Wednesday, March 14, 2018

[Review] Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen

Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen

Rating: 4 stars

Format: ARC
Release Date: March 20th 2018

Goodreads Synopsis:
After her mother is shot at a checkpoint, fifteen-year-old Sarah--blonde, blue-eyed, and Jewish--finds herself on the run from a government that wants to see every person like her dead. Then Sarah meets a mysterious man with an ambiguous accent, a suspiciously bare apartment, and a lockbox full of weapons. He's a spy, and he needs Sarah to become one, too, to pull off a mission he can't attempt on his own: infiltrate a boarding school attended by the daughters of top Nazi brass, befriend the daughter of a key scientist, and steal the blueprints to a bomb that could destroy the cities of Western Europe. With years of training from her actress mother in the art of impersonation, Sarah thinks she's ready. But nothing prepares her for her cutthroat schoolmates, and soon she finds herself in a battle for survival unlike any she'd ever imagined.
"Never lie when you can tell the truth. Lies have to be worked out in advance or they will tie you up and eat you."
A dark spy-historical fiction set in Nazi Germany. Sarah passes off as part of the so-called perfect Aryans in Germany - blonde and blue eyed. However, she's seen her fair brutality, gruesomeness, and suffering, all because she is Jewish. Turns out, Sarah is smarter than she looks, and she ends up working with Captain Jeremy Floyd, a spy for the British, and infiltrates an all-girls Germany school as Ursula Haller, to befriend the daughter of a scientist, in order to steal back top-secret intel.

Monday, March 12, 2018

[Review] Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Series: Legacy of Orisha #1
Rating: 4 stars

Release Date: March 6th 2018
Format: ARC

Goodreads Synopsis:
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. 
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.
Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. 
Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

This monster of a book is around 600 pages so I initially thought this would take me ages to read. Turns out, it only took me two-three days to zip by this one. Children of Blood and Bone was a quick-paced, action-packed adventure that reminded me heavily of Leigh Bardugo's Grisha trilogy. There was never a dull moment.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

[Review] The Radical Element (A Tyranny of Petticoats #2) Anthology

The Radical Element 

Edited by Jessica Spotswood
Series: A Tyranny of Petticoats #2
Rating: 3.5 stars

Release Date: March 13th 2018

Goodreads Synopsis: 
In an anthology of revolution and resistance, a sisterhood of YA writers shines a light on a century and a half of heroines on the margins and in the intersections.
To respect yourself, to love yourself—should not have to be a radical decision. And yet it remains as challenging for an American girl to make today as it was in 1927 on the steps of the Supreme Court. It's a decision that must be faced whether you're balancing on the tightrope of neurodivergence, finding your way as a second-generation immigrant, or facing down American racism even while loving America. And it's the only decision when you've weighed society's expectations and found them wanting. In The Radical Element, twelve of the most talented writers working in young adult literature today tell the stories of the girls of all colors and creeds standing up for themselves and their beliefs—whether that means secretly learning Hebrew in early Savannah, using the family magic to pass as white in 1920s Hollywood, or singing in a feminist punk band in 1980s Boston. And they're asking you to join them.

This anthology was hella enjoyable. We got a whole century of badass, defiant, independent women from different backgrounds. Many of them I wish were expanded because they were so engaging! Time to review each one.

Monday, March 5, 2018

[Review] Daughters of the Storm (Blood and Gold #1) by Kim Wilkins

Daughters of the Storm by Kim Wilkins

Series: Blood and Gold #1
Rating: 4 stars

Release Date: March 6th 2018
Format: ARC

Goodreads Synopsis:

They are the daughters of a king. Though they share the same royal blood, they could not be more different. Bluebell is a proud warrior, stronger than any man and with an ironclad heart to match. Rose's heart is all too passionate: She is the queen of a neighboring kingdom, who is risking everything for a forbidden love. The twins: vain Ivy, who lives for admiration, and zealous Willow, who lives for the gods. And Ash, who is discovering a dangerous talent for magic that might be a gift--or a curse.
But when their father is stricken by a mysterious ailment, they must come together on a desperate journey to save him and prevent their treacherous stepbrother from seizing the throne. Their mission: find the powerful witch who can cure the king. But to succeed on their quest, they must overcome their differences, and hope that the secrets they hide from one another and the world are never brought to light. Because if this royal family breaks, it could destroy the kingdom.
I read Daughters of the Storm at a perfect time - during my ongoing Skyrim obsession. So I was able to picture the world and its characters with ease.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

[Review] Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

Trigger warning: Rape, miscarriage.

Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

Rating: 2 stars
Format: ARC 
Release Date: February 27th 2018

Goodreads Synopsis:
In the medieval kingdom of Goredd, women are expected to be ladies, men are their protectors, and dragons get to be whomever they want. Tess, stubbornly, is a troublemaker. You can't make a scene at your sister's wedding and break a relative's nose with one punch (no matter how pompous he is) and not suffer the consequences. As her family plans to send her to a nunnery, Tess yanks on her boots and sets out on a journey across the Southlands, alone and pretending to be a boy.
Where Tess is headed is a mystery, even to her. So when she runs into an old friend, it's a stroke of luck. This friend is a quigutl--a subspecies of dragon--who gives her both a purpose and protection on the road. But Tess is guarding a troubling secret. Her tumultuous past is a heavy burden to carry, and the memories she's tried to forget threaten to expose her to the world in more ways than one.

I just felt so many internal frustrations with Tess of the Road because on one hand, Tess's development on her adventure/quest for personal healing was actually really good (if you dig deeply into it the adventure, it's very symbolic with all the obstacles she has to overcome to find herself again), but on the other... There's just so much going on. And it's such a bulky, huge book (500+ pages), that it takes time to accomplish where it wants to go and how it wants to do it!