Posted in YA Book Reviews

Calling

25432947

Calling by C.S. Johnson, Narrated by Nicholas Santasier

Rating: 5 stars

Narrator Rating: 2 stars

 

I was given a copy of Calling in audio format in exchange for my honest review.

Calling is the second installment in the Starlight Chronicles. It continues to follow Dinger as he decides to “quit” being a starlight defender.  Being a defender became too much for him. He struggles with balancing a new girlfriend, school, swimming, his friends, and even his mom trying to sue Starry Night and Wingdinger on behalf of the city. As events unfold, Dinger slowly starts regretting his decision. Some of his cockiness starts to dissipate, even though he is still highly arrogant. I look forward to his continued growth in becoming an actual likable character. Even though I do not currently like him, his character traits are vital to the story so it works out and continues to be enjoyable. I really liked that this story took to the theme of what happens when people become jealous and the monsters they become. I am curious if Dinger has always been so narcissistic or at what point did it happen in his life where he felt so entitled.

I reviewed book one from an ebook format. This is the first book in the series I have reviewed as the audio version. I do not like the narrator. His voices all sound the same so sometimes it is hard to know who is talking. Also, the editing on this audio was not the greatest. There were several parts where the narrator stopped reading and picked up again, like he had lost his place. He also stumbled on a couple of sentences/words. I would listen to the story in parts, because it takes a little while to get used to the narration style. I will continue to review the books in this series for the audio format, but I can’t guarantee I will continue to listen to the narrator in future books. I feel I am being over generous for the narrator’s rating. I hope as he gets more comfortable in the story line, it becomes better. But also, in his defense, the editing is the fault of whomever is in charge for cutting out those bits and pieces where there are pauses or mistakes that are supposed to help the story flow smoothly. That is why I gave the generous 2. I can’t fault someone for making a mistake in the narration, when whomever edits is supposed to cut those parts out.

Even though I enjoyed the books, I think the narrator may be a miss for some people. That is why I give a narrator rating as well. The story was great, fast paced, never dull, and action packed. It is uniquely original in a sea full of the same styles of stories.

I look forward to watching the chemistry between Starry Night and Wingdinger unfold. I have my guesses of who Starry Night is, and am anxiously waiting until her identity is revealed. I have a sneaky suspicion that Dinger is not going to be too thrilled. I wont give away who I think it is, because I think readers and listeners should make their guesses themselves, because it is highly entertaining!! I also hope that there is more development in the Seven Deadly Sinisters and Orpheus. They are very intriguing and I look forward to learning more of their back story (hopefully) throughout the series.

 

 

Posted in YA Book Reviews

Slumbering

24263233

Slumbering by C.S. Johnson

Rating 5 stars

I received a copy of Slumbering in exchange for an honest review.

Slumbering is an uniquely, original, YA epic fantasy about a teenage boy that learns he was once a warrior for a Star Prince and at some point was sent to earth where he became human until his powers unlocked. As such, this story is about his “acceptance ” of responsibility for his role to fight off evil demons and protect his friends and community (the latter more so out of obligation than desire).

Even though I have given the book 5 stars, I absolutely cannot stand Hamilton Dinger. He makes the story hard to get into because he is so narcissistic it makes the story as a whole almost unbearable. Dinger thinks he is God’s gift to humanity (even though he would not agree that he was God’s gift…just a gift to everyone through nature ). So why the 5 stars? Because I couldn’t put it down and I found myself secretly hoping he gets it together and stops being such an asshat.

The book is a fairly quick read and flows well. It is also a completely original epic fantasy YA, which is hard to come by these days. It offers a unique story that is intriguing and will spark curiosity for the rest of the series and intrigue as to how this war will ultimately go down.

As much as I can’t stand Dinger, I am hoping he has a lot of character development that makes him a more likable super hero. It is entirely unfortunate that a jerk like him gets something so awesome and he continues to be arrogant. We all know what happens to arrogant superheroes.

The bulk of this story is to set up the characters in the story line, introduce some of the demons and what their end game is, as well as, portray Dinger as a jerk. Honestly, I don’t feel sorry for anything that happens to Dinger.

If you are curious about this book and would be interested in reading it for yourself (which I recommend) you can check it out: Amazon

Keep posted as I am currently listening to the next installment of the story!

Posted in YA Book Reviews

Geekerella

30724132

Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars

Actual Rating: 4.5 stars

 

Geekerella is a modern-day Cinderella fairytale featuring Danielle, or Ella, who resides with her “stepmonster” and evil twin step-sisters. This book has everything from teen heart throbs, bloggers, CONS, witchy evil characters who are mean, and moments that touch the reader’s heart.

The great thing about this book is the total geekiness/fandom the story provides. First, it is a retelling of Cinderella. Ella does everything in the house, while trying to retain memories of her deceased parents. Ella tries to actively keep their memory alive, while the Stepmonster tries desperately to squash it out of Ella like some fly buzzing around a summer cake. Second, it has a mysterious budding friendship between Ella and THE Darien Freeman, who in this story, is kind of a big deal. Ella cannot stand that Mr. Heartthrob with insured abs is cast as the lead character in Starfield, Carmindor. She rants and raves about it on her blog…needless to say…Darien actually texts Ella thinking she is her father and the two have a budding friendship, with developing feelings. And the kicker… he has no clue she is THE Reblegunner blogger squashing his name in this role, and she has no clue he is Darien Freeman.

Of course, there are twists, and turns, and Ella goes to the ball, and then is grounded until death. But the adventures are fun and it turns into being a cute story that leaves the reader with feelings of joy and delight.

This story is an easy read, the whole book flew by pretty quickly. I like when books are just easy. Having said that, I wish there were a bit more challenges for Ella to overcome. Sure, glass slippers, and hopelessly devoted Carmindors are searching the States for Ella to confess their young love to, but I wish some of the interactions between “Stepmonster”, Catherine, and Ella were more indicative of the crap relationship enslaving Ella. Sure, Catherine is a witch with a capital B, but Ella was a spitfire and sometimes talked back. So I wanted MORE to go down between the two of them. Also, the last chapter or two, just breezed by eight months later…and I wish that was also a bit more dramatic than what it is lead to believe. The book follows the POV of Darien and Ella, and sometimes it focused too much on the little things, so when the drama did happen, it fizzled pretty quickly and didn’t pack quite the punch it could have. BUT. It was still a cute story, and I am still giving a decent rating. It was still entertaining, and one part in particular really had me teary. And when a book makes me cry, it gets a higher rating. We all need an ugly cry from time to time.

Finally, I loved what the book means for nerd girls. Ella was this nerdy girl who really thought she was a nobody throughout the ENTIRE story. It took all of her challenges she did go through like befriending a moody coworker, helping create a cosplay costume, dealing with stepmonster and the evil twins, introducing others to the glory of Starfield, and making unconventional friends from the stars. In Darien’s case, he sometimes came off whiney and I am not sure why it took him so long to take a stand. I felt that the drama between him and Brian could have been better written because it read weird. But I liked Darien. Closet geek. Those are the best.

And remember, look to the stars. Aim. Ignite.

Posted in YA Book Reviews

Untamed

33526691

Untamed by Madeline Dyer

Rating: 5 Stars

 

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. These are opinions are my own and I have not been paid for them.

Untamed was an interesting read. Not necessarily a bad kind of interesting, I am giving it 5 stars, but very interesting. It was a very unique take on a dark dystopian, especially when it is getting harder to be original in the dystopian genre.

The story is a fast read, and predictable for many aspects (I do not think this is necessarily a bad thing, because when other’s find out, it is pretty spectacular). Untamed has violent, graphic material, so if you do not like books in the YA genre that have death, killing, etc, in it, then this book may not be for you.

Seven is an Untamed. She feels, thinks, and sees untainted, unlike the Enhanced who only feel positive emotions and are supposed to be the top of the life chain as superior beings. An unfortunate event results in Seven’s capture and change to an Enhanced. She is however rescued from the Enhanced compound by her village, however many are disgusted because she is no longer untamed. While sleeping in her family’s hut, she dreams of a series of events and a bison in the sky. This indicates she is a Seer, which earns more leers and distrust from the village. The Enhanced come searching for Seven because she is a strong Seer and want her on their side. This sets of the whirlwind of adventures for Seven and some of her untamed village. 

As a note, I would advise against developing any attachments to any characters, as many die. This book is well developed with a clear plot line. The end left me curious about what will happen in book 2. The characters are enjoyable and easy to connect to. Seven is in an interesting situation where she is not quite enhanced yet no longer fully untamed. Eventually, she has to pick a side…which one will it be?

This book can easily be read in a day. It keeps the reader sucked in and is pretty fast paced from the very beginning. I look forward to continuing with Seven’s journey in future books. I am glad to have had the opportunity to read Untamed as it was very enjoyable and well worth the read. 

Posted in YA Book Reviews

RoseBlood

28818314

RoseBlood by A.G. Howard

Goodreads Rating: 3 stars

Actual Rating: 2.5 stars

 

RoseBlood came to me via one of my OwlCrate boxes. I immediately started to read it because I had enjoyed Howard’s Splintered so much, I just knew RoseBlood had to be just as good. Well, this was sort of a miss for me. I have never read or even watched The Phantom of the Opera so I know some things may be lost on me. I was intrigued by the story and had been looking forward to reading it when I first received it.

I want to end on a positive note with my book review, so I will start with what I didn’t like. The pace was not great. It was so slow starting out that it wasn’t until about halfway through the book, things got exciting. Also, completely pace related, but the climax of the story was kind of anti-climatic for me. The entire culmination of events happened in a few short pages, and then the last 10ish or so pages was how Rune dealt with the aftermath. Also, at the end, all is forgiven…and I can’t seem to wrap my head around it. Finally, the ink is red. This may seem like such a small minute detail, but it often hurt my eyes and I would constantly have to focus harder on the words. I get that it was supposed to enhance the eeriness and nostalgia to the story, but it got to be uncomfortable.

So things that I liked. I really enjoyed the budding relationship between Etalon and Rune. I wish I could have had more Etalon than was given. I am glad for how it ended, and would have been distraught had the ending been different. I would love to read a story about Etalon, but more exciting than RoseBlood. I liked Rune, even though I wished her history was a bit more beefed up. I really liked Aunt Catherine and wished she had a larger role during the story…she had a larger role at the end, but would have been nice to have her around more. I mean, I understand why, without giving any spoilers, but I still would have liked it. I feel she could have added some comic relief when needed :).  As a reader, it is important to feel the connection between Etalon and Rune, because, as the story infers, it is electric and intense. I felt that way reading their interactions. This is the biggest reason I rated up instead of down.

 

Posted in YA Book Reviews

Soulmated

33978562

Soulmated by Shaila Patel

Goodreads rating: 5 Stars

 

I received a copy of Soulmated from the author in exchange for an honest review. I was not paid for this review. These opinions are my own.

 

Soulmated is the story about an Empath (someone who is often sensitive and affected by the energy or emotions of others around them) prince, Liam, who is on a quest to find The One in which he will become Soulmated with. The two would then become very powerful in the Empath community, of which there are MANY in the Council and even Elders who are leary of Liam finding a Soulmate because of the power the couple will have. Liam is searching for a female who his dad has visions about, someone on the cusp of becoming an Empath herself. Which leads him to a small town in North Carolina, where he meets Laxshmi, or,  “Lucky.” The two go on one hell of an adventure which takes the reader on a wild and emotional ride.

This book will literally steal your heart and capture your soul. This book left me so hungover, I felt like a junkie desperately searching for my next fix. This book left me so shattered, I couldn’t breathe, see, or think after I finished. The last time I felt this raw after a book was when I read I’m Still Here in 2014.

The story is very beautifully written, making the reader feel every raw emotion. It was such an easy read, but didn’t feel “simple” at all. I like to do most of my ratings on how I feel or connect with a book, and this book just sucked me in. I was a goner from the very beginning. It is one of those stories I want everyone to read because it is so great, but also want to keep it all to myself like a jealous lover (I will rip off a ladybug’s wings, I swear it, I will) afraid to let anyone else close.

This book can be enjoyed by high school and older. It is a young adult, but does not feel “kiddish” like some young adult books can come off like. I didn’t find myself frustrated with Lucky and her constantly wallowing in her head. I think Patel really wrote the story in such a way that it didn’t put the story down because the character couldn’t stop questioning every little action….because of what Lucky was experiencing, it made the constant self-doubt very understandable and acceptable. I loved reading the changes in Liam as he grew towards Lucky. I equally loved reading how Lucky really came into herself.

I LOVED Lucky’s mom…I know Lucky and her mom are constantly at war with each other, but I really enjoyed her. My one real qualm with the book is the Indian terminology used, not because there were Indian terms in it, but because for majority of the terms used, I had no idea what it was and my Kindle would not translate it, or would give a translation to some other word that I knew was not correct because it wouldn’t fit with the sentence. There also was not a dictionary of those terms that I could find in the book, which may have been helpful, especially because they appeared to be slang terms. I didn’t knock down the rating for this primarily because I didn’t feel like not knowing the terms took away from the story. Some of the words were types of endearment, and some were directed towards people, but I didn’t understand why, and that was mainly it.

So, as a recap….find the book Here on Amazon and give it a go!!!! Seriously!!

Posted in YA Book Reviews

The Seafarer’s Kiss

32890474

The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember

Goodreads rating: 4 stars

Actual rating: 3.5 stars

 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I would like to think the author for this opportunity.

 

The Seafarer’s Kiss is a retelling of the Little Mermaid, and though this story is largely about mermaids, I feel it is more accurate that this tale is a retelling of Ursula. I say this largely on my knowledge of Disney’s version. Similarities between The Seafarer’s Kiss and The Little Mermaid include: The Little Mermaid and Ersel (The Seafarer’s Kiss) both saving a human from a shipwreck, they both desperately want to leave their underwater kingdom for the land, their love of all things human, and both stories have a Sea Witch (in The Seafarer’s Kiss, the Sea Witch is Loki).

Ersel (sounds like Ursula, doesn’t it??) is not a princess. She is anxiously waiting The Grading, where someone from Aegir’s court comes and determines the mermaids who come of age’s fertility and how many children “eggs” they can hatch to keep the population up. Once the number is released, this number follows them forever. If the number is high, then the males began fighting for them as mates. Ersel is desperately afraid and her dream is to leave the icy glacier their kingdom is situated and experience the rest of the world. Prior to The Grading, she meets and protects and young woman named Ragna, which she falls in love with. Eventually, she is found by her former friend, who betrayed her becoming a guard for the evil king, and is informed that she no longer had a choice but to become her mate. After The Grading, she makes a deal with Loki, knowing she should not. This deal went awry and she was turned into a “monster,” her fins turned into legs similar to Ursula’s. In order to prevent any potential spoilers, she is banished and takes up residence in a boat that has been shipwrecked since Ersel was a child. Loki visits her again to strike up a new deal in order to get her fins back, or something else she desires. Ersel then moves forward in the story with this new deal in mind.

I will not give away the end, but the second part of this story was much better than the first part. I felt that the story was a bit boring prior to Ersel’s banishment. I felt the relationship with Ragna came off kind of forced (from a writer perspective, not that Ersel was forced into a relationship by Ragna), specifically the intimate interactions the two encountered together. I also had a hard time connecting with any particular character and I felt disappointed with the end of the story.

Even though I feel this story is 3.5 overall, I still gave it a 4 star rating because I felt the retelling was a very unique aspect. I felt the imagery of the story was great, and for the  most part, I could visualize along with the story’s narrator. I especially liked the Norse aspect of included in the story. By the end of the story, I still thought this would be a great segue into Ursula/Sea Witch territory for a retelling!

This story is a pretty quick read and flows easily. It is just over 200 pages and can be easily knocked out in a day, depending on the kind of time a reader has to give it. I do wish it was a bit longer, in order to add more into the story to help connect, but if there is a sequel, I will definitely read it. At the end of the day, I would recommend this to others. Just because I did not connect, does not mean others will not. A lot of people really enjoy the book, I just wish there was more and felt parts a bit boring and hard to get through. I enjoyed the author’s writing style, which is important as well.