Review: Flawed (Flawed #1) by Cecelia Ahern

Flawed (Flawed, #1)Flawed by Cecelia Ahern
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book #3 for my Sci-Fi September!!!!

 

Celestine North is a high school girl living a Perfect life with her Perfect family.

In a society that values Perfection in mind, body and spirit, this is of the utmost importance. Because of this, maintaining Perfection is a primary focus of the citizens living within this dystopian society.

Collectively they punish those who they deem as lacking. Such individuals are branded as Flawed and never treated the same within society again, virtually designating them as the lowliest individuals that Perfects are afraid to even associate with.

When Celestine’s neighbor and piano teacher, a woman she feels she knows well, is punished as being Flawed, she is shocked, never having experienced a Flawed person so close to home.

She is also shocked to see the lack of empathy on the faces of her other neighbors as the Flawed woman is forcibly dragged from her home, away from the embraces of her crying children.

This incident causes Celestine to begin questioning everything. With new doubts in her mind, she tries to get back to life as usual but it very difficult. One day on a bus, she commits an act that ultimately gets her branded as Flawed. Her crime, compassion.

She is imprisoned, literally branded on her body and made to wear and arm patch with a big capital F on it, so all of society will know of her disgrace. Think futuristic The Scarlet Letter.

Her rights are stripped and life as she knows it, is over. Her long-time boyfriend, Art Crevan, whose father is the Judge that sentenced her, has disappeared. She is secluded and alone. Even her little brother is afraid of her.

In the midst of her situation, she hears rumblings of a possible underground movement out to overthrow the ruling party. They are pushing for a more equal society, ridding it of the old Perfect or Flawed mentality. The rebels have grabbed onto Celestine’s story and are using her as a sort of figurehead for their movement.

This was truly a delightful surprise. I really enjoyed this! It was like a CW show, and I mean that in the best way, easy and addicting. The pace was fast and information revealed to you just when you needed it to be. I could have used a teeny bit more of world-building but I am hoping more will be revealed in the next book.

I think if you are looking for a futuristic YA Dystopian that is quick and well written, you should definitely check this one out. Good solid drama, intriguing premise and it leaves off in a great spot for the continuation of the story. I definitely plan to pick up the sequel soon!

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Review: The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett

The Lady RogueThe Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Darkly glorious!!!

A bit Stalking Jack the Ripper, mixed with A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, I loved this fast-paced, historical romp with every fiber of my being.

Theo and Huck make a great team and following them on their mystery-filled, rescue mission through the rustic Carpathian Mountains was hella entertaining!

Theodora’s father is a treasure hunter, hired by a mysterious aristocrat to track down the legendary war ring of Vlad the Impaler. Along with his assistant, Huck Gallagher, also Theo’s former beau, he begins his search discovering new clues and following-up on leads.

Poor Theo gets left behind in a hotel, as she usually does, and is more than frustrated with that turn of events. She wants adventure too and is very good at solving puzzles. She just cannot understand why her father wouldn’t want to utilize her talents.

When Huck arrives back at the hotel, without her father, he has no clue as to where he went but he does have his cryptic travel journal. Theo’s mind is put to the test as she tries to decode his writings and figure out where he could be. Did he go willingly or was foul play involved?

I loved so much about this. The mystery, the intrigue, the dark historical connections, the partnership between Theo and Huck, the setting, it was all very up my alley.

I have never read a Jenn Bennett book before but I know this is a new genre for her. I thought she did a fantastic job. Although some of the paranormal things were a little wonky, I was having so much fun with the story, I didn’t even care.

Further, I am not sure if this is slated to be a standalone or a series, but I really, really hope this is not the last we see of this courageous duo!!!

The characters mention at the end of this book a location they may be traveling to next…I’m looking at you, Scotland…and I really NEED that to happen.

Who do I contact about that? Let’s do this, Bennett! I know you have it in you!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Simon Pulse, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I always appreciate the opportunity but extra love when I discover a new favorite!

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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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Review: Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

Daughter of the Pirate King (Daughter of the Pirate King, #1)Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

Sent on a mission to retrieve a part of a map leading to the mysterious Isla de Canta, where a secret treasure trove is said to be, Alosa, a 17-year old Pirate Captain, goes and purposefully gets herself kidnapped by her enemies.

Odd tactic, true, but her thought is, once aboard the enemy ship, The Nightfarer, she will have ample opportunity to search for said map.

Her enemies, too busy patting themselves on the back for capturing the Pirate King’s daughter, won’t even notice when she goes slinking about.

Using her numerous abilities, Alosa does do a pretty good job with her search. Her biggest challenge, handsome and smart, First Mate, Riden. He’s a bit of a distraction.

This is definitely a cute story. I really enjoyed Alosa’s character. She was confident and stubborn, not to mention a real badass. There’s something about a Lady Pirate that I can definitely get behind. The setting was fun and Riden was a swoony worthy love interest to be sure.

However, this being said, it took me a LONG time to get through this. It wasn’t really drawing me in. I didn’t find anything compelling about it.

Perhaps if I had read it when it was first released, I could have joined the hype and been more jazzed for it. Overall, for me, it was a good story but there was nothing really groundbreaking about it.

I will probably continue on with the duology, mostly because I want to visit the home of the sirens. I think a young Meg would have enjoyed this a bit more.

Alas, if you are looking for a fun pirate adventure with a bit of romance, it is definitely worth picking this one up.

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Final Review: The Last Hope (The Raging Ones 2) by Krista and Becca Ritchie

The Last Hope (The Raging Ones, #2)The Last Hope by Krista Ritchie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

It’s hard to believe this one is over. There are still so many ways this story could go but I am quite pleased with the ending. It’s bittersweet to say goodbye to characters I enjoy so much.

If you are unaware, The Last Hope is the concluding book in The Raging Ones duology, written by sister-writing duo, Krista and Becca Ritchie. This YA SciFi Romance is one of my most anticipated sequels of the year. The first book, The Raging Ones, was release in August of 2018 and I was so impressed with it! I had never read anything by either one of the Ritchie sisters so wasn’t sure what to expect.

It really kept me engaged the whole way through and the world-building was excellent! The end of had a HUGE reveal and cliffhanger ending. Our young protagonists discovered something that shook their world to its foundations. When I finished that last page my jaw was legit on the floor!!!

How the heck was I going to wait a year before getting my hands on the second book?

Well, lucky for me, I didn’t have to wait a full year. I was blessed to receive an early copy of the second book, The Last Hope, from the publisher, Wednesday Books. I very hearty thank you to them and guys, guess what!?

I loved this so much! It starts off with our main three literally in a fight for their lives. Rescued by a cast of new characters they board a starship from Earth, where they begin to learn all things Earthling. It is at this time that they are made aware of the fact that the fate of planet Earth is on the line and they are amongst the only people who can do something about it.

Now on a quest against time, with the future of the universe on the line, Franny, Court and Mykal have to push past their limits and fight against all odds until the ultimate finale. As with the first book, this second is highly unique and wonderfully written. It again kept me engaged from start to finish and I seriously did not want it to be over. It hurts my heart.

There were some intense scifi twists at the end that at first had me scratching my head. Were they brilliant or were they there out of convenience? Overall, I don’t really care. The story ended great. Was it perfect? No. The pacing was a little off for me in this one. The middle dragged a wee bit and the end seemed a tad rushed but in its entirety, this is a great story.

This duology will continue to hold a special place in my heart and I recommend it to YA SciFi and Fomance fans. If you weren’t aware, there is quite a bit of romance in these books, mainly between Mykal and Court.

The romance elements were quite well done, in my opinion. Both Krista and Becca are experienced romance writers so that makes perfect sense. This being said, although there is romance, it definitely does not over shade the scifi elements.

At its core this is a scifi story that I feel is accessible to all levels of science-fiction readers. So, whether you are new to the genre, or an old hat like myself, I think everyone can enjoy this!

I hope the authors produce more in this genre as I really think they did an excellent job with this duology. They should be very proud of their efforts. Now that the completed pair is on the shelves, this is the perfect time to head to your local bookseller, or favorite online retailer and pick them both up for a binge session!

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Book Chat: The Last Hope is Now Available!!!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019 was a good day.
It was on this day, this past Tuesday, that the concluding book in The Raging Ones duology was released.

Titled, The Last Hope, this YA-scifi novel written by the sister writing duo, Krista and Becca Ritchie, is one of my most anticipated sequels of the year. The first book in the duology, The Raging Ones, released in August 2018 and I was so impressed by it. I loved it so much and easily gave it a full five star rating. To see my full review on Goodreads, click here: Meg’s Review of The Raging Ones

Set in the very distant future, 3525 to be exact, we follow three main protagonists who have a very peculiar relationship and seem to be unlike any other individuals on their planet. To be clear, this story does not take place on Earth. Our protagonists, Franny, Court and Mykal, are all linked by their senses. They can feel, taste and smell what the others are experiencing.

This idea of sensory linking is so interesting to me. Although the trio struggles to get used to this phenomenon, they have no clue why this is happening to them. One thing they do know is that if anyone discovers their secret, they could be in very serious trouble.

As a trio, they enroll to compete for a chance to be a part of the Saga-5 mission, essentially a space mission that will get them off their planet and away from prying eyes. Accepted into the competition they are made to live in dormitories, undergo training and compete in challenges to prepare for the mission. Y’all know that a competition is one of my all-time favorite tropes. I love competition in real life and books are no different.

The end of the first book had a HUGE reveal and cliffhanger ending. Our young protagonists discovered something that shook their world to its foundations. When I finished that last page my jaw was legit on the floor!!! How the heck was I going to wait a year before getting my hands on the second book?

Well, lucky for me, I didn’t have to wait a full year. I was blessed to receive an early copy of the second book, The Last Hope, from the publisher, Wednesday Books. I very hearty thank you to them. Guys, guess what!?

I loved this one just as much. It starts off with our main three literally in a fight for their lives. Rescued by a cast of new characters they board a starship from Earth, where they begin to learn all things Earthling. It is at this time that they are made aware of the fact that the fate of planet Earth is on the line and they are amongst the only people who can do something about it. Dah dah dah….

Now on a quest against time, with the future of the universe on the line, Franny, Court and Mykal have to push past their limits and fight against all odds until the ultimate finale. As with the first book, this second is highly unique and wonderfully written. It kept me engaged from start to finish and I seriously did not want it to be over. It hurts my heart.

This duology will continue to hold a special place in my heart and I recommend it to YA scifi and romance fans. There is a heavy dose of romance in these books, the main romance being a male/male romance between Mykal and Court. The romance elements were quite well done, in my opinion. Both Krista and Becca are experienced romance writers so that makes perfect sense. This being said, although there is romance, it definitely does not over shade the scifi elements. At its core this is a scifi story that I feel is accessible to all levels of science-fiction readers. So, whether you are new to the genre, or an old hat like myself, I think everyone can enjoy this!

I hope the authors produce more in this genre as I really think they did an excellent job with this duology. They should be very proud of their efforts. Now that the completed duology is on the shelves, this is the perfect time to head to your local bookseller, or favorite online retailer and pick them both up for a binge session! I personally am planning a full ‘Scifi September’ TBR — perhaps you would like to join me!? These books would certainly be a perfect fit for that theme!

Cheers, my friends & Happy Reading!

 

Review: Nyxia Uprising (Nyxia Triad #3) by Scott Reintgen

Nyxia Uprising (The Nyxia Triad, #3)Nyxia Uprising by Scott Reintgen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

MY BABIES!!!!

My sweet babies. From desperate kids to intergalactic space pirates. I love you all so much.

Guys, this action-packed YA scifi series is soooooo underrated. I loved each and every one of these books. It’s just the perfect series of events.

You watch these kids grow, from the earlier competitors that they were, to the strong and fearless young adults they become and it seriously added 10-years to my life.

As this is the third book in the triad, I won’t say too much on the plot, but I can scream from the rooftops that this was such a satisfying conclusion.

During the course of the series, you will become really attached to these characters. They are diverse, well written, each with their own distinctive voice…

That’s it. I am done. I’m not sure how much more gushing I can handle in one day.

I am so happy I made time for this. Finally! It has taken me way too long. I definitely plan to read this series again someday, back-to-back. I had forgotten some details in between Book 2 and this one so I would love to get a full immersive experience of bingeing them.

If you like YA scifi, if you like competition tropes, if you like found families, do yourself a favor and check this series out.

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Review: The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

The Last Magician (The Last Magician, #1)The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

Did I enjoy this book?
Great question.

I finished this over 10-days ago and although I remember reading it, I cannot actually recall too many specifics in regards to the plot.

From my limited recollections, there’s this girl, Esta, she lives in modern times but has the ability to time travel. She works for a mysterious Professor sort of figure who gives her an assignment to travel back to 1902-Manhattan and steal an ancient book that holds some magical secrets.

She is told that she also needs to stop the magician, who is apparently after this book as well. The magician is an actual performing magician named Harte Darrigan. They are both trying to steal the book from the mysterious and sinister ‘Order’.

This Order has worked to try to squash magic and those with it…or something. They created something called ‘the Brink’ which is a force around the island of Manhattan that traps those with magic inside…or something.

There is a lot of action, some fight scenes, some romance, a gang of magical peoples and some other things I can’t quite remember. I did listen to the audiobook for this and I am questioning whether or not that was the correct medium for me to take in this story.

It does jump around quite a bit in time, setting and perspectives, particularly in the beginning and I’ll admit, I was pretty much lost for the first 300-pages.

Overall, this didn’t leave much of an impression on me either way. There were some things about the story I like, Esta and Harte specifically, and I thought the concept behind it was super intriguing but I think it did too much to quickly. I could totally see this being broken up into two separate books.

While I am happy I read it, I am not even sure I am going to continue on with the series. I might because I already own the second book but I would seriously need a refresher course on what this is even about.

There was quite a good plot twist at the end but that left me pondering how logistically that was even possible. Then you are calculating time jumps, trying to figure how something could have actually worked. It was a lot. I give it three and a half shrugs up.

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Review: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)Illuminae by Amie Kaufman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I.
{ERROR}

AM.
IN.
{ERROR}

LOVE.

I would give a million stars to this if I could. Seriously, all the stars!!

I sort of feel like I was the last person in the universe to experience Illuminae. I call it an experience because, oh my stars, was it ever.

I wasn’t sure going in whether or not I would be able to handle the format. Scanning through the book before starting it seemed so chaotic. How would I ever keep track of it all?

In the end, it really worked for me! Something as simple as having a black page with white font makes the reading experience so unique. I was urged by quite a few folks to check out the audiobook but I didn’t want to miss out on any of the visuals.

Moving forward, I may switch back and forth between audio and hard copy for Gemina; see how I like it.

I won’t go into the plot here, as I feel at this point, we all pretty much get what this is about. One thing I will say though, is how impressed I was with the characters; including Aidan. They were so well done.

I felt extremely attached to Kady and Ezra but also, even the side characters, were well-fleshed out. At its heart, this story is an action-packed tale of love and loss. It tugged at my heartstrings, for real.

Even though it is a pretty chunky book, it went by so quickly. I didn’t want it to end. I’m not sure when I will be able to continue on with the series but am I definitely looking forward to it!!!!

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Review: Wild and Crooked by Leah Thomas

Wild and CrookedWild and Crooked by Leah Thomas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

This is the story of the friendship of Kalyn Spence and Gus Peake. Two kids whose stories were tragically intertwined before they even knew that the other existed.

You see, Kalyn’s Dad is in prison, accused of murdering Gus’s Dad. When Kalyn moves to Samsboro, into her paternal Grandmother’s home, she is forced to attend school under an alias for fear of repercussions if people knew she was a Spence.

She tries to fly under the radar but finds her new found persona exhausting. She befriends Gus, who definitely stands out in a crowd, and finds his honesty and quiet demeanor refreshing.

Gus has lived in Samsboro his whole life with his Mom, who has never fully recovered from the loss of his father, and her wife, Tamara. Gus, who has cerebral palsy, spends most of his time with his best friend, Phil, but longs for a bigger life outside of Samsboro.

Once Gus and Kalyn begin spending time together, they grow close rather quickly and are both shocked when they discover how their lives are tied together.

Soon the kids are uncovering long-held, small-town secrets and exposing evidence that has never before been brought to light.

I really enjoyed this story. I don’t think Leah Thomas could have fit more hard-hitting topics in here if she tried!

This is a story of identity, perceptions, reality, love, hate, forgiveness, moving on; in short, it’s about life. The characters are great. I loved Kalyn and Gus both so much and even Phil, self-proclaimed antisocial personality disorder and all.

I was pleasantly surprised when the book took a mysterious turn and the kids started their own investigation. I had a lot of fun reading that aspect of the story.

I need more people to read this and be talking about it. I think there is a lot of really great rep in here and the various stories were so honestly told. It was really moving. So, yeah, if you are into Contemporary, pick this one up! It’s so worth it!!!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Bloomsbury, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity and look forward to reading more from this author!

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