaway:

I am giving away an ARC of Vengeance Road. This giveaway is US only, and will run through September 7, 2015. Winner will be contacted via email and will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Update #2 | ARC August

This is my second update, as I skipped last week’s update. That week I was working on two books, one as a buddy read, as well as being incredibly busy with my parents visiting for the week. So I didn’t end up finishing any ARCs that week. But I tried to make up for all of that this week.

Book 3: Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

17564519I absolutely adored Rae’s Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, and this did not disappoint either. As a first book in the series, this was incredibly strong, and set up a lot for the future of the series. All of the characters are complex and real. There are a lot of different themes explored such as friendship, family, feminism, and gender roles. Rae’s first series was full of strong, and diverse characters, and this one is setting up to be as well. I will be doing a full video review on my channel closer to release date.

book 4: fans of the impossible life by Kate Scelsa

24039396This was a very highly anticipated LGBTQ+ read of mine that was described as being a bi-sexual love triangle. I highly enjoyed the first half of the book. I enjoyed the characters, and it was full of diversity, both in terms of sexualities and race. The writing style is also unique, as it is told in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person, depending on which character you are reading from. But ultimately, I did end up having some problems with this one. Mental health is a strong theme in this book and I do not feel it was handled appropriately in many cases. I also do not think this was marketed properly, as no characters use the term bisexual in the story. Additionally, there are also some issues of consent as well as drug use that are not addressed and that I found problematic. I have a full review with my thoughts coming closer to release.

book 5: cut both ways by Carrie mesrobian

23718736This was another LGBTQ+ read and I ended up picking this one up directly after Fans of the Impossible Life, as this was also supposed to be a bisexual love triangle. Again, I was disappointed. I do not understand the point of this book. It had no plot or conflict resolution. The characters do not develop, and the main character, who is an asshole, is the same at the end as he was in the beginning. He has virtually no consequences for his actions. Additionally, for a book that is supposed to be about bisexuality, the character never once says he is bisexual. There are also some issues with consent in this one as well. I found the main character to be both bi-phobic and misogynistic. The depiction of bisexuality in this book is particularly problematic, as the main character frequently says “I want both” when referring to his girlfriend as well as his gay best friend that he is hooking up with. The bisexual community has been fighting to get people to see that not all bisexuals are in fact non-monogamous. Polyamorous and bisexual are two different classifications. But the author was playing them off as one in the same. There are so many more things to discuss and problems I had with this story, but I will leave it at that for now. A full review will be out closer to release date.

upcoming:

I am currently reading Six of Crows (finally!). After Six of Crows, I am torn about what to pick up next. I’m torn between What We Left Behind by Robin Talley (which I’m praying does not disappoint!) or A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston.

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Madly by Amy Alward | Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday bannerWaiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine in which we discuss our most anticipated upcoming releases.

madlyStats:

Title: Madly
Author: Amy Alward
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Young Adult- Fantasy
Release Date: September 29, 2015

synopsis (From goodreads)

When the Princess of Nova accidentally poisons herself with a love potion meant for her crush, she falls crown-over-heels in love with her own reflection. Oops. A nationwide hunt is called to find the cure, with competitors traveling the world for the rarest ingredients, deep in magical forests and frozen tundras, facing death at every turn.

Enter Samantha Kemi – an ordinary girl with an extraordinary talent. Sam’s family were once the most respected alchemists in the kingdom, but they’ve fallen on hard times, and winning the hunt would save their reputation. But can Sam really compete with the dazzling powers of the ZoroAster megapharma company? Just how close is Sam willing to get to Zain Aster, her dashing former classmate and enemy, in the meantime?

And just to add to the pressure, this quest is ALL OVER social media. And the world news.

No big deal, then.

my thoughts

I’m so intrigued by this premise. At first it sounds like a medieval fantasy setting, and then it mentions social media and the world news?! What? It sounds like this could be a really fun and original story.