Review: Namesake (Fable #2) by Adrienne Young

Namesake (Fable, #2)Namesake by Adrienne Young
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Namesake is the conclusion to Adrienne Young’s, Fable duology; a Seafaring Fantasy story with action, adventure and heart.

After the cliffhanger ending of Fable, our protagonist finds herself once again, separated from the one’s she loves, as she is used as a pawn in a rival trader’s scheme for power.

Just as she was beginning to find the place she felt she belonged, more challenges are thrown in her face.

On her new ship, she runs into an old acquaintance. A close friend of her parents, who she thought was lost forever.

In her struggle to return to the Marigold, and the handsome Captain she left behind, Fable ends up learning a lot more about her Mother, particularly her earlier life; some of it surprising, to say the least.

This story takes the plotting and scheming to a whole new level, as the different trading organizations in this world vie for power and position.

I really enjoyed watching Fable’s evolution as a character over the course of these two books. Although she has always been a fighter, she was fairly helpless in the beginning in a lot of ways.

She was used so often as a pawn in other people’s games, but as she grew and discovered her own power, she became a force to be reckoned with. She became like the center of a whirlpool, sucking everyone in around her.

Overall, I am so satisfied with how this turned out. It was really a lot of fun. I enjoyed the complexity that Young brought to this one, which I felt was lacking a bit in the first novel.

In my opinion, Fable deserves the world! She discovered so much about herself, that she didn’t understand before. I feel like with that understanding, she was able to become who she was truly meant to be. My baby bird has left the nest.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Wednesday Books, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review.

I really enjoyed it!

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Review: Perfect (Flawed #2) by Cecelia Ahern

Perfect (Flawed, #2)Perfect by Cecelia Ahern
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

After the culminating events of Flawed, the first book in Cecelia Ahern’s YA Dystopian Duology, Celestine North is on the run.

The most wanted individual within the society, Celestine has evidence that could bring down not just Judge Crevan, the man responsible for her being branded as flawed, but the entire Guild.

Hiding from the Whistleblowers, Celestine, along with her trusted companion, Carrick, need to figure out their next steps for exposing Crevan’s misdeeds.

Even prior to Celestine’s case, there were dissidents who wanted to see the end of the system they view as cruel and inhumane. Now Celestine has become a figurehead for their cause.

This novel, like the first, was fast-paced and engaging the entire way through. Ahern has no problem kicking her stories off with a bang and maintaining that pace.

It has been over a year since I read the first book and I appreciated how Ahern refreshed my memory without regurgitating the entire plot.

The dystopian setting is particularly well done, with corrupt leaders and an interesting system for maintaining the obedience of the masses.

I couldn’t help but compare Celestine to Katniss; how they both begrudgingly become leaders of such large causes. They’re both strong and brave; characters who are easy to stand behind.

I would recommend this for anyone who loves interesting Dystopian stories.

This one isn’t too far off from our world, which adds a touch of a frightening element to it. One of those, oh shit, this could really happen feelings.

Overall, I’m really happy that I finally picked this one up and finished this duology. It was really good. I’m actually surprised I haven’t heard more people talking about it.

Another successful backlist bump!!!

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Review: Warmaidens by Kelly Coon

WarmaidensWarmaidens by Kelly Coon
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’m sorry everyone, but this is going to sting a bit.

Unfortunately, Warmaidens was a disappointment for me.

I enjoyed Gravemaidens quite a bit when I read it last year. In fact, I felt overall it was underrated.

The world of Alu was very interesting. The whole concept of the gravemaidens, the competition that led to their selection and the fact that even though it was essentially a death sentence for the women chosen, the position was revered within their society.

I also loved reading about the relationship between the main character, Kammani, and her younger sister, Nanaea.

They were complete opposites, with Kammani being responsible and serious, while Nanaea was more vain and emotional.

Their relationship had some volatility to it that kept it interesting and there were some beautifully written, emotional scenes involving them learning to love one another even through disagreements.

Those scenes were some of my favorite of the first book.

Since Gravemaidens ended on such an intriguing cliffhanger, I was super stoked to get into this sequel.

Unfortunately, this continuation was lacking all of the things I enjoyed the most about the first book.

Nanaea was unrecognizable in comparison to her character in Gravemaidens. While I understand that her character would have grown based on what she went through in the first book, would there be no shred of her original personality left?

Also, I never felt any real high stakes drama. It was just fairly bland the entire way through and read extremely slowly.

It was so singular in focus, taking forever to get anywhere, and my eyes definitely glazed over on more than one occasion.

The conclusion was in no way exciting, or surprising. At the end there was this odd scene that was like the end of a Saturday Night Live episode.

You know, where the whole cast gathers on stage as the music plays them out, hugging and congratulating one another. It was a choice.

With all of this being said, even though this didn’t work for me, doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. If you read the first book and enjoyed it, you should absolutely try this one for yourself. Don’t take my word for it!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Delacorte Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity to provide my thoughts and opinion.

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Review: Akata Warrior (Akata Witch #2) by Nnedi Okorafor

Akata Warrior (Akata Witch, #2)Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

A year has passed since Sunny first discovered she was a part of the magical Leopard Society and along with her friends, Orlu, Sasha and Chichi, formed the youngest Oha Coven ever.

Now a little older, and a bit more experienced, each of the four kids have been selected by a powerful Leopard mentor to oversee their studies and continue strengthening their powers.

Sunny’s mentor, Sugar Cream, is a wise older woman with incredible power. She’s tough and I loved reading their interactions with one another. You can tell that Sugar Cream sees something very special in Sunny.

Through it all, Sunny continues to try to understand her visions of a coming apocalypse. What can she possibly do to prevent the horrific things she envisions from happening?

In the midst of all of this, her older brother departs for college. When he arrives home unexpectedly, late one night bloody and battered, Sunny knows she needs to do something.

Enlisting Chichi’s help, the two girls head off to the University to set things right. Their escapade causes Sunny to break one of the Leopard Society’s rules however and detection is swift.

Her punishment consists of Sunny being locked in the library basement, which trust me, is not as magical as it sounds.

It is during this time of isolation that Sunny begins to feel more compelled towards her quest.

Along with her friends, she must find the secret town of Osisi, facing off against mortal enemies along the way in order to stop the end of the world from coming.

I flew through this story. There is so much going on. Sunny is basically living a dual life. She has her home life with her family and regular school, as well as all of her dealings within the Leopard world.

I enjoyed watching her relationship with her family change as she changes and grows more confident in herself and her powers. Particularly, her relationship with her older brother.

The friend group, again, is the highlight of this story for me. I love the way the four personalities play off of one another.

There’s more drama in this installment as the relationships veer out of friendship territory and more into romance. Although this wasn’t my favorite plot point, I think it was executed naturally and therefore, I didn’t mind it.

In addition to the characters and relationships, I loved the world so much. It’s actually quite dark and dangerous. Our protagonists definitely do not have an easy go at it.

Okorafor uses excerpts from books that Sunny is studying to help educate the reader on the lore, history and magic system of the world. I thought that was such a fun way to develop the story.

I did get a little lost towards the end, but I think it was because I was reading so fast. I was anxious for everyone to be okay and I let that get the best of me!

The ending was so satisfying. Initially, before picking up this sequel, I wished there were more books in the series. Now that I have completed it, I couldn’t be happier with how Okorafor left Sunny.

This is odd to say, but I am proud of Sunny. Her growth and accomplishments. I am okay with leaving her here and moving on.

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Review: Akata Witch (Akata Witch #1) by Nnedi Okorafor

Akata Witch (Akata Witch, #1)Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

Nnedi Okorafor’s, Akata Witch, is an absolute treat for any YA or Middle Grade Reader who loves a magical school trope!

I was absolutely blown away by how invested I became in this story. The lore, the action, the relationships were all beautifully done.

Sunny, a 12-year old albino girl, who recently moved from New York city to Aba, Nigeria, has a hard-time fitting in. When people look at her, they seem to immediately pass judgement on her because she looks different.

At school, there are some kids she always seems to be butting heads with.

The one person who seems to accept her, full stop, is a boy named Orlu. They begin spending time together and he introduces her to a vibrant girl named, Chichi.

Chichi doesn’t go to their school as she is home-schooled by her Mom.

When Sunny first goes to Chichi’s home, she’s astounded by the number of books. The house itself seems to be built of books and on such interesting topics.

It is through Orlu and Chichi, and their afternoons together, that Sunny ultimately learns of the Leopard People, a group of magical individuals living amongst them.

Sunny is then told, that she herself, is one of these people. It is then that Sunny’s education truly begins.

Orlu and Chichi have been learning about their gifts as Leopard People for a while, so Sunny starts out a little behind.

In spite of this, she learns quickly and begins to relish her new found powers.

Together the three kids are joined by Sasha, a boy from America, and they form the youngest Oha Coven ever.

They are tasked with hunting down a serial killer, Black Hat Otokoto, kidnapping and killing children in their area.

The fearsome-foursome go head-to-head against some truly dark forces to try to protect life as we know it.

I loved this friend group so much. Their relationships blossomed over the course of the story and I grew to love each and every one of them.

I loved how Okorafor weaved the magical realm seamlessly into our own world. It was so believable. It made me believe anyway.

If you are someone who loves a strong friendship group, coming together in the face of evil, with magic, heart and humor, you absolutely need to pick this book up.

It’s so much from the very start. Super engaging, full of action and interesting characters.

I also loved the the way the folklore and legends were introduced into the story. I thought it was such a clever format for learning about the world.

I will absolutely be picking up the next book, Akata Warrior, very soon.

Is this really only going to be a duology? I feel like there is so much room this story to grow. I never want to say goodbye to Sunny, Orlu, Chichi or Sasha. Damn. I’m getting emotional already and I’ve only read the first book…

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Review: This Coven Won’t Break (These Witches Don’t Burn #2) by Isabel Sterling

This Coven Won't Break (These Witches Don't Burn, #2)This Coven Won’t Break by Isabel Sterling
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

As this is the second book in the These Witches Don’t Burn duology, this review may contain minor spoilers for the first book.

Proceed at your own risk!

Now entering her Senior year of high school, Hannah Walsh just wants to put the pieces of her life back together and forget about the tragedy that happened last year.

Her father is gone, her home destroyed, but she still has her Mom, best friend and girlfriend, Morgan, to count on.

While struggling with her grief, Hannah matured a lot. Sometimes it was hard to remember that she was still in high school.

I love that she remained connected to her ex-girlfriend, Veronica, and that we got to learn so much more about the infamous NYC Blood Witch incident. That’s what I had been hoping for all along.

As Hannah tries to recover however, the Witch Hunters are actually increasing their activities and apparently, they are now nationwide!

Armed with a biological serum that can strip Witches of their powers, the Hunters are determined to clear the world of Hannah and others like her.

There was quite a bit of action in this installment and moving from place-to-place. For me, it lost a little of its charm compared to the first book because of this.

Odd, I know, but one of the things I enjoyed so much about the first book was the examination of relationships and I didn’t feel that as much in this.

With this being said, I do think this was a lovely conclusion and I definitely plan to pick up the prequel novella, This Spell Can’t Last.

I also will pick up anything else this author chooses to write!

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Review: Evermore (Everless #2) by Sara Holland

Evermore (Everless, #2)Evermore by Sara Holland
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have done it. I have finally completed another duology!

I feel so accomplished.

After the events of Everless, Jules Ember finds herself with a bounty on her head.

She’s now on the run with Liam Gerling still at her side. The stakes are high as Jules scrambles to uncover the secrets of her past in order to save her future.

We learn more about the lore of the Alchemist and the Sorceress and how that lore affects the current land of Everless.

The ultimate game of good versus evil is afoot. Who will reign victorious?

Unfortunately, while I think this is a solid YA Fantasy story, for me, it wasn’t overly exciting or particularly memorable.

With this being said, I think for readers who are just breaking into YA Fantasy, this may be a good place to start. For veteran readers of the genre, however, it may seem a bit formulaic.

In spite of not being blown away, I do feel that Sara Holland is a creative and lush writer. I will continue to read more from her in the future even though this duology wasn’t a favorite for me.

Again, I think for younger readers, or for individuals looking to get more into the YA Fantasy genre, this would be a great place to start.

The storyline is easy to follow and the action compelling. If you read the synopsis and it intrigues you, you should absolutely give it a shot!

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Review: Immunity (Contagion #2) by Erin Bowman

Immunity (Contagion, #2)Immunity by Erin Bowman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD

After narrowly escaping an infectious zombie horde on Achyls, Nova, Thea and Coen find themselves facing a completely different threat altogether.

What they thought was their salvation, may actually end up as their demise.

The three must band together, along with some new allies, to stop the possible destruction of the galaxy.

So, no pressure.

With fewer characters in this sequel, at least to start, I felt like I had a bit more time to get to know them. While that was nice, it did give it a slightly different feel to the first novel.

Don’t get me wrong, there was still a ton of action here, but in my opinion, there was definitely more character examination.

Another difference in feel concerns the atmosphere. As high-stakes as Immunity is, we’re talking possible interstellar catastrophe here, the atmosphere of this installment was completely different.

In the first book, we have the slightly unqualified crew heading out on a SAR-mission to an abandoned mining planet.

It’s remote, cold, dark and dangerous. They have no idea what they are go to find and what they found was terrifying.

Contagion, the first book, grabbed me because of its edge-of-your-seat SciFi-Horror narrative; one of my favorite subgenres within Science Fiction.

While this is still a really good book, I would categorize this as strict SciFi.

So, for me, it lost a bit of that edge over the course of the evolution of the story.

With this being said, the events were wrapped up nicely and I am happy to have another completed duology on my shelves.

Overall, this is a super solid YA Science Fiction duology that I would absolutely recommend to any fan of the genre.

Even though I didn’t love this one quite as much as Contagion, I can definitely appreciate how fully developed this story is.

Well done. I look forward to reading more from Erin Bowman!

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Review: Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim

Scavenge the Stars (Scavenge the Stars, #1)Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

…no one left in the world to love her…only the promise of retribution.

On the debtor’s ship, The Brackish, young Silverfish, once known as Amaya, spends her days diving for pearls and counting down the moments until she can regain her freedom.

Things aboard the ship are far from smooth sailing. The Captain is cruel and treats his young prisoners with an iron fist.

When Amaya rescues a man from drowning, she fears she may be punished by further time added to her sentence.

And although that may be true, she’s taken with this mysterious stranger wrangled from the depths. When she begins to interact with him, Boon promises her unimaginable riches and the possibility of returning to the city of her birth.

With his help, she’ll be able to find out the truth about the cause of the downfall of her family, and in turn, seek revenge of her own.

Through an exciting series of events, Amaya is able to flee the ship and does indeed return to her hometown of Moray, a port-city with an even mix of old-world opulence and new-world problems.

Set up by Boon, she poses as a wealthy Countess in order to infiltrate polite society and bring down the man Boon feels responsible for his problems.

The man he seeks is Kamon Mercado, a high-society businessman, who has secretly fallen into hard times of his own.

His son, Cayo, once involved heavily in the Vice Sector, gambling, drinking and carousing, is trying to stay clean but definitely played his part in dragging the family name through the mud.

Amaya is directed to befriend Cayo and use him to get access to his father. Once she does however, she finds all may not be as easy as it once seemed.

This story is a gender-flipped retelling of the adventure classic, The Count of Monte Cristo, and I definitely felt the themes of that woven throughout.

I loved the back and forth between Amaya’s and Cayo’s perspectives, as they both pieced together the darkness and mysteries surrounding their lives.

I enjoyed so much watching their relationship grow and am definitely interested to see where it will go in the second book.

The setting of Moray reminded me quite a bit of New Reynes, from Amanda Foody’s, Ace of Shades. So, if you enjoyed those books, you should definitely pick this one up.

The Vice Sector, with it’s gambling dens and ruling Slum King, was steeped in danger and underhand dealings. Corruption is a major theme in this book, as is deception and individuals being used as pawns for other’s gains.

Additionally, I enjoyed the pacing and felt it was cleverly plotted, although some of the reveals felt a tad convenient. I did ultimately like the way it all came together. The conclusion was an nice set up going into the final portion of this duology.

Overall, I had a lot of fun reading this and look forward to continuing with the story!!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney Book Group, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity to get my hands on it early!

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Review: Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller

Daughter of the Siren Queen (Daughter of the Pirate King, #2)Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

Daughter of the Siren Queen accompanied me on my holiday travels this past weekend and I finished it up yesterday. While I won’t be adding it to my all-time favorites list, it was definitely an entertaining weekend read.

Picking up where the first installment left off, we find Alosa back on her ship with the best crew in the business. Her old enemies are now her captives and she feels successful having gathered the pieces of the map leading to the treasure of the Isla de Canta

She plans to work alongside her father to recover the spoils, however, all of this is changed when a giant secret is revealed. Alosa is devastated to learn her father has been lying to her for her entire life. She feels betrayed and oh, so very angry.

With this new knowledge of her father’s true nature in mind, she decides to set out on her own to claim the booty for herself and her crew.

Her skills as a Captain are put to the test but no one can deny, Alosa is fierce. Struggling to gain control of her Siren powers, she grows closer and closer to Riden when she realizes that something about him makes that easier. I did enjoy their relationship and reading about the Siren’s and their nature.

This was action-packed but I did find my mind wandering from time to time. I am not sure if that is because of the circumstances under which I read it (on vacation) or whether it was because I just wasn’t engaging fully with the narrative. I think for me personally, it read a little young.

Definitely a solid story however, so if you enjoy a good pirate tale, go ahead and pick up this duology and give her a go. We could all use a little more swashbuckling in our lives!

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