Tag Archives: historical ya

Book Review: Gunslinger Girl by Lindsay Ely

Gunslinger Girl

Gunslinger Girl

Release date: January 2nd 2018

4 stars

Seventeen-year-old Serendipity “Pity” Jones inherited two things from her mother: a pair of six shooters and perfect aim. She’s been offered a life of fame and fortune in Cessation, a glittering city where lawlessness is a way of life. But the price she pays for her freedom may be too great….
In this extraordinary debut from Lyndsay Ely, the West is once again wild after a Second Civil War fractures the U.S. into a broken, dangerous land. Pity’s struggle against the dark and twisted underbelly of a corrupt city will haunt you long after the final bullet is shot.

I love westerns so I was really excited for this futuristic throwback to the Old West. The world building of a dystopian wild west was really intriguing and I loved the characters, especially the main character of Pity. She was very badass and she showed a lot of growth through the book. The book was fast paced and impossible to put down.

Pity was tired of the way she was treated at home, abused by her father and seen as almost worthless by him and her brothers since she was a girl. She had only one friend and they had plans to escape together when her father announced his plans to marry Pity off. She met many great, interesting characters along her way to and in Cessation, along with plenty of action where she got to show off her skills as an excellent sharpshooter. She would be someone that anyone would want by their side during a gun fight. I loved seeing her learn to open up to trusting new people and struggle with huge decisions.

There were so many great characters that I found myself getting invested in and I wanted to know more about them. The more Pity got to know them, the more interesting the dynamics got. Some standouts were Max, the love interest; Finn, Pity’s best friend; and Selene, the city’s ruler.

The book was fast paced, as mentioned, and there was plenty of action. It didn’t take long to get lost in the pages and the politics and setting of Cessation reminded me a bit of the Capitol in the Hunger Games. There was a good balance between moments of friendship and lightness, and the ruthlessness expected from a western in a dystopian setting. This book has definitely made me excited to see what Lyndsay Ely comes out with next.

*I received a copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Into the Bright Unknown by Rae Carson

Into the Bright Unknown

Into the Bright Unknown

4.5 stars

The stunning conclusion to Rae Carson’s New York Times–bestselling Gold Seer trilogy, which Publishers Weekly in a starred review called “Simply terrific.” A historical fantasy brimming with magic, romance, and adventure—perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo, Sarah Maas, and Westworld.
Leah Westfall, her fiancé Jefferson, and her friends have become rich in the California Territory, thanks to Lee’s magical ability to sense precious gold. But their fortune has made them a target, and when a dangerous billionaire sets out to destroy them, Lee and her friends decide they’ve had enough—they will fight back with all their power and talents. Lee’s magic is continuing to strengthen and grow, but someone is on to her—someone who might have a bit of magic herself. The stakes are higher than ever as Lee and her friends hatch a daring scheme that could alter the California landscape forever. With a distinctive young heroine and a unique interpretation of American history, Into the Bright Unknown strikes a rich vein of romance, magic, and adventure, bringing the Gold Seer Trilogy to its epic conclusion. Includes a map and an author’s note.

This conclusion to one of my favourite series gave me everything I had hoped for and more. After the events of the second book, Lee and her friends found themselves facing off against a new villain, someone even more powerful than her uncle. The book may have been set in the 1800s but with this group of outcasts facing off against a powerful, rich white man, it still was very relevant. I loved revisiting the setting of Glory, seeing the new setting of a building San Francisco, and getting reacquainted with Lee and her friends.

I absolutely loved this cast of characters through the whole series. Lee and Jefferson were always a focus but the focus on the supporting characters would change depending on the book. I found this especially true of the three college men, Jasper, Tom, and Henry. Jasper for the first book, Tom for the second, and now Henry in the third. I liked seeing and learning more about Henry. This was also the book where the characters really started to think about their futures with Lee’s uncle defeated and with the promise of Glory becoming an official town.

This book reminded me a bit of the show Leverage, which I love. Every time Lee and her friends found themselves up against Hardwick and his power, I could hear Nathan Ford’s voice saying “The rich and powerful, they take what they want”. Hardwick was there at every turn, every time it seemed like something was going right for Lee and her group, he was there to ruin it. They could have to be clever to defeat him. It was a much more political and scheming plot compared to the first two books but I still really enjoyed it. I think you could throw these characters into any situation and I would enjoy it as long as the dynamics between them stayed the same.

I’m sad that this series is over but with this and the Fire and Thorns series, I cannot wait to see what Rae Carson has planned next!

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Book Review: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

gentlemans-guide

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

Release date: June 27th 2017

4 stars

An unforgettable tale of two friends on their Grand Tour of 18th-century Europe who stumble upon a magical artifact that leads them from Paris to Venice in a dangerous manhunt, fighting pirates, highwaymen, and their feelings for each other along the way.
Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.
But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.
Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Reading this as an e-arc then seeing the page count listed as over 500 pages was a bit surprising. I knew it was a long book but it didn’t feel like 500 pages. I was really drawn into the story. It was a slower pace but the characters and the banter and their adventure kept me completely engaged through the whole book. The dynamic between the three, Monty, Percy, and Felicity, was amazing and entertaining.

The story was completely Monty’s POV as he and his best friend/crush Percy embark on what was supposed to be their Grand Tour. It was supposed to be one last celebration before Monty took over his father’s estate and became a proper gentleman. With Monty’s track record his father decided to send a chaperone and they would also be escorting his little sister to a boarding school along the way. This ruined Monty’s plans of drinking and partying his way through Europe and his plans of flirting with Percy the whole time. There were times when I could understand everyone’s frustrations with Monty since he was very privileged and took for granted a lot of the opportunities he was afforded that Percy and Felicity were not but there was still sometimes quite charming about him, so it was easy to see why people would still flock to stay by his side.

I honestly would have been more than happy with simply reading about the adventures Monty, Percy, and Felicity got up to on their Grand Tour but I also really enjoyed the addition of them on the run after Monty made a reckless decision that turned their Tour into them being hunted through Europe. It put a strain on friendships, showed them in a new light to each other, and gave them all a chance to confront some issues that desperately needed confronting. And each time the people hunting them got closer, the pacing would pick up and I would find myself reading ever faster.

Between this one and This Monstrous Thing, I am really excited to see what Mackenzi Lee does next.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Weekly Reading Recap

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Every time I think it’s getting warmer so I can start to read outside, Mother Nature tricks me and it gets cold again. And rainy.

Currently reading: If Birds Fly Back

Finished reading: dividing-edenavengedThe Gauntletdreamfall

Reviewed: Girl out of waterEliza and her monsters

What I’m hoping to get to next week: gentlemans-guideArt of starving to read

avengeddreamfall to review

Books read it 2017: 73

Debut authors read in 2017: 21

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March Wrap-Up/April TBR

Another month done, another month closer to Summer.

March Wrap-Up:

royal-bastards Royal Bastards – Andrew Shvarts. 4/5 stars. Review. I enjoyed this world and the misfit feel to the group of characters.

hundred-lies-of-lizzie-lovett The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett – Chelsea Sedoti. 3/5 stars. It took me a while to get into this one. Once I did, I thought it got better but it still didn’t pull me right in.

hidden-memory-of-objects The Hidden Memory of Objects – Danielle Mages Amato. 4/5 stars. Review. I loved the twist with the main character being able to see memories attached to objects.

the-crowns-fate The Crown’s Fate – Evelyn Skye. 4.5/5 stars. Review. A great follow-up to one of my favourite books from last year.

upside-of-unrequited The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli. 4/5 stars. Review. Another great follow-up to a favourite from last year.

geekerella Geekerella – Ashley Poston. 4/5 stars. Review. So cute and I enjoyed picking out the parallels between this story and Cinderella.

Blacklist Blacklist – Alyson Noel. 3.5/5 stars. I missed the competition aspect from the first book but this one definitely upped the mystery factor.

Lotterys Plus One The Lotterys Plus One – Emma Donoghue. 3/5 stars. It was a really cute story but it did feel like a MG-written story.

Miss Ellicott's School Miss Ellicott’s School for the Magically Minded – Sage Blackwood. 3.5/5 stars. Another cute story and I really enjoyed the magical world.

starfall Starfall – Melissa Landers. 4/5 stars. Review. I did miss that the misfit crew from the first book was less present in this one but it was still great going back to this world.

flame-in-the-mist Flame in the Mist – Renee Ahdieh. 4/5 stars. Review. I love Renee Ahdieh’s writing and this one already has me excited for the next one.

image After the End – Amy Plum. 3/5 stars. I really enjoyed the Revenants series so I had high hopes but it took me a while to get into this one.

image The Last Thing You Said – Sara Biren. 3.5/5 stars. The way the two main characters kept hurting each other out of grief was very realistic.

image Maud – Melanie L Fishbane. 4/5 stars. Review. It was a little strange at first, reading a fictionalized version of LM Montgomery’s life when I grew up in PEI but it was good.

image Wild Beauty – Anna-Marie McLemore. 4/5 stars. There’s something very magical about Anne-Marie McLemore’s writing and the characters she creates.

Metaltown Metal town – Kristen Simmons. 3/5 stars. This was another one that was hard to get into. The pacing was a bit uneven.

The Midnight Dance The Midnight Dance – Nikki Katz. 3.5/5 stars. I really enjoyed the dark and twisted spin the plot took but there was a lot of things that could have been explained better.

April TBR:

Ramona Bluetraitors-kissWindfallone-of-us-is-lying

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Book Review: Maud by Melanie L Fishbane

image

Maud

Release date: April 25th 2017

4 stars

Fourteen-year-old Lucy Maud Montgomery — Maud to her friends — has a dream: to go to college and become a writer, just like her idol, Louisa May Alcott. But living with her grandparents on Prince Edward Island, she worries that this dream will never come true. Her grandfather has strong opinions about a woman’s place in the world, and they do not include spending good money on college. Luckily, she has a teacher to believe in her, and good friends to support her, including Nate, the Baptist minister’s stepson and the smartest boy in the class. If only he weren’t a Baptist; her Presbyterian grandparents would never approve. Then again, Maud isn’t sure she wants to settle down with a boy — her dreams of being a writer are much more important.
But life changes for Maud when she goes out West to live with her father and his new wife and daughter. Her new home offers her another chance at love, as well as attending school, but tensions increase as Maud discovers her stepmother’s plans for her, which threaten Maud’s future — and her happiness forever.

At first, I admit, it was a little strange reading a YA version of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s life since I grew up on PEI and Anne and Emily were a huge part of my childhood, as was visiting Green Gables and all the sights. It didn’t take long to get over it and become completely absorbed into the story.

The book was very well researched and it was easy to see the connections between Maud, Anne, and Emily. It focused more on her childhood in PEI and her teenage years in Saskatchewan, before the huge success of Anne. After finishing this book I wanted to go back and re-read the Anne of Green Gables series. This book worked as a standalone for anyone interested in reading a well-researched fictionalized version of LMM’s life but it also would work well as a prelude to the Anne and Emily series.

Maud was a very relatable character. It could be I found it so easy to relate since I’m from the same area and grew up on her writing, but I do think I would have found her relatable without that. It was also easy to see parts of Anne and Emily in her, where she may have drawn inspiration from her own experiences and given her characters some happiness she wished she could have had.

The book was very character-driven so there were a few times it was slow, but not in a way that made me enjoy it less. It was that the plot focused on Maud’s growth, her goals, her dreams and her survival in a time when women were not encouraged to go to college. It meant there wasn’t a lot of action in the plot but I do love character growth so I really enjoyed that the plot was so character driven.

Overall, a great fictionalized telling of LMM’s life and one that fits in wonderfully with her series.

*I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review*

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February Wrap-Up/ March TBR

We’re now two months into 2017 and I’m loving all the books that are coming out.

February Wrap-Up:

nemesis Nemesis – Brendan Reichs. 3.5/5 stars. I liked the darkness and the twists but it felt a little too uneven in the pacing.

wayfarer Wayfarer – Alexandra Bracken. 4.5/5 stars. Review. I enjoyed this one even more than the first. The addition of new characters plus more focus on characters from the first book were fantastic.

conjurers-riddle The Conjurer’s Riddle – Andrea Cremer. 3/5 stars. Other than the Nightshade series, I’ve had a hard time getting into her books and I just can’t put my finger on why.

kings-cage King’s Cage – Victoria Aveyard. 4/5 stars. Review. I liked this one more than Glass Sword but still less than Red Queen. I did think that, despite the slow pacing, it did move key points of the plot forward and it had some great character moments.

goodbye-days Goodbye Days – Jeff Zentner. 4/5 stars. Review. This book was heartbreaking, terrifying and one to remember.

secret-path Secret Path – Gord Downie and Jeff Lemire. 4/5 stars. This is one I recommend pairing with the CD while reading for the best experience and most impact.

just-another-girl Just Another Girl – Elizabeth Eulberg. 3/5 stars. Review. I really liked the concept of this book but I just couldn’t get into one of the POVs no matter how hard I tried.

heartbeats-of-wing-jones The Heartbeats of Wing Jones – Katherine Webber. 4/5 stars. Review. I loved the dynamics between so many of the characters and the hint of magical realism.

etiquette-and-espionage-big Etiquette & Espionage – Gail Carriger. 3.5/5 stars. I liked this more than I thought I would. It’s a fun read.

piper-perish Piper Perish – Kayla Cagan. 3/5 stars. I found I cared more about the supporting characters than the main character so it made the story a little hard to get into.

strange-the-dreamer Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor. 4/5 stars. Review. I loved the magical world and the characters. It is the type of book I find better to read slowly because it’s very intricate and could be easy to get lost if I read too fast.

star-cursed Star Cursed – Jessica Spotswood. 3/5 stars. I think I would have liked it more if I had skimmed through the first book before starting this one. It was so long since I read the first that I got a little lost.

vigilante Vigilante – Kady Cross. 4/5 stars. This was definitely one of those hard to read books that feel so important as you’re reading. It makes a lot of good points that won’t be easy to forget(and shouldn’t be).

curtsies-and-conspiracies Curtsies and Conspiracies – Gail Carriger. 3.5/5 stars. Still a fun series. Lots of action.

queens-of-geek Queens of Geek – Jen Wilde. 4/5 stars. Really cute and easy to relate to. I loved getting to see the two POVs of two girls having very different experiences at the comic convention and loved seeing all the references.

things-i-should-have-known Things I Should Have Known – Claire LaZebnik. 4/5 stars. I absolutely loved the dynamics between the main character and her sister, the two brothers they become friends with, and thought the author did a good job depicting the struggles the main character’s family was going through.

the-guy-the-girl-the-artist-and-his-ex The Guy, the Girl, the Artist, and his Ex – Gabrielle Williams. 3.5/5 stars. This was a really fun book to read and I enjoyed the heist. It crammed a lot into its few pages, maybe at times a little too much.

March TBR:

royal-bastardsupside-of-unrequitedthe-crowns-fatehundred-lies-of-lizzie-lovett

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Weekly Reading Recap

14836299-stack-of-books-books-stacked

Still haven’t gotten a chance to watch La La Land. Maybe this week.

Currently reading: inventors-secret-big

Finished reading: whos-50blood-rose-rebellionhunted-spoonerthe-wish-granter

Reviewed: long may she reignlove-and-first-sight

What I’m hoping to get to next week: youre-welcome-universeCaraval to read

hunted-spoonerblood-rose-rebellion to review

Books read it 2017: 14

Debut authors read in 2017: 5

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Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday there’s a different topic. This week’s topic is Top Ten freebie! I chose to do Top Ten book covers I would love to recreate.

10. fallen big Fallen – Lauren Kate. I live near a lot of forest and I have long dark hair. With the right clothes, this one seems doable.

9. hunted-spooner Hunted – Meagan Spooner. It’s actually snowing right now.

8. way to game the walk of shame The Way to Game the Walk of Shame – Jenn P Nguyen. The heels may be a problem but I walk like that a lot.

7. falling kingdom Falling Kingdoms – Morgan Rhodes. It would probably have to be a backdrop but this just seems like posing would be so much fun.

6. great hunt The Great Hunt – Wendy Higgins. I seem to have a thing for covers showcasing the woods.

5. stalking-jack-the-ripper Stalking Jack the Ripper – Kerri Maniscalco. I really want to wear this outfit.

4. inside of out The Inside of Out – Jenn Marie Thorne. Another one that seems totally doable with a couple of assists from friends.

3. girl against the universe Girl Against the Universe – Paula Stokes. There’s plenty of tennis courts in my area. I could do this.

2. second chance summer Second Chance Summer – One of the few things we have more of than trees is water views.

1. unexpected everything The Unexpected Everything – Morgan Matson. Not only would I get to re-create a cool cover but I’d get to pet dogs and eat ice cream. Seems like a win.

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Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday there’s a different topic. This week’s topic is Top Ten underrated gems I’ve read in the last year or so. I chose underrated to mean under 3000 Goodreads ratings and nothing within the last three months.

10. 9780399175411_OutrunTheMoon_BOM.indd Outrun the Moon – Stacey Lee. I loved Mercy Wong, her will power, her “bossy” cheeks, and everything about her.

9. girl who fell The Girl Who Fell – Shannon M Parker. This book was terrifying in the way such a good, smart girl got involved with the wrong guy and how easily he manipulated her.

8. love and other unknown variables Love and Other Unknown Variables – Shannon Lee Alexander. I fell in love with these characters and they broke my heart.

7. front lines Front Lines – Michael Grant. This idea of an alternate history where girls where allowed to join to fight really intrigued me and it delivered.

6. hot it feels to fly How It Feels To Fly – Kathryn Holmes. I got so invested in these kids’ stories and I wanted to see them heal.

5. lies about the truth The Lies About Truth – Courtney C Stevens. Sadie’s growth through this book was a huge highlight of my reading year.

4. don't touch Don’t Touch – Rachel M Wilson. Caddie’s story was one I could relate to and found very memorable.

3. me since you big Me Since You – Laura Weiss. This is has stayed with me since I read it and I don’t see it going away any time soon.

2. georgia peaches Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit – Jaye Robin Brown. I really liked the balancing the main character did through this book between her faith, being herself, and compromising to get her voice heard.

1. shutter Shutter – Courtney Alameda. I loved how creepy this book was. It was like watching one of the scarier episodes of Supernatural.

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