Red Skies Falling (Skybound #2) | BLOG TOUR | ARC Review

 

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Red Skies Falling (Skybound #2)

Author: Alex London

Publisher: FSG Books

Pages: 432

Publication: September 3, 2019

Age Group: 13+

Purchase: Amazon FSG Books Barnes & Noble Book Depository

 

 

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

In this thrilling sequel to Black Wings Beating, twins Kylee and Brysen are separated by the expanse of Uztar, but are preparing for the same war – or so they think.

Kylee is ensconsed in the Sky Castle, training with Mem Uku to master the Hollow Tongue and the Ghost Eagle. But political intrigue abounds and court drama seems to seep through the castle’s stones like blood from a broken feather. Meanwhile, Brysen is still in the Six Villages, preparing for an attack by the Kartami. The Villages have become Uztar’s first line of defense, and refugees are flooding in from the plains. But their arrival lays bare the villagers darkest instincts. As Brysen navigates the growing turmoil, he must also grapple with a newfound gift, a burgeoning crush on a mysterious boy, and a shocking betrayal.

The two will meet again on the battlefield, fighting the same war from different sides―or so they think. The Ghost Eagle has its own plans.

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Thoughts

I’d like to thank Macmillan for providing me with an advance copy and a spot on the blog tour!

Well, damn. I knew I would like this next installment, but I had no idea I would feel so much frustration at the events that occurred. Alex sure knows how to spin a sequel together and make the reader suffer.

We continue from the first book, Black Wings Beating. Kylee and Brysen are separated. Kylee is learning the Hollow Tongue in the Sky Castle with a not-so-willing partner that has a sharper tongue for Kylee alone. Brysen is still in the Six Villages, preparing for the Kartami. Both are preparing for the same war, but are battling their own internal wars. Neither of them are aware of the revenge and betrayal set to come into their lives in such a short amount of time.

If you remember my review for the first book, then you’ll remember how I described this book as an easy read, but only because I flew through it. The storyline and information is incredibly enticing and I was sucked in so badly that I read while I was working. Like, I had my physical book with me but I also had the e-copy from NetGalley on my phone. That’s what I love about e-copies. Most of the time, I get approved so it works in my favor to finish a book faster if I can read the physical copy, too.

Anyway, this sequel is filled with a war zone. Of course, we are heading towards a deadly war. Alex doesn’t tread lightly with death and, without giving spoilers, he writes one death multiple times that I just wanted to keep screaming at because it’s just incredibly frustrating. I won’t try to understand Alex’s reasoning for playing with my heart like that, but he did. Which, I guess is an author’s goal. If they do that, then they are pretty successful as a writer. At least in my book.

So, Brysen is a much better character in this sequel. To me, he is a lot stronger and has more will power, though that fear is still there but it makes him an honest character. He wants to defend what he stands for; family, Shara, Jowyn, himself. His character development takes a whole new spin, though. I won’t spoil, obviously, but it changes things a lot. It’ll definitely change things between him and Kylee, but hopefully as a bonding mechanism. Also, let me gush about Brysen and Jowyn because I am all for their growing relationship. One scene had me all aflutter because it’s like a “finally!” moment and I’m thankful to Alex for not squashing my heart with this one.

Kylee’s character is stronger, too. I’m not sure how to think of her, though. I don’t mean to portray that in a negative light. I feel like, after what happened to her in this book, her mentality is going to be rocked hard. For one thing, she and Nyall are separated so obviously that is worrying her. She was away from Brysen the majority of the book and, when they meet up again, it’s headed toward war. Kylee may have seen things when she was younger and in the first installment, but I feel like the events of Red Skies Falling, including her character development, are going to rock her to the core in the third installment. I’m curious to see how Alex plays this out.

This was the perfect sequel. It had the angst, horror, bloodshed, friendship and romance that I think all readers were hoping for or expecting, at the least. If you loved Black Wings Beating, faithful readers won’t be disappointed with Red Skies Falling. You’ll be left begging for book three.

Bonus for the aro/ace and gay rep.

5 stars

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I Wish You All the Best |Review

41473872I Wish You All the Best

Author: Mason Deaver

Publisher: Scholastic

Pages: 329

Age Group: 12+

Purchase: Amazon Scholastic Barnes & Noble Book Depository 

 

 

 

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

When Ben De Backer comes out to their parents as nonbinary, they’re thrown out of their house and forced to move in with their estranged older sister, Hannah, and her husband, Thomas, whom Ben has never even met. Struggling with an anxiety disorder compounded by their parents’ rejection, they come out only to Hannah, Thomas, and their therapist and try to keep a low profile in a new school.

But Ben’s attempts to survive the last half of senior year unnoticed are thwarted when Nathan Allan, a funny and charismatic student, decides to take Ben under his wing. As Ben and Nathan’s friendship grows, their feelings for each other begin to change, and what started as a disastrous turn of events looks like it might just be a chance to start a happier new life.

At turns heartbreaking and joyous, I Wish You All the Best is both a celebration of life, friendship, and love, and a shining example of hope in the face of adversity.

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Thoughts

I received an early edition from Mason Deaver at YALLFest because I gave him the secret password!! My luck was AMAZING that day!

The beginning does not sugarcoat anything. Immediately, the plot kicks off. Benjamin De Backer, our main character, is desperate to come out as non-binary to their parents. They can’t wait any longer and their hopes lift up your heart and make you root for them as soon as they let out the first breath. That lift comes down in the second chapter when the reader realizes what has happened to Benjamin as they walk to a payphone with no shoes, no phone and no home. It’s truly heartbreaking from there and you can’t help but stay by Benjamin’s side along the way to the very end, leading to a satisfying ending that returns that lift from the beginning.

Benjamin’s sister is someone they haven’t seen in ten years when she left without saying goodbye and they haven’t truly forgiven her for it, but this is their last resort. Their sister and her husband is all they have now. Thankfully, a bright spot is still there for Benjamin with a non-binary Muslim immigrant living in California as a popular Youtuber that speaks out on these issues at hand.  They both keep in touch via email.

Then, we meet Nathan. Nathan is the chipper student that leads Benjamin along the way, even though they are reluctant to get close to Nathan in any way. Nathan can be a bit too much at times in the book, but you still grow attached to his personality and his happy demeanor contrasting, but pairing so well, with Benjamin’s struggles. I’ll admit that I giggled a few times at some of their moments.

I was excited for this debut for months and I can honestly say that it didn’t disappoint me a bit. It was everything I wanted it to be. It was raw, honest, funny, adorable and just every bit lovely. Mason Deaver is non-binary themself and it makes the story even more perfect as their first debut. Honestly, I can’t wait to see what they have planned next because their career is already hitting a high note. 

5 stars

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The Last Hope (The Raging Ones #2)| BLOG TOUR | ARC Review

 

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The Last Hope (The Raging Ones #2)

Authors: Krista & Becca Ritchie

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Pages: 400

Publication: August 13th, 2019

Age Group: 13+

Purchase: Amazon Wednesday Books Barnes & Noble Book Depository

 

 

 

About the Book:

A stunning conclusion to the sci-fi romance duology by writing duo Krista & Becca Ritchie, The Last Hope is filled with twists and turns you’ll never see coming.

Sacrifice all you have to survive. 

Imprisoned for weeks on an enemy starcraft, Franny, Court, and Mykal have sat with an unfathomable revelation. But as they fight to stay alive, escaping prison means trusting a young mysterious stranger. He knows everything about their lost histories, and when answers aren’t given freely, the bonded trio are forced to join a mission. One that will determine the fate of humanity. 

Legend says, a baby—the first of her species—has the power to cloak and teleport planets. Tasked with retrieving the infant, Court fears the baby is just a myth, and if they fail, they’ll never find the truth about their origins. 

As Court and Mykal grow closer, their linked bond becomes harder to hide, and dynamics change when Franny begins to fall for someone new. Vulnerable and with no choice, the hunt for the baby sends the trio on a dangerous path to Saltare-1: a water world where their enemies can’t die and survival comes at a high cost.

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Thoughts

I’d like to thank Wednesday Books/Macmillan for letting me be a part of the blog tour!

So, here we are nearly a year later since the first book! I didn’t even realize my review on The Raging Ones was a year ago until I looked back on my review. Kind of mind-blowing, actually. Here we are with the conclusion, unfortunately. 

We are together again with Franny, Court and Mykal. The Last Hope brings us to where we left off aboard the starship with the trio being accused of being Human rather than Saltarian. The empire of Saltare and Earth have been at war with each other for years and Earth is drastically losing. What sucks is Earth can’t really defeat Saltarians until their deathday.

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This time, we get a new character named Stork, who rescues our main characters. Stork has is own POV chapters, which is nice, but after this the plot kind of goes off. I’m not really sure how to describe it. It was interesting, but had moments where I had a giant question mark above my head, almost as if I was asking why this was happening. 

What makes this ending to a duology special are the characters. The reason readers fell for Court, Mykal and Franny are still there. Stork is just a cherry on top to complete the whole aspect that readers want. Bonus: Stork is drunk most of the time which makes it even better. Who doesn’t love a drunk, yet lovable character?

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I’m going to be honest without being too spoilery. I swooned a bit with some of the romance. That’s all I’ll say about that.

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Considering how the first book left me last year wanting more, I’m a bit emotional to see it end. Krista and Becca really know how to write their sci-fi and I hope they keep it up in the future. This genre really fits them and, if you are looking for that one sci-fi series to take you away and draw you into excitement, definitely pick this one up.

4 stars

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About the Author:

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Krista & Becca Ritchie are New York Times Bestselling Authors and identical twins, one a science nerd, the other a comic book geek. With their shared passion for writing, they combined their mental powers as kids and have never stopped telling stories. Graduates from the University of Georgia in Biology and English & Journalism, the twin writing duo now lives in Atlanta. The Raging Ones is their first young adult novel.

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A Heart So Fierce and Broken (Cursebreakers #2) | Pre-order Promotion

Welcome back to the world of Emberfall!

Understandably, you’re probably eagerly awaiting for book two of the Cursebreakers series by Brigid Kemmerer. Sadly, January 2020 is still so far away. However, it’s never too late to pre-order! Today, with Bloomsbury Publishing and fellow Cursebreakers Street Team members, I’m bringing you an exclusive pre-order promotion!

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If you haven’t pre-ordered yet, follow the links below! Please make sure you follow the rules if you want to receive your gift. Pre-order information strictly from Bloomsbury Publishing.

Pre-order Form

👑 In the sequel to New York Times bestselling A Curse So Dark and Lonely, Brigid Kemmerer returns to the world of Emberfall in a lush fantasy where friends become foes and love blooms in the darkest of places. 💘

Every entrant will receive a designed art print of a quote from A Curse So Dark and Lonely.

Promotion available while supplies last. Please read the below before submitting your receipt! If you have a question that is not answered below, DM us on twitter at bloomsburykids or email us at TeensUSA@bloomsbury.com.

  1. This offer applies to preorders from any and all retailers and both print and ebooks.
  2. The offer is open only open to addresses in USA (not PR), Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, to those 16 and above.
  3. The image you upload as your proof of preorder must show you are the one who purchased A HEART SO FIERCE AND BROKEN. You can upload your confirmation email, a screenshot of your order confirmation, or even a photo of the order confirmation on your phone or computer. PDF and JPEG images are preferred. Please double-check that the title is shown!
  4. One entry per person.
  5. You will receive an email confirmation after you submit. The form will be closed as of midnight EST on January 6, 2020.
  6. The print will arrive in the weeks after the book goes on sale (please allow time for shipping!).
  7. You must enter the address you will be living at in January 2020. If your address changes after you submit the form, please contact us at TeensUSA@bloomsbury.com; do not submit to the form again.

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Stay tuned later for more surprises!

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Cover Reveal | Crave by Tracy Wolff

Hello, fellow readers! Get excited for this one because Entangled Teen has a hot new release coming next year from author Tracy Wolff!

“Crave is a romantic and thrilling tale of forbidden love, about the undying battle between feeling nothing and feeling so much, it could destroy everyone you love.”

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Stay tuned down the road for a sneak peek!

About the Author:

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Tracy Wolff collects books, English degrees and lipsticks and has been known to forget where—and sometimes who—she is when immersed in a great novel. At six she wrote her first short story—something with a rainbow and a prince—and at seven she forayed into the wonderful world of girls lit with her first Judy Blume novel. By ten she’d read everything in the young adult and classics sections of her local bookstore, so in desperation her mom started her on romance novels. And from the first page of the first book, Tracy knew she’d found her life-long love. Now an English professor at her local community college, she writes romances that run the gamut from contemporary to paranormal to erotic suspense.

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Bright Burning Stars| Blog Tour | ARC Review

Small_BrightBurning_HC_rgb_jkt_HR.jpgBright Burning Stars

Author: A.K. Small

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Pages: 304

Publication: May 21st, 2019

Age Group: 14+ [due to heavy content]

Purchase: Amazon Algonquin Books Barnes & Noble Book Depository

 

 

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

Best friends Marine Duval and Kate Sanders have trained at the Paris Opera Ballet School since childhood, where they’ve formed an inseparable bond forged by respective family tragedies and a fierce love for dance. When the body of a student is found in the dorms just before the start of their final year, Marine and Kate begin to ask themselves what they would do to win the ultimate prize: to be the one girl selected to join the Opera’s prestigious corps de ballet. Would they die? Cheat? Seduce the most talented boy in the school, dubbed the Demigod, hoping his magic would make them shine, too? Neither girl is sure.

But then Kate gets closer to the Demigod, even as Marine has begun to capture his heart. And as selection day draws near, the competition—for the prize, for the Demigod—becomes fiercer, and Marine and Kate realize they have everything to lose, including each other.

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PRESS RELEASE


Thoughts

Thank you to Algonquin Books for sending me a finished copy and for allowing me to participate in the blog tour. My review is 100% honest.

TW: eating disorder, dysmorphia, abortion, mental illness, discussions of suicide, emotional abuse, toxic relationships/friendships

Judging from the cover alone, the book gave me some Black Swan vibes. If you’ve seen the movie, you know how dark that movie was, so I expected this book to be pretty dark. It definitely didn’t go below those expectations.

The book is in two POVs: Kate and Marine, students enrolled in their final year at an elite ballet training school in Paris. They are in Division One, which is top notch. Only one boy and one girl can win. Obviously, there is unhealthy competition. Every man or woman for his or herself.

The friendship between Kate and Marine is immediate, but it wasn’t always “good”. There is a toxic environment surrounding them, but it’s really up to the reader to decipher that since Small doesn’t initially address it.

Let’s talk about Kate first. Her mother left her behind at a young age and this has led her to be insecure, jealous and incredibly sneaky and scheming. It’s borderline scary, but truthfully reminiscent of a mental illness. Like the toxic environment, the mental illness is never directly addressed. What’s worse is she uses her friendship with Marine to get what she wants and to make things go the way they should, in her mind. Regardless of being this way, she still seeks approval. She needs someone to tell her she is doing well or to just know that she is “accepted”, I suppose. Her entire character arc is flawed. I mean, it makes her character terribly interesting but some of things she goes through and does was a shocker. It was just like…what? Her ending was…odd. Without spoiling anything, it just didn’t seem real.

Marine is different. She used to have a fraternal twin, but he passed away. The twist is that her brother had the ballet dream, so she is completing it for him. This puts more pressure on her. Marine, while trying to accomplish all this, worries about her appearance and weight, even though she is described as “naturally thin”. I’m not sure what that means, though. Either way, an eating disorder is a cliche in the ballet world and Marine goes through this while she competes against others. Her disorder is never appropriately finished, in my view. She tries to solve it with romantic feelings and that is pretty uncomfortable. I’ve never dealt with an eating disorder myself, but using someone you have feelings for is not the way to go. Her ending was terribly disappointing, more so than Kate. I just wasn’t feeling it. 

I applaud Small for attacking such difficult topics, although the way they were handled and concluded was not healthy whatsoever. It painted a picture for readers that isn’t realistic or what should be taken away after reading this book. On a different note, this book was hard to put down. I don’t know if it was the dark tone that I fell for or just wanting to see how this plot progressed, but it was good regardless of the above. I think Small has something going here and she has plenty of potential in the literary world for young adults. It is possible, though, to incorporate real life (the correct way) with an interesting and dark plot. 

3.5 stars

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This Is Not a Love Scene | Blog Tour |ARC Review

This is Not a Love Scene_COVERThis Is Not a Love Scene

Author: S.C. Megale

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Pages: 320

Publication: May 7th, 2019

Age Group: 12+

Purchase: Amazon Wednesday Books Barnes & Noble Book Depository

Jacket Copy Synopsis

This Is Not A Love Scene rings brilliantly true from the first page to the last.” —David Baldacci, #1 New York Times bestselling author

Funny, emotional, and refreshingly honest, S.C. Megale’s This is Not a Love Scene is for anyone who can relate to feeling different while navigating the terrifying and thrilling waters of first love. 

Lights, camera—all Maeve needs is action. But at eighteen, a rare form of muscular dystrophy usually stands in the way of romance. She’s got her friends, her humor, and a passion for filmmaking to keep her focus off consistent rejection…and the hot older guy starring in her senior film project.

Tall, bearded, and always swaying, Cole Stone is everything Maeve can’t be. And she likes it. Between takes, their chemistry is shockingly electric. 

Suddenly, Maeve gets a taste of typical teenage dating life, but girls in wheelchairs don’t get the hot guy—right? Cole’s attention challenges everything she once believed about her self-image and hopes for love. But figuring this out, both emotionally and physically, won’t be easy for either of them. Maeve must choose between what she needs and what she wants, while Cole has a tendency to avoid decisions altogether. And the future might not wait for either.

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Thoughts

I’d like to thank Wednesday Books for letting me be a part of the blog tour for this book. My review is 100% honest. 

Maeve has a rare form of muscular dystrophy and she is eager to get into a relationship, since she has never been in one before. She wants the happy ending and when she meets Cole, it seems like she can have it. Regardless of their chemistry though, she finds out it’s not smooth sailing.

I adored Maeve. She is such a wonderful person in this book and I was cheering for her, wanting her to get that happy ending that she totally deserves. I actually liked her better than Cole all together. She knows what she wants, even if it may be wrong sometimes (hint hint), but her heart is just there. It’s hard to ignore. She really is a beautiful character and I found the representation in this novel pretty spot on, in my opinion. Maeve, all together, just seemed real. I loved it.

Cole just seemed like, dare I say, a dick at times. I have no idea how to feel about him, honestly. Sure, he has moments that you’re like “Oh! He is a nice guy” but then you get let down because he is just a dick, plain and simple. What sucks is that Maeve does have another person that is interested in her wholeheartedly, but she is so stuck on Cole. It got annoying. 

The novel itself is missing a few things. There are plot holes here and there, but not too detrimental. There are some triggers present, such as suicide and child abuse. Some things were rushed, which I don’t understand why that seems to be a “natural” thing for contemporary romance. If authors are nervous about making contemporary romance as long as fantasy novels, I don’t see why. It would definitely fill in those holes. 

The book has potential and it was cute and I think the reason for the four stars is for Maeve herself because it’s not the easiest thing to create such a likable character, regardless of the flaws present. I do applaud Megale for that. I do hope Megale continues writing more books because I’m interested to see what else she has up her sleeve.

4 stars

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Reviews:

“Megale is a terrific new voice in the world of YA. This Is Not a Love Scene rings brilliantly true from the first page to the last. Megale’s prose is refreshingly original, her pacing already at a master level, and her storytelling abilities will pull hard on every emotion you have…Look out for this writer.” —David Baldacci, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“A humorous, hearty novel about the realities (and fantasies) of being a teenager with a disability….Readers will want to zoom in on this [#ownvoices] story featuring a strong, sexually confident, disabled female character.” —Kirkus Reviews 

“Informative and inspiring. It makes for an altogether thought-provoking and empathetic reading experience.” —Booklist

This Is Not a Love Scene is so good. S.C. Megale is remarkable… This book is the result of her unswerving determination and undoubted talent.” —John Flanagan, New York Times bestselling author of the Ranger’s Apprentice series

“My ride-along with Maeve was a joy from first sentence to last. She’s authentic, unabashedly honest, fun to be with, and I still catch myself wondering what she’s been up to lately.” —Eric Lindstrom, author of Not If I See You First

“Megale’s pacing and style are absolutely wonderful. I feel deeply attached to her characters, and I can’t believe how perceptive many of her descriptions/observations are, especially disability related ones.”  —Shane Burcaw, author of Laughing at My Nightmare

About the Author:

SC Megale

S. C. MEGALE is an author and filmmaker. She’s been profiled in USA Today, The Washington Post, and New York Newsday, and has appeared on NBC’s “Today Show” and the CBS Evening News for her philanthropic and literary work. As a humanitarian, she’s spoken on the USS Intrepid, at the NASDAQ opening bell, and to universities and doctors nationwide. She enjoys making connections all over the world. 

Megale was raised in the long grass of the Civil War, hunting for relics and catching fireflies along the banks of Bull Run. A shark tooth, flutes, and a flask are some of the items that hang from her wheelchair, and she had a fear of elevators until realizing this was extremely inconvenient. She lives with her family which includes her parents, sister and brother, service dog, and definitely-not-service dog. 

This is Not a Love Scene is her first published novel.