Review: The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember

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

32890474The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember
Release date: May 4th, 2017
Publisher: Interlude Press
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Format: eBook

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Goodreads | Amazon

Having long-wondered what lives beyond the ice shelf, nineteen-year-old mermaid Ersel learns of the life she wants when she rescues and befriends Ragna, a shield-maiden stranded on the mermen’s glacier. But when Ersel’s childhood friend and suitor catches them together, he gives Ersel a choice: say goodbye to Ragna or face justice at the hands of the glacier’s brutal king.

Determined to forge a different fate, Ersel seeks help from Loki. But such deals are never as one expects, and the outcome sees her exiled from the only home and protection she’s known. To save herself from perishing in the barren, underwater wasteland and be reunited with the human she’s come to love, Ersel must try to outsmart the God of Lies.

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I’ve been a huge fan of Julia Ember’s ever since I read Unicorn Tracks last year. The story was a perfect blend of romance, mythical creatures and hard-hitting topics. The only problem? It was way, and I mean way, too short! So, I was out of my mind excited when The Seafarer’s Kiss kiss was announced. A full-length story featuring mermaids and Norse gods?!?! HELL YES!!

I went into this book with such high expectations. Now usually I end up being disappointed but not here. I fell in love with everything — the characters, the world, the beyond adorable belugas — while only a few pages into the story. It’s been promoted as a retelling of The Little Mermaid but don’t let that label fool you. Ember has created a fantastic fantasy world all of her own. And what’s even more impressive? It’s all done in around 230 pages! Her writing just flows. It’s action packed and non-stop, just how I like my books. I couldn’t stop reading and read through it quickly. I definitely see a re-read in the near future!

What really stood out to me were the characters. I’m all about books that are character driven and demonstrate great growth and progress and there’s tons of that here. All of the characters are deeply flawed and that’s what makes them so darn relatable. They all grow in some kind of way but what I appreciated the most was that by the end the characters still weren’t perfect. Nobody is and that’s alright. My favourite characters were Ragna (a kickass shield maiden out for revenge) and the trickster god Loki (they caused so much drama…LOVED THEM!). I do want to point out that this book is truly diverse and like with her previous work, Ember integrates it all so well into the story. It never feels forced or added to attack a particular audience. There are plenty of books like that but not this one! The book features a bisexual main character, female/female romance, an amputee and a gender-fluid character with they/them pronouns.

I can’t recommend this book enough! The way Ember writes left me on the edge of my seat. There are so many twists and turns, none of which I saw coming. I thought the book was going one way and boom! it went somewhere else completely. It’s a fascinating examination of how nothing is truly black or white, good or evil. Humans (or merfolk) make mistakes. Sometimes our choices are driven by greed or jealously but that doesn’t always mean that that person isn’t good. This book really drove home the message that everyone will make mistakes and sometimes you can’t fix them, but what you can do is learn and do better next time.

So…while I loved every bit of this book, I just wished that it was a tiny bit longer. Yup, it’s an issue I have with Ember’s books. The ending wrapped stuff up nicely but I could have used more scenes between Ersel and Ragna. Can I have sequel is please?


about

julia2-e1455421316346-300x300Julia Ember is a polyamorous, bisexual writer and native of Chicago who now resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Seafarer’s Kiss is her second novel and was influenced by her postgraduate work in medieval literature at The University of St. Andrews. Her first novel, Unicorn Tracks, was published by Harmony Ink Press.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Tumblr | Facebook

Mini Reviews: Letters to the Lost & Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately

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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.

30038855Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
Release date: April 4th, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Genre: Young adult, contemporary, romance
Format: eBook

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Goodreads | Amazon

Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother’s death, she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn’t the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he’s trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can’t resist writing back. Soon, he’s opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they’re not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

I really liked the idea behind this book but the execution left a lot to be desired. Or perhaps I just went into it expecting more? My book slump didn’t help the matter. I read it because I needed to write a review for it. My NetGalley queue has been stressing me out. Whatever the reason, Letters to the Lost ended up being an alright book, but it wasn’t the standout I was hoping it would be.

A lot of my high hopes for it came from Goodreads. The dozens of 4 or 5 star reviews really excited me. But really it wasn’t very original or different from other books I’ve read before. It was actually quite predicable from the beginning…the main characters would figure out their real identities, fall in love and blah blah blah. The character themselves were not that likeable. They were more cliche than anything! I just didn’t care what happened to them. And I’ve said this a million times before, a book without characters I can connect to just doesn’t work for me. I NEED A CONNECTION!!! What saved the book for me was the writing style. I really enjoyed the way things were worded and flowed but without an interesting plot I really felt like the author’s talent was wasted.

Of course, this is just my opinion. It’s an opinion influenced by my struggles to get “into” a book and stay interested. At the time I requested it the story sounded perfect but I think at this time it really wasn’t. Sometimes that’s just how it is. *shrugs*


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.

34078564Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately by Alicia Cook
Release date: April 11th, 2017
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Genre: Poetry
Format: eBook

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Goodreads | Amazon

A poet, journalist, and activist, Alicia Cook offers a soundtrack of survival.

Structured like an old-school mix-tape, Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately is Alicia Cook’s lyric message to anyone who has dealt with addiction. “Side A” touches on all aspects of the human condition: life, death, love, trauma, and growth. “Side B” contains haunting black-out remixes of those poems.

Oh, this is a must read book of poetry! It was completely unique and spoke directly to many of my own thoughts and feelings. It was unlike any poetry book I’ve read before with the author’s original poems paired with songs and then “remixed” as blackout poems.

The collection touches on a variety of topics: grief, loss, identity, and love. There’s definitely something for everyone and even not, the author’s words just hold so much power that you can’t help but feel moved. I honestly felt like some poems were written just for me and that’s why I loved this book so much! It cracked my heart open and made it bleed with emotion. Beautiful, beautiful stuff!

I now want to purchase a physical copy of this book because there’s nothing better than being able to hold it to your heart. Plus, the blackout poetry was difficult to read at times. I enjoyed it even though I had to squint and zoom in, but I think my experience would have been better if that wasn’t the case. Then again, this was a PDF review copy so I can’t complain.

I can’t recommend this gorgeous collection enough! Poetry lover or not, this is a book that people from all walks of life would enjoy. I know for sure it’s one that I’ll come back to again and again.

Mini Reviews: True North & Death and Night

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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.

29939097True North by L.E. Sterling
Release date: April 4th, 2017
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Genre: Young adult, science fiction
Format: eBook

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Goodreads | Amazon

Abandoned by her family in Plague-ridden Dominion City, eighteen-year-old Lucy Fox has no choice but to rely upon the kindness of the True Borns, a renegade group of genetically enhanced humans, to save her twin sister, Margot. But Nolan Storm, their mysterious leader, has his own agenda. When Storm backtracks on his promise to rescue Margot, Lucy takes her fate into her own hands and sets off for Russia with her True Born bodyguard and maybe-something-more, the lethal yet beautiful Jared Price. In Russia, there’s been whispered rumors of Plague Cure.

While Lucy fights her magnetic attraction to Jared, anxious that his loyalty to Storm will hurt her chances of finding her sister, they quickly discover that not all is as it appears…and discovering the secrets contained in the Fox sisters’ blood before they wind up dead is just the beginning?

As they say in Dominion, sometimes it’s not you…it’s your DNA.

True North is the second book in a series based in an apocalyptic world where much of the earth’s population has been killed off by a devastating plague. Society is divided into three distinct groups: the Lasters, the Splicers and the True Born. You definitely don’t want to be a Laster since you will for sure die of the plague, the Splicers have tons of money and use it to replace diseased DNA and the True Borns are immune to the plague and have evolved into what I can best describe as mutants.

The story picks up where the first book, True Born, left off. The main character Lucy is abandoned by her family and taken in by Nolan Storm and his group of militant True Borns. Storm has promised to help Lucy find her twin sister Margot, who she shares a special connection with. However, he isn’t as forthcoming as she would like and this sets her off on a dangerous journey to Russia.

I was a huge fan of the first book. It was non-stop and totally engrossing. I honestly hadn’t read anything like it! So, as you can imagine, I was very much looking forward to reading True North. I had so many questions that needed to be answered! The book was good but it lacked the special something that its predecessor had. I wasn’t as eager to turn the pages or engaged with Lucy’s struggle. Truth be told, the first quarter of the book featured very little action. There was a lot of time spent explaining key events from the first novel. I understand why authors need to do it but it was all a bit too much for my liking. I was starting to feel kind of put-off but thank goodness I held on because at around the 40% mark things really began to pick up!

As much as I loved Lucy is the first book, I have to say she was different in this one. Her character wasn’t as consistent, almost as if the author wasn’t sure what to do with her. She’s shallow and flighty one moment, then confident and empathetic the next. The characters that really shone were the True Borns. I’m glad we got to learn more about Jared and Storm, two characters who were prominent in True Born, but not really explored. I actually really wish we could have had chapters from their POVs. Now that would have really added some action!

So, while I did enjoy True North, it was ultimately unable to recapture what made its predecessor so amazing. The plot and storylines were drawn out and the characters uneven. This trilogy could perhaps have been made into a duology? I don’t know, but this book has left me with enough questions to want to read the series final.



33965619Death and Night by Roshani Chokshi 

Release date: May 2nd, 2017
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Young adult, fantasy, novella
Format: eBook

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Goodreads | Amazon

He was Lord of Death, cursed never to love. She was Night incarnate, destined to stay alone. After a chance meeting, they wonder if, perhaps, they could be meant for more. But danger crouches in their paths, and the choices they make will set them on a journey that will span lifetimes.

Death and Night is a prequel to the gorgeous novel The Star-Touched Queen. If you haven’t read it yet then get on it! Seriously, the descriptions are beyond beautiful!

Anyway, this novella explores the relationship between Maya and Amar. One of my issues with them in The Star-Touched Queen was just how quickly they fell in love. It’s explained why in the novel but I won’t go into detail about it here. I don’t want to give anything away and spoil the book. It was just too insta-lovey-dovey for me, so thank goodness for this short story because it was PERFECT! I LOVED EVERY BIT OF IT!!! Maya and Amar are just so…so…I don’t even have the words to say how romantic and beautiful their love for each was. Oh, and their banter was spot on. I smiled and sighed A LOT. And it’s all in a novella! *jaw drop* I know right?!  It’s really a credit to just how talented Roshani Chokshi is.

I highly recommend this novella to those who have already read and enjoyed The Star-Touched Queen. It’s a wonderful prequel and has definitely made me move the companion novel, A Crown of Wishes, further up my TBR list.

 

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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Goodreads | Amazon

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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Click the link to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway. Win a print copy of Duels and Deception. Open to Canadian and US residents only.

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

screen-shot-2017-02-19-at-2-02-59-pm-copy

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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. 🙂