School for Psychics by K. C. Archer

Thank you to Simon and Schuster and Edelweiss for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

I didn’t know what I was expecting with this book. It sounded like a fun read and I wanted to see where the story would go. Also, I really like psychics. I’ve always wanted to go to one and see what it’s like to have someone do a reading, but I’ve never been able to. I thought this book would be enough to stave off my eagerness to meet a psychic! Here is my review:

35297405Summary (Goodreads): Teddy Cannon isn’t your typical twenty-something woman. She’s resourceful. She’s bright. She’s scrappy. She can also read people with uncanny precision. What she doesn’t realize: she’s actually psychic.

When a series of bad decisions leads Teddy to a run-in with the police, a mysterious stranger intervenes. He invites her to apply to the School for Psychics, a facility hidden off the coast of San Francisco where students are trained like Delta Force operatives: it’s competitive, cutthroat, and highly secretive. They’ll learn telepathy, telekinesis, investigative skills, and SWAT tactics. And if students survive their training, they go on to serve at the highest levels of government, using their skills to protect America, and the world.

In class, Teddy befriends Lucas, a rebel without a cause who can start and manipulate fire; Jillian, a hipster who can mediate communication between animals and humans; and Molly, a hacker who can apprehend the emotional state of another individual. But just as Teddy feels like she’s found where she might belong, strange things begin to happen: break-ins, missing students, and more. It leads Teddy to accept a dangerous mission that will ultimately cause her to question everything—her teachers, her friends, her family, and even herself.


Review: This book definitely was not what I expected.

This was a story that I had thought was more geared towards new adults, considering that the main character is in her 20s. But it became quite clear that this novel is staying firmly in the YA genre. This was a bit of a problem for me because I was excited for an adult character who is realizing that she has something special going on with her. Instead, the voice and behaviour of the MC and the other characters in the story were more juvenile, and leaned towards the YA crowd. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I felt cheated out of a new experience.

My other major problem with this book is that it is pretty much like every other teen fiction novel out there. You have an MC who is special and she goes to a special school with other special people. As she learns to use her special powers/skills, she discovers that there is a secret – and she decides to uncover it. There wasn’t much to this book that I haven’t seen before. We have the characters going to classes, taking tests, becoming friends, flirting. Even the decisions that they take are predictable.

Now, this isn’t a bad novel by any means. If it had been clear that this novel was for a YA audience, I probably would have enjoyed it more. This novel had a very interesting premise what with the use of psychics in the government. However, this wasn’t explored as much as I would have liked and it lacked originality. For those reasons, I’m giving this a 2/5 stars.

Happy reading ~

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Ignite by Tracy Lawson – The Resistance #3

I received this novel from the author in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own and I received no incentives. 

I’ve been continuing this series through audio books and it’s been a really great experience. I love the narrative style and the way all of the voices are changed to suit the different characters. It took me longer to get through this book compared to the other novels in this series, but that in no way means this was less interesting. If anything, I think this is my favourite book in the series. Here’s why:

30356956Summary (Goodreads): Nationwide food shortages have sparked civil unrest, and the Office of Civilian Safety and Defense’s hold on the people is slipping. The Resistance’s efforts to hasten the OCSD’s demise have resulted in disaster, with Tommy Bailey and Careen Catecher taking the blame for the ill-fated mission in OP-439.

Both teens struggle to survive the circumstances that force them into the national spotlight—and this time, they’re on opposite sides. On the run and exiled from the Resistance members in BG-098, Tommy makes his way to a Resistance safe house in the capital.

The OCSD is preparing to monitor all under-eighteens with the Cerberean Link, a device that protects them against hunger and sickness and can even locate them if they’re lost. Tommy’s now living in close quarters with Atari, an operative who’s been assigned to sabotage the Link. But does Atari plan to use it for his own purposes?

Through it all, Tommy refuses to believe Careen’s loyalties have shifted away from the Resistance, and he’s willing to assume any risk to reconnect with her. Will they be able to trust each other when it matters most?

 Review: Apart from the first book that started me on this journey, this has got to be my next favourite book in this series. I was surprised that this series was not a trilogy, but after reading this book, I have to admit that this was a good decision; there is just too much to this story for it to be condensed into a trilogy.

I loved that the author didn’t shy away from describing brutality and torture, despite this being a YA novel. Many times, authors leave it up to the imagination, but not with this book! It made everything seem so much more real and horrifying, and I felt so much more invested in the story. Again, the author portrays things in such a realistic way that it scares me; the events in this book could easily become reality!

I was also really happy to see that the characters became more developed in this novel. There were still instances of insta-love but there were more struggles. The protagonists really grew up, and the interactions between all of the other characters were also more complex. The story has gotten to a point where the reader now has to question who can be trusted – and I love it!

The plot became more divided in this book as the characters took on different roles and responsibilities within the Resistance. Everything was well-developed and the crossing-over of the different story lines was done really well, keeping things compact.

Overall, this novel was really well done. I loved the depth of the interactions and the complexity of the plot and characters. This was the strongest book so far in the series, and I can’t wait to see how the adventure continues! I’m giving this a solid 4/5 stars!

Happy reading ~

Resist by Tracy Lawson – Resistance #2

Thank you to the author for providing me with an audio copy of this book. My opinions are my own.

After really enjoying my experience with an audio book, I was happy to continue with this series in the same format. In my review of Counteract by Tracy Lawson, I mentioned that this was a very well-written YA dystopian fiction. While the premise itself is one I’ve read about before, the way the story unfolded and the writing style really sold it for me. I was excited to see how I would find the second book in this series … here are my thoughts:


Synopsis (Goodreads): Knowledge comes with a price.

Tommy and Careen are no longer naive teenagers who believe the Office of Civilian Safety and Defense’s miracle antidote can protect them from a terrorist’s chemical weapons. After accidentally discovering the antidote’s real purpose—to control citizens’ thoughts and actions–they join the Resistance to fight back.

They soon realize that being part of the Resistance brings with it a whole new set of challenges. Not everyone working for change proves trustworthy, and plans to spark a revolution go awry, with grave consequences. Tommy and Careen’s differing viewpoints threaten to drive a wedge between them, and their budding relationship is tested as their destinies move toward an inevitable confrontation with the forces that terrorize the nation.

Where does love fit in when you’re trying to overthrow the government?


Review: Did I love this as much as I enjoyed Counteract? No. But that doesn’t mean this book was bad in any way.

I liked that this novel jumped right into the events that occurred right after Counteract ended. It was a smooth transition, and in the next few chapters, the author provided enough information to fill in the gaps to jog your memory. I would still recommend, however, that people read the first book in the series before reading this one; it will allow for better connection with the characters and their motives.

This novel, while generally fast-paced, did have its slow moments. These were probably because the story mainly took place at Resistance headquarters. This meant that there was less doing and more talking going on. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it did mean that there was less action than in the first book of the series. However, the benefit of this approach is that we got to see Careen’s character grow up and mature. She is no longer ignorant, and takes a much larger role and responsibility as a member of the Resistance. Having all of the central characters in one location also meant that there were more emotional interactions, and these were done quite well. I especially liked how Tommy struggled to understand his feelings, as it gave him more dimension. Once again, the author gave each character their moment to shine, which was awesome because we got to see how everyone was contributing – or worsening – the situation. Rebellions are a team effort! This also helped me connect with other characters that I didn’t necessarily think were important – but then they were.

The one main issue that I had with this novel was that it had the stereotypical love triangle issue. While there was a setup for it in the first book, I was hoping that it wouldn’t be carried out in the way that it did. But it happened. I think that it was one of those things that really didn’t add to the story, and I generally don’t like reading about teen angst so it didn’t work for me.

At times, the chapters had an abrupt ending. I feel like one more sentence that acted as a zinger would have been the perfect way to close it off and keep the writing tight. However, this didn’t really detract from the quality of the story.

The story ended on a cliffhanger, which means I am now going to binge listen to the next book in the series! I’m giving Resist a solid 3/5 stars!

Happy reading ~

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden – Winternight Trilogy #2

I’m so lucky to have gotten my hands on this book as soon as it released! I have been really bad when it comes to series; I almost always preorder the books, but when they arrive, I never read them. This is what has happened with the Queen of the Tearling series (I promise I will get to it soon!), but I was determined to not let it happen here! As soon as I received my copy, I put aside all of my other books. So now, here is my review:

Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya has very few options: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both restrict her freedom and her chances of seeing the vast world. So instead she chooses adventure, disguising herself as a boy and riding her horse into the woods. When a battle with some bandits earns her the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow, she must carefully guard the secret of her gender to remain in his good graces—even as she realizes his kingdom is under threat from mysterious forces only she will be able to stop.

As usual, the author has delivered a stunning historical fantasy novel. I love how true the author stays to historical Russian events and Russian mythology throughout the story. It is so easy for the reader to imagine this vivid setting and fall into the story. There are loads of supernatural elements in the story but they are worked into this intricate political plot. I’m always surprised to see this combination work as well as it does, because it just seems so contradictory! I also love learning about Russian culture and mythology through this novel; it’s something I’ve always been fascinated by and the author really does an amazing job of making it come to life through Vasya’s adventure. This story takes place almost right where the first book left off. I found it interesting that the first perspective wasn’t Vasya’s but one of her siblings, instead. I thought that this novel had more action and adventure than the previous novel in the series. This kept my interest up, but I also wish that there had been more mystery, which is what I had loved about The Bear and the Nightingale. In all fairness, I think I preferred the first book to this one. The Bear and the Nightingale had this wonderful depth and development of character even though it lacked the fast pace of The Girl in the Tower. I almost wish that there had been a little less action and a little more focus on the character relationships (especially between Vasya and Morozko!) and the mythology. Overall, this was still a really great novel and I cannot wait for the third book in this trilogy! I’m giving this a solid 4/5 stars!

Happy reading ~

Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff – Nevernight Chronicles #2

I loved Nevernight so much so that I bought it. I have been eagerly anticipating the release of this novel and I had to wait FOREVER to get my hands on it. But I did. And I kid you not, I put every other book aside so that I could devote all of my time to this novel. I even skipped out on doing work (sorry not sorry) to finish it and savour this amazing sequel. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Here is my review:

Assassin Mia Corvere has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church don’t think she’s earned it just yet. As she successfully completes one mission after the other, she finds herself no closer in her quest to kill Consul Scaeva and Cardinal Duomo. And after a deadly confrontation with an enemy, Mia starts to suspect the allegiance of the Red Church itself.  When she finds out that Scaeva and Duomo will be making an appearance in the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia hatches a plan. She defies the Church and sells herself to a gladiatorial collegium in the hopes of reaching the conclusion level of the games and finally getting the chance to seek her revenge. But as conspiracies unfold within the collegium walls, and the body count rises, Mia will be forced to choose between loyalty and revenge, and uncover a secret that could change the very face of her world.

This was one of the best sequels I’ve ever read. Usually, I find that in a trilogy, the second book is just filler. NOT THE CASE WITH THIS GEM! The darkness, brutality, and violence that made this story so believable in the first book carried over here. If anything, it was more intense than before! Mia is an amazing character and I love how sneaky and cunning she can be with her friends – and the reader. I love how she grows and changes, and I love that this novel showed a different side to her world than what we had seen in Nevernight. The gladiator battles were amazing, and I liked the new characters that were introduced. The writing style was just the same (meaning BRILLIANT) and it was great to see how the author flitted between past and present in the first part of the story. I think what really makes this story work for me is that the author doesn’t cheat the reader out of the experience. This book promises gore and then it delivers it. It promises an evolving and fast-paced story and that’s exactly what the reader gets. And there are so many surprising events that occur, which the reader could never have guessed and they just add to the intrigue and make you want to know more! Suffice to say, it was worth making all of the sacrifices that I did (like skipping work, and not studying or reading anything else). Now, I just have to wait in agony for the next book to be released!

Happy reading ~

 

Now I Rise by Kiersten White – Conqueror’s Saga #2

When I read And I Darken, I immediately fell in love with the unique protagonist. Lada is like no other in her ferocity and determination. The author stays true to her vicious nature and I loved that the author never made that aspect of Lada go away. It was no surprise then that I would be anxiously waiting for the sequel. So here is my review:

Lada Dracul is only after one thing: Wallachia. And she will do anything to get there. Filled with rage, she storms the countryside with her loyal men, terrorizing all those who defy her. But brute force isn’t working as well as it should. What Lada needs is her younger brother, Radu. But she left him – and Mehmed – behind. What Lada has yet to discover is that Mehmed has sent Radu to Constantinople – as a spy. Mehmed wants to control the city, and Radu would do anything for Mehmed. Radu longs for Lada’s confidence and bravery – but for the first time in his life, he rejects her unexpected plea for help. As nations crumble, the Dracul siblings must decide if they will make the ultimate sacrifice to fulfill their destinies.

I didn’t think the story could get any better – but it did. I loved everything about this book but let me try to break it into components. First off, I loved Lada (as usual). She maintained her ferocity, but also realized that she needed to change her style at times. She had her own unique way of deciding to govern her people, one that was influenced by her time with the Ottomans as well as by her memories of her father. She grows as an individual and the reader gets to see her vulnerable side (but not for too long!) This is the one character that does not require a man to complete her, or help her fulfill her goals and that is what I love about her. I’ve always been fascinated with the historical figure Vlad the Impaler but I never thought anyone would be able to reimagine him as a female. I’m happy to say that the author has succeeded! The next amazing thing about this novel is that the author made Radu a more prominent character. Before, he had been overshadowed by Lada, but in this novel he had his own moments. He also grew and changed as events unfolded. He became wiser, and struggled with himself at times. Was he my favorite character? No. But that doesn’t mean that he wasn’t well developed. In fact, he was an amazingly developed character, and the author kept him true to his original personality. What I actually liked about this novel was that Mehmed took the back seat. I was worried that this second novel would be more of a love triangle than a story filled with action and warfare, but I needn’t have worried. There was a ton of bloodshed and cunning in this story, enough to keep me satisfied. The story had a lot of twists and turns and it forced the reader to pay attention to all of the details (not that I had to be forced!) Overall it was a very compelling read and I really could not put the book down. And that ending? Well, it was fantastic and I cannot wait for what the author has in store for the Dracul siblings! Definitely a 5/5 stars from me!

Happy reading ~

The List by Patricia Forde

I received this novel as an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I was looking into finding a new YA fiction novel, and having this one being compared to The Giver, which is one of my all-time favorite books, made it a must-read. Here is my review:

In the city of Ark, speech is limited to 500 words that are part of an approved lexicon. Break the rules and you face banishment. The only exceptions to this rule are the Wordsmith and his apprentice, Letta, who are responsible for keeping and archivign all language in this post-apocalyptic world. When Letta discovers that her master is dead, she is suddenly promoted to Wordsmith. However, she soon uncovers a sinister plot to rob ARk’s citizens of their power of speech. Now, it’s up to Letta to save not only words, but culture itself.

For a middle school/ YA fiction story, this is quite good. Is it the most unique thing I’ve read? No. But it is interesting and the author does quite a good job in putting her spin on this situation. Letta was a strong character and I really enjoyed her perspective. She was brave, caring, and downright righteous in her actions and thoughts. I wish that the story had been a bit longer so that the plot could have been more fleshed out, but again, this is a book for middle schoolers and it is quite successful in keeping children of that age group interested. The only negative for this story was that the antagonist didn’t really have a strong reason for his actions; if that had been worked out a bit better, this novel would have been even more successful. While I normally do not read books for middle schoolers, this was quite a good story and I would recommend it to any child who likes dystopian novels.

Hapy reading ~

Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

I received this novel as an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

When I first read the description of this book, it immediately reminded me of Nevernight by Jay Kristoff. Since the second book hasn’t been released yet, I decided to use this book as a substitute!

Sallot Leon is a thief, and good at it. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape life as a highway robber and get the opportunity to take revenge on the nobles who destroyed Sal’s home. When Sal sees a poster announcing auditions for the position of Left Hand, a powerful collection of the Queen’s personal assassins, Sal knows this is the chance of a lifetime. However, the audition is anything but easy; it is a fight to the death filled with people of all different walks of life – with various deadly skills. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. But Sal must survive to fulfill the ultimate goal: revenge.

This was really not at all like Nevernight and I must admit that I was quite disappointed with what I read. I really appreciated the author having a gender fluid protagonist; it was a great way to introduce diversity to the literary character world while also giving a new perspective to the story. However, it was not enough to redeem the story in my eyes. This book, while full of action, was quite boring. I have no idea how the author managed to accomplish this but it was probably due to the ridiculous amount of description and the plethora of training scenes that really did nothing to move the story forward. The plot is also very similar to a bunch of assassin YA novels that are currently out there and there really wasn’t anything unique about this one. The characters were also not very fleshed out and I had an especially hard time connecting with Sal; the personality changes were so swift that it was hard to establish anything solid about Sal that I could rely upon. Overall, this novel failed in its plot and execution, and I would give this a 1.5/5 stars.

Happy reading ~

Feel Me Fall by James Morris

I received this novel as an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I promise that even though I’ve been super inactive on my blog, I’m still reading books! I’m on vacation right now and I really don’t get good wifi so having the connection necessary to write and post has been quite a challenge. I finally found a stable wifi connection so get ready for a deluge of posts!

After a plane crash that stranded her and her teenage friends in the jungles of the Amazon, these high schoolers must band together to struggle against the elements. With their familiar pecking order no longer in place, a new hierarchy arises, filled with power struggles, betrayals, and revenge. When Emily emerges as the lone survivor, she must explain why she is the only one alive. But can she carry the burden of the past?

There were quite a few things that I enjoyed about this novel. I liked that the author skipped back and forth in time for certain portions of this story. It may have been a bit confusing at first, but it really added to the intrigue and mystery of the story. This novel was really action-packed and it was very easy to get caught up in the story. The one thing I didn’t really like was Emily’s character. She wasn’t a character I felt very interested in and her personality was a little blah for me. The ending was a cliffhanger, which I both liked and didn’t like; it was a unique twist but I generally just like to have a completely finished story. Overall, this was a strong YA novel that was action-packed and gripping, and I think many teens would enjoy reading this book!

Happy reading ~

The Cuckoo Tree by Joan Aiken – Wolves Chronicles #6

This book was actually the first one I read from this series, back when I was about 9 years old. I absolutely loved it and I loved its sequel, Dido and Pa. This books is what sparked my interest in the whole series and I’m so happy to get the chance to read it now in the correct order! I wanted to know if, after reading about all of Dido’s other adventures, whether my opinion on this novel would be different or not … so here is my review:

Just as Dido Twite makes her way back on English soil, she lands in trouble. When her carriage overturns and her friend Captain Hughes is injured in it, Dido is forced to stay at Dogkennel Cottages to tend to Captain Hughes. There, she meets the odd inhabitants of Tegleaze Manor: fussy old Lady Tegleaze, her nephew Tobit, and his witchy nurse, Tante Sannie. However, there are suspicious things afoot: a priceless miniature is stolen, Tobit is framed, and a twin sister is discovered. And soon Dido discovers that she is in the midst of another Hanoverian plot! Can she get to London in time to save the king?

Once again, we are in for a wacky adventure. Every time Dido had a remark or thought about something, I couldn’t help but laugh – she is just that funny and sarcastic of a character. There’s quite a bit of witchy magic going on in this novel, which was super fun to read about. This novel was a bit darker than Dido’s time on Nantucket, but I really liked that because it gave it a bit more depth. Of course, depth doesn’t mean that this novel was more serious; if anything, the story was even wackier than any before it! We have the presence of an elephant again, which was something that I just didn’t understand, and didn’t like as much, but overall, this story was just as fun to read as every other one in the series. After rereading this book, I think it is still one of my favorite novels in this series! Now, time for the next one!

Happy reading ~