Review of Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

DaughteroftheBurningCityDaughter of the Burning City
By: Amanda Foody
Release Date: July 25, 2017
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: Print ARC
Source: Convention

My Rating:
star

Summary:
A darkly irresistible new fantasy set in the infamous Gomorrah Festival, a traveling carnival of debauchery that caters to the strangest of dreams and desires.

Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.

But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.

Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca, and their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all of her loved ones disappear.

My Thoughts:
I went into reading Daughter of the Burning City with no real knowledge of what it would be about. I have this habit of not bothering to read the summary prior to reading. The cover and title were enough to sell me on this one and it ended up that I loved the storyline and felt this was a very original story with wonderfully unique characters set in a living, moving festival.

We follow the story from Sorina’s point of view. The book was written in first person (my fave) so we see her world and the Gomorrah Festival from her eyes. Sorina was a very likeable main character and I could easily relate to the dedication she felt to her family and role in the festival. I appreciated how determined she was to protect those she loves. I loved that she fought through her own fear and insecurity to push herself to help others and work to finding the killer. Her magical ability- to create illusions- was beautifully written and executed. I loved that she had a very unique characteristic about her (which you’ll have to read the book to find out about).

The way magical abilities were approached in general was really wonderful. I loved that we got to see a range of jinx/spell types. The festival itself and Gomorrah- whish was an always moving city- was a character all itself. I loved all the different aspects and people populating this world. It was fascinating. You have so many unusual characters and each area of the city (upworld, downworld, etc) was described beautifully. I could really visualize the people and places. The world outside of Gomorrah was much foggier though. We really didn’t have a full knowledge of the outer happenings of the world but it worked for me since, to me, it felt that we had about the same knowledge as Sorina. Any details we get of that world outside of Gomorrah was as Sorina learned about it.

As the summary says- there was a forbidden romance. I shipped it very much and really loved the chemistry the characters had with one another. Luca was such an incredibly loveable character! I only wish there was a novella from his point of view. His magical ability was so gruesome and wonderfully morbid. That’s the thing with this book- Sorina had a really innocent, almost sweetness about her, but there are aspects of the book that are really dark.

This book never felt like an overly heavy read even though some of it was a bit on the sad, darker side. I did find the pacing to be slower (I’d say more on par with Laini Taylor’s work) but I think that was also me savoring the writing and world. I looked forward each night to picking this book up to read (always a great sign).

Final Thoughts:
Daughter of the Burning City was a beautifully constructed story full of original characters, magic, love and dedication to family.

DotBC

Review of Invisible by Dawn Metcalf

Invisible2Invisible (The Twixt 2)
By: Dawn Metcalf
Release Date: September 30th 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Some things lie beneath the surface.

Invisible.

With the power to change everything.

Joy Malone wants it all—power, freedom and the boyfriend who loves her. Yet when an unstoppable assassin is hired to kill her, Joy learns that being the girl with the Sight comes with a price that might be too high to pay. Love will be tested, lives will be threatened, and everyone Joy knows and cares about will be affected by her decision to stand by Ink or to leave the Twixt forever.

Her choice is balanced on a scalpel’s edge and the consequences will be more life-altering than anyone can guess.

My Thoughts:
I know many, many people are completely turned off when they see a story features the fey. I’m the opposite- I can’t help but want to read any book that mentions them. Most times I’m disappointed but I’ve always got to give these books an attempt. That’s how I became acquainted with this series. I enjoyed the first book and felt that there was potential this sequel would be even better.

Metcalf really upped the action and focused on Joy’s self discovery. In this novel she really comes into her own and takes her life into her own hands as much as possible. Her path was not easy but she was determined to not settle for what other’s had in mind for her. I liked her stubborn streak and felt that she really stands on her two feet in this book.

Where I was the least impressed were her interactions with Ink. I felt that they had lost that chemistry from the first book. There were some steamy scenes between the two but for some reason it felt lacking for me. Maybe it had been too long since I read book 1? Also, Ink wasn’t as present in this book as he was in the first. When he was involved with the story he ran hot or cold with Joy. His inhuman-ness really stood out and made it impossible for me to really connect or want Joy to end up with him.  It also felt like misunderstandings were created and blown up as to keep the couple apart which I found to be a tad frustrating.

I enjoyed that we got to continue to know the side characters, such as Inq- Ink’s sister. I thought that the side characters added a bit of zest to the story (and sometimes a bit of creepy and silly). Metcalf’s descriptions were vivid and easy to picture and her imagination shows with the strange mix of species (?) of fey sprinkled throughout the story.

Final Thoughts:
Metcalf has created a wonderfully vivid and creative world with The Twixt series. I enjoyed reading Invisible though it wasn’t as gripping for me as the first. There was an adequate amount of action but the characters interactions and my personal connection to them lacked.

Trailer Reveal for Pawn by Aimee Carter + Giveaway

I recently read Pawn, Aimee Carter’s newest book and start to a new series The Blackcoat Rebellion. I found it to be a nice take on the dystopian genre with some actual shocking twists and dark segments that I loved. You can read my review here.

I am happy and honored to share the trailer and giveaway for Pawn today on the blog.

About the book:

Pawn (Blackcoat Rebellion #1)
Author: Aimée Carter
Imprint: Harlequin TEEN
Release: December 2013
Price: $17.99 / $19.99
Format: Hard cover
ISBN: 978-0-373-21055-8

You can be a VII, if you give up everything. In a not so distant future, America has become a meritocracy. Upon your seventeenth birthday you take a test and are branded with a number signifying your status. For Kitty Doe, her dyslexia leaves her a “III”—part of the working class—and assigned far from her home and boyfriend. She’s ready to become an outlaw, until a chance encounter leads to an amazing opportunity. The niece of the prime minister—America’s leadership is now inherited and members of the ruling family are ranked “VII”—has been killed, and Kitty is asked to impersonate her. Now nestled in the ruling Harte family, Kitty begins to see the truth behind the pretense of equality and options for all.

About the cover:
If you look closely at the cover you can see that there is an eye behind the maze. It’s rather mesmerizing and isn’t noticeable at first glance. If you’re like me you’ve wondered about the entirety of the image. Here it is:

From this I think the paper cover will have the maze and this will be the book cover itself. That will be very cool. Excited to own my hardcover.

Now for the trailer:

Giveaway:
Harlequin Teen is hosting a giveaway for 1 of 3 prize packs:

Review of Pawn by Aimee Carter

Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion, #1)Pawn (Blackcoat Rebellion #1)
By: Aimee Carter
Release Date: November 26th 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Purchase:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

I read Pawn with my reading group-Scott Reads It, Bibliopunkk and On Starships and Dragonwings

Summary:
For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country.

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister’s niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter.

There’s only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed …and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that’s not her own, she must decide which path to choose—and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she’s only beginning to understand.

The Story:
Overall I enjoyed Pawn and think it is a good start to a series I will be reading further in. Nothing about Carter’s dystopian book was completely different from others I’ve read but it didn’t feel overdone either. It was a nice mix of genres and a future that had the feel of the past. The world is split by a ruling caste and people are tested and placed into their roles in society. This is supposedly to give everyone an equal opportunity to be placed in the field and class they are adept at. Of course, the government is corrupt and things are not as they might seem.

Carter’s writing is fast paced and easy to lose yourself in.  Certain aspects (Elsewhere specifically) were shocking and equally disturbing. I must say I was happy to see Carter go there. I like my dysptopian to have an ample heap of the gruesome.

The Characters:
I had a few problems with the main character, Kitty. In particular, I felt her lack of trust and confidence in her long time boyfriend and best friend to be unrealistic and not something I could relate with. While reading, it was rare that Kitty ever chose what I would have done. It is always more difficult to connect with a character and book when the mc’s choices are far from your own. Even with this disconnect I did not find Kitty unlikeable so it wasn’t a deal breaker for my enjoyment.

The r0mance was a bit different than man young adult books because we do not see the getting to know you stage of Kitty and Benji’s relationship. We are introduced to the characters after they are already in a relationship and in love. This was refreshing in some ways, though I felt I missed some of the development and bonding between the two.

Though we read that Benji is a great guy he didn’t star in the book as much as I would have liked, though I’m confident we will learn more about him as the series progresses.

Speaking of the romance, there was a moment while reading that I was certain a love triangle was being introduced. Nothing came of it in this book but I’m not sold that there won’t be one later on.

Final Thoughts:
Pawn was the first book I’ve read from Aimee Carter. Though I had some trouble connecting to the main character I enjoyed where Carter took the story for the most part. I will be picking up the sequel.

Review of Indelible by Dawn Metcalf

IndelibleIndelible (The Twixt Book 1)
By: Dawn Metcalf
Release Date: July 30th 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pre-Order:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Harlequin Teen!

Rating:
star

Summary (via Goodreads):
Some things are permanent.

Indelible.

And they cannot be changed back.

Joy Malone learns this the night she sees a stranger with all-black eyes across a crowded room—right before the mystery boy tries to cut out her eye.  Instead, the wound accidentally marks her as property of Indelible Ink, and this dangerous mistake thrusts Joy into an incomprehensible world—a world of monsters at the window, glowing girls on the doorstep, and a life that will never be the same.

Now, Joy must pretend to be Ink’s chosen one—his helper, his love, his something for the foreseeable future…and failure to be convincing means a painful death for them both. Swept into a world of monsters, illusion, immortal honor and revenge, Joy discovers that sometimes, there are no mistakes.
Somewhere between reality and myth lies…

THE TWIXT

The Story:
Indelible had some really beautiful and unique aspects but overall I felt the writing was uneven and I had trouble connecting with the characters or the world. Metcalf splits the story between our world and the Twixt. We follow our main character, Joy, as she experiences the remnants of her life, which isn’t the same now that her parents have divorced, and the world of Twixt.

I appreciated Metcalf’s descriptions and creativity in creating her fantasy/fairy world. She had a slew of interesting creatures that were very original. My favorite was the Tracker, Kestrel:

The figure, when she saw it–“her”–was easy to miss, wearing a patchy cloak of grays and browns that blended easily into the background and head completely cloaked in the hood, face unseen. As they drove closer, Joy was horrified to see that it was not the hood of the cape that hid the trackers face, but an actual hood like a hunting bird’s-cracked leather, worn and weathered, stitched together with brace cords pulled tight at the neck. (page 273 of printed arc)

I could visualize Kestrel vividly and was riveted with her aspect of the story. Sadly, not all elements Metcalf presented held my interest so well. The pacing dragged for me creating a slow reading experience overall.

Since the story straddles the normal world and the Twixt I never felt fully invested in either. I could have done without a lot of the time spent in the real world though it did give me background into Joy’s life.

The Characters:
Unfortunately, I didn’t connect with any of the characters. I didn’t dislike them, just didn’t feel involved in their story nor did I really care what happened to them. This was my biggest struggle with this book. It was written in third person so perhaps that caused the disconnect for me. I didn’t feel much chemistry between Ink and Joy and didn’t really feel their romance was engaging.

The secondary characters in Joy’s every-day life didn’t stand out to me though I really enjoyed the creatures of the Twixt. I thought they were much better adapted and well rounded. Once again I think spending equal amounts of the story in each world really hampered my ability to invest in either one in a significant way.

Final Thoughts:
Though Indelible was highly creative in the creatures of the Twixt I felt that the other aspects didn’t hold up as well. I will wait to see some reviews before deciding if I will read the next book in the series.