ARC Review | Cold Summer by Gwen Cole

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

25092254Cold Summer by Gwen Cole
Release date: May 2nd, 2017
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Genre: Young adult, historical fiction, science fiction
Format: eBook
Source: Edelweiss

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Today, he’s a high school dropout with no future.
Tomorrow, he’s a soldier in World War II.

Kale Jackson has spent years trying to control his time-traveling ability but hasn’t had much luck. One day he lives in 1945, fighting in the war as a sharpshooter and helplessly watching soldiers—friends—die. Then the next day, he’s back in the present, where WWII has bled into his modern life in the form of PTSD, straining his relationship with his father and the few friends he has left. Every day it becomes harder to hide his battle wounds, both physical and mental, from the past.

When the ex-girl-next-door, Harper, moves back to town, thoughts of what could be if only he had a normal life begin to haunt him. Harper reminds him of the person he was before the PTSD, which helps anchor him to the present. With practice, maybe Kale could remain in the present permanently and never step foot on a battlefield again. Maybe he can have the normal life he craves.

But then Harper finds Kale’s name in a historical article—and he’s listed as a casualty of the war. Kale knows now that he must learn to control his time-traveling ability to save himself and his chance at a life with Harper. Otherwise, he’ll be killed in a time where he doesn’t belong by a bullet that was never meant for him.

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“I don’t want to go, but I also don’t want to stay. Two worlds I don’t want to be a part of. Two worlds I don’t belong in. And the worst part is I don’t have a choice. I stand and take a step off the porch, my foot landing on snow instead of grass. Everything changing in an instant. I don’t have to open my eyes to know I’m here.”

As soon as I stumbled upon this book on Goodreads I knew that I NEEDED to read it! So, I added it to my TBR and low and behold it was on Edelweiss. Now, Edelweiss and I aren’t really good friends. I never get approved for anything on the site but the book gods were working in my favour! I quickly downloaded Cold Summer and started it a few minutes later. It was AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL and HEARTBREAKING and ROMANTIC all at the same time. The book was everything I wanted and more! It’s just…so difficult to describe how much I enjoyed reading it.

The book is told through two alternating points of view, which I liked because it really allowed me to get to know the characters and fall madly in love with both of them. The story revolves around Kale who can travel in time to the past. Now, normally I would be super jealous. I studied history in university and am absolutely fascinated by World War II (my main area of study), however, Kale’s journey to the past is completely devastating. He cannot control where and when he travels. One minute he’s trying to keep his life together in the present and then poof…he’s traveled back in time. He’s essentially struggling to live the life of a normal teenager in the present and trying to stay alive as a soldier in the past. Unlike other stories that I have read about time travel, Cold Summer doesn’t romanticize it. It dives into the impact it has on the person’s emotional, mental and physical state. My heart ached for Kale. The scenes set during the winter of 1944-45 were heartbreaking — the blood, the loss of life and the tough choices that had to made to survive.

The story’s other main character, Harper, was very likeable. She’s a gammer, kind of shy and fearful of opening up, all characteristics that I could identify with. Harper was such an essential part of the story as her POV offered another layer to the impact time travel has on those around Kale. Yes, he’s the one who is doing the actual traveling but those left behind are also emotionally scarred. Harper does her best to support him but she can’t help being frightened and anxious about his safety. He leaves and her life is basically put on hold, halted with worry and fear.

This book was so addictive. I read through it incredibly fast! I was totally swept up in the story and with short chapters, I just kept on reading and reading. I also found myself fangirling over all of the Doctor Who and Firefly references made throughout the book. My little nerd heart loved it! My only tiny nitpick would be how the end dragged out a bit longer than needed. For being a fast paced novel, the final three or four chapters slowed everything down to a crawl. It could have been wrapped up earlier without losing any of the emotional impact.

Cold Summer is a book that you NEED to read!! It’s not just for fans of history, romance or time travel. It has a little bit of everything but is so much more. It’s been days since I read it and I’m still thinking about it. *sigh*


about

1080169Gwen Cole writes Young Adult books and her debut novel, COLD SUMMER, will be released in the spring of 2017 with Sky Pony Press, an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing.

She grew up in upstate New York, moved to Virginia where she did not graduate college, and worked a various number of jobs including pharmacy technician, meat clerk, ranch hand, and a receiving specialist at Target. She may or may not have written a number of books while working at certain jobs.

At the age of eighteen, Gwen played bass in a hardcore band and later married the lead guitarist. She can also play piano, guitar, and wishes she could play the cello. Her favorite place to vacation is Wyoming, where she gets to wear a cowboy hat and pretend she actually is one.

Gwen now lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband, daughter, and very large dog, where she longs to live in the country again.

Website | Twitter | GoodreadsFacebook

ARC Review | Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

31447601Noteworthy by Riley Redgate
Release date: May 2nd, 2017
Publisher: Amulet Books
Genre: Young adult, contemporary
Format: eBook

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It’s the start of Jordan Sun’s junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she’s an Alto 2, which—in the musical theatre world—is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: She has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody’s falling over themselves to express their appreciation. So it’s no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight.

Then the school gets a mass email: A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshiped … revered … all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.

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I loved this book so, so much! If I didn’t have a huge pile of ARCs waiting for me I would seriously read it again and again. It was so much more than I thought it would. Just looking at the cover and reading the synopsis gave me the impression that it would be a light, laugh out loud kind of story. Like, common, it’s about a cappella, something I automatically associate with Glee, cheesy dance moves and sappy love songs. Instead, Noteworthy offered a very honest glimpse into the struggles of coming of age, gender, sexuality, and disability. I did laugh (because there are a lot of funny moments), but I also teared up and found myself nodding or shaking my head a lot. This is totally a must read!

Reasons Why I Loved It:

  • It features a Chinese American MC written by a Chinese American author. So it’s an #ownvoices book, which we need more and more of.
  • The MC is also bisexual, although I wish the author would have gone into more detail. It wasn’t the focus on the book.
  • It has a diverse cast of characters! The MCs father is a parapledgic and members of the a cappella include a boy with a learning disability and a Sikh who is also gay.
  • The boys in this book have well developed and emotionally healthy relationships with one another. It isn’t all hormones and back slapping. This was pretty refreshing.
  • There are some very funny moments! Sarcasm for the win!
  • It honestly talks about menstruation. For example, in one scene the MC’s period starts unexpectedly and she’s forced to make a pad out of toilet paper. She’s then worried about it leaking through. Oh, and the parts detailing period cramps…yeah I could totally identify with it. THANK YOU!! Why do so many books avoid talking about this?
  • There was a slow burning romance that didn’t take away from character development or social commentary. I LOVED THIS! It was wonderful to see the MC move on from a previous relationship that had a hold on every aspect of her life to moving on and realizing what she wanted. And her love interest was just so accepting and encouraging. AHHHH yes!
  • A book about crossing dressing is super tricky because how far do you go when there are trans people who have to deal with so much prejudice each day? I thought the book handled this balance really well. There was one scene where the MC was researching how to bind her breasts and she realizes that she was taking tips from a website that helped trans people. This made her feel guilty and I appreciated her commentary about the struggles trans people go through on a daily basis.

Noteworthy is adorable, important and a book that you NEED to pick up as soon as it’s released. Pre-order it, request it from your library, whatever! YOU NEED TO READ IT.

* Also, for fun, the author has posted her recordings of three songs featured in the book. She has a fantastic voice!


about
14053196Riley Redgate speaks exclusively in third person, so this works nicely. She loves horror films, apocalyptic thunderstorms, and the Atonement soundtrack. When writing author bios, she feels as if she is crafting some weirdly formal Tinder profile.

She plans someday to start a melodramatically epic rock band named Millennial Filth. Until then, she writes acoustic singer-songwriter stuff, also novels.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour: Duels and Deception by Cindy Anstey (Review)

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I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

29569260Duels and Deception by Cindy Anstey

Release date: April 11th, 2017
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Genre: Young adult, historical fiction, romance
Format: eBook

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Goodreads | Amazon

Miss Lydia Whitfield, heiress to the family fortune, has her future entirely planned out. She will run the family estate until she marries the man of her late father’s choosing, and then she will spend the rest of her days as a devoted wife. Confident in those arrangements, Lydia has tasked her young law clerk, Mr. Robert Newton, to begin drawing up the marriage contracts. Everything is going according to plan.

Until Lydia—and Robert along with her—is kidnapped. Someone is after her fortune and won’t hesitate to destroy her reputation to get it. With Robert’s help, Lydia strives to keep her family’s good name intact and expose whoever is behind the devious plot. But as their investigation delves deeper and their affections for each other grow, Lydia starts to wonder whether her carefully planned future is in fact what she truly wants…

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Adorable. Delightful. Wonderful. Romantic. Lovely. These are some of the words that best describe Duels and Deception and I could go on and on. I’m a huge fan of Jane Austen and the Regency period. There’s just something so romantic about it. The slow burn romance. The clothing and manners. *sigh* This book was something that I enjoyed reading from beginning to end. You really need to have this in your life!

The story is about a young woman named Lydia who is the heir to a fortune and a large estate. She’s headstrong, intelligent and very witty. Lydia thinks she has everything figured out but when she meets an attractive law clerk her whole life is changes. So, while the plot was pretty straight forward and didn’t really include any surprises, I just couldn’t stop reading this book. Lydia was a fabulous main character. She wasn’t portrayed as being too overly controlling or unfeeling, like many assertive women from the time period were. She knows what she wants, but is loving, kind and oh so feminine. Lydia is also very flawed and I enjoyed seeing how she developed and changed throughout the story. I also adored Robert, Lydia’s love interest. The banter between these two was pure gold. Flirty and at times kind of awkward. Oh…I just loved it!

I really enjoyed how the story was written from two perspectives. It makes me really wish that Austen’s novels were written this way. Wouldn’t it have been fun if we also had seen Mr. Darcy’s perspective? It really made me become emotionally invested in the story and the budding relationship between Lydia and Robert. The dual perspective also gave the reader a glimpse into social conventions of the time and what influenced how they approached each other. It just made the characters so real, like I was right there.

My only complaint was that some parts of the book were quite slow. I guess I wanted the quick, exciting pace to last throughout the entire story and was a bit disappointed when it didn’t. Also, more kissing!!! There just wasn’t enough kissing. Seriously! Other than that, this is a must read for all fans of Jane Austen and adorable, witty romances. I haven’t read Anstey’s debut Love, Lies and Spies yet, but can’t wait to pick it up soon.


about
CindyWhenever she is not sitting at the computer, throwing a ball in the backyard, gardening or reading, Cindy can be found–actually, not found–adventuring around the world with her hubby.

She has lived on three continents, had a monkey in her yard and a scorpion under her sink, dwelt among castles and canals, enjoyed the jazz of Beale St and attempted to speak French.

Cindy loves history, mystery and… a chocolate Labrador called Chester. Love, Lies and Spies is her debut novel.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads


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Mini Reviews: Geekerella by Ashley Poston & Awakening by by Lindsay Smith

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I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

30201136Geekerella by Ashley Poston
Release date: April 4th, 2017
Publisher: Quirk Books
Genre: Young adult, contemporary
Format: eBook

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Goodreads | Amazon

Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise. But when she disappears at midnight, will he ever be able to find her again?

“Look to the stars. Aim. Ignite.”

*squeals* I LOVED EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS STORY!!!!!!! The plot, the characters, the romance, the fandom….oh! It was perfect and I’m so glad that I picked it up. It was everything I adore about a story and more. My heart exploded and I had a permanent smile from start to finish. 

Reasons Why I Loved It:

  • It’s a modern retelling of Cinderella. Retellings are so much fun!
  • It features a POC lead character who was all kinds of swoon worthy and adorable.
  • I could totally identify with Elle, the main character. I’m obsessed with shows such as Firefly and Battlestar Galactica. Yes they are made up and perhaps I take them a little bit too seriously but they make me happy. They get me through tough times. Elle also used her love of a sci-fi show Starfield to help her deal with some difficult circumstances.
  • Talking about Elle, she was one of my favourite parts of this book. She’s brave, honest and willing to take risks. My heart was fully invested in her journey. I was emotionally all over the place. I was smiley like crazy when she was happy and outraged when a certain character tries to upstage her. I want more characters like Elle!
  • Fandoms are interesting things. The message of the book was perfect. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been a fan for ages or are new to the TV show or movie or whatever. Fandoms are for celebrating our love of a particular show or character. Nobody should judge you on how “into” the fandom you are. THANK YOU!
  • It also touched on how sci-fi is very male dominated. Gender doesn’t dictate your love of a particular genre or how much knowledge you have about a show. I always felt strange letting people know I was so nerdy or into certain shows. But guess what? I don’t care anymore. I’m a sci-fi nerd and proud of it! I wish I would have had this book when I was a teen.
  • Sage, Elle’s friend, was simply kickass and amazing! She’s simply the best!

This book was so much fun to read! It brought be tons of joy, smiles, laughs. It had it all and I can’t recommend it enough.


I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

33360275Awakening by Lindsay Smith
Release date: February 8th, 2017
Publisher: Serial Box Publishing
Genre: Fantasy, historical fiction
Format: eBook

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Goodreads | Amazon

The spies and sorcerers of Prague face hard questions and increased oversight in the wake of last season’s explosive events. On the Vltava, a Flame op goes up in literal flames when a mysterious interloper joins the fray.

Welcome to Prague, 1970: the epicenter in a Cold War of spies and sorcerers. The streets are a deadly chessboard on which the CIA and KGB make their moves, little dreaming that a deeper game is being played between the Consortium of Ice and the Acolytes of Flame, ancient factions of sorcery.

The Witch Who Came In From The Cold has quickly become one of my favourite series. The stories are super short (two or three chapters long) and take place during the Cold War. So forget about the whole CIA vs. KGB spy game, the real story here is a secret battle between the Consortium of Ice and the Acolytes of Flame, two magical factions. It’s hard to completely explain everything without giving so much away! You just really need to read “season one”.

Awakening, the first story in season two, was just as good or even better than its predecessors. So much happened near the end of the previous season and this story certainly started with a bang. It featured all of the things that I loved about the first set of stories and added in a couple of new items to keep me interested in finding out what will happen next. With such short stories, I’m always wanting more and more. It’s just this time around I’ll have to wait for the next part to be released. With season one I was able to read them all at the same time. Oh, the patience I’m going to need!

One thing I want to point out is that while the story does a good job of summarizing the main plot points of season one, it’s not for people who haven’t read the first set of stories. You’ll be very lost and unaware of minor plot details that pop up now and again. That said, I’m always amazed by how a series written by multiple authors can be so cohesive! Anyway, you really, really need to read this amazing series! You won’t regret a second of it. 🙂

Mini Reviews: The Upside of Unrequited & Blood Rose Rebellion

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I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

30653853The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Release date: April 11th, 2017
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Genre: Young adult, contemporary
Format: eBook

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Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. No matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. If Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker, Reid. He’s a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him.

Right?

THIS BOOK! *flails* This book was perfect in every sense of the word. It was honest, hilarious, diverse and oh so real. This is my first book by Becky Albertalli (I know!) and I’m not sure why I haven’t read her previous release, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, before. I’ve been missing out! She just really gets what it’s like to grow up, to be a teenager…to be human. The ups and downs of relationships, the pressure to fit into society, the struggle to love yourself. It’s all here and done so well. *hugs Kindle* I can’t wait to get my hands on a physical copy of this book! 

Reasons Why I Loved It:

  • The diverse representation is AMAZING! And it’s not like these characters were afterthoughts or just added to include diversity. NO! These characters are well rounded and fully developed. There wasn’t any “look how special all these diverse characters are” either. They were written as normal people…as they should be! It was so wonderful to see. And this serves as a perfect example of why it’s not difficult to include diverse characters in YA books. So, for all of those people who argue that sometimes it can’t be done, read this! There is no excuse!!
  • I smiled a whole lot while reading this book! The main character Molly was absolutely wonderful. Much of the book is her discovering who she is and it’s so darn relatable. I wish I had a character like her while I was growing up. She deals with a lot of self-esteem issues, especially related to her weight. I think a lot of young girls can identify with her struggles.
  • The family dynamics were super nice to see. So many YA books lack parents or feature parents who have negative relationships with their children. Here, Molly’s moms (yes she has two moms) are involved loving and supporting parents. They are actual characters and not a random side character that goes in and out of the story to move the plot along.
  • There are so many positive messages! I especially appreciate its messages on self acceptance and beauty. I’m an adult and still struggle with lots of the things discussed in this book and it’s nice to be reminded that you are perfect the way your are. You don’t need to change for others. You don’t need to be someone or something else.

I’m so happy that I read this book. If you enjoy a good heartwarming/breaking and sweet book, than this is totally for you! I can’t recommend it enough. GO GET IT WHEN IT IS RELEASED!!!! I just want to thrust it into people’s arms. Now excuse me while I go purchase  Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda because I need more of Albertalli’s writing in my life. ❤


I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

31020402Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves
Release date: March 28th, 2017
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Format: eBook

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Sixteen-year-old Anna Arden is barred from society by a defect of blood. Though her family is part of the Luminate, powerful users of magic, she is Barren, unable to perform the simplest spells. Anna would do anything to belong. But her fate takes another course when, after inadvertently breaking her sister’s debutante spell—an important chance for a highborn young woman to show her prowess with magic—Anna finds herself exiled to her family’s once powerful but now crumbling native Hungary.

Her life might well be over.

In Hungary, Anna discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. Not the people around her, from her aloof cousin Noémi to the fierce and handsome Romani Gábor. Not the society she’s known all her life, for discontent with the Luminate is sweeping the land. And not her lack of magic. Isolated from the only world she cares about, Anna still can’t seem to stop herself from breaking spells.

As rebellion spreads across the region, Anna’s unique ability becomes the catalyst everyone is seeking. In the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and Romanies, Anna must choose: deny her unique power and cling to the life she’s always wanted, or embrace her ability and change that world forever.

*sigh* I loved the concept behind this book when I first saw it. The cover is oh so gorgeous and the title…YES! But sometimes the pretty cover is just a mask for something not as nice and that’s totally the case here. Blood Rose Rebellion was a complete letdown. I read up until the 50% mark and put it aside. I just couldn’t read anymore and I tried, I really did.

Reasons for DNFing:

  • It’s a very slow book, one of the slowest I’ve ever read. Sometimes I don’t mind this. If it’s written in a compelling way, I won’t put it down. I just want to keep going. But that’s not what happened here. The chapters weren’t that engaging and I felt like I had seen it all before. There was simply nothing to stick around for. The characters, the story, the setting…nothing stood out or captured my attention.
  • Talking about the story, I feel like I’ve read so many other books about a main character that’s unable to practice magic and is excluded from society.
  • There were a lot of repetitive info dumps, especially in the beginning. I understand the need to introduce the magical world but sometimes it’s good to leave a little to the imagination. I was hoping that once the world was established that it would stop but it didn’t. The stop-go of the story and then a massive push of info just slowed everything down. It’s one of the main reasons I lost interest.
  • Anna, the main character, was just bland. That’s the best way I can describe her. I didn’t care what happened her. I really just didn’t feel anything at all. And that’s horrible when the story is told from her point of view. She was just so boring!
  • The constant use of a derogatory term for Romani really bothered me. It jumped out at me the first time it was used. I just told myself it’s based on a historical time period, maybe it will get better. But then it was used again and again. Characters pointed out to Anna how this particular term was hurtful but she continued to use it. Now, I’m not sure if this change in the second half of the book, but from some of the reviews I’ve read it seems doubtful.

Life is just too short to read books that you aren’t enjoying. Books are meant to act as an escape or to push you, challenge your thoughts and beliefs. This book did neither, so I’m happy that I gave up on it. There are plenty of other stories that have a similar concept and do it so much better.

Has anyone else read this book? Any thoughts or opinions? Does Anna stop using harmful language to describe the Romani?

Review | King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard

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30226723King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard
Release date: February 7th, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Format: Hardcover

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In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

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The beginning of the book was slow. I had a hard time going through the pages, to be honest. Mare’s imprisonment is the main focus for most of the first half of the book, if not more. The Scarlet Guard built an army of newbloods with the help of  Prince Calore and surprisingly, some of the “evil” characters change and perhaps reconsider their original position regarding the lightning girl and her crew.

Evangeline, was a surprise for me, I didn’t see that shift coming!

I think the first part of the book was a bit boring I took around a month to finish it because I did not feel that engaged as with the last 2. I hope the 4th one is much better. I feel a little disappointed  because I expected this book so, so much. Now, I do not have much to say.

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Mini Review | Yvain: The Knight of the Lion by M.T. Anderson & Andrea Offermann

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I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
 
31159613Yvain: The Knight of the Lion by M.T. Anderson & Andrea Offermann
Release date: March 14th, 2017
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Genre: Graphic novel, fantasy
Format: eBook

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Eager for glory and heedless of others, Sir Yvain sets out from King Arthur’s court and defeats a local lord in battle, unknowingly intertwining his future with the lives of two compelling women: Lady Laudine, the beautiful widow of the fallen lord, and her sly maid Lunette. In a stunning visual interpretation of a 12th century epic poem by Chrétien de Troyes, readers are — at first glance — transported into a classic Arthurian romance complete with errant knights, plundering giants, and fire-breathing dragons. A closer look, however, reveals a world rich with unspoken emotion. Striking, evocative art by Andrea Offermann sheds light upon the inner lives of medieval women and the consequences Yvain’s oblivious actions have upon Laudine and Lunette.

I really like graphic novels. There’s something about the blend of words and illustrations that when done right really hit home the emotion, the pain…whatever emotion or trial the character is going through. I also really enjoy Arthurian legends so I jumped at the chance to read Yvain: The Knight of the Lion, M.T. Anderson’s first graphic novel. While I’ve liked his other books, this one actually disappointed me for many reasons.

  • The panels of the graphic novel were set up like a Medieval tapestry which I thought was pretty cool because it fit the whole theme of the book. However, the drawings were flat and lifeless. They could have been a lot more dynamic than just a man sitting and staring at his drink or a side profile of a man riding his horse. The brown/yellowish colours also didn’t do the illustrations any favours.
  • There were tons of typos in my version. This will more than likely be fixed before the final version is released but it was hard to ignore them while reading.
  • For me, a good graphic novel pulls you in. Even with a lack of space or words, I learn to care deeply about the characters and their journey. Here I didn’t feel anything, well I did, but that feeling can best be described as boredom. Sir Yvain could have been eaten by his own lion I wouldn’t have even blinked an eye. Character connection is extremely important to me and I was saddened not to have it here.
  • A part of what hurt my connection with the characters was how fast the plot progressed. It’s a graphic novel, so yes I know that’s normal, but it was two pages in and Sir Yvain had already met his one true love. Really?! No build up whatsoever.
  • I also took issue with how women were portrayed. None were really anything more than tools to move the story along. All of the women were either bossy or needy. Sir Yvain was always saving women, dealing with women who were written as irrational or having to move around their evil plots. All the bad things that happened to him were because of women.

So, overall this book didn’t really add anything new to the hundreds of other interpretations of Arthurian legends. And coming from an author such as M.T. Anderson I was expecting a lot more. I did enjoy reading the author’s notes at the end. They explained the original source material and the author’s motivation for writing the novel. But other than that, this wasn’t for me. If you have read it though I would love to hear your thoughts. Also, I’d love any recommendations for graphic novels based on Arthurian legends. 🙂