Review: Starflight by Melissa Landers

In preparation for Apollycon this month, I was trying to read as many signing authors as I could beforehand. I’ve had it on my shelf for way too long so it was way past due. As soon as I finished, I was immediately kicking myself for waiting as long as I did.

I will say, I did have an ulterior motive for having this on my shelf. I read it for my teens. As you know, I am always on the look out for things that they will read. They are quite picky, so I find myself reading YA books with them in mind, every single time. I’m happy to say that I think they’ll like it. Only one scene that’ll make my anti-romance daughter cringe but I’m okay with that.

SYNOPSIS
Life in the outer realm is a lawless, dirty, hard existence, and Solara Brooks is hungry for it. Just out of the orphanage, she needs a fresh start in a place where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. She’s so desperate to reach the realm that she’s willing to indenture herself to Doran Spaulding, the rich and popular quarterback who made her life miserable all through high school, in exchange for passage aboard the spaceliner Zenith.

When a twist of fate lands them instead on the Banshee, a vessel of dubious repute, Doran learns he’s been framed on Earth for conspiracy. As he pursues a set of mysterious coordinates rumored to hold the key to clearing his name, he and Solara must get past their enmity to work together and evade those out for their arrest. Life on the Banshee may be tumultuous, but as Solara and Doran are forced to question everything they once believed about their world—and each other—the ship becomes home, and the eccentric crew family. But what Solara and Doran discover on the mysterious Planet X has the power to not only alter their lives, but the existence of everyone in the universe…

Because this is listed as a #1 in a series, many people, including myself are leery about starting an unfinished series. But fear not, these books are interconnected standalones. Which basically is another reason I’m a dummy for waiting so long. I went in thinking I needed to wait til closer to book two since it was gonna be a cliffy. I was wrong. If you, or someone you know, enjoy action packed fantasy YA books, then grab a copy and pull up a chair.

Very exciting and adventurous. I thoroughly enjoyed all the banter. Some parts had me outright giggling. The friendship bond these characters had was so refreshing. They were a family. I wanted to be a part of it. This ragtag group of fugitives will have your emotions all over the place and loving every moment of it.

At some point during this haphazard journey, she’d fallen in love with a bespectacled kleptomaniac, a star-crossed seducer and his displaced princess, and, most of all, an infuriating blue blood who used to call her Rattail. She learned that home was a fluid thing, and whether on a planet, on a satellite, or on a rusted bucket of a ship, this crew was her home.

~Melpomene

Buy Starflight HERE

Review: Long Way Home by Katie McGarry

01lon There’s something about a Katie McGarry book that makes me wanna buy 10 copies and pass them out to all the teens I know. She is the queen of the ‘coming of age’ genre. I hope my daughter will start to like romance so I can pass all of these along to her.

Ever since Violet’s dad died, she’s wanted to leave the MC world and move on in peace, but she’s stuck. Her mom won’t leave, so she’s has to stay and try and protect her brother, and her heart, from the world that stole her dad from them.

Chevy has loved Violet for as long as he can remember but this life isn’t what she wants. Heck, this life stole his dad from him also, so he’s not sure if this is the life him either. When he’s 18 he needs to make a formal decision, but he’s not sure what to do. But when he and Violet get threatened, he must make a choice, even if it changes everything. His life will never be the same, no matter what. He loves her so much, but if she needs to walk away, he has to let her, even if it kills him.

Violet has always been my best friend, but it’s more than that. She’s always been a piece of me, and without her the world was cold, a bitter freeze that cut to the bone.

I loved Violet. She was willing to give up the boy she loved, in order to not have him choose. But when the past catches up with her, she must make some very hard decision about this “family” of hers, in order to protect them. She stood up to the men who, in her eyes, got her dad killed, and that had to be terrifying for her. But she was done and I commend her. She didn’t take crap from any of them, even if it scared her to death.

I love seeing Chevy, Violet, Oz and Razor together. They grew up together and they may not be blood but they’re family. I love these characters. They’re not perfect, but, to each other, they are.

Violet and Chevy must look inside themselves to find the right path. The decision will not be easy, and will make them question everything they thought they knew about who their family is and why things happened the way they did. So many new revelations that I didn’t see coming. But in the end they both have to make tough calls in the name of love and hope they make the right ones.

~Melpomene

Release date Jan 31, 2017
Preorder Long Way Home HERE

A Postcard Would Be Nice by Steph Campbell

postcard As you know, I’m not one for reading blurbs. I tend to stick to my favorite authors and if I try a new one it’s only because my friends tell me I should. But for some reason, I felt as though this blurb needed to be read before I preordered it. But from the very first sentence, I had a feeling I was going to need this book. And when I finished reading the blurb, I knew I was going to need this book. I knew this story was going open lots of eyes and bring forth a lot of emotions.

Blurb
Seventeen-year-old Oliver Wu remembers four things about Saturday night.

1. He remembers going to the party and seeing Paloma, the girl he’s had a crush on for years.
2. He remembers the disappointment he felt when Paloma left early, just when he was sure his bravery had paid off.
3. He remembers the room spinning and someone helping him up the stairs.
4. He remembers waking up next to Tarryn, a girl he barely knows, with his clothes on the floor.

There’s just one notable memory missing.
Oliver doesn’t remember saying yes.

When Tarryn laughs off Oliver’s panic and tells him he should take her out for breakfast, he doesn’t say no. He stops himself from saying no to Tarryn for weeks because he’s waiting for what never comes—an honest answer about what happened that night.

With his friends shutting him out, and the rumors swirling, Oliver is turning into himself and just trying to make it through the rest of his senior year with his head down.

But the one person that Oliver wants to hide the truth from more than himself, Paloma, is the one person who won’t back down and accept his changed behavior. Oliver opening up to Paloma not only means facing what happened that night—it means airing a truth that could easily rip Paloma’s world wide open, too.

Tell me I’m right. Well, the blurb has nothing on this story. I was in a constant state of angst. My heart was in my stomach the entire time. This is real. This happens more than we care to think about. I have teens and this scares me. I am buying this book and having them read it. It will be uncomfortable, but I feel that they need to see. I realize this is fiction, but I’m willing to bet that this has happened to someone. I want my kids to know what to look for and how to help.

To be honest, I never think of the guys. I just don’t. But I am now.

Audible reads

Lately I have found myself listening to books instead of rereading them. In fact, I have listened to four books this month, when normally it takes me a month to even finish just one! I’ve been getting a start on my holiday crafts, so these have given me a nice distraction and kept me focused. I usually only listen to books I’ve already read, so I don’t get sidetracked and miss something. With kids, that happens quite often. But this month I took a chance on two different books and listened even though I never read them. What an experience!

queenMy first relisten was Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas. In preparation for the release of Empire of Shadows, I needed to reread QoS in order to remember the finer points. But I’m so glad I decided to listen instead. It was so much more exciting. I was actually able to grab the Throne of Glass coloring book early and I spent a few nights coloring the pictures for the scenes I was listening to. I think I’ll do another relisten of the entire series, next year before the final book releases. Grab Queen of Shadows HERE.

fallen I read the Fallen series a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. Super fun and exciting YA series. And after my QoS relisten I wanted another fantasy book to keep me motivated, so I went to my Overdrive system and starting searching for anything that fit the bill. As soon as I saw the cover, I KNEW I needed to grab it. Since it’s been a few years since I read this, I really didn’t remember any of it. I get the gist of it, but not the finer points, so it was sorta like reading it for the first time. And then when the movie trailer released, I was even happier with my decision. Such a romantic story! I highly recommend it. Grab Fallen HERE.

six Next on my listening list is Six of Crows. It’s a spin off of the Grisha series, which I read last year. It’s part of a duology and the second book, Crooked Kingdom, releases today, so I needed to read this book first. This is one I never read before, so I’ll admit I was a bit nervous listening. I was afraid I would get confused with all the many points of views, but it’s told in a way that’s easy to keep up with. In fact, it has seven different narrators! SEVEN! I was completely sucked into this book and then kicked myself for waiting so long. I have a feeling I’ll be grabbing the audible for CK also, even though the DTB is being delivered today. Grab Six of Crows HERE.

every And last but not least, Everything Everything. I actually listened to this in one day. I spent all day Sunday carrying around my phone as I did chores and some crafting. I’ve heard great things about this book and I know it’s getting made into a movie, so I asked my friends if I should read it or just wait for the movie. Well, you can imagine what they said. Lately I’m not one to read straight YA or NA books. I want fantasy. So I didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as they did. Honestly. But I found myself giggling and smiling, and a few times gasping. I was hoping my daughter would read this, but there’s so much love I fear the book would get tossed in my face, so I think I’ll wait and convince her to read it when she’s older. But if you haven’t read it, I recommend it. It was really sweet. I wish there was just a wee bit more at the end, but all in all, I was happy. Grab Everything Everything HERE.

If you’ve never heard of Overdrive, I hope you look into it. All you need is a library card. In fact, I get many of my books from there and this month made me realize how many audibles they have also. I think I’ll be utilizing them more often. Check it out HERE.

~Melpomene

Review: The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon

01 ab “You are a dangerous little bird. But I think I will keep you.”

How can someone without a voice make a difference in the world?

WOW. This book was pure magic. I was sucked in from the very first page to the last one. Fantasy is some of the hardest books for me to review. I don’t wanna give away spoilers, but, at the same time, I wanna shout, “Read this book!” So I will say this. READ THIS BOOK!

I am a huge fan of Amy Harmon’s books. She can write romance like nobody’s business. When I first heard that she was writing a fantasy, I was quite intrigued. Fantasy is one of my favorite genres, so to mix it with one of my favorite authors…well, let’s just say that’s a match made in heaven.

You will fall in love with all of these characters. From Lark to Prince Tiras to Boojohni, you will be drawn into their world and wish you were right along with them. Whether it is real or fantasy, the world that’s created in these pages is a world that’s beyond anything I could ever dream of. In fact, I was so drawn in with the poetic words, that sometimes I forget it was a fantasy. My soul just soaked up all the beautiful words.

Amy has a way of writing a story that’s not only beautiful, but also has a beautiful message. I was drawn in with her characters and scenery. From the breath taking moments to the breath stealing moments, I was completely captured. I honestly say that if Amy decides to write more from this world, or any other world, I’ll be first in line to buy it.

~Melpomene

Review: Love, Lies & Spies by Cindy Anstey

01 love A sweet romance filled with intrigue and early 19th century charm.

I was completely taken in by the cover. It looked like something I would enjoy and I was right. So cute!!

SYNOPSIS
Juliana Telford is not your average nineteenth-century young lady. She’s much more interested in researching ladybugs than marriage, fashionable dresses, or dances. So when her father sends her to London for a season, she’s determined not to form any attachments. Instead, she plans to secretly publish their research.

Spencer Northam is not the average young gentleman of leisure he appears. He is actually a spy for the War Office, and is more focused on acing his first mission than meeting eligible ladies. Fortunately, Juliana feels the same, and they agree to pretend to fall for each other. Spencer can finally focus, until he is tasked with observing Juliana’s traveling companions . . . and Juliana herself.

From the very first chapter title and sentence, I was hooked. In fact, I read the first page to my kids, while they were eating lunch, and my daughter said she wants to read it. THAT right there is a good sign.

I was totally taken in by Juliana’s quirks. She seemed to get into trouble, without even trying. All she wants to do is stay out of the limelight and avoid any suitors, but the more she tries to be invisible the more she’s noticed, and sometimes not by the best people.

Spencer has a mission to do, and it doesn’t include falling in love. Actually, that’s the farthest thing from his mind. That is until he sets his eyes on a bewitching young lady with a talent for trouble.

There’s something to be said for the friends to lovers stories. Those are the some of the best. The heart wants what the heart wants and even if you, or anyone else, try and stop it, it always wins in the end.

“There are not enough superlatives in the English language to capture even a tenth of my emotions.”

~Melpomene

Release date: April 19th
Preorder Love, Lies and Spies

Review: A Thousand Nights by E.K.Johnston

01 thou A fantastical retelling, with a twist.

SYNOPSIS
Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next.

And so she is taken in her sister’s place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin’s court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time. But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her and listens to the stories she tells, and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the palace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong.

Far away, in their village, her sister is mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air.

Back at the palace, the words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to the rule of a monster.

A Thousand Nights was a total shock to me. And by shock, I mean that I wasn’t even going to read it. Not that I didn’t want to, but that I was grabbing it for my daughter first. But since she was reading something already, I decided to read it before her. And let me tell you, this book was amazing. I was totally engrossed in this story. The scenery was so well developed, I felt like I could actually see everything. The stars, the colors, the clothes…It was so beautiful, even if it’s only in my imagination. E.K.Johnston has a way of telling this story and making you believe that you’re in the story.

Since I only have vague knowledge of the Thousand and One Nights tale, I was going into this sorta blind. But I think that made this story even more special to me. A clean slate, if you will. No preconceived ideas. And I think that actually helped me enjoy it more, honestly.

I think the best part of this story, for me, was that is wasn’t about love, in the sense of romantic love, but about familial love. My teens and their friends like stories about girls who can kick butt, but they’re not always fans of the romance aspect. They want adventure and intrigue. This book will make them SUPER happy. This girl loved her sister and wanted to save her from a certain death. And in volunteering, that way she did, she ended up changing the world around her and bringing an end to this horrible tradition, if you will.

I was lucky enough to take my daughter to meet the author last week. My girlie sat next to me and listened to her talk and make jokes the whole time. When we got into the car, she turned and told me that she needs to read this book ASAP. I call that success. Now, do I let her use my copy with all the post its, or buy her another one….

~Melpomene

Buy A Thousand Nights

At the signing we were told that, in December, she has another releasing another retelling called Spindle. Sleeping Beauty!! I can’t wait!!