[ARC REVIEW] Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer

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REVIEW: Death Wish by Megan Tayte

24873066Title: Death Wish
Author: Megan Tayte
Series: (Ceruleans #1)
Pub. Date: February 7th, 2015
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Romance
Formet: Ebook
Source: A Giveaway from a while back.

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IN SEARCH OF THE MEANING OF DEATH, SHE’LL FIND THE MEANING OF LIFE.

The Ceruleans: mere mortals infused with power over life and death. Five books; one question: If the might of the heavens were in your hands, would you be sinner or saint?

Seventeen-year-old Scarlett Blake is haunted by death. Her estranged sister has made the ultimate dramatic exit. Running away from school, joining a surfing fraternity, partying hard: that sounds like Sienna. But suicide? It makes no sense.

Following in her sister’s footsteps, Scarlett comes to an isolated English cove with grand plans to uncover the truth. Alone. But she hasn’t reckoned on meeting two boys who are determined to help her. Luke: the blue-eyed surfer who’ll see the real Scarlett, who’ll challenge her, who’ll save her. And Jude: the elusive drifter with a knack for turning up whenever Scarlett’s in need.

As Scarlett’s quest for the truth unravels, so too does her grip on reality as she’s always known it. Because there’s something strange going on in this little cove. A dead magpie circles the skies. A dead deer watches from the undergrowth. Hands glow with light. Warmth. Power.

What transpires is a summer of discovery. Of what it means to conquer fear. To fall in love. To choose life. To choose death.

To believe the impossible.

Rating: 4/5 Stars
★★★★✰

      Death Wish is an intriguing young adult book infused with secrecy, romance, and a dash of mystery that keeps the pages turning. In it, we follow Scarlett as she goes off on her own for the summer to try and understand the actions that her sister took. Along the way, she finds love, friendship, and most importantly, herself.

This book has beautiful, lyrical writing that you just can’t help but get lost in. There are multiple places within the novel where you will be sucked in by the flow of well crafted words and poetic musings, where you just can’t get enough. I was left wanting more of that lyrical flow, more of that deep musing and poetic wording. Those parts of the novel are my favourite. The author did a wonderful job with each scene, those especially. I felt a deep connection, like she knew just what to write to hit me where it would leave an impression.

“I would once again sit astride a surfboard on surging, rollicking, crashing waves. Not by choice -I was deeply frighted of the sea; always had been- but out of heart-crushing need. To answer the question that had echoed in every beat of my heart for the past two months-“ (3%).

The bonds Scarlett formed are absolutely lovely. You won’t be able to hat Cara. You’ll have no problem adoring her because she’s outgoing, generous, fun, optimistic, and even with her legs the way they are she’s a ray of sunshine no one can look away from. She’s hope, and she’s the thread that brings Scarlett back, that lets Scarlett find herself. Luke is a character you’re going to want to love because he’s caring, passionate, understanding, strong, and he lets Scarlett see her strengths instead of her flaws and how she isn’t her sister. Bert is a lovely old man who you will like very much despite not getting to know him well because he’s more of the comic relief, though I’m sure he made Scarlett value life just a bit more.

The romance is not instant (you don’t know how happy I am about this)! There wasn’t much build-up to it, it was more of a-month-went-by-and-my-feelings-bloomed-past-friendship thing, but even so I enjoyed it. I wanted them together. They made each other better. Reading about them as their relationship progressed was enjoyable, and after the way this book ended, I can’t wait to see how much farther they get.

The mystery. This whole story is about finding out why Scarlett’s sister killed herself. It’s a search for answers, figuring out the truth through all the lies and vague emails. It is intriguing, infused with this mystery of why why why. Unfortunately, with all the promise it had, it fell a little flat. Scarlett never really found out anything. She found out why -through a doctor and not even thinking about if it’s the real, true reason-, but not all the details, and she just let it go. It’s a bit predictable as well, though that isn’t always a bad thing.

“For the first time since that day I had been summoned to the headteacher’s office, I understood. The relief was overwhelming. The weight that had been pressing in on me for all these months, haunting me, was gone,” (53%)

The paranormal/magic intrigue in the synopsis? It’s underdeveloped, raw, and it makes a very late appearance. We get little hints of it, ones that I love because they seriously made Scarlett question herself among other things, but it’s never really explained or acknowledged until near the very end. It means that the next book holds a lot of promise for this paranormal aspect, but that this first book lacked just a bit to get it ready.

Overall, Death Wish is a wonderfully written book that kept me eagerly turning pages until the end.

REVIEW: A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston

*I received a free uncorrected digital version of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. (I’m aware I’m very late in getting to it)

21524446Title: A Thousand Nights
Author: E.K. Johnston
Published: October 6, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Retelling
Format: Ebook
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Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next.

And so she is taken in her sister’s place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin’s court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time. But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her and listens to the stories she tells, and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the palace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong.

Far away, in their village, her sister is mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air.

Back at the palace, the words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to the rule of a monster.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

      A Thousand Nights is a beautiful story about a young unnamed female character who could not bare to lose her sister to the king who had killed 300 brides already, so she purposely made herself into a vision of beauty so she’d be taken instead. The entire tale is full of bravery, cleverness, and a strength that really brought the whole story together to make it feel as real as it possibly could. It’s infused with magic and love and darkness, though in the end, it all comes together.

The prose was elegant, and incredibly well done. The world-building was on point, too and very real (I assume, since I have never lived in a desert before). The desert tribes, their lives, were brilliantly written. I almost wanted to find one and join in! They work hard, they have tough lives, but they never complain and they are so strong. They sing and dance and have such lovely traditions, and they are incredibly wise from all that they have lived through. If our unnamed bride had not come from her home in the desert, I doubt she would have fared so well against the king. In fact, she probably would’ve died, but since her family had prayed for her since she took her sister’s place, she grew a strange power.

The King has a power too, though. It kills, and it destroys. He claimed at one point that they were the same, but she does not destroy or kill, she fixes things and tries to help to the best of her ability. At first I wasn’t sure what to make of her, but it became very clear early on that she is loyal, strong, brave, and clever. She was not bitter or angry with her life, even if her sister had a shadow she was supposed to live in.

      “I am not you,” I said to her. I was not bitter. She had never made me feel the lesser, and she had only scorn for those who did.

She couldn’t, for the life of her, allow Lo-Melkhiin to take her sister away when everyone loved her so dearly. She wanted to protect her sister, and her love for her was so fierce that she made sure she would be the one taken.

    “Lady mother, we must be quick if we are to save your daughter.”

My sister’s mother looked up and clung to the silk I offered to her.

“How?” she said to me, an I saw a desperate hope burn in her eyes.

Lo-Melkhiin took a little longer for me to really form an opinion on. He was cruel but clever, strong but weak in wanting power so much. He didn’t care about the lives he took, nor did he care that he took so many. He got power from it, so who was he to deny more? And yet there were glimpses of a kind man, of who he used to be. And it wasn’t until I read of how he was in the desert and came back changed that I realized what had happened. There were many twists that I did not see coming, and it kept the story fresh and me intrigued. I had a hard time putting the book down.

“It was never enough for me. I craved more.”

The magic never felt separate to the story, as it tends to. It was entangled in the stories told, entwined with each word spoken and unsaid, and it was a part of both King and unnamed bride. There were wonderful creations, lives destroyed, lives given back, and there was a strength that came from it. If Lo-Melkhiin decided to mess up the women’s crafts, she fixed it. If Lo-Melkhiin decided to make one of his guards carve stones with eyes that are wrong to everyone but him, so be it, but she will do her best to help the carver. And if Lo-Melkhiin decided to bring out his kind to take down many, she fought him until there was no more war.

The author did a magnificent job with this book, and I definitely intend to buy A Thousand Night and the companion novel when it comes out. This book is worth a re-read, which I almost never do. I definitely recommend reading it!

REVIEW: Cutlass by Ashley Nixon

*I received an ebook copy of this from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.
Title: Cutlass
Author: Ashley Nixon
Series: (Cutlass #1)
Publication date: Novenber 13th, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult

Synopsis:
Notorious pirate Barren Reed has one thing on his mind: Revenge against the man who killed his father. So kidnapping his enemy’s fiancé seems a perfect plan…until he actually does it.

Larkin Lee is more than a pretty face and fiancé to a powerful man. Her fierce personality is enough to make any pirate want to push her overboard.

But when the King of the Orient comes to Barren with a task—to find the Bloodstone, a powerful gem thought only to exist in legend, Barren sees another opportunity to destroy his enemy. Together, Barren, Larkin and a crew of pirates set off to find the stone, only to discover it caused the death of Barren’s own mother and Larkin’s, too. As his strongest allies turn into his greatest enemies, and the life of the girl he kidnapped becomes more important than he ever dreamed, Barren’s quest for revenge becomes a fight to save the Orient.

Format: Ebook
Rating: 4/5
      Cutlass wasn’t only about pirates and revenge. Oh no, it was about Elves and Lyrics, death and deceit. It was about learning the truth and letting go of and anger and revenge because it only makes you bitter and lonely. It’s about falling in love and being loyal! It’s about freedom.
      Everything in this book from the action on the sea, to the romance on board, to the shocks of betrayal and the fantasy aspects were simply brilliant. Yes, Barren oftentimes was controlled by his anger and need for revenge, but he’s young and still learning! He’s a force to be reckoned with and has a sharp mind, he’s a man holding such a weight as murder, revenge and pain! He lost his father because his brother killed him, his mother for something he couldn’t remember! Barren could never understand why; he didn’t want to understand. And so he stalked the shores of Maris and attacked ships in hopes of luring William out to sea so he could act on his revenge. But William wouldn’t dare and so months later of no change, Barren learns of William’s engagement and kidnaps his wife. But Lady Larkin is not docile and quiet and fearful. No, she’s strong and Barren’s equal with a sword. In fact, she almost killed him the night he kidnapped her. If it hadn’t been for Leaf, his best friend, who knows if Barren would have found a way to live?
      The writing was great, though I did sometimes find myself uninterested. It flowed nicely and yes, at times it was cheesy and parts were slightly cliche, but it still intrigued me. Especially since it’s all one big adventure that no one can deny enjoying. Especially the action. I love the action!
      Overall, Cutlass is a read I recommend to fantasy lovers. Especially those who love pirates.
~Sage<3
(It’s short I know. Sorry!)

REVIEW: The Dreamer by E.J. Mellow

* I received an eARC copy of this book from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.


Title: The Dreamer
Author: E.J. Mellow
Series: (The Dreamland Series, #1)
Publication date: May 15th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult

Goodreads || Amazon || B&N


Synopsis:
It’s night. Always night. Dreams guard against the evil forged by nightmares. Infinite shooting stars illuminate a moonless sky. A city stands alone, surrounded by a darkened field. On its fringes, a man watches one star separate from the masses and fall. What survives the crash will unveil a secret centuries long hidden.

Molly hasn’t slept well since the night of her twenty-fourth birthday. Being struck by lightning might have something to do with it, but then again, her chicken did look a little undercooked at dinner. Whatever the culprit, her life quickly catapults from mundane to insane as, night after night, Molly is transported through her once dreamless sleep to a mysterious land illuminated by shooting stars.

There she meets the captivating but frustrating Dev, and together they discover Molly possesses a power coveted by his people—the ability to conjure almost anything she desires into existence. Seduced by the possibilities of this gift, Molly shifts her attention from waking life toward the man, the magic, and the world found in her dreams.

But Molly must ask herself—does something truly exist if you only see it when you close your eyes?

Faced with the threat of losing everything—her job, best friend, boyfriend, and most importantly, that little thing called her sanity—Molly will learn just how far she’ll go to uncover what is real and what is merely a figment of her imagination.

And Now For My Review!
Format: Ebook
Rating: 4/5
      The Dreamer is a very well written story about a 24-year-old woman who was struck by lightning. Now she suddenly has these dreams, theses seriously vivid dreams, that leave her questioning her sanity and yearning for someone she’s sure isn’t real. By day she’s just Molly, a normal woman resting and recovering from her recent accident (being struck by lightning), usually hanging out with her best friend Becca, and sort-of boyfriend Jared (they’re untitled, not labelled, but together). By night she’s Molly, The Dreamer with crazy cool powers who’s discovering a whole new wave of feelings with Dev, and a whole new world full of a bunch of new people.
      So, I just want to get this out right now. Molly irritated me a lot. It’s not because she was a bad character or anything, because she is actually a pretty good one, but because of her… situation with Jared and Dev. Jared is a nice, handsome young man who is clearly in love with Molly. He understands her, always makes her feel at ease, and things with them are just so in touch that it makes you want what they have. Jared adores her, he’s there for her and wants to be her forever. And Dev, well, Dev is a handsome man in her dreams. He’s strong and odd in a sense that he comes from a whole new place where everything is so new and different to Molly. He’s a jerk at times, never answers her questions, flirts with her a lot, and he obviously likes her. And so the reason she irritates me? While she’s basically dating Jared, who is a nice and brilliant guy in the real world, she’s also experiencing feelings for Dev and kissing him and flirting and touching. When she’s with Dev, she forgets all about Jared. In fact, she hardly spares him a thought while she dreams! And while she’s with Jared, she has a hard time forgetting Dev, forgetting his touch and his kiss. It irritates me because she’s basically cheating in Jared, and it’s like she doesn’t even care! Until she has sex with him and feels guilty for thinking of Dev. But seriously, she’s Jared’s whole world and she doesn’t even love him. Not yet, at least, but she’s sure she can some day. It’s safe to say I’d rather she be with Jared. I mean, Dev’s great and all, but she only sees him when her eyes are closed. And Jared’s more open.
      Whew. Okay, so not that I got that out of the way…
      I’ll start off with the world building. It was amazing. I could visualize most of what was described and I really liked the feel we got of the workings of Terra. However, there were times that while things were described really well, I just couldn’t visualize them. And so while reading, there were points where I had a blank visual because I just couldn’t picture it in my mind. Though I really love the people. There were the Nocturna, who all wore black, and there were Vigil, who wore fancy robes and the likes. The Vigil are the leaders, the council, basically, and they know a lot that they keep from the Nocturna. I really like how they had the two different groups, much like us normal citizens and then the government. I also like how the author balanced between Terra and the real world. I was never bored or sick of wither world, and I actually eagerly awaited to get back to the other while I was reading of one. I was so invested in both sides, that Molly’s decision (which I’m sure she’ll have to make) about Jared or Dev, is really tearing into me. I want her with Jared, but then Dev will get all sad and empty again and Rae will probably be very angry with her…
      I also like how Molly thinking she’s going insane was portrayed. It really felt like she was losing her marbles. She definitely changed since meeting Dev. She wanted to sleep more, she was zoning out a lot. She even took sleeping pills at one point just to get answers from Dev. Which may or may not have worked, I won’t say because it’s be a spoiler.
      Which brings me to characters. They all play a big part in Molly’s life and how things go. I adore them all. I can’t think of a single character I didn’t like. And while at times they may have irritated me (Molly), or made me want to punch them in the face for potentially ruining something great (Dev), I loved them more than I didn’t.
      Overall, I liked this book and all the characters, the world building, and the feelings it makes you feel. I recommend it to you lovers of romance and fantasy.
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~Sage<3

BLOG TOUR/REVIEW: We Are Watching by M. Stephen Stewart

 *I’m posting this as part of the XpressoBookTours We Are Watching Blog Tour. I recieved a free ebook copy of this in order to do so.
WeAreWatchingTourBanner2
WeAreWatching
Title: 
We Are Watching
Author: M. Stephen Stewart
Series: (Mindshare #1)
Publication date: December 16th 2014
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult


Synopsis:

Henry Malone’s childhood was shattered by the unexplained suicide of his father. Now a teenager, his days are spent studying to become a Neural Implant Technician for Planetary Link Corporation, helping them maintain an iron grip over his walled country and every iota of knowledge contained within—but he leads a double life. Henry’s nights are spent helping his mother wage a cyber war against them in her quest to find the truth behind his father’s death.

He’s managed to keep his two lives separate, a delicate balance that’s endangered after he repairs the neural implant of a stranger. He finds she’s in possession of illegal memories from the outside world, unauthorized knowledge of his father, and a message: speak to me later and tell no one. Henry has a choice to make—ignore the message and maintain his double-life, or answer and risk everything to uncover secrets Planetary Link would kill to keep buried.

And Now For My Review!
Format: Ebook
4/5

      We Are Watching is a well written sci-fi novel full of action, strength, bravery, growth, secrets, deceit, and a chance to make everything right. Henry Malone has had a tough life, losing his father to a rumored suicide and having everyone use him to get shares and fame without caring about Henry and how he might feel about that. Because of that, Henry has an ill temper and tends to lose his cool at any mention of his father or mother. Which is also why he only has one real friend, Mark, who is there for him and doesn’t try exposing his secrets so he can benefit from them. Other than Mark, Henry only has his mother left, who stays in bed all day long on her NEX, and John Alford who treats him like a son and tries his best to be there for Henry. But while most of the world has moved on from trying to pick the truth from lies about Henry’s father’s death, his mother still works tirelessly to get to the truth. And it costs her.

     While I liked the characters, they weren’t quite fully developed. I would’ve loved to see more of Riya and Mark. While they are both characters that are in the novel almost always with Henry, we still don’t really know about them or have a good, solid feel for them. I want to know more about their backgrounds, their personalities, things we didn’t get to see. I mean, we all know Mark is strong, loyal to Henry, a great friend, and doesn’t like getting into trouble like Henry has a knack for. And we all know Riya is a strong, tough, determined young woman. She’s vulnerable and good at acting like all she ever does is cry when she needs to, she’s also good with a gun and she’s very knowledgeable. But what do we really know of her? She fought to get to Henry because of a vision her father had and risked her life to do so, she can mask her emotions fairly easily, she’s lost a lot like Henry, and she believes Henry can help her and her family. That’s just the surface of them though, I would’ve loved to see more of what lays underneath.

      Aside from that, I enjoyed how the information was spread out in the novel, and how much we came to learn without really feeling too overwhelmed. The information was given when we needed it and only when we needed it. But I also feel like we only really got to know Jeppe and Ourai’s sides. We never got all that much information on Planetary Link even though they’re clearly the bad guy. We get such a small glimpse of them, that honestly, Jeppe seems like the worst enemy they could have; though we all know that’s not true because of what little we do know of Planetary Link. Plink (Planetary Link) suppresses information, suppresses everything actually, that they feel the citizens of Gulf Market don’t need to know. In fact, the citizens only know what they for their jobs and their knowledge ends there! Plus, they’re spied on, always being watched and listened to. They have no privacy! Can you imagine that?

      Overall, I enjoyed reading this book despite the few issues. I would recommend this to lovers of sci-fi, and distopia.

M.
AUTHOR BIO:

M. Stephen Stewart is a graduate of Indiana University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. He makes his home in Indianapolis with his wife and two dogs. In his spare time, Matt is an avid sports fan, gamer, and reader, who loves to connect with new people. You can usually find him around town with his wife, exercising, or in front of his computer working on a new project.
Author links:

THE TOUR STOPS

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~Sage<3