The White Rose by Amy Ewing

the-white-roseTitle: The White Rose
Author: Amy Ewing
Series: The Lone City
Publisher: HarperTeen
Published: October 6th, 2015
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5)

Quick Look: I enjoyed The Jewel, but wasn’t blown away. I hoped The White Rose would give more information on the world the story is set in, and it did do that. It also explored the fantasy aspects a little more, which I was glad to read. The romance still felt stiff and sometimes the pacing was a little off, but it was a decent sequel that set up the conclusion well. Continue reading

The Jewel by Amy Ewing

the-jewelTitle: The Jewel
Author: Amy Ewing
Series: The Lone City
Publisher: HarperTeen
Published: September 2nd, 2014
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Quick Look: I had wavered on reading this series, worried that it would struggle to find a cohesive way to bring together a struggling world, a fight between classes, and a romance. In the end, it was an entertaining read but could have used a little more development of characters and relationships. Continue reading

New Review: Deliverance by C.J. Redwine

Title: Deliverance
Author: C.J. Redwine
Series: Couriers Daughter Trilogy
Rating: ★★★★★


I have been anticipating this book for a while. Defiance and Deception set the bar high, but I had faith that Redwine would deliver. Something about how well she crafted the characters and created the world made me believe she would be able to not only meet my expectations, but also surpass them. With Deliverance, she did.

Creating a wonderful romance, and then separating the characters might put off some people. It could show the characters’ weaknesses, or even turn them from characters I once loved to characters I find annoying. Yet when Redwine did it, I saw the reasoning. I saw how Rachel wasn’t ready to face Logan yet. I understood how Logan needed to do this on his own first. Their romance was sweet and wonderful first. Deliverance is what made them real.

The rest of the story kept me guessing. These characters constantly found themselves taking one step forward, only to be shoved three steps back. Just when they think they’ve got a plan, someone throws a wrench and their plan has to change. Separately, Logan and Rachel are working with friends to reach an ultimate goal of destroying the tech that controls the Cursed One and removing the Commander from his power.

I think the most interesting thing about Deliverance is that Redwine takes the villainous characters, characters that you don’t want to like, and makes them relatable. You see that the Commander has his weaknesses and vulnerabilities. You see what him the man he is in the story. People aren’t born evil, and Redwine shows that.

I’m sad to see the Defiance series end. I’ve fallen in love with Rachel and Logan. I want to have friends like Quinn and Willow. As much as I wish there was more story to tell though, Deliverance ended the way it should. The story had reached its end and the characters were ready to move on. Deliverance is one of the best examples of how to end a series that I’ve ever read. Definitely put this entire series on your “To Read” list.

If you think Deliverance sounds like a good read, you can purchase a copy here:
Barnes and Noble

Thank you to Edelweiss and Balzer + Bray for an advance copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings

Title: The Murder Complex
Author: Lindsay Cummings
Series: The Murder Complex
Rating: ★★★★

The Murder Complex

I’m a little weird about blood and killing. It doesn’t bother me, really, but gratuitous amounts of it annoy me. So I was a little hesitant that a book with the title The Murder Complex would be one of those books that would overdo it on the killing. And I won’t lie, there is death and blood and killing. But it didn’t feel like it was killing for the sake of it. I enjoyed this book quite a bit.

Meadow lives with her sister, brother, and father on a houseboat. They are getting by on the serving or rations her father earns, but they need more. She has been trained by her father her entire life to protect herself through any means necessary and uses those skills to earn a job in the city. One evening, she comes across a dying Zephyr and for a reason she can’t quite explain, she stops and helps to save his life. From that point on, their lives are intertwined.

Meadow is a fighter. She doesn’t show weakness. It’s the only way to try and survive in the world. When the murder rate is higher than the birth rate, one must always be ready to fight. Her family, however, is her soft spot. She can take any beating, fight any enemy, but her family is where to hit her hardest. I liked Meadow, and I liked her moxie, but I want to see a little more depth of character. She’s got a great beginning and I have hopes that she’ll develop a little more as the series progresses.

I’m not sure about Zephyr. He’s not really my kind of guy, but he works with the story. He’s lived a life of struggles, and has a past that he doesn’t even understand. My only problem with his character has to do with a problem I find common in a lot of novels. The idea of instant love. And granted he has dreamed of a girl like Meadow for a while, but to love a dream of a person is different than loving a person. I’m hoping this idea is explored more going forward.

The story of The Murder Complex is something I haven’t read before. In the genre of dystopian fiction, there can be a lot of repetition or an author can try to be so different that it borders on the unbelievable. Cummings writes a world that paints a dire picture of the world, but adds a unique spin. I’m definitely intrigued by this world and am looking forward to more.

The Murder Complex is a new take on a bleak future. The characters are interesting and have room for growth. This is a series beginning that gives promise of good things to come.

If The Murder Complex sounds like a book you’d like to read, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Thank you to Edelweiss and Greenwillow Books for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

Review: After the End by Amy Plum

Title: After the End
Author: Amy Plum
Series: After the End
Rating: ★★★

I fell in love with Plum’s first series. It had the perfect mix of romance and action. I would swoon on one page, and then be engrossed in a fight on the next page. After the End is a little different. It’s not the same type of story, and I’m thankful for it. This novel and her other series do have one thing in common, though. In both, Plum creates two vastly different worlds existing together but without knowing about the other. When the two worlds are finally reviled to each other, what unravels is amazing.

Juneau has lived her entire life isolated in the Alaskan wilderness. World War III has destroyed the rest of the Earth, save for her clan and a few other people. She knows how to live off the land and has a special connection with the Earth. She has never questioned the story of how her clan came to be. When she is out hunting one day, she hears a dangerous sound. Believing her clan is in danger, she races back to her home. When she arrives, every person is gone, the only clues to their location coming from Juneau connecting to the Yara, the power that fills everything on Earth.

Miles is in trouble. His admittance to college is in jeopardy and his father thinks very little of him. When Miles stumbles across the opportunity to earn back his father’s favor, he jumps at the chance.

That is how the two characters meet.

Juneau is learning just how much of her life has been a lie. World War III never happened. The world continued to evolve as her clan stayed frozen in time. The world is overwhelming and she’s not sure where she can turn. The people she trusted most in her life lied to her. She doesn’t know how to behave in the current world. She’s questioning everything she knows. She’s a fantastic character that is the perfect mix of bravery, innocence, and maturity. I loved that she holds onto her values, even when confronted with how much the world has changed. She might not understand the world, but she understands herself. She’s still learning, but she’s determined to find her own way.

I didn’t really like Miles to begin with. I understood his reasons, but it felt a little strange to me that he didn’t see a problem with using a girl to get back into his father’s good graces. But as the story progressed, and he started to realize what he was doing, I started to like him more. He started to see Juneau as a person and not just a means to an end. I was extremely pleased with his character growth from the beginning to the end of the novel.

The cliffhanger is horrible. I was getting closer and closer to the end and I was desperately hoping that there would be just a page or two more. But Plum ended After the End at exactly the best and worst spot. I desperately want to know what happens next.

If After the End sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperTeen for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Salvage by Alexandra Duncan

Title: Salvage
Author: Alexandra Duncan
Rating: ★★★

I had really high hopes for this book. I’m not usually into science fiction novels, but the idea behind this one had me really interested. A girl forced to give up everything she knows to have a chance at life in a place that might kill her? I really wanted to read that. Unfortunately, there were just pieces that took me out of the novel.

Ava is the captain’s daughter on the merchant ship Parastrata. Even with her high connections, life for females isn’t great on the ship. They are expected to be quiet, demure, unquestioning girls who do what they are told and don’t hope for anything more. They aren’t taught to read, write, or do math. They are to tend the animals, take care of clothing, and have babies. The men are the only ones who can fix things, who can navigate a ship, or visit Earth. When Ava finds herself facing death, she decides to fight as hard as she can. She ends up coming to Earth and discovering that sharing blood doesn’t always mean family.

Ava tries hard, I’ll give her that. She makes mistakes, but instead of letting them shut her down, she finds a way to deal with the consequences. She’s been prepared for 17 years for a fate of babies and marriage, with little hope for anything else. It’s completely understandable that she has a hard time adjusting to life on Earth, where females aren’t controlled to the same degree, where they can learn and express themselves. She did have some growth when it came to this, but I wish there was a little more shown of her progression. She questions herself so much through the novel and at the very end, she’s changed. I would have liked to see a little more of the in-between moments that made her realize that the life she had before was not for her.

There’s a little romance in this novel, but it’s not the main point. It’s about Ava discovering family, both blood and chosen, and learning how she fits into the world. She leaves behind every person she knows, the people she thought were her family, and she discovers several people who actually care for her. I loved this angle of the story. It highlighted the importance of having people who care, who want to help, instead of people who simply share blood. Family is not completely genetic; it’s the people who love and care for every piece of you, not only the parts them deem acceptable.

I wish there was a little more explanation of the world. There’s a new way of speaking introduced, new worlds created, different cultures everywhere. It took me out of the novel a bit to try and figure all of this out. A little more background would have done wonders, in my opinion, and would have allowed me to enjoy the novel even more.

Salvage is a unique, female-driven science fiction novel. It’s something that can be difficult to find, but when it’s done right, it’s amazing. Salvage comes close to being amazing, but there are a few places where it falls a little flat. A little background and explanation would have made this book near perfection. If you’re a fan of science fiction, you’ll likely enjoy this book. If the genre isn’t usually your cup of tea, Salvage probably won’t be able to change your mind.

If Salvage sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Thank you to Edelweiss and Greenwillow Books for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Elusion by Claudia Gabel

Title: Elusion
Author: Claudia Gabel
Rating: ★★★

Elusion had me interested as soon as I read the description. This is a future world that I can picture. One where the world is a mess and people are looking to escape. Elusion gives people the ability to leave the real world and enter a place where everything feels good. It’s a great science fiction story that falls a little flat in some areas.

Regan’s father is the creator of Elusion, a collection of devices that take the user to a world where nothing hurts and everything is good. Her best friend Patrick is her father’s protégé, working together to create the devices and programs. Even though Regan should be close to the project, her father never included her much in the process, and now that he’s died, she is even less knowledgeable about the program. So when allegations are made against Elusion and its possible addictive side effects come to light, all Regan knows is she needs to defend her father since he can’t defend himself.

Regan has possibility. She wasn’t the strongest character in the beginning, but I can see her growing. She’s no longer taking a backseat; she’s fighting for a voice. She loses her mind around Josh a bit, but she’s also a teenager. Teens tend to do that. She’s not my favorite heroine I’ve read, but she does hold promise to grow.

I have some of the same issues with Josh. I feel like we know him on the surface, but there’s so much more we could know. He’s interesting and obviously good-looking, but I feel like we could dig so much deeper into his character. There’s nothing really wrong with him, but his character was missing some pieces.

The storyline itself drew me right in. It’s something different. I would have liked a little bit more world building, but it wasn’t vital to understand the story. The environment was secondary to the Elusion program. The state of the world was only important because it explained why people were so eager to escape.

Elusion has promise, but it didn’t quite live up to expectations. It was good, but it had the potential to be great. I’ll definitely read whatever comes next. This is a good read, but don’t expect to be absolutely blown away. Gabel’s writing gets stronger as the book goes on, so I have hopes for the next piece of the story.

If Elusion sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Thank you to Edelwiess and Katherine Tegen Books for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.