Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young | Book Review

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young | Book Review

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young | Book ReviewSky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
Published by Wednesday Books on April 24th 2018
Genres: Action & Adventure, Historical Fiction
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
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Goodreads
five-stars

OND 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.

I am always up for a good and solid Viking type of story! As a part of my studies revolved around studying their culture, I always find it hard to fall in love with these type of books because so many stories don’t really do their culture justice. Lucky for me (and you!) Sky in the Deep delivered, and how!

If you are not into lots of action and (some) gore, this book might not be for you. It is fast paced and action packed from the start, as you’re immediately thrown into a battle between two rival clans. And, for the rest of the story, that fast paced and action-packed vibe doesn’t let up! (Yay!)

Eelyn, the main character in Sky in the Deep, is hard and tough, not because circumstances forced her to be, but just because she is. And guys, you wouldn’t believe how refreshing that is! She develops a lot throughout the story as the foundation of everything she’s always believed in is shaken. She has to rediscover her place in her world and accept that maybe not everything is as black and white as she previously believed to be.

The romance, guys, is a slow burner! (Que fist pump!) I love me a good slow-burner, and THIS BOOK HAS IT! It is so good, it is forbidden, and it is intense. What isn’t to like?

Another thing I really enjoyed is that Sky in the Deep dives into the subject of what makes a family. The concept of which is something Eelyn redefines as she changes throughout the story. View Spoiler » It is all about who you let into your heart. Eelyn might be a badass, but you cannot deny that she has heart!

Fast paced and action-packed until the end! If you love the former and you don’t mind (some) gore, then Sky in the Deep is for you! For all the Viking-type-of-story fans out there: I can’t recommend this book enough!

Front Lines by Michael Grant

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Front Lines by Michael GrantFront Lines by Michael Grant
Series: Soldier Girl #1
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on January 26th 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Historical Fiction
Pages: 576
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
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Goodreads
four-stars

World War II, 1942. A court decision makes women subject to the draft and eligible for service. The unproven American army is going up against the greatest fighting force ever assembled, the armed forces of Nazi Germany.

Three girls sign up to fight. Rio Richlin, Frangie Marr, and Rainy Schulterman are average girls, girls with dreams and aspirations, at the start of their lives, at the start of their loves. Each has her own reasons for volunteering: Rio fights to honor her sister; Frangie needs money for her family; Rainy wants to kill Germans. For the first time they leave behind their homes and families—to go to war.

These three daring young women will play their parts in the war to defeat evil and save the human race. As the fate of the world hangs in the balance, they will discover the roles that define them on the front lines. They will fight the greatest war the world has ever known.

What I thought

Front Lines is the first book by Michael Grant that I’ve read. When I read about the premise for this book I was sold. I mean, it seemed like such an original and intriguing take on World War II. After reading Front Lines I can tell you that it most certainly lived up to my expectations: what a long but incredibly compelling and captivating read!

There is so much detail that has gone into this book

Front Lines starts out quite slow, but this is one of those books that needs slow in the beginning. I don’t think I would have become as invested in the characters as I am now if I hadn’t been there alongside them at bootcamp, traveling from California to Georgia to Oklahoma to New York City and to North Africa on the Queen Mary. You need the background to become invested in these characters and I appreciate all the detail that has gone into this SO MUCH. The background stories, the journey to bootcamp, as well as all the historical details are what make this book so incredibly captivating to read.

Front Lines is such a confrontational and realistic story to read

What I loved most about Front Lines is that Michael Grant didn’t just stop at the imagined army life and conditions of women (and from the POV of three different women) during WWII. He also took in account how race would have factored in the army furing the early 1940s as well. Rio Richlin is a white girl from a small town in California, Frangie Marr is an African-American girl from Oklahoma, and Rainy Shulterman is a Jewish girl from New York City. Not only does Grant tackle gender injustice and sexism, he tackles racism as well, which is something that would be very easy to forget when writing a book like this. The fact that Grant ‘tells it like it is’ and doesn’t shy away from having his characters making racial slurs and sexist comments makes Front Lines an incredibly confrontational and realistic story to read.

Flawed characters with SO MUCH depth

I am, and always have been, a huge fan of character driven stories and Front Lines did in no way let me down in this department. The characters are realisticly portrayed: they’re flawed and have so much depth. Rio, Frangie, and Rainy all have their own distinct personalities, and have their own reasons for enlisting. The secondary characters, too, bring so much to the story.

Final verdict IRISJEXX!

 

The whopping amount of 576 pages are an absolute pleasure from beginning to end. It is such a compelling read and I cannot wait for the sequel to Front Lines to hit shelves! (Somehow I didn’t realize this would be a series until I reached the end of the book, imagine the frustration when I realized I coudn’t keep on reading when I wanted to SO BADLY). Seriously people, read this!

Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson | Review

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson | ReviewWalk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson
Series: The Gold Seer Trilogy #1
Published by Greenwillow Books on September 22nd 2015
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 432
Source: the Publisher
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety?

Walk on Earth a Stranger, the first book in this new trilogy, introduces—as only Rae Carson can—a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance. Includes a map and author’s note on historical research.

What I thoughtI’m going to start this review by saying that this is the first time I’m reading one of Rae Carson’s books. Her previous series has been on my wish-list for a while now, but I never got around to reading it. That being said, I was so excited for Walk on Earth a Stranger. I mean, helloooo, it’s about the gold-rush! I’ve always been intrigued by this period, and I jumped at the chance to read this early (thank you, thank you, thank you HC International).

I was hooked from the very first page. Which says a LOT, because I felt like it moved a bit slow at times. Most of the story is the characters’ journey to the west, and besides that (and what happens on the road) nothing really happens. However that slower pace seemed to suit the story. Also, it was easy to overlook, as Rae Carson’s writing is absolutely stunning. There’s this easy flow and comfortableness to the writing, it flows seamlessly. If I didn’t have other responsibilities during the day I, without a doubt, would’ve read this book in one sitting.

The plot was so well thought out. The beginning was incredibly strong. View Spoiler ». Then, as I mentioned before, most of the book is all about the journey. There must’ve gone so much time into research to write this book, the tiny details, it felt like I was part of history. So well thought out and a great amount of world building. I sucked up every ounce of information and I loved every part of it.

There’s a fantasy aspect to this story (Lee being able to sense gold and all), but it didn’t take over the story. Rather it took a bit of a backseat, which REALLY worked for me. This way we got to focus on the journey Lee is on. We get to focus on her  epic journey across the nation, her chance at a new beginning, and not so much on her ability (though I feel like it’ll play a MAJOR part in the next instalments).

We meet lots of different characters with lots of different backgrounds. Lee’s best friend, and love interest, is half native-American and half-Caucasian. The company she travels in includes French-Canadian immigrants, German immigrants, a slave owner and his slave, ‘confirmed bachelors’ (another, smart, name for gay men), and others I might be forgetting. This gives Rae Carson the chance to explore the racial tensions, but she includes gay rights and feminism as well. Incredibly smart and interesting! The protagonist, Lee, I have so much respect for. She’s such a strong character. Lee faces her trials and hardships with incredible strength and determination that will be hard not to admire. Loved it. I mentioned that Lee’s best friend is the love interest in the story, and it was a good kind of romance. Slowly building. It’s barely there, but it’s visible enough for the reader to notice the subtle nudges that hint at a budding romance. I can’t wait to see it develop further in the next book! One thing I did think was missing was a little more depth to the secondary characters. Although I liked them well enough, I felt like they were a little on the flat side. But that too, I hope to see change in the next book!

Final verdict IRISJEXX!I think this books was incredibly well written, absolutely fantastic. Great writing, incredibly interesting characters, and a very well-thought out and enjoyable plot! Such a great start to a series! Can’t wait to read the sequel. How long do I have to wait again? *winces*

The Door That Led To Where by Sally Gardner | Book Review

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Door That Led To Where by Sally Gardner | Book ReviewThe Door That Led To Where by Sally Gardner
Published by Hot Key Books on January 1st 2015
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 288
Format: Hardcover
Source: the Publisher
Goodreads
three-half-stars

AJ Flynn has just failed all but one of his GCSEs, and his future is looking far from rosy. So when he is offered a junior position at a London law firm he hopes his life is about to change - but he could never have imagined by how much.

Tidying up the archive one day, AJ finds an old key, mysteriously labelled with his name and date of birth - and he becomes determined to find the door that fits the key. And so begins an amazing journey to a very real and tangible past - 1830, to be precise - where the streets of modern Clerkenwell are replaced with cobbles and carts, and the law can be twisted to suit a villain's means. Although life in 1830 is cheap, AJ and his friends quickly find that their own lives have much more value. They've gone from sad youth statistics to young men with purpose - and at the heart of everything lies a crime that only they can solve. But with enemies all around, can they unravel the mysteries of the past, before it unravels them?

A fast-paced mystery novel by one of the country's finest writers, THE DOOR THAT LED TO WHERE will delight, surprise and mesmerise all those who read it.

What I thoughtThis book was my first encounter with Sally Gardner’s writing. Yeah I know… I should be ashamed of myself. But then again, I just had to read this book. For reasons that seem quite obvious to me. It’s time travel. Modern day London and 19th century London, that’s a win!

I haven’t read many time travel stories now I think about it. But when I read that The Door That Led To Were was about time-travel and London in two different ages I got intrigued. I love London. I’ve been there a few times and there’s this mystery and beauty to the city that blows me away every time I see it. And I loved that I felt the same way reading about the city in this book. Sally Gardner does a wonderful job portraying both modern day and 19th century London.

This book read really easily. I don’t really know how else to describe it. I finished the story really fast, and I think this has to do with the writing style that felt so comfortable to read. I never felt rushed, just extremely comfortable till I reached the very last page. The pacing even felt a bit slow at times. That, and I figured out where the story was heading pretty early on.

While the time-traveling added a bit of a ‘fantastical’ element to this book. I really enjoyed that AJ’s situation at home was anything but fantastical. The problems with his mom, bad grades (which results in bad job prospects), made for a very realistic character with problems that many readers can identify with.

Final verdict IRISJEXX!While I really enjoyed the setting and the ‘fantastical’ and ‘realistic’ elements within this book, I just wasn’t really blown away by The Door That Led To Where. In the end it made for a fun and quick read, and an enjoyable story.

Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen | Book Review

Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen | Book Review

Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen | Book ReviewLady Thief by A.C. Gaughen
Series: Scarlet #2
Published by Walker Books for Young Readers on February 11th 2014
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 304
Format: Hardcover
Goodreads
five-stars

Scarlet’s true identity has been revealed, but her future is uncertain. Her forced marriage to Lord Gisbourne threatens Robin and Scarlet’s love, and as the royal court descends upon Nottingham for the appointment of a new Sheriff, the people of Nottingham hope that Prince John will appoint their beloved Robin Hood. But Prince John has different plans for Nottingham that revolve around a fateful secret from Scarlet’s past even she isn’t yet aware of. Forced to participate at court alongside her ruthless husband, Scarlet must bide her time and act the part of a noblewoman—a worthy sacrifice if it means helping Robin’s cause and a chance at a future with the man she loves. With a fresh line of intrigue and as much passion as ever, the next chapter in Scarlet’s tale will have readers talking once again

What I thought NEWBaffled. My brain isn’t functioning as it should. That ending completely shattered me. I just want to yell and throw a fit, there’s so many feelings coursing through my body after finishing this book. It was just perfect, and frustrating, and incredibly beautifully written.

As much as I loved Scarlet, Lady Thief was even better (which I didn’t know was even possible!). It’s action packed, danger filled, and a romance that builds and builds. There were so many layers and twists happening that I haven’t even processed half of it yet (let me be clear that I finished Lady Thief over a week ago…). It’s definitely darker than the first book, at times so gut wrenching that I wanted to put the book away to take a breather, but I just couldn’t and HAD TO KEEP READING.

I loved how much Scarlet grew throughout Scarlet, and I was pleasantly surprised that she continued this growth at the same pace. If possible she became even more courageous and more stubborn and just so fierce and brave. She never forgets where her heart lies. You live the story through her, and feel with her all the way. One of my favourite main characters EVER.

While I still shudder thinking about Lord Gisbourne. His character was certainly given much more depth in Lady Thief. I still don’t like the guy (to put it mildly) but the depth to his character was refreshing and if not made the book even better (I think villains need depth in order for them to be truly frightening).

Lady Thief is a top notch sequel. The romance grows and is every so sweet and beautiful. While the stakes are higher than ever, as the villain becomes more evil and the danger more frightening. A beautiful book, that will leave you baffled and VERY anxious for the next book!