Book Review: The Blazing Star

Book Review: The Blazing Star

Rating: ★★★☆☆

* I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  This in no way affected my opinion of the book.

After finding themselves stranded in Ancient Egypt with no way out, Portia, alongside her sister and freshman Selene must navigate their way to safety. But the trio discover their appearance is anything but random.

It took me a while to finish this book, due to my massive book slump during the exam period. Luckily, I did finish it in the end and I’m glad my lack of desire to read didn’t affect my opinion on this book massively. To start, the book’s introduction was incredibly difficult to get through. To be honest, I found it rather dull. At first, their introduction didn’t really hook me in. The character of Selene was a big question mark until you learn what her part is in the novel. At the beginning, the only thing kept me going was the fact Portia and Alex were twins. However, it started to changed once they actually made it to Egypt. Trust me when I say staying put with this book was worth it.

Being a twin, I’m always a bit biased towards twin books and Blazing Star follows the similar pattern most YA novels do. One twin struggles with her own identity while under the shadow of their overachieving sibling. But the location makes it different and interesting, we mainly watch Portia learn to accept herself but it lacks in the twin dynamic since they’re mainly apart for most of the novel. Since it’s very character driven, Portia grabs your attention as she evolves from an insecure person to a stronger and more self-assured character.

The book’s strength lies in its location, its description of the city, its people and culture. I particularly liked how everything is introduced into every interaction, you definitely feel Portia’s exasperation as we learn everything about Egypt as Portia does. I feel like there should’ve been more of a contrast between the language. They speak a lot in slang and feel like no one questions it as much as they should. It could’ve added greater tension between the two different groups. Sometimes the girls from the present speak in ways that didn’t seem fitting or wouldn’t have been understandable to someone from Ancient Egypt however, I brushed that off quite quickly since, maybe, writing wise, it’s easier.

The main problem with this book was its pacing. It was just so slow! It takes a while for the premise to finally kick in and towards the end, it truly delivers. It’s a shame that I can tell many people will be put off by this and will fail to see a truly decent book by the end. The ending ends on such a good cliffhanger, I definitely need the sequel since I know it will be better now that we’re past the introduction. I still enjoyed it despite its flaws, but I will anticipate anything Imani Josey will do with this series and any future novels she will write.

Overall, structurally and pace-wise, THE BLAZING STAR could’ve been better but definitely look into this if you love fantasy and time-travel. It was, towards the end, a truly fun and diverse read.


GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY

Images and graphic are attributed to MediaLoot.com. Cover source: Goodreads.com
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Book Review: You’re Welcome, Universe

Book Review: You’re Welcome, Universe

Rating: ★★★☆☆

* I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  This in no way affected my opinion of the book

When her supposed best friend snitches on her, Julia finds herself expelled and stuck in a mainstream school who aren’t kind to the only Deaf girl there. The only thing she takes with her is her paints and Julia tags wherever she can. But someone is adding to them and a graffiti war is the last thing she thought she’d find herself in.

The last book I read with Deaf characters was Soundless by Richelle Mead and just comparing these two you tell the difference of research that went into the portrayal of Deaf characters. YWU depicts Deaf culture; the way she texts, how ASL is, in fact, a language not an extension of English, the typical experiences a deaf student faces when in a majority hearing school. We’re shown her lifestyle and it’s not just a case of simply replacing said/says with signed. (I did have a review from a Deaf reader to put in here but the links I had are no longer available)

Continue reading “Book Review: You’re Welcome, Universe”

Book Review: On the Other Side

Book Review: On the Other Side

Rating: ★★★☆☆

In my review of All I Know Now, I mentioned that I was hopeful that Carrie’s fictional debut would be much better than her first book. But I think I preferred All I Know Now to On the Other Side. As a debut, it’s a decent read, but, overall, it was tedious and quite dull.

What I liked the best was the concept of the novel. On the Other Side follows the life of Evie Snow, going on a journey in the afterlife to revisit her past moments in life in order to get rid of her personal baggage and allow her entrance into her own personal Heaven. She must confront three secrets which she had kept and the book is split into three sections for each secret. But that’s where any positivity from me stops.While the whole book wasn’t terrible, there were so many moments and parts that I didn’t like so, looking back on it as I write this, what I didn’t like is a considerable amount of the book.

Continue reading “Book Review: On the Other Side”

Book Review: Initiate

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

* I received a proof of this book from the publisher. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.

Initiate is set in a world where humanity has retreated below the ice sheets of Antarctica as the land above is completely inhabitable. Riga Garrison is a mere member of this restricted society until she sees a whale. An animal once thought to be extinct. She begins to question the very institute that controls her life and realises that everything isn’t as it seems.

I think a tricky thing is with books with these hidden societies underground is that there’s so many of them. You’d have to sift through a lot to get to the ones you’ll truly enjoy. I’m not saying Initiate is a bad book. I actually quite liked this. The premise of this story reminds me of our current environmental situation, a bit of a cautionary tale, it would seem to us.

“We were the people who had polluted our own planet so much through our persistent, never-satiated greed that we had caused irreversible and extensive damage to our planet’s climate through global warming. We were the people who had allowed our own waste emissions to consume us, to poison the very air we breathed and the water we drank until we had to build bigger machines to purify the water needed by an out-of control world population hungry for an ever-increasing demand of clean water, energy, and fuel. We were the people who had had decades of research to warn us of environmental collapse, yet who ignored it in the noisy distraction of political bargaining..”

Initiate is quite inventive in the world it’s created in. While I thought it was very stereotypical at first, it had my interest, especially when Rigs encounters the whale which triggers off a reaction she could’ve never expected. She finds herself on the run and having to a make a life-changing decision which could change everything. She handles things quite maturely and her development was enjoyable.

Her love interest is … okay, I guess. While I never found myself swooning over them, they made sense to be together but I think it would’ve worked much better if they were already together before the start of the novel.

When the big plot twist and secret is revealed about the world above I was very confused. I think it may be due to the fact I had a very different impression of how this book was going to go because it’s a complete 180 to what I had expected. And I think because of that, I’m quite intrigued with how this story will carry on.  Because I actually have no idea what to expect!

The biggest issue I had was pacing. I think the events happened quite quickly which meant there wasn’t much suspense, in my opinion. And there could’ve been better development of what the Initiate actually is because they didn’t really come across as threatening as they could’ve been.

Overall, as I said before, Initiate is imaginative and in a world which has captured my attention. Around 3/4 of the way, my interest did drop but the ending and the preview of Book Two has certainly made me want to keep track of this series.


GOODREADS | AMAZON | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY | BARNES & NOBLE

Blog Tour: Been Here All Along by Sandy Hall

Blog Tour: Been Here All Along by Sandy Hall

Been Here All Along
Sandy Hall
Publication date: August 30th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iTunes

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Gideon has a plan for everything. Running for class president, becoming head of the yearbook committee, and having a plethora of choices for college. But he doesn’t account for falling in love with his best friend Kyle. Kyle, on the other hand, finds his spot on the sports team threatened, and when his girlfriend and best friend start acting up, Kyle doesn’t know what to do.

Told from four different perspectives, BEEN HERE ALL ALONG is an adorable story of best friends, first love, and unexpected love.

BEEN HERE ALL ALONG was super cute, despite lacking any real drama or suspense, it was quick and fun read. Props to Hall for explicitly stating that Kyle was bisexual. (I also got the feeling that Gideon is pansexual since he says he never had strong feelings for people until Kyle). The relationship between Kyle and Gideon is so sweet, they had their awkward and cute moments even if the realisation of their romantic feelings between them felt rushed. Personally, I preferred Kyle’s POV but Gideon was cute and quirky. If this book was longer, I would’ve loved to have been better development about Kyle’s predicament. If you’re looking for a quick, sweet romance books, then this one is for you.

I think what brought this book down was its length and the multiple POVs. For a book that can be read in one sitting, four POVs felt too extra. Cutting out Gideon’s brother, Ezra, would’ve been a good choice as I felt like he didn’t hold much importance to have his own chapters. Ezra and Ruby’s chapters could’ve easily moulded together.

Overall, this book was simple yet cute. There isn’t anything major that I didn’t like but I feel like the characters could have been more developed. But this was an extremely adorable read, though.

Author Bio:

I’m a teen librarian from New Jersey where I was born and raised. I have a BA in Communication and a Master of Library and Information Science from Rutgers University. When I’m not writing, or teen librarian-ing, I enjoy reading, slot machines, marathoning TV shows, and long scrolls through Tumblr. A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT is my first novel.

Website / Goodreads / Twitter

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Follow the rest of the tour here!

August 22nd
Books of Fascination
books are love
Fiction Dreams
Feed Your Fiction Addiction
Reading and Reviews 

August 23rd
A Southern Girls Bookshelf
That Wild Soul
The Heart of a Book Blogger
Book Wish
Quite The Novel Idea

August 24th
Here’s to Happy Endings
With Love for Books
Comma Hangover
blogs and coffee
Awesome Book Assessment

August 25th
Quartzfeather
Literary Meanderings
Bookish Escapes
Rolling with the Moments
The Reading Nook

August 26th
The Fantastical World of Wonders
Mara Was Here
Brooke Blogs
Dani Reviews Things

Book Review: Bloodwalker

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you can find the book at:
GoodReads | Author’s website | Amazon | Bookdepository
my review:
Rating: ★★★☆☆

* I received an ARC of this book from the author.  This in no way affected my opinion of the book.

When the Zorka Circus comes into town, they leave the town population with fewer children than when they came to the town. Bloodwalker follows two different protagonists, Rurik and Sylvie.  Rurik, the circus security guard, who suspects the killer is amidst the circus performers and despite their closed ranks, he knows he can find them before anymore child have to die. Sylvie descents from a group of people who teach the knowledge of the Bloodwalkers – who follow ancient techniques in preparations of dead bodies. She comes to the Circus to get married but, instead, finds a body. And the duo’s path soon converge to reveal a sinister plan within.

What I really enjoyed about Bloodwalker was the concept. Especially, the Skomori’s knowledge and teachings. It was interesting to read about the way they honour and prepare the dead and stay to their ancient techniques and charms despite living in the modern day. I really enjoyed the snippets the novel includes in the beginning of each chapter from “The Bloodwalkers Book” which delved into the ritual and culture of the Skomori. The location itself was quite sparse since the circus is moving a lot so we don’t settle into the place long enough to fully immerse ourselves into it. But it added to the tension as each new place meant they never had enough time to fit its blind spots and to stop the kidnapping and murder. The way the plot blends well the supernatural and murder mystery elements which made it interesting to read. The circus performers, murderous clowns and the close-knit community of the Skomori, Bloodwalker is a decent novel which had my interest throughout and greatly surprised me at many moments.

I believe a weakness of this novel was the Rurik had the stronger plot, while the bloodwalkers are important, its relevance was at its strongest towards the end. In the overall story, it just felt like something that was there but not really delved into enough so Sylvie’s place in the story was much weaker and when reading, I wasn’t very excited since the actual plot was with Rurik. Sylvie’s side of the novel felt like it was there to incorporate the Skomori elements and there were moments in the middle particularly where Sylvie’s chapters could be skipped and not impact the plot much which was disappointing because I really liked Sylvie. She is quite a determined main character. Once she realised how dangerous her situation was, she went and actually did something to change that. But, overall, I did enjoy Bloodwalker despite certain things that I didn’t like, it was a good read.

Paperback, 284 pages
Expected publication: October 4th 2016 by Freedom Fox Press
ISBN: 1939844258