Book Review: The Girl The Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young

Book: The Girl The Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young

Published September 2019 by Wednesday Books|327 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: Sky In The Deep #2

Genre: YA Fantasy

The new gut-wrenching epic from the New York Times bestselling author of Sky in the Deep.

For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.

For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again—a home.

The Girl The Sea Gave Back was just okay for me.  It was something I struggled to get through, and I had a harder time with this book than I did with Sky In The Deep.

I felt so confused when I was reading it!  It felt like there were a lot of names and places I couldn’t keep track of, and I could not picture anything to save my life.

It didn’t help that I didn’t realize it was a companion to Sky In The Deep.  It focuses on different characters, and it’s set way later than Sky In The Deep.  You don’t need to read that one in order to read this one, because they are both stand-alones, but I do find myself wishing that I had.  And it’s pretty much so I could get back into this world, because I felt like it was very minimal.  That or I missed it because I couldn’t focus on the book.

This is a review I’m really struggling with.  As pretty as the cover is (and I tend to get lured in by pretty covers), this story was a struggle to get through.  I liked the idea of it, though, and there were some lines that really took me away.  I’m not someone who writes down quotes or anything like that, but there were a few I wanted to have written down in my notebook.

2 stars.  I struggled to get through this one, and I could only read a few chapters at a time.  It’s definitely not the story for me, but I’d still pick up the next book that Young comes out with.

Audio Book Review: Evermore by Sara Holland, Narrated by Eileen Stevens

Book: Evermore by Sara Holland, narrated by Eileen Stevens

Published December 2018 by HarperAudio|Length: 9 hours, 1 minute

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: Everless #2

Genre: YA Fantasy

The highly anticipated sequel to New York Times bestseller, Everless!

Jules Ember was raised hearing legends of the ancient magic of the wicked Alchemist and the good Sorceress. But she has just learned the truth: not only are the stories true, but she herself is the Alchemist, and Caro—a woman who single-handedly murdered the Queen and Jules’s first love, Roan, in cold blood—is the Sorceress.

The whole kingdom believes that Jules is responsible for the murders, and a hefty bounty has been placed on her head. And Caro is intent on destroying Jules, who stole her heart twelve lifetimes ago. Jules must delve into the stories that she now recognizes are accounts of her own past. For it is only by piecing together the mysteries of her lives that Jules will be able to save the person who has captured her own heart in this one.

I really liked Evermore!  I really liked the first one, and I knew I had to read this one to see how everything went.

We learned a lot more about the world, and how the Alchemist and Sorceress came to be.  I’m glad we got some answers, and that back-story was pretty interesting.  Getting that world-building made sense in this book, and it definitely would have been out of place in the first book.

Like the first book, we learn things as Jules learns them, and I’m glad it didn’t seem as muddled as the first book.  Maybe I’m more used to her writing style, or it just made more sense in this book.  I’m not too sure but it was nice to learn more about what happened between Jules and Caro centuries earlier.  The person who would break Jules heart wasn’t who I was expecting at first, but with everything that Jules discovers, it makes sense.  I knew it would be someone unexpected, but I still didn’t see it coming.

Jules ends up on the run, because of what happened in the last book, and she goes to quite a few places to recover her memories.  I kind of like that she found herself back at Everless, and fought for herself so Caro wouldn’t take over.  I wasn’t sure if this book would be a duology or a trilogy, but things were wrapped up really well.  It felt like things were over when I finished the book, though I’m curious to see what happens to Sempera years later, and if time is still currency, or if that has faded away.

I also liked Eileen Stevens as the narrator.  She did a great job with the first book, so I knew she would do a great job with this one.  She really is good at bringing Jules to life, and there were a few points where I was right there with Jules as she was dealing with all kinds of stuff.

This is slightly random, but I would love to read a book of short stories about the Sorceress and the Alchemist.  These legends are pretty important to Semperans, and actually reading the legends would be pretty cool.

4 stars.  While I didn’t love Evermore, I still really liked the story and the world.

Book Review: The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Book: The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Published September 2019 by Little, Brown Books For Young Readers|352 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: None

Genre: YA Fantasy

Seventeen-year-old Aderyn (“Ryn”) only cares about two things: her family, and her family’s graveyard. And right now, both are in dire straits. Since the death of their parents, Ryn and her siblings have been scraping together a meager existence as gravediggers in the remote village of Colbren, which sits at the foot of a harsh and deadly mountain range that was once home to the fae. The problem with being a gravedigger in Colbren, though, is that the dead don’t always stay dead.

The risen corpses are known as “bone houses,” and legend says that they’re the result of a decades-old curse. When Ellis, an apprentice mapmaker with a mysterious past, arrives in town, the bone houses attack with new ferocity. What is it that draws them near? And more importantly, how can they be stopped for good?

Together, Ellis and Ryn embark on a journey that will take them deep into the heart of the mountains, where they will have to face both the curse and the long-hidden truths about themselves.

The Bone Houses was just okay for me.

I was intrigued by the world Ryn lives in.  She’s a gravedigger in a world where the dead don’t stay dead.  That’s not a job I would want but especially knowing those die might not stay dead.  There’s magic and she comes across an interesting encampment in the forest, and there was something about the setting that felt like it happened long ago.  It felt very European to me, though I couldn’t begin to guess what time period this book would be set in.

I wonder where they came up with bone houses.  I mean, they obviously have to be called something, but why bone houses?  It’s an interesting way of calling them zombies.  That’s what they remind me of, but I’m not sure if that’s what Lloyd-Jones was going for with them.

I’m not surprised that it was because of a curse that happened ages ago, or that Ellis was connected to it all.  It was either him or Ryn, and he did make more sense because it happened around the time he got close to where Ryn lives.  She is a pretty good guide, I’ll give her that.  Especially where the forest is concerned.

I also wasn’t surprised that there something between Ellis and Ryn.  Personally, I didn’t feel it, but given this is one book, and there were other things going on…let’s just say it felt like the romance took a backseat to everything else going on.

One thing that drove me up a wall was the inconsistency with Ryn’s name.  Sometimes, she was Ryn, but other times, she was Aderyn, and I didn’t realize they were the same person for most of the book.  It wasn’t until she told Ellis to call her Ryn instead of Aderyn that I realized they were the same person, and she preferred Ryn.

And I was bored.  I kept waiting for something to happen, but it was until we were getting to the end of the book that things start getting more action-packed.  Like with so many other books that end up being okay, it wasn’t a total loss.  I mean, I did keep reading to see what would happen, and what was going on.  But I was never completely pulled in or invested in what was going on either.  There were a couple of points where I wasn’t sure if I was going to finish the book, but I did want to see how things would work out.

2 stars.  The Bone Houses was just okay, and it wasn’t for me.

Audio Book Review: Navigating The Stars by Maria V Snyder, Narrated by Gabra Zackman

Book: Navigating The Stars by Maria V Snyder, Narrated by Gabra Zackman

Self-Published January 2019 by the author|Length: 10 hours, 52 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: Sentinels Of The Galaxy #1

Genre: Adult Sci-Fi

 

Navigating the Stars is the first book in a new science fiction series.

Terra Cotta Warriors have been discovered on other planets in the Milky Way Galaxy. And Lyra Daniels’ parents are the archaeological Experts (yes with a capital E) on the Warriors and have dragged her to the various planets to study them despite the time dilation causing havoc with her social life.

When one of the many Warrior planets goes silent, and looters attack her research base, Lyra becomes involved in discovering why the Warriors were placed on these planets. And, more importantly, by who.

I really liked Navigating The Stars!  I was pretty excited about it, because I really like Maria V Snyder, and I thought it would be fun to read something that’s not only sci-fi but set in space!

I liked Lyra, and even though she got herself into a lot of trouble, she really did like worming.  And it seemed like she had a knack for it too, which will be a good thing considering how things ended up for her.  Well, maybe.  It’s hard to say with everything that happened at the end of the book.  Especially with how people who worm end up having their own style, which seems like a signature to me.  I honestly don’t want to give anything away but certain things will make worming challenging for her.

One thing I really liked was how travel between planets affected aging.  It’s strange how Lyra had normal aging while going from Singhi to Eulan, but the friends she left behind aged decades.  They went to college, got married, had families, got jobs…all while she traveled from one planet to the next, and had no major life changes during that time.  I can’t imagine leaving friends knowing they’d live their whole lives while I stayed the same.  I found myself wanting to see that explored a little more but there was enough going on, and it wasn’t super important what with shadow blobs and disintegrating hearts and looters trying to kill her and then take her away once they realize she’s not really dead from when they tried to kill her the first time.

I knew, once Niall was introduced, that he and Lyra would end up together.  I’ve read a few of her series, so it wasn’t hard to figure to out who the love interest was.  It didn’t happen right away, which was nice, and it was something that took a while to happen.  I knew it would eventually, and I was a lot more interested in everything else going on.  I don’t feel invested in them as a couple yet, but they might grow on me as the series goes on.

There were a couple of things that took me out of the book.

The first is the fact that Lyra is 17.  I kept forgetting that she wasn’t 18 yet, but then her age would be mentioned, and I was startled by how young she was.  She seemed more in her early 20’s than 17, at least to me.  She was also on her own a lot, which I get because her parents had a lot to do work-wise.

And the other thing that took me out of things was the narration.  Just a little, but enough to take me out of the story.  Don’t get me wrong, Gabra Zackman is a great narrator.  If I see she’s narrated something, I will probably pick it up.  And she’s a big reason I went with the audio book for this one.  But the voices reminded me a lot of the ones from her Study series, and it was a little strange to be so reminded of characters from a completely different series.

On an unrelated note, I have no idea if I’m spelling any names correctly, because I listened.  I do feel a little bad about that, because I want to spell them correctly.  You’d think the planet names would be mentioned somewhere but maybe I’m not looking hard enough.

The warriors were interesting, and considering she didn’t want to be an archaeologist like her parents, she spent a lot of time around the warriors.  She certainly figured out a lot of things, but security seemed to be what she was really interested in.  I don’t know if there’s a way for her to merge those two, but if anyone could, it would be Lyra.  Assuming she wanted to do both.  But she’s young, and she has a lot of time to decide.

4 stars.  I really liked Navigating The Stars, and I can’t wait to see what happens next, but there were a couple of things that took me out of the story .

Book Review: Club Dead by Charlaine Harris

Book: Club Dead by Charlaine Harris

Published September 2006 by Penguin|292 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Sookie Stackhouse #3

Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy

Sookie’s boyfriend has been very distant-in another state, distant. Now she’s off to Mississippi to mingle with the underworld at Club Dead-a little haunt where the vampire elite go to chill out. But when she finally finds Bill–caught in an act of betrayal–she’s not sure whether to save him…or sharpen some stakes.

I liked Club Dead!  It’s been a pretty entertaining series to read so far, ad even though I’m not in love with the series, I’m still having fun reading it.

Sookie is still having a lot of adventures, and trouble definitely seems to find her.  This time, Bill disappears and ends up with someone he used to be involved with.  Things don’t end well for them, and things also get really interesting with Eric too.  I feel like it’s being set up for her to end up with Eric at some point, but I tend to be wrong about things like this sometimes, so my guess could be completely wrong.  But I really feel like things are headed in that direction, even if it ends up not being a relationship.  We’ll see what happens for Sookie romantically because there’s always the chance she’ll get back together with Bill.

We meet some werewolves in this book!  In a world with shapeshifters and vampires and people with special powers like Sookie, it stands to reason we’d meet some werewolves along the way.  It makes me wonder who else we’ll meet in this series.

We also learn a little more about how the vampires are structured.  It’s cool, though, because I feel like we’re getting deeper into this world.  We’re definitely learning things as Sookie does, which works well.  We’re right there with her as she finds herself in this really interesting situations.  I think that’s why the series is fun and entertaining for me.  And this kind of book is right up my alley.  I’m really looking forward to seeing where things go from here.

Even though I liked Club Dead, I also feel like I’ve said everything I wanted to say, so I think I’m going to cut this one short!

3 stars.  Club Dead is fun and an enjoyable read.  Sookie is great, as always, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Audio Book Review: Stay Sexy And Don’t Get Murdered by Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff, Narrated by Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff

Book: Stay Sexy And Don’t Get Murdered by Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff|Narrated by Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff

Published May 2019 by Macmillan Audio|Run Time: 6 hours 31 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: None

Genre: Adult Non-Fiction/Memoir

Sharing never-before-heard stories ranging from their struggles with depression, eating disorders, and addiction, Karen and Georgia irreverently recount their biggest mistakes and deepest fears, reflecting on the formative life events that shaped them into two of the most followed voices in the nation.

 

Stay Sexy And Don’t Get Murdered is a warm hug.  I absolutely loved this book, and I felt like I was listening to friends telling me stories from their lives.

Honestly, don’t let the title fool you!  It’s not about murder, it’s two awesome, funny, honest people taking about their fears and struggles.  True crime does come up, but this book is not about that.

My Favorite Murder is one of my favorite podcasts, and when they announced they were coming out with a book, I knew I had to read it!  Or in this case, listen to it, because I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Especially since the book is narrated by Georgia and Karen.

I am, however, terrible at reading books I own right away, especially audio books.  But I’ve been in an MFM mood- to the point where I went back to the very beginning and started listening to their entire back catalog of episodes.

So back to the book.  Each chapter title related to the podcast in some way, which is really cool.  And I loved hearing them share stories from their lives.  One of the stories that really stuck with me was hearing Karen’s story about her mom having Alzheimer’s and the struggles of that.  For some reason, it really made me think of my grandma, and not only could I relate but it really made me miss her.

I loved the honesty and openness with the stories they shared, and as I finished the book on my way to work one morning, I found myself crying.  I really felt like things were going to be okay.  Not that they aren’t okay, because they are but there was something very reassuring about this book.  I’m not always great at taking care of myself, and I really need to do better with that.  Something about listening to this book, and how open both of them are about their struggles with mental health and anxiety felt very reassuring- that I’m not the only going through it, and to take care of yourself and find your fucking hooray.

I had a lot of fun listening to this book, and while I cried, I also laughed!  I would like to add in that just thinking about how much I loved this book and how much it means to me is making me teary-eyed.  It’s not what I was expecting, especially since I’m at the library as I’m writing this.  But it’s quiet since I’m writing this during the week, on a kind-of random day off, and I am sitting in the corner.  And it’s a library, so all in all, it’s quiet, and there’s no one near me.  Honestly, it might not be the weirdest thing at the library.

I feel like I’m going pretty off-topic for this book review, but I also feel like that’s sort of like the podcast.  It’s fun to listen to (like the book) but I feel like I’m all over the place and can’t write a coherent review.  Honestly, it’s an amazing book, and worth reading.

5 stars.  I absolutely loved this book, and I especially recommend the audio book!  I loved hearing Georgia and Karen tell their own stories.

Book Review: The Light At The Bottom Of The World by London Shah

Book Review: The Light At The Bottom Of The World by London Shah

Published October 2019 by Disney-Hyperion|320 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: The Light At The Bottom Of The World #1

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Hope had abandoned them to the wrath of all the waters.

At the end of the twenty-first century, the world has changed dramatically, but life continues one thousand feet below the ocean’s surface. In Great Britain, sea creatures swim among the ruins of Big Ben and the Tower of London, and citizens waver between fear and hope; fear of what lurks in the abyss, and hope that humanity will soon discover a way to reclaim the Earth.

Meanwhile, sixteen-year-old Leyla McQueen has her own problems to deal with. Her father’s been arrested, accused of taking advantage of victims of the Seasickness-a debilitating malaise that consumes people,often claiming their lives. But Leyla knows he’s innocent, and all she’s interested in is getting him back so that their lives can return to normal.

When she’s picked to race in the action-packed London Submersible Marathon, Leyla gets the chance to secure his freedom; the Prime Minister promises the champion whatever their heart desires. The race takes an unexpected turn, though, and presents her with an opportunity she never wanted: Leyla must venture outside of London for the first time in her life, to find and rescue her father herself.

Now, she’ll have to brave the unfathomable waters and defy a corrupt government determined to keep its secrets, all the while dealing with a secretive, hotheaded companion she never asked for in the first place. If she fails, or falls prey to her own fears, she risks capture–and her father might be lost forever.

The Light At The Bottom Of The World sounded pretty cool!  I mean, I can’t remember coming across a book that takes place underwater that’s not about mermaids.  The concept is pretty cool, and that drew me in.

I like that because earth is a terrible place to live in the distant future, we’re living underwater instead of heading to space.  I already mentioned not remembering coming across something like that before.  If I have, then I obviously don’t remember.  I read a lot and it’s amazing I can remember what I read a few months ago, much less years ago.

Back to the book, though.  Living underwater has its consequences, and you hear about people losing hope and getting sick because of it.  It’s interesting people went underwater but we make it work despite the horrible conditions earth is in.

Even though I liked the concept and surviving underwater is pretty cool, I wasn’t as interested in this book as I thought I would be.  It’s not the first time I’ve picked up a book because it sounds cool, read it, and find that I’m not that into it. It definitely won’t be the last.

I get why she’s trying to get to her father, and I don’t blame her.  But for the life of me, I could not tell you what happened to him.  I know she finds out where she is to get him, but I could not tell you what happened to him after that.  Considering she spends the whole book trying to get to him, you’d think what happened to him would stand out more.

I had a hard time getting into this book.  The world was interesting, but I wanted more.  It’s underwater London, but I had a hard time picturing it.  I kept forgetting we were underwater, and even though it seemed like it would be this oppressive place full of despair and hopelessness, it didn’t feel that way to me.  Things weren’t what they seemed, and we definitely find that out.  But I still kept forgetting we were underwater, and it felt like it could have been happening anywhere.

I just didn’t feel invested in Leyla’s mission to get her dad.  As bad as it might be, it was just hard for me to care or be interested in what happened.  Maybe I wasn’t in the right mood for this book when I read it.  Maybe I would have felt this way no matter when I read it.  We’ll never know, least of all me, but I did finish it, so it did keep me reading.

2 stars.  I wanted to like this book more because I liked the concept but I had a hard time with this book.

Book Review: A River Of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy

Book: A River Of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy

Published October 2019 by Putnam|368 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: A River Of Royal Blood #1

Genre: YA

An enthralling debut perfect for fans of Children of Blood and Bone set in a North African-inspired fantasy world where two sisters must fight to the death to win the crown.

Sixteen-year-old Eva is a princess, born with the magick of marrow and blood–a dark and terrible magick that hasn’t been seen for generations in the vibrant but fractured country of Myre. Its last known practitioner was Queen Raina, who toppled the native khimaer royalty and massacred thousands, including her own sister, eight generations ago, thus beginning the Rival Heir tradition. Living in Raina’s long and dark shadow, Eva must now face her older sister, Isa, in a battle to the death if she hopes to ascend to the Ivory Throne–because in the Queendom of Myre only the strongest, most ruthless rulers survive.

When Eva is attacked by an assassin just weeks before the battle with her sister, she discovers there is more to the attempt on her life than meets the eye–and it isn’t just her sister who wants to see her dead. As tensions escalate, Eva is forced to turn to a fey instructor of mythic proportions and a mysterious and handsome khimaer prince for help in growing her magick into something to fear. Because despite the love she still has for her sister, Eva will have to choose: Isa’s death or her own.

A River of Royal Blood is an enthralling debut set in a lush North African inspired fantasy world that subtly but powerfully challenges our notions of power, history, and identity.

I liked A River Of Royal Blood!  It’s like a combination of Children Of Blood And Bone, Throne Of Glass, and Three Dark Crowns.

It’s definitely an interesting book, and I really want to know more about Eva’s magic.  Hopefully, we’ll see more of her magic and learn more about it.  Her magic seems like the sort of magic that people are wary of it, and that makes me want to see it more.  I totally get why we didn’t, and I’m hoping there’s a way for Eva to use her magic without too much trouble.  Honestly, it’s not looking good, but hopefully, things will work themselves out.

Isa’s magic actually scares me more than Eva’s.  The control she has over people, and the way she’s able to bend them to their will is much more terrifying than killing.  I mean, it seems like that’s what Eva’s magic is, but it’s hard to say because I feel like we get so little about it.  But for now, what Isa can do is a lot more scary.  I really want to see what any challenge or battle would look like between the two.

I did feel bad for Eva, because it seems like she was kept in the dark about so many things.  I can’t imagine being close to a sibling and then finding out that one of you won’t survive the fight for the throne.  It made me sad for Eva.  And finding out that my magic was bound, and can only be removed by someone who’s no longer around to do it?  That would also be a terrible thing to know.  I can get why these things would be kept for her, but it made things harder for her, especially at court.  But I also felt like, in the end, she also decided she had to fight for her life.  Hers is a world where it’s killed or be killed, and I feel she really made the decision to fight after everything that happened.

Not that it wasn’t there before, but it seemed like she lived in Isa’s shadow.  It was like she accepted that Isa was going to be queen, and was everyone’s favorite.  I think it took a while for Eva to believe in herself, and hopefully, she’ll continue to do so.

This book is definitely Eva’s journey, but there is part of me that wanted to see more of Isa.  I’m not always a big fan of multiple narrators, but I think seeing a few chapters from Isa’s POV would have been interesting.  Still, I’m glad we got to follow Eva, and I definitely find myself rooting for her.

3 stars.  I liked A River Of Royal Blood.  While I don’t think I’ll be rushing to read the next book in the series, I’m still interested enough to see what happens next for Eva.

Book Review: Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett

Book: Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett

Published October 2019 by Knopf Books For Young Readers|290 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

In a community that isn’t always understanding, an HIV-positive teen must navigate fear, disclosure, and radical self-acceptance when she falls in love–and lust–for the first time. Powerful and uplifting, Full Disclosure will speak to fans of Angie Thomas and Nicola Yoon.

Simone Garcia-Hampton is starting over at a new school, and this time things will be different. She’s making real friends, making a name for herself as student director of Rent, and making a play for Miles, the guy who makes her melt every time he walks into a room. The last thing she wants is for word to get out that she’s HIV-positive, because last time . . . well, last time things got ugly.

Keeping her viral load under control is easy, but keeping her diagnosis under wraps is not so simple. As Simone and Miles start going out for real–shy kisses escalating into much more–she feels an uneasiness that goes beyond butterflies. She knows she has to tell him that she’s positive, especially if sex is a possibility, but she’s terrified of how he’ll react! And then she finds an anonymous note in her locker: I know you have HIV. You have until Thanksgiving to stop hanging out with Miles. Or everyone else will know too.

Simone’s first instinct is to protect her secret at all costs, but as she gains a deeper understanding of the prejudice and fear in her community, she begins to wonder if the only way to rise above is to face the haters head-on…

I liked Full Disclosure!  I really felt for Simone, who’s pretty amazing.

It can’t be an easy diagnosis, and you see how much it affects her.  Whether it’s telling friends, or a guy she likes, it’s not an easy thing for her to share.  When it does get out to the whole school, people are completely horrible to her.  People just don’t want to take the time to truly understand what it means.

Miles, Claudia and Lydia are pretty supportive, and even though Simone has her issues with them, they do care about her, and it’s clear they support her and still want to be around her.  It’s especially important with Miles, since they’re pretty into each other.  Being HIV positive is a pretty big deal in any romantic relationship, but he was great because it honestly didn’t seem to bother him or scare him away.  It seemed like he was willing to take things slow and wait.

Her dads are pretty awesome too, and I love the relationship she has with both of them.  It’s obvious they love her and would do anything for her.  It’s also nice to see a YA book where the parents are around and involved in her life.  A lot of times, it feels like the parents are absent or barely there, so it’s nice that they actually show up more than once or twice, if at all.

I also liked that we got the whole story with Sarah.  It’s interesting that there was no flashback, but I thought it’s inclusion was well-done.  And I get why it’s hard for Simone to trust people because of what happened with her.  I really felt for her when it happened again.  Because people can be horrible, especially with things they don’t understand.  But she has a great support system with her dads, her best friends, and Miles.  And even her support group was pretty cool too.  They definitely understood what she was going through when no one else did.

It’s definitely an important read, and I’m glad I read it.  I think Positive by Paige Rawls is a good read-alike for this one.  Positive is a memoir, but I was reminded of it the whole time I read this book.  Simone is more than her diagnosis, and she really came to life in this book.  I’m not a musical person by any means, but for some reason, I feel like I’d get along with her.  I thought it was interesting that Rent was the school musical, though I got really angry when one of the teachers involved with the musical was hoping that Simone, as a student director, would win the school a lot of theater awards.  I hated she would try to use a student like that, but thankfully, the other teacher involved wasn’t about to let her do that.

3 stars.  I liked Full Disclosure, though I didn’t love it.  I’m not sure why, but regardless, this is a must-read!

Book Review: Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews

Book: Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews

Published August 2019 by Avon|400 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Hidden Legacy #4

Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance

In a world where magic is the key to power and wealth, Catalina Baylor is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, and the Head of her House. Catalina has always been afraid to use her unique powers, but when her friend’s mother and sister are murdered, Catalina risks her reputation and safety to unravel the mystery.

But behind the scenes powerful forces are at work, and one of them is Alessandro Sagredo, the Italian Prime who was once Catalina’s teenage crush. Dangerous and unpredictable, Alessandro’s true motives are unclear, but he’s drawn to Catalina like a moth to a flame.

To help her friend, Catalina must test the limits of her extraordinary powers, but doing so may cost her both her House–and her heart.

I liked Sapphire Flames a lot more than I thought I would!  I mean, I liked the previous books in the series, so I was expecting to just like this one.  But I liked it a lot more than I thought I would!

So, this book focuses on Catalina, Nevada’s younger sister.  This book is set several years after the third book on the series, and it’s clear that Nevada’s story is pretty much over.  She does pop up, by way of phone calls, but this book is clearly centered on Catalina as head of house and navigating the family through hard times as their three-year grace period comes to a close.

I really liked Alessandro and Catalina together.  I didn’t spend the whole book waiting for something to happen between them, and I felt like there was more of a something between them than I did with Nevada and Rogan.  I like them together, and there are certainly going to be challenges in terms of them getting together, but I have no doubt it will happen.  I feel like they’re evenly matched, more than Nevada and Rogan.  I’m interested to see how their story plays out over the next few books, and if there will be more books but featuring other characters.

I’m also curious to see how things will go now that they’re past their grace period.  Catalina has a lot in store for her, and I’m sure she’ll rise to the challenge of steering her house in the right direction.  I just hope she can balance that with finding love.  Hopefully with Alessandro, because I do like them together, and I feel like it’s being set up for it to happen.  It’ll be an adventure getting there, I think.

It’s weird how shifting a series to a different set of characters reset the series for me.  I liked Nevada, and I liked her story but maybe I wasn’t super into her story.  Still, her story led to Catalina’s, and that is something I’m happy about.  I’m glad we get to see her abilities, and I really want to see more of them.

4 stars.  I really Sapphire Flames, and I can’t wait to read what happens next!