Let’s Talk About….Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

sky in the deepOND ELDR. BREATHE FIRE.

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield — her brother, fighting with the enemy — the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

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3.5 OUT OF 5 STARS

Definitely a good debut novel from Adrienne Young. I have to say I wasn’t shouting over the moon at the end of this novel but I did enjoy it for what it was, a good kick-ass viking female book. I don’t think I could really call this a fantasy novel as it really didn’t have much to do with fantasy in my opinion but as far as a historical fiction, it was really good.
The parts I liked about the book: It had a simplistic approach which I really liked. Nowadays a lot of authors, especially in young adult, want to try to make these complicated books where you can’t keep everything straight. Sky in the Deep was straight forward and the story was easy to follow, along with the characters. The characters were interesting and I really ended up loving certain characters at the end that I thought I would hate at the beginning. It also is a thought provoking book. If you grew up learning to hate a certain group of people, is it possible to change your outlook or thoughts about them.
The parts I didn’t like about the book: There really wasn’t much world building at the beginning of the book. I had a hard time understanding at first why the Aska and Riki were fighting. There wasn’t really a backdrop for the story, it pretty much went into the fighting and Eelyn being captured. I also wish there was more info on the histories of the tribes other than that one story about Sigr and Thora.

Again, overall, a great debut novel for Adrienne Young and I would definitely pick up another one of her books.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an eARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

arika

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Spring TBR

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Hey everyone! I had taken a little hiatus from Top Ten Tuesday but now I am back! (yay! Yipee!! *thrown confetti*) Life has been busy but I missed doing this list every Tuesday and decided to hop back into it this week. With Easter almost upon us, (already have been eating those delicious peanut butter eggs) that means spring is in the air and time to figure out our TBR for this coming season! So here is a list of ten books I want to read this spring!

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir |  Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo | Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young | Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas | Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff | Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff | The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden | Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith | Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens | The Glass Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

arika

3 Reasons to Read: Reign the Earth by A. C. Gaughen

Reign the EarthShalia is a proud daughter of the desert, but after years of devastating war with the adjoining kingdom, her people are desperate for peace. Willing to trade her freedom to ensure the safety of her family, Shalia becomes Queen of the Bonelands.

But she soon learns that her husband, Calix, is motivated only by his desire to exterminate the Elementae—mystical people who can control earth, wind, air, and fire. Even more unsettling are Shalia’s feelings for her husband’s brother, which unleash a power over the earth she never knew she possessed—a power that could get her killed. As rumors of a rebellion against Calix spread, Shalia must choose between the last chance for peace and her own future as an Elementae.

This intense, richly drawn high-fantasy by the author of Scarletwill hold readers spellbound.

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5/5 Stars ★★★

First reactions after finishing this book:

applause

girl power

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Wow, just wow! I’ve been waiting for awhile for another book by A.C. Gaughen and this book definitely didn’t disappoint. There is just something about Gaughen’s writing that I just love and she just pulls me into her stories. I was hooked in the first chapter and loved the journey that we started with Shalia. So here are my 3 reasons why you need to read this awesome book!

  1. Strong female character: I really enjoyed Shalia and her personality. I felt connected with her on a personal level in that she is a women who wants peace and likes to be involved in the peace making. She wasn’t one to sit back and let events unfold. She wanted to be there on the front lines helping her people, whether they were a part of the desert or her new country. Shalia was, I feel, like a lot of women today who are strong and amazing but still have doubts on the inside. She would question herself on things (especially with some of the darker topics of this book) where we as women know its wrong but think that things will change. I thought that Gaughen showed real character growth with Shalia on that side of the story.
  2. Magic: I really love stories with elemental magic. There is just something about earth, wind, water and fire magic that appeals to me. I feel that Gaughen did an amazing job of explaining how the magic worked for Shalia and other Elementae and it wasn’t just there. Some books it seems that they throw the magic into the story without actually thinking it through. But the elemental magic here was so beautifully interwoven with Shalia and her story that I almost wish I was an Elementae too.
  3. Journey: While this book is just the start of the journey for Shalia, I feel that these first steps are just the beginning in what is going to be a wild story. The journey here is not only a physical journey for Shalia but also an emotional one. Moving away from family and the only people she has known in her life can’t be easy. But she also is experiencing marriage and taking an emotional journey that in the end is a darker one than I expected at first when I started the book. It is an important story to be told especially in today’s times but I think Gaughen did a great job taking us through the good and bad times of Shalia’s journey of finding peace for her people and herself.

Overall I gave this book 5/5 stars for a great start to what I am sure will be an awesome series about one women’s journey to find peace for her family, friends, and her people, no matter if they are like her or not. I definitely recommend picking this book up for sure! Such a good read and one that you will fly through!

arika

Emily here! I also read this book and I have a few things to add about this FANTASTIC book. My star rating is the same as Arika’s, and my reactions are definitely similar (because I am so ready for more)! This is the first fantasy in a long time that I picked up and found myself completely entranced with the world. Should be no shock that AC Gaughen was the one to help me find some much needed fantasy (FAVORITE AUTHOR ALERT). So, what 3 reasons would I give you for reading this book…

  1. A story about an overcomer. Shalia is not dealt an easy hand. She is forced into a marriage to a man she doesn’t know and she finds herself in some tough situations. People try to take advantage of her, they knock her down, they abuse her. As the Queen she is a target constantly, and all the while trying to do something for this land she knows nothing about. Her body changes, her mind changes, everything changes and honestly…I would be overwhelmed. Even with all of these issues she continues to fight her fight. She doesn’t let these issues drag her down and keep her away from her goals and her purpose. She is the overcomer I needed to read about.
  2. Girl Power! Ok, let’s be real…Shalia is kind of a badass. As I have already said, she doesn’t let her life drag her down. But the strength and courage that she shows when she faces challenges…unreal. This doesn’t mean that you never see her slip or falter. This doesn’t mean that you don’t see her doubt. It means that you see her take those feelings and use it for a better purpose. She is strong. She is courageous. She is a fighter for her people. She never ever forgets what truly matters.
  3. A fantastic world with some dark truths. I was head over heels in love with this world. When I was reading it I was going through some things (and still am going through said things) and it was the escape I needed. I was transported to the Bonelands and beyond. I was among these people. I swam in the lake, I ran through the desert. It was a world I truly fell in love with. This doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have bad moments. Oh my gosh there are so many real world moments in here (abuse, etc) that I was not expecting at all. Many times this book took a turn much darker than I was anticipating. But because of the main character, because of her support, I continued to believe in this world and to fall for it.

All in all, I loved this story. I don’t know what it is about Gaughen’s writing that gets me, but she so does and I was immediately there and never wanting to leave. If you are looking for another strong ass female to add to your TBR, make it Shalia. Get lost in this world just like we did.

emily

 

Book Talk: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

the hazel woodSeventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

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*I was given a ARC of this book from the publisher/netgalley in exchanged for an honest review*

3/5 Stars ★★★☆☆

After reading The Hazel Wood, I couldn’t quite decide if I really liked it or if it was just another book I have read. Don’t get me wrong…there are some great things about this book but I wasn’t absolutely blown away by the story. So for this post I decided to write out a few of likes and dislikes for the book and I hope it can help you decide as a reader if you might want to give this book a chance. It comes out tomorrow: January 30, 2018.

Likes:

  • I enjoyed Alice and her line of thoughts. She was a good main character and was definitely self sufficient. She had that feel to her that she was used to stuff going to crap but she could deal with it. I never felt annoyed with her like I do some main characters…but sometimes it seemed she was totally unobservant.
  •  The Hinterland world. Wow this world was interesting! I enjoyed the different fairytales that were introduced. They were mysterious and a whole different type of story compared to our everyday fairytales. I also liked how they were a little darker then most and the fact that there was a whole other dimension where these stories were played out. I really enjoyed the story when it dealt with the Hinterland and I would read another book in the series if it dealt just with the Hinterland.

Dislikes:

  • How long it took to actually get to the fairytale part of the story. I felt like most of the book we as readers were just trying to get to the Hinterland and when we finally got there, the book was almost over. I picked up the book because of this mysterious new fairytales and I almost thought we weren’t going to get there and that there were just flashes of this mysterious land. I was just a little disappointed that most of the story wasn’t in the Hinterland. It felt like to me it was more of a young adult book instead of fantasy.
  • Ellery Finch. I wasn’t really impressed that much with Ellery Finch. I guess I was looking for a bigger character in Ellery. I was really hoping he would be more of either a best friend or love interest but he just seemed a little off most of the story. Maybe that is what the author was going for but in the end, he didn’t make a good impression on me.

Why you might want to pick it up tomorrow: The actual Hinterland was really interesting and the new fairytales were really fun to learn about. As I have said before, if the next book in the series was more about the Hinterland I would more than likely read it. If you like more young adult and just a little bit of fantasy content then this is the book for you.

arika

 

 

Whats up 2018!

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Hey Everyone. I have been kind of lackadaisical with writing reviews on the blog. I have been so busy over the last couple of months with a big test I had (and I found out that I PASSED!!!!!) and I didn’t get to read and write as much. 2017 is gone and passed me up so fast that I am still wondering where it went. I did get to my Goodreads goal of 50 books for the 2017 year. It was a close one but I squeaked a couple in there in December. I also finished up my Harry Potter reread on the 1st and so I am ready to start a whole new year with some great books!

So here it is….2018…..and I am going to make this a great year. I have a few goals in mind for the blog and reading (of course) that I would like to accomplish!

  • I joined in with some lovely ladies (including the wonderful Emily) on reading a classic a month this year. I have wanted to in the past read some more classic novels that I was never required to read in school. To see where a lot of authors get their ideas or inspiration from. Though I know it will be hard to read some of them (especially when it is written in old english) but I am excited to see what different novels I can add to my read shelf.
  • I upped my Goodreads challenge to 60 books this year from 50 last year. I discovered audiobooks midway through last year and I think I can get in an extra 10 books in!
  • I want to do at least 2 posts a month that are just me posting about books I am reading or something to do with the book world. Whether it’s books you should check out or ones I have read/listened too or just a Harry Potter fandom post. I feel like I didn’t get to post consistently last year, so I am going to really try hard to make this goal.
  • Enjoy books! I don’t want to set to many goals so I’ll finish with this one, just enjoy the books I am reading. Books can be so much fun and pull so many emotions from you but sometimes I feel like I just skim books and I really don’t take them in and enjoy them. This year I hope I discover some amazing books and can tell you about how much I enjoyed them.

Well I am off to read a little more and I hope everyone is having a great start to their year! Look for a couple of posts coming in at the end of the month…I am reading a few new books that are coming out and I am excited to share them with you!

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arika

 

3 Reasons to Read: The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The beautiful onesIn a world of etiquette and polite masks, no one is who they seem to be.

Antonina Beaulieu is in the glittering city of Loisail for her first Grand Season, where she will attend balls and mingle among high society. Under the tutelage of the beautiful but cold Valérie Beaulieu, she hopes to find a suitable husband. However, the haphazard manifestations of Nina’s telekinetic powers make her the subject of malicious gossip.

Yet dazzling telekinetic performer and outsider Hector Auvray sees Nina’s powers as a gift, and he teaches her how to hone and control them. As they spend more and more time together, Nina falls in love and believes she’s found the great romance that she’s always dreamed of, but Hector’s courtship of Nina is deceptive.

The Beautiful Ones is a sweeping fantasy of manners set in a world inspired by the Belle Époque.

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Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Let me start of by saying that I have a great book for you to read. And I’ll warn you at first…it does start off a little slow, but don’t let that stop you from the amazing finish that this book has in store! This is one of the first books in awhile that I have stayed up late to keep reading because it captivated me. I kept flipping to the next page, wanting to know what was going to happen to this nature, bug loving girl in the ever so polite high society she didn’t want to be a part of. So, in order to put my thoughts together in this review I decided I will give you three main reasons you need to read this book:

1. The Romance: This book is set up similar to a Pride and Prejudice novel, where the thought of being alone with a guy is a complete no no and you have to ask the head male of the family for permission to court. But that doesn’t stop Nina (one of our main MC’s) to have a sort of heartbreaking type romance with Hector. It was a well thought out romance where at no point was a sick of reading about it.

2. The Characters: They are really well thought out and I felt so many emotions not only towards Nina and Hector but also Valerie. I really like the fact that the chapters alternated between their point of views. It was a way to understand each of the characters and how they thought and reacted with everything that was going on in their lives. While it seems to be a love triangle between the three main characters…it was one I could deal with and enjoyed reading how it played out.

3. The Setting: I really enjoyed how it was placed in another world based on our own but in a time similar to the late 1800’s France. It was easy to imagine the type of place and actions of other characters, like what was deemed appropriate for a gentleman and how it was frowned upon that Nina liked to be outside so much with the bugs and nature. I also enjoyed the fact that there was a little telekinetic powers thrown in there. While it wasn’t the main theme of the book, it definitely played an important part in the interaction of the characters.

Overall an amazing book about throwing out what society deems appropriate and finding that one true love. I highly suggest you get your hands on this book!

Happy Reading!

*Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween Freebie

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Hosted by The Broke and the BookishThe Broke and the Bookish

Hey everyone, HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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We are happy to be doing another Top Ten Tuesday this week and our theme of course is Halloween! While there is a ton of different ideas we could do for this freebie we decided to go with something simple…Characters we would dress up as for Halloween! Now as a kid I know I dressed up as so many different characters, like the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz to Darth Maul from Star Wars. It is always fun to pretend and dress up as a different character from a different world.

Arika:

  1. Alosa from Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
  2. Hermione Granger from Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
  3. Ryiah from The Black Mage Series by Rachel E. Carter
  4. The White Witch from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  5. Katniss from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Emily:

  1. Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas (THIS IS THE DREAM PEOPLE! MY EMO KID DREAM)
  2. Inej from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (I legit love her)
  3. Scarlet from The Scarlet series by AC Gaughen (DUH!)
  4. Daisy from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (FLAPPER DRESS PLEASE!)
  5. Miss Viola Swamp from Miss Nelson is Missing by James Marshall (because the name is PERFECT)

Question: What are some of your favorite costumes to wear?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books with Yummy Food

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Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Happy Fall everyone! We are back for another addition to Top Ten Tuesday hosted by the awesome people over at The Broke and the Bookish. This weeks theme is books that mention yummy foods. Well both of us are huge fans of food, whether its making it or baking it, you’ll always find some good grub at our place! So we are going to come up with a list of some books that started to make our tummy grumble when reading them.

  1. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling: Lots of talk of food in every Harry Potter book. Whether it was the treacle tart that Harry was so fond of, Mrs. Weasley’s cooking or the butter beer at the Three Broomsticks, there was something to make you want a little snack in the middle of reading.
  2. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis: Whenever I think of this book the treat of Turkish Delight pops in my head. It must have been a pretty tasty treat if Edmund decides to fall victim to the White Witch in exchange for some Turkish Delight.
  3. Heartless by Marissa Meyer: We knew from the first chapter our tummy’s would be rumbling when reading this book. All the delectable desserts and pastries that Catherine bakes up from beginning sounded all so delicious that our mouths were watering!
  4. Game of Thrones by George RR Martin: I mean, there’s a whole darn cookbook for this book (which is sitting in Emily’s kitchen right now). Things are swimming in butter and there are lemon cakes that would taste really good right about now.
  5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: That food in the Capitol is NUTS. So decadent that it makes Katniss feel sick. And if that doesn’t do it for ya there is always that bread of Peeta’s.
  6. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer: All those french delicacies sound just delicious. And the lemon cake here!? Sounds amazing as well. It’s never good to read while hungry.
  7. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl: This is kind of a no duh moment. All that candy that we can hardly even imagine…it all sounds delicious. No worries. We would listen to Wonka’s rules.
  8. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh: The feasts that are held…the fresh fruits…meat on skewers…freshly cooked veggies…Sorry. We probably are making you hungry by this point.
  9. The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye: The first chapter takes place in a bakery. A BAKERY. Every single thing made there, down to the plain old bread, sounds absolutely amazing and definitely like something we need NOW!
  10. Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas: Literally only made the list because of all the chocolate. Seriously…that girl can’t get enough of her chocolate and we are totally behind her on this.

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Question: What are some of your favorite books with delicious sounding food? We want to know what books made you hungry!

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Boyfriends

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Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Hey everyone, it’s Tuesday, so you know what that means….Top Ten Tuesday! Hosted by those wonderful girls over at the Broke and the Bookish. While last week was ten books that had a similar main character (I chose characters with special powers), this week we are going to talk about book crushes. While both of us are happily married, (celebrating 6 years and 1 year this week actually) there are definitely books that we have read where the guys in the book make us swoon! And it isn’t always about being romantic but it could be also be having qualities that are great in a guy like compassion and protectiveness.   So without further ado, we are going to name 10 guys from books that touched our hearts.

Arika:

 

  1. Rhysand from A Court of Mist and Fury (ACOTAR #2) by Sarah J. Maas
  2. Darren from First Year by Rachel E. Carter
  3. Magnus from Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
  4. Jin from Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
  5. Kaz from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  6. Elias from An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  7. Robin from Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen
  8. Rowan from Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas
  9. Jon Snow from A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
  10. Matthew Clairmont from A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Emily:

  1. Mal from Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
  2. Char from Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
  3. Rob from the Scarlet series by AC Gaughen
  4. Day from the Legend series by Marie Lu
  5. Darien from Geekerella by Ashley Poston
  6. Black Knife from The Orphan Queen series by Jodie Meadows
  7. Kahlid from The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
  8. Wesley from The Princess Bride by William Goldman
  9. Levi from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  10. Wolf from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

I know there are some that I am missing, but these ones all made me smile as I came up with this list.

Question: What are some of your swoon worthy characters? Do you have some of the same?

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books that Feature A Character with Special Powers

Hey everyone! Arika here this week for Top Ten Tuesday. This week we were given the task of coming up with a list of books that spotlight characters with unique similarities. Whether that be characters that play sports, characters who have a similar illness or characters who have the same job. Something that makes them unique but also alike! So I was thinking….what type of books do I love to read and the characters have something that ties them together. When BAM, it hit me, I love characters that have special powers. Whether it is powers to do with reading minds, changing their apprentice or being able to move the earth, there are all sorts of books that have characters with these cool special abilities! So my list here comprises of books that the main character (or characters) have special abilities that make them some cool, wouldn’t want to mess with, I hope they are on my side characters! Hope you enjoy 🙂

First Year by Rachel E. Carter | Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton | Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas | Cinder by Marissa Meyer | Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo | Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo | A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness | The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg | Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes | Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

Question: Have you read any of these? What are some books you have read with characters with special powers?

arika