Book Review

Book Review | A LIGHT AMONGST SHADOWS, by Kelley York & Rowan Altwood

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A Light Amongst Shadows (Dark is the Night #1), by Kelley York & Rowan Altwood

Publish Date: June 1, 2018 (audiobook published August 20, 2019)
Published by: Tantor Audio
Audiobook Narrated by: Kale Williams
Length: 8 hrs 12 min (342 pages)
Genre: YA Historical Fiction/LGBTQ+/Paranormal
My Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5 stars)


Synopsis:

James Spencer is hardly the typical troubled youth who ends up at Whisperwood School for Boys. Instead of hating the strict schedules and tight oversight by staff, James blossoms, quickly making friends, indulging in his love of writing, and contemplating the merits of sneaking love poems to the elusive and aloof William Esher.

The rumors about William’s sexuality and opium reliance are prime gossip material amongst the third years . . . rumors that only further pique James’ curiosity to uncover what William is really like beneath all that emotional armor. And, when the normally collected William stumbles in one night, shaken and ranting of ghosts, James is the only one who believes him.

James himself has heard the nails dragging down his bedroom door and the sobs echoing in the halls at night. He knows others have, too, even if no one will admit it. The staff refuses to entertain such ridiculous tales, and punishment awaits anyone who brings it up.

Their fervent denial and the disappearance of students only furthers James’ determination to find out what secrets Whisperwood is hiding . . . especially if it prevents William and himself from becoming the next victims.


My Review: 

Continue reading “Book Review | A LIGHT AMONGST SHADOWS, by Kelley York & Rowan Altwood”

Book Review

Book Review | SPECTACLE, by Jodie Lynn Zdrok

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Spectacleby Jodie Lynn Zdrok

Publish Date: February 12, 2019
Published by: Tor Teen
Pages: 368
Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Mystery/Paranormal
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ (2.5 out of 5 stars)

**I received this as an egalley from the publisher through Netgalley, and as a physical ARC through my workplace, in return for an honest review.**


Synopsis:

Paris, 1887.

Sixteen-year-old Nathalie Baudin writes the daily morgue column for Le Petit Journal. Her job is to summarize each day’s new arrivals, a task she finds both fascinating and routine. That is, until the day she has a vision of the newest body, a young woman, being murdered–from the perspective of the murderer himself.

When the body of another woman is retrieved from the Seine days later, Paris begins to buzz with rumors that this victim may not be the last. Nathalie’s search for answers sends her down a long, twisty road involving her mentally ill aunt, a brilliant but deluded scientist, and eventually into the Parisian Catacombs. As the killer continues to haunt the streets of Paris, it becomes clear that Nathalie’s strange new ability may make her the only one who can discover the killer’s identity–and she’ll have to do it before she becomes a target herself.


My Review:

So much of me want to like this book more than I did. I was intrigued from the summary, and was looking forward to it very much. And the beginning started off well. But slowly, over the course of the novel, I found myself losing interest as the writing took off on tangents that felt unnecessary to the plot, and only mildly interested in the characters themselves. Continue reading “Book Review | SPECTACLE, by Jodie Lynn Zdrok”

Book Review

Book Review | ALL IS FAIR, by Dee Garretson

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All is Fair, by Dee Garretson

Publish Date: January 22, 2019
Published by: Swoon Reads
Pages: 288
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
My Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2 out of 5 stars)

**I received this as an egalley from the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.**


Synopsis:

Lady Mina Tretheway knows she’s destined for greater things than her fancy boarding school, where she’s being taught to be a proper English lady. It’s 1918, and war is raging across Europe. Unlike her father and brother, who are able to assist in the war effort, Mina is stuck sorting out which fork should be used with which dinner course.

When Mina receives a telegram that’s written in code, she finally has her chance to do something big. She returns to her childhood home of Hallington Manor, joined by a family friend, Lord Andrew Graham, and a dashing and mysterious young American, Lucas. The three of them must band together to work on a dangerous project that could turn the tide of the war.

Thrilled that she gets to contribute to the war effort at least, Mina jumps headfirst into the world of cryptic messages, spycraft, and international intrigue. She, Lucas, and Andrew have to work quickly, because if they don’t succeed, more soldiers will disappear into the darkness of war.


My Review:

So I was intrigued by this novel because to me, its premise made it sound like it was going to be about espionage and decoding ciphers to help the Allies against Germany during the Great War. I’m not sure why that’s what I thought it was going to be now that I look back at the summary, but what this turned book turned out to be was definitely a far cry from what I expected. And not all of it was good. Continue reading “Book Review | ALL IS FAIR, by Dee Garretson”

Book Review, Uncategorized

Book Review | VENGEANCE ROAD, by Erin Bowman

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Vengeance Road (Vengeance Road #1), by Erin Bowman

Publish Date: September 1, 2015 (Audiobook published January 5, 2016)
Published by: HMH Books for Young Reads/Tantor Audio
Narrated by: Amy Rubinate
Length: approx. 8 hours (327 pages)
Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Western
Tags: wild west, gangs, journey
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3 out of 5 stars)


Synopsis:

Revenge is worth its weight in gold.

When her father is murdered for a journal revealing the location of a hidden gold mine, eighteen-year-old Kate Thompson disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers—and justice. What she finds are untrustworthy strangers, endless dust and heat, and a surprising band of allies, among them a young Apache girl and a pair of stubborn brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, a startling truth becomes clear: some men will stop at nothing to get their hands on gold, and Kate’s quest for revenge may prove fatal.


My Review: Continue reading “Book Review | VENGEANCE ROAD, by Erin Bowman”

Book Review

Book Review | ESCAPING FROM HOUDINI, by Kerri Maniscalco

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Escaping from Houdini (Stalking Jack the Ripper #3)by Kerri Maniscalco

Publish Date: September 18, 2018
Published by: Jimmy Patterson Books
Pages: 431
Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Mystery
My Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2 out of 5 stars)

Synopsis:

Audrey Rose Wadsworth and her partner-in-crime-investigation, Thomas Cresswell, are en route to New York to help solve another blood-soaked mystery. Embarking on a week-long voyage across the Atlantic on the opulent RMS Etruria, they’re delighted to discover a traveling troupe of circus performers, fortune tellers, and a certain charismatic young escape artist entertaining the first-class passengers nightly.

But then, privileged young women begin to go missing without explanation, and a series of brutal slayings shocks the entire ship. The strange and disturbing influence of the Moonlight Carnival pervades the decks as the murders grow ever more freakish, with nowhere to escape except the unforgiving sea. It’s up to Audrey Rose and Thomas to piece together the gruesome investigation as even more passengers die before reaching their destination. But with clues to the next victim pointing to someone she loves, can Audrey Rose unravel the mystery before the killer’s horrifying finale?


My Review:

Sad to say what was one of my most anticipated reads of this year turned out to be quite the disappointment. I read the first two books in this series last year and absolutely loved them, and so I was fully expecting to enjoy this one as well. However, with a combination of a plot that felt far too drawn out, dialogue that seemed over-the-top and confusing, and a sudden addition of a horrid love triangle, I could not bring myself to like this one as much I did the first two. Continue reading “Book Review | ESCAPING FROM HOUDINI, by Kerri Maniscalco”

Book Review

Book Review | THE DEVIL’S THIEF, by Lisa Maxwell

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The Devil’s Thief (The Last Magician #2), by Lisa Maxwell

Publish Date: October 9, 2018
Published by: Simon Pulse
Pages: 704
Genre: YA Fantasy/Historical Fiction
My Rating: ★★★★☆ (3.5 out of 5 stars)

**I received this as an egalley from the publisher through Edelweiss, and as an ARC from BookCon 2018, in return for an honest review.**


Synopsis:

Hunt the Stones.
Beware the Thief.
Avenge the Past.

Esta’s parents were murdered. Her life was stolen. And everything she knew about magic was a lie. She thought the Book of Mysteries held the key to freeing the Mageus from the Order’s grasp, but the danger within its pages was greater than she ever imagined.

Now the Book’s furious power lives inside Harte. If he can’t control it, it will rip apart the world to get its revenge, and it will use Esta to do it.

To bind the power, Esta and Harte must track down four elemental stones scattered across the continent. But the world outside the city is like nothing they expected. There are Mageus beyond the Brink not willing to live in the shadows—and the Order isn’t alone in its mission to crush them.

In St. Louis, the extravagant World’s Fair hides the first stone, but an old enemy is out for revenge and a new enemy is emerging. And back in New York, Viola and Jianyu must defeat a traitor in a city on the verge of chaos.

As past and future collide, time is running out to rewrite history—even for a time-traveling thief.


My Review:

I absolutely adored reading The Last Magician last year so of course this was going to be one of my most anticipated releases this year. I loved Maxwell’s world-building in this first one, and it continued to be just as great in this one, if a little more confusing with some new information, and of course the characters are definitely what kept me going. There were some flaws, though, and it did feel like it dragged a bit at times, but overall I was mostly content with it as a sequel. Continue reading “Book Review | THE DEVIL’S THIEF, by Lisa Maxwell”