Book Review: All We Have Is Now by Lisa Schroeder

Book Review: All We Have Is Now by Lisa SchroederAll We Have Is Now by Lisa Schroeder
Published by Scholastic on July 28, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 272
Source: Blog Tour, Publisher
Goodreads
4 Stars
What do you do with your last day on earth?

Just over twenty-four hours are left until an asteroid strikes North America, and for Emerson and everyone else who didn't leave, the world will end. But Emerson's world already ended when she ran away from home. Since then, she has lived on the streets, relying on her wits and on her friend Vince to help her find places to sleep and food to eat.

The city's quieter now that most people are gone, and no one seems to know what to do as the end approaches. But then Emerson and Vince meet Carl, who tells them he has been granting people's wishes -- and gives them his wallet full of money.

Suddenly, this last day seems full of possibility. Emerson and Vince can grant a lot of wishes in one last day -- maybe even their own.

all we have is now by lisa schroeder blog tour

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for ALL WE HAVE IS NOW by Lisa Schroeder. This tour is hosted by CBB Book Promotions and you can visit all the stops here. After my review, there’s a tour-wide giveaway, and also my answer for Make-A-Wish-for-the-Apocalypse.

Book Review:

ALL WE HAVE IS NOW asks one important question: what would you do with your last day on earth? What if you knew an asteroid was going to wipe out North America — would you spend your last day with loved ones, righting wrongs, or hiding? Or would you do something else?

Emerson and Vince, two homeless teenagers, don’t want to wait the last few hours until the end. They’re about to take their end into their own hands when they meet Carl, who has spent his time granting wishes to people. Helping them do something they’d always wanted to, but hadn’t for one reason or another. Carl grants Vince’s wish of having money, and asks that the two pay it forward if possible.

Emerson and Vince have been concerned with surviving on the streets for so long that they’ve forgotten how to really live, how to enjoy themselves. But as they grant wishes and help people, their own wounds start to heal. ALL WE HAVE IS NOW is a hopeful story about the end of the world, one that shows how important human connections can be at the end. I like that the book tries to remind the reader that it’s important to live in the moment and enjoy yourself, rather than always looking to the future.

ALL WE HAVE IS NOW also follows Carl, and I liked that while the book is young adult, we also get the perspective of an adult. It was good to see how he felt about events compared to how Emerson and Vince felt. I was a little let down by the ending, which was too open for me, but overall I liked the message and tone of the book. I think it’s hard for a book about the impending end of North America to be uplifting, but the author accomplished it.

Make-A-Wish-for-the-Apocalypse

Make-A-Wish-for-the-Apocalypse- There’s just a little over 24 hours until a meteor is scheduled to hit the US. What do you wish for?

Okay, so I wish I could say I’d go out and do something like Emerson and Vince. Or that I’d grant some wish of my own, of things I’ve always wanted to do but never did. But in reality? I’d probably just stay in my house all day. Maybe read some of those books on my TBR pile that I’ve always wanted to read, but haven’t. Or maybe I’d read old favorites, so I’d be assured of enjoying a good book before the end. Or maybe I’d take a nap so I wouldn’t have to count down the hours. Yeah, I’m exciting, aren’t I?

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author:

all we have is now author lisa schroederLisa Schroeder is the author of over a dozen books for kids and teens, including the YA novels I Heart You, You Haunt Me and The Bridge From Me to You. She loves tea and cookies, flowers, family hikes, books and movies that make her laugh and cry, and sunshine. Living in Oregon, she doesn’t get nearly enough sunshine, but the hikes are amazing.

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Buy links: Amazon | B&N

– leeanna

Book Review: Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan

Book Review: Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie RyanDaughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan
Published by Dutton Books for Young Readers on May 26, 2015
Genres: Romance, Thriller, Young Adult
Pages: 375
Format: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine
Goodreads
1 Stars
I’m the daughter of murdered parents.
I’m the friend of a dead girl.
I’m the lover of my enemy.
And I will have my revenge.


In the wake of the devastating destruction of the luxury yacht Persephone, just three souls remain to tell its story—and two of them are lying. Only Frances Mace knows the terrifying truth, and she’ll stop at nothing to avenge the murders of everyone she held dear. Even if it means taking down the boy she loves and possibly losing herself in the process.

Sharp and incisive, Daughter of Deep Silence by bestselling author Carrie Ryan is a deliciously smart revenge thriller that examines perceptions of identity, love, and the lengths to which one girl is willing to go when she thinks she has nothing to lose.

Book Review:

The summary for DAUGHTER OF DEEP SILENCE makes it sound like the kind of book I’d love. Frances is one of the few survivors of the destruction of the Persephone; more importantly, she’s the only survivor who’s willing to face the truth of what happened. The two other survivors, a Senator and his son, claim a rogue wave destroyed the ship, but Frances knows everyone on board was murdered at gunpoint. After rescue, she takes on the identity of Libby O’Martin, a girl she met on the ship. Frances is determined to get revenge for the murders of her parents and the life she lost.

Fast forward four years. Frances has seamlessly become Libby, and now she’s out to destroy the Senator and his son for covering up the truth about the Persephone. The only snag in her plan? The Senator’s son – Grey – is her first love. They also met on the ship, and somehow fell in love in a few days. When she sees him again, Frances is torn between her revenge and loving Grey.

I found DAUGHTER OF DEEP SILENCE skewed too far in the unbelievable romance direction for me to enjoy the book at all. I wanted to put the book aside by page 8, after I read, “It didn’t matter that I’d known him barely a week, it had been long enough to fall for him with an intensity I’d never experienced before (p. 8).” Okay, I get that they’re both fourteen at the time, and swept away by each other, but when Frances encounters him years later? When she’s putting her revenge plans underway? She’s pretty much in love with him all over again, and the Frances part of her that’s hiding inside the Libby disguise wants to throw all caution to the wind and be loved again. To top that off, I’m not sure why Frances liked Grey at first — maybe because he was the first boy that showed her attention? I don’t know. You can’t just tell me that they fell in love in a few days and it’s a “relationship” that overcomes her desire to get revenge for the murder of her parents and hundreds of other people.

DAUGHTER OF DEEP SILENCE requires a lot of suspension of disbelief: that Libby and Frances looked enough alike for Frances to assume Libby’s identity; that Frances and Grey fell in love at first sight; that Frances can carry out such a complicated revenge plot without any real experience; etc., etc. I also found the author’s writing style to be somewhat stilted, with lots of telling that didn’t add to the suspense for me. The pace was super slow, and I skimmed a lot of the book because I just wasn’t interested in what was going on. The only reason I kept reading? I wanted to find out why everyone on the Persephone was murdered. But even that wasn’t too interesting. I wish I’d gone with my instincts and put DAUGHTER OF DEEP SILENCE down after the first few chapters.

Socialize with the author:

Carrie Ryan:
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– leeanna

Book Review: Half a War by Joe Abercrombie

Book Review: Half a War by Joe AbercrombieHalf a War by Joe Abercrombie
Series: Shattered Sea #3
Published by Del Rey on July 28, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine
Goodreads
4 Stars
Words are weapons

Princess Skara has seen all she loved made blood and ashes. She is left with only words. But the right words can be as deadly as any blade. She must conquer her fears and sharpen her wits to a lethal edge if she is to reclaim her birthright.

Only half a war is fought with swords

The deep-cunning Father Yarvi has walked a long road from crippled slave to king’s minister. He has made allies of old foes and stitched together an uneasy peace. But now the ruthless Grandmother Wexen has raised the greatest army since the elves made war on God, and put Bright Yilling at its head – a man who worships no god but Death.

Sometimes one must fight evil with evil

Some – like Thorn Bathu and the sword-bearer Raith – are born to fight, perhaps to die. Others – like Brand the smith and Koll the wood-carver – would rather stand in the light. But when Mother War spreads her iron wings, she may cast the whole Shattered Sea into darkness.

Book Review:

I loved the first two books in the Shattered Sea trilogy: HALF A KING and HALF THE WORLD. So to say I was looking forward to the conclusion, HALF A WAR, is an understatement. I like my fantasy dark and gritty, and Joe Abercrombie certainly delivers on that — and the Viking feel of the series doesn’t hurt, either.

HALF A WAR is the perfect title for this book, because half the war against the High King is fought in battle and the other half is fought with words. The two main characters of HALF A WAR each fight in their own way. Princess Skara, who loses her family and country to the High King’s men can only use words and her cunning to save what’s left of Throvenland. Raith, Grom-gil-Gorm’s sword bearer, only wants to fight and surrender to battle lust.

I can’t quite put my finger on why, but I didn’t enjoy HALF A WAR as much as the other two books. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. I think it’s that Skara and Raith weren’t as strong for me as Yarvi and Thorn. Yarvi and Thorn are in HALF A WAR, and I did like seeing Yarvi’s machinations through Skara’s eyes, but … I don’t know. I just didn’t connect with Skara and Raith and Koll (Father Yarvi’s apprentice), which is probably why I wasn’t as into this book, as I’m a character-driven reader.

I did appreciate that the author included a few more hints about the elves. Their weapons play an important role, and I had a moment when I put everything together.

My expectations were high going into HALF A WAR, and while they weren’t quite met, I still enjoyed the book. I like that this trilogy considers what revenge and vengeance can lead to and the effects of war on the average person.

Let’s talk about it:

What do you think about each book in a trilogy having a different set of main characters?

Socialize with the author:

Joe Abercrombie:
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– leeanna

Book Review: About a Girl by Sarah McCarry

Book Review: About a Girl by Sarah McCarryAbout a Girl by Sarah McCarry
Series: Metamorphoses #3
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on July 14, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Diversity, LGBT, Mythology, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 256
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
4 Stars
Eighteen-year-old Tally is absolutely sure of everything: her genius, the love of her adoptive family, the loyalty of her best friend, Shane, and her future career as a Nobel prize-winning astronomer. There's no room in her tidy world for heartbreak or uncertainty—or the charismatic, troubled mother who abandoned her soon after she was born. But when a sudden discovery upends her fiercely ordered world, Tally sets out on an unexpected quest to seek out the reclusive musician who may hold the key to her past—and instead finds Maddy, an enigmatic and beautiful girl who will unlock the door to her future. The deeper she falls in love with Maddy, the more Tally begins to realize that the universe is bigger—and more complicated—than she ever imagined. Can Tally face the truth about her family—and find her way home in time to save herself from its consequences?

Book Review:

Based on the cover and summary, I thought ABOUT A GIRL was a contemporary romance about two girls falling in love. That’s somewhat accurate, but there’s also a strong fantasy/mythological element I didn’t expect, which turned out to be my favorite part of the book.

ABOUT A GIRL is the third in a trilogy. Each book is about different characters, so I wasn’t lost. From reading the summaries of the other books, ALL OUR PRETTY SONGS and DIRTY WINGS, I can see the stories are connected, but I didn’t feel like I needed to read those books to enjoy ABOUT A GIRL.

I really liked Tally. She reminded me somewhat of myself — a girl who has no trouble saying she’s smart, a girl who has her life mapped out, a girl who’s rocked to the core when something unexpected comes along and disrupts all her plans. In Tally’s case, it’s a sudden attraction to her best friend Shane. As Tally considers attraction and feelings an inconvenience, it’s quite annoying she can’t ignore her new feelings.

After a fumble with Shane, the mysterious Mr. M sends Tally on a quest to find her possible birth father. But when Tally gets to there, to a place that’s utterly unlike New York City, she’s swept away by Maddy. Another inconvenient romance — but this time Tally’s ready.

One of my big complaints with YA novels is instalove — all too often characters declare they love each other within pages of meeting. Rarely do authors realistically explore the gamut of feelings that can result from sudden attraction. Sarah McCarry does a stellar job of it here, combining the heady feelings of first loves with a mythical, what’s happening here setting. I was never 100% sure of what was going on, and usually that’s something I don’t like, but I enjoyed every page of the ride in ABOUT A GIRL.

The author’s writing style won’t be for everyone, and I did have a bit of adjustment. I recommend checking out a sample if you’re unfamiliar with her work. Her writing is super descriptive, almost purple prose, but I really liked how she had such unique descriptions for everything from weather to sex. Reading ABOUT A GIRL is almost a WTF experience, but in a good way. A “is this really happening, yes it is, no it isn’t, everything is gorgeous and confusing and creative.”

Socialize with the author:

Sarah McCarry:
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– leeanna

Book Review: Star Wars: Dark Disciple by Christie Golden

Book Review: Star Wars: Dark Disciple by Christie GoldenDark Disciple by Christie Golden
Series: Star Wars
Published by LucasBooks on July 7, 2015
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
3 Stars
Based on unproduced scripts from the blockbuster TV show Star Wars: The Clone Wars!

The only way to bring down the dark side's most dangerous warrior may be for Jedi and Sith to join forces.

In the war for control of the galaxy between the armies of the dark side and the Republic, former Jedi Master turned ruthless Sith Lord Count Dooku has grown ever more brutal in his tactics. Despite the powers of the Jedi and the military prowess of their clone army, the sheer number of fatalities is taking a terrible toll. And when Dooku orders the massacre of a flotilla of helpless refugees, the Jedi Council feels it has no choice but to take drastic action: targeting the man responsible for so many war atrocities, Count Dooku himself.

But the ever-elusive Dooku is dangerous prey for even the most skilled hunter. So the Council makes the bold decision to bring both sides of the Force's power to bear—pairing brash Jedi Knight Quinlan Vos with infamous one-time Sith acolyte Asajj Ventress. Though Jedi distrust for the cunning killer who once served at Dooku's side still runs deep, Ventress's hatred for her former master runs deeper. She's more than willing to lend her copious talents as a bounty hunter—and assassin—to Vos's quest.

Together, Ventress and Vos are the best hope for eliminating Dooku—as long as the emerging feelings between them don't compromise their mission. But Ventress is determined to have her retribution and at last let go of her dark Sith past. Balancing the complicated emotions she feels for Vos with the fury of her warrior's spirit, she resolves to claim victory on all fronts—a vow that will be mercilessly tested by her deadly enemy . . . and her own doubt.

Book Review:

I’ve been a fan of the Star Wars Expanded Universe books for years, but I never got into the comics or Star Wars: The Clone Wars. So I didn’t have a lot of knowledge on Asajj Ventress or Quinlan Vos that I had to ignore, now that the EU is considered “Legends.” After finishing DARK DISCIPLE, I did go to Wookiepedia and read about both characters; if you are a huge fan of either, be prepared. There’s some definite changes.

DARK DISCIPLE was a mixed bag for me. I think Golden does a good job of developing Ventress and Vos and growing the relationship between them. The author also explores the consequences of the Jedi sending Vos on a mission to assassinate Count Dooku — is preserving one life worth the millions he’s killed? Lastly, I liked that Ventress shows Vos how there’s more than one aspect to the Dark Side.

But by the middle and especially the end, DARK DISCIPLE started slowing down for me. The characters flip flop allegiances without a lot of explanation, and the book drags. Ventress faded into the background, which I didn’t like. She’s the kind of character — morally ambiguous, flawed, powerful — that I want to see more of. I feel like Vos got way more page time, which I didn’t enjoy, since some of the important stuff that happened with him we didn’t get to see. I hate being told about important events — I want to read them for myself!

I really did not like the ending. I can’t say why, because that would be a huge spoiler, but it verged into a bad trope. I’m not sure if the ending was decided by the author, or written in the unproduced scripts the book is based on.

Socialize with the author:

Christie Golden:
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– leeanna

Book Review: A Royal Romance by Jenny Frame

Book Review: A Royal Romance by Jenny FrameA Royal Romance by Jenny Frame
Published by Bold Strokes Books on May 12, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, LGBT, Romance
Pages: 264
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
4 Stars
Georgina, Princess of Wales, has always known her destiny, but she never expected duty to call so soon. When her father dies suddenly, she is called back from her Royal Navy post to assume the crown. While the people acclaim their new Queen, Great Britain’s first openly gay monarch, all George feels is the isolation of her station.

Beatrice Elliot’s staunch anti-monarchist views have always been a point of gentle contention with her working class, royalty-loving parents. When Bea—director of a hospice charity—must spend six months working with Queen Georgina, her charity’s new patron, sparks fly and passion blooms. But is love enough to bridge the gap between Bethnal Green and Buckingham Palace?

Book Review:

I was looking forward to reading A ROYAL ROMANCE because I wanted to see how the author would pull off an openly gay monarch. The answer? Pretty easy and plausibly, in my opinion. The book is set in 2053, not too far in the future, but far enough that Great Britain adores Georgiana, and there’s medical advances to take care of that pesky heir issue.

George and Beatrice are thrown together when the new queen picks the charity where Bea works as her main charity leading up to her coronation. Bea isn’t happy that she’ll have to spend time with the Queen — she’s a republican and thinks the monarchy should be abolished. But of course, once the two start interacting on a personal level, and Bea sees that Queen Georgiana is much more caring and responsible than she expected. George, isolated by her position as monarch, finds Bea’s bluntness and honesty refreshing.

A ROYAL ROMANCE was a guilty pleasure read for me. It was just fun to see the relationship develop between George and Bea, to see George’s life as queen and Bea’s as a commoner. It was also refreshing to see that both of their families were encouraging, even when Bea doubted that things could work between them because of their class differences. I did think the ending was a tad rushed, considering all the buildup and back-and-forth on their relationship. But A ROYAL ROMANCE left me wanting a sequel, and romances don’t usually do that to me.

Socialize with the author:

Jenny Frame:
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– leeanna

Book Review: Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler

Book Review: Under the Lights by Dahlia AdlerUnder the Lights by Dahlia Adler
Series: Daylight Falls #2
Published by Spencer Hill Contemporary on June 30, 2015
Pages: 312
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
5 Stars
Josh Chester loves being a Hollywood bad boy, coasting on his good looks, his parties, his parents' wealth, and the occasional modeling gig. But his laid-back lifestyle is about to change. To help out his best friend, Liam, he joins his hit teen TV show, Daylight Falls ... opposite Vanessa Park, the one actor immune to his charms. (Not that he's trying to charm her, of course.) Meanwhile, his drama-queen mother blackmails him into a new family reality TV show, with Josh in the starring role. Now that he's in the spotlight—on everyone's terms but his own—Josh has to decide whether a life as a superstar is the one he really wants.

Vanessa Park has always been certain about her path as an actor, despite her parents' disapproval. But with all her relationships currently in upheaval, she's painfully uncertain about everything else. When she meets her new career handler, Brianna, Van is relieved to have found someone she can rely on, now that her BFF, Ally, is at college across the country. But as feelings unexpectedly evolve beyond friendship, Van's life reaches a whole new level of confusing. And she'll have to choose between the one thing she's always loved ... and the person she never imagined she could.

Book Review:

I am picky when it comes to contemporary. Very, very picky. I originally picked up UNDER THE LIGHTS because I knew it had a girl/girl relationship, and those are all too rare in YA/NA.

By the way, this is the second book in a series, but you don’t need to have read the first, BEHIND THE SCENES, because UNDER THE LIGHTS is Vanessa and Josh’s story, not Ally and Liam’s.

I got that relationship and so much more. Honestly, I was surprised at how deftly the author wove in many big important things, including:

♥ Diversity. Vanessa is Korean American. She’s part of the main cast for Daylight Falls — not to fulfill a racial quota, but because she’s a good actress. Her parents want her to quit playing around and go to college, get a real job. But she wants to be an idol to girls just like her. So when she realizes she’s attracted to Brianna, and that she might be gay…

♥ Sexuality. Vanessa’s not so sure she can survive in Hollywood being a minority and being gay. Parts just don’t exist when you fit into those slots. As it is, she’s typecast in movies as the med student or science nerd. Her boyfriend, Zander, has never made her tingle like Bri does, and he’s pushing for her to make a purity pledge so they can be even better role models. Meanwhile, Josh, the other main character, makes no apologies that he likes to have sex with a different girl every night. His sexuality is praised — a reality TV show wants to follow him around.

♥ Celebrity culture and expectations. Josh’s mom, an aging soap star, wants a reality TV show to replace her canceled show. The only condition? Her famous bad boy son must be a part of it. It’s totally okay for him to be a jerk to his fake girlfriend and woo girls in clubs. But for Vanessa? It’s not okay for her to even be seen in a club — it goes against her good girl image.

There’s so much good stuff in UNDER THE LIGHTS. I loved the author’s voices for both characters and her writing style. I was in a reading slump when I started this book, and it helped pull me out. On one level, UNDER THE LIGHTS is fun and includes some very yummy scenes between Vanessa and Bri — including a non fade-to-black sex scene. On another level, UNDER THE LIGHTS has great commentary and observations on so many important cultural and life issues.

UNDER THE LIGHTS has so much of what I want to see in YA and NA that I’ll be recommending the hell out of it. And reading everything else Dahlia Adler writes.

Socialize with the author:

Dahlia Adler:
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– leeanna

Book Review: Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley

Book Review: Circus Mirandus by Cassie BeasleyCircus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley
Published by Dial Books on June 2, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine
Goodreads
5 Stars
Fans of Big Fish, Peter Pan, and Roald Dahl will fall in love with Circus Mirandus, which celebrates the power of seeing magic in world.

Do you believe in magic?
Micah Tuttle does.

Even though his awful Great-Aunt Gertrudis doesn’t approve, Micah believes in the stories his dying Grandpa Ephraim tells him of the magical Circus Mirandus: the invisible tiger guarding the gates, the beautiful flying birdwoman, and the magician more powerful than any other—the Man Who Bends Light. Finally, Grandpa Ephraim offers proof. The Circus is real. And the Lightbender owes Ephraim a miracle. With his friend Jenny Mendoza in tow, Micah sets out to find the Circus and the man he believes will save his grandfather.

The only problem is, the Lightbender doesn't want to keep his promise. And now it's up to Micah to get the miracle he came for.

Book Review:

CIRCUS MIRANDUS is a magical book.

Yes, it’s about a magical circus, so you could assume some magic there, but there’s magic in the characters, the story, the relationships — everything, really. When I started reading this book, I was 14 chapters in before I knew it, and later I didn’t want to turn the last page.

CIRCUS MIRANDUS is a book you can read on a few levels. One, for kids to experience a fantastical circus and the power of relationships. Two, for adults to remember the power of magic and hopefully to think that believing in magic is a good thing, and to see how it can help anyone through tough times.

I think the most impactful thing I can say about this book is that it made me ugly cry at one point and left me filled with hope by the end. Very few books affect me emotionally, but CIRCUS MIRANDUS was one. Why? Everything about this book is fantastic and so well done.

I ached for Micah. At the start of the book, he’s facing the loss of his grandfather Ephraim, who is really more of a father to him. Aunt Gertrudis tries to keep them apart in their last days together, and gets angry any time they share their special stories of Circus Mirandus. Ephraim visited the circus as a youth, and was given a miracle. He’s hung onto it for years, but now is the time to use it — and Micah’s determined he’ll get to do so.

One little thing I especially loved about CIRCUS MIRANDUS was that we got to see the magic circus from both Ephraim and Micah’s eyes. I thought it really added to the book that the author included chapters from a young Ephraim, who went through something very similar to Micah.

I have so much love for CIRCUS MIRANDUS. My experience while reading was amazing, and I can’t recommend it enough.

Socialize with the author:

Cassie Beasley:
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– leeanna

Book Review: The Dungeoneers by John David Anderson

Book Review: The Dungeoneers by John David AndersonThe Dungeoneers by John David Anderson
Series: Dungeoneers #1
Published by Walden Pond Press on June 23, 2015
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Middle Grade
Pages: 448
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads
4 Stars
The Dungeoneers is an action-packed, funny, and heartbreaking middle grade fantasy-adventure from the author of the acclaimed Sidekicked and Minion, John David Anderson.

The world is not a fair place, and Colm Candorly knows it. While his parents and eight sisters seem content living on a lowly cobbler's earnings, Colm can't help but feel that everyone has the right to a more comfortable life. It's just a question of how far you're willing to go to get it.

In an effort to help make ends meet, Colm uses his natural gift for pickpocketing to pilfer a pile of gold from the richer residents of town, but his actions place him at the mercy of a mysterious man named Finn Argos, a gilded-toothed, smooth-tongued rogue who gives Colm a choice: he can be punished for his thievery, or he can become a member of Thwodin's Legions, a guild of dungeoneers who take what they want and live as they will. Colm soon finds himself part of a family of warriors, mages, and hunters, learning to work together in a quest to survive and, perhaps, to find a bit of treasure along the way.

Book Review:

THE DUNGEONEERS has a healthy helping of Dungeons and Dragons, a dash of Harry Potter, and a heaping spoonful of humor and fun. I ate this book up like candy — it was much better than the endless stew served at Thwodin’s Legion.

Colm Canderly has eight sisters who love to torment him (but they love him, too). But that’s not the worst of his problems. He’s from a poor family, and no matter how much cobbling work his father does, there’s never enough to go around. So one day, he decides to lift the purses of wealthy men … just to help the family, of course … but discovers he has a real talent for thievery. Naturally, his honest father isn’t happy, and insists Colm give the money back.

Enter Finn. A member of Thwodin’s Legion, a premiere dungeoning guild, Finn recognizes Colm’s talent, and offers him the opportunity of a lifetime. What twelve-year-old boy wouldn’t jump at the chance to make lots of gold, fight orcs, and get his name out there? At the guild hall, Colm is teamed up with his party, consisting of Lena the Barbarian (who faints at the sight of her own blood), Quinn the Mage (who stutters when he’s nervous, casting unpredictable spells), and Serene the Druid (who’s scared of animals with lots of teeth). They must learn to work together, balancing each others’ strengths and weaknesses, to survive in orc-infested, trap-laden dungeons.

THE DUNGEONEERS was a treat to read. A funny, well-written, fantastical middle grade book great for kids and adults. I do think it’s a tad long, as there are some chapters without a lot of action or story forwarding. But the characters are all developed — all unique, with their own personalities that expand beyond their party roles. I enjoyed watching their friendship grow, and watching them train together. I appreciated that the author put time into showing how a rogue might practice his skills.

THE DUNGEONEERS is the perfect book for when you can’t find someone to play D&D with, or when you want to escape into a dungeon and come out with storybook gold without dodging boring orc traps!

Socialize with the author:

John David Anderson:
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– leeanna

Book Review: The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

Book Review: The Winner’s Crime by Marie RutkoskiThe Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski
Series: Winner's Trilogy #2
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) on March 3, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 402
Format: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine
Goodreads
1 Stars
Book two of the dazzling Winner's Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.

The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement... if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.

Book Review:

I wasn’t a huge fan of THE WINNER’S CURSE last year, but I decided to give the second book in the trilogy, THE WINNER’S CRIME, a try because I was curious about the world. One of my big complaints about book one was the lack of worldbuilding, but there was enough to hook me and leave me wanting more.

Unfortunately, I shouldn’t have bothered with THE WINNER’S CRIME. Because I wasn’t a fan of Kestrel and Arin’s relationship in the first book, I really couldn’t stand all the time they spent angsting about each other in this one. THE WINNER’S CRIME is incredibly slow paced, with Kestrel and Arin going back and forth on liking each other, on reasons why they can and can’t trust each other, on why they can and can’t be together. I found Arin to be somewhat of a bully in this book, trying to force Kestrel to admit she likes him when he knows both of their lives are in danger anytime they meet, even in secret.

THE WINNER’S CRIME also has a huge pet peeve of mine. Kestrel is supposed to be incredibly intelligent, but now that she’s in love with Arin, she acts like an idiot. She’s under the Valorian emperor’s nose, and he repeatedly shows and tells her that even thinking about Arin isn’t a good idea if she wants to stay alive. But Kestrel thinks she’s above every warning, and stupidly spies for Herran. For what reason? I have no freaking clue, other than maybe she enjoys putting her life in danger?

THE WINNER’S CRIME suffers from middle book syndrome: not very much happens. Seriously, I think you could skip this book and move right onto the third book if it was available.

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– leeanna