Review: Sky in the Deep (Sky in the Deep #1)

Title: Sky in the Deep (Sky in the Deep #1)
Author: Adrienne Young
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 24, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

Review:

Eelyn is a warrior for her Aska community. She fights alongside her father in their rivalry against the Riki. When she is almost killed in a battle, she sees her dead brother among the enemies. Her father assures her that he couldn’t have been there, but when she meets her brother again on the battlefield, he takes her as a prisoner. Eelyn has to figure out how to get back to her father and how to deal with the betrayal of her brother.

This story had a Nordic setting. They were like a viking community. I’ve never read a book like this, but I learned about vikings in school, so I found it really interesting. I really liked that the women were considered warriors alongside the men in this community. In many stories set in ancient times, the women have to stay home while the men fight, leading the main female character to figure out a way to fight. However, Eelyn was able to focus on other issues, since she was already a warrior.

The story started out quite fast paced. The moments where Eelyn saw her brother on the battlefield to when she was captured happened very quickly. The story slowed down a bit once she got to her brother’s new community. However, I was pleased with the ending. I thought the next book in the series would be a continuation of this story, but it has a new plot. I’m looking forward to reading it because I loved this setting.

Thank you Wednesday Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Girl the Sea Gave Back (Sky in the Deep #2) by Adrienne Young

Other Books in the Series:

  • The Girl the Sea Gave Back

Have you read Sky in the Deep? What did you think of it?

Bookish Friday – Animal Sidekicks in Harry Potter

This is a weekly meme hosted by Laurie Reads and Niffler Reads. Every Friday, they post a list of bookish things based on the prompt they provided. The prompts for Feb to May can be found here.

This week’s prompt is Animal Sidekicks, so I decided to do Animal Sidekicks in Harry Potter. Here’s my list:

Hedwig (Harry Potter)

Scabbers (Ron Weasley)

Crookshanks (Hermione Granger)

Trevor (Neville Longbottom)

Fawkes (Albus Dumbledore)

Fang (Rubeus Hagrid)

(Photos from wizardingworld.com)

Did you make a list for Bookish Friday?

Blog Tour Review: Out Now: Queer We Go Again!

Title: Out Now: Queer We Go Again!
Author: Saundra Mitchell (editor)
Genre: Young Adult, LGBTQ, Short Stories
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 26, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

QUEER WE GO AGAIN! A follow-up to the critically acclaimed All Out anthology, Out Now features seventeen new short stories from amazing queer YA authors. Vampires crash prom, aliens run from the government, a president’s daughter comes into her own, a true romantic tries to soften the heart of a cynical social media influencer, a selkie and the sea call out to a lost soul. Teapots and barbershops, skateboards and VW vans, Street Fighter and Ares’s sword: Out Now has a story for every reader and surprises with each turn of the page!

Review:

This is a collection of queer short stories. They were funny, heartwarming, and heartbreaking. There were a variety of genres, including contemporary, fantasy, and science fiction.

These stories all have the same themes of being queer and coming out, yet they were all so different. Some of the characters knew exactly who they were, while others had to discover it in the stories. They were all different but most of them had a positive outlook.

One of my favourite stories was called What Happens in the Closet, which was a story about Vampires invading a party. Another favourite of mine was Victory Lap, where a boy tries to find the best way to tell his dad that he’s gay, but his dad already knows. One Spell Too Many tells the story of a girl who mixes up two magical pastries, giving a love spell to the wrong person. These stories were so different in genre and plot, yet they all had the same themes, so they fit into the collection.

I loved this collection of queer stories.

Thank you HarperCollins for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages by Saundra Mitchell (editor)

Have you read Out Now: Queer We Go Again!? What did you think of it?

TBR Thursday – May 28

TBR Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly Faye Reads, where you post a title from your shelf or e-reader and find out what others think about it.

My pick this week is The Grace Year by Kim Liggett.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.

In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Review: Recipe for Persuasion (The Rajes #2)

Title: Recipe for Persuasion (The Rajes #2)
Author: Sonali Dev
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 26, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From the author of Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors comes another, clever, deeply layered, and heartwarming romantic comedy that follows in the Jane Austen tradition—this time, with a twist on Persuasion.

Chef Ashna Raje desperately needs a new strategy. How else can she save her beloved restaurant and prove to her estranged, overachieving mother that she isn’t a complete screw up? When she’s asked to join the cast of Cooking with the Stars, the latest hit reality show teaming chefs with celebrities, it seems like just the leap of faith she needs to put her restaurant back on the map. She’s a chef, what’s the worst that could happen? 

Rico Silva, that’s what.  

Being paired with a celebrity who was her first love, the man who ghosted her at the worst possible time in her life, only proves what Ashna has always believed: leaps of faith are a recipe for disaster. 

FIFA winning soccer star Rico Silva isn’t too happy to be paired up with Ashna either. Losing Ashna years ago almost destroyed him. The only silver lining to this bizarre situation is that he can finally prove to Ashna that he’s definitely over her. 

But when their catastrophic first meeting goes viral, social media becomes obsessed with their chemistry. The competition on the show is fierce…and so is the simmering desire between Ashna and Rico.  Every minute they spend together rekindles feelings that pull them toward their disastrous past. Will letting go again be another recipe for heartbreak—or a recipe for persuasion…? 

In Recipe for Persuasion, Sonali Dev once again takes readers on an unforgettable adventure in this fresh, fun, and enchanting romantic comedy. 

Review:

Ashna Raje is the chef and owner of Curried Dreams, her father’s restaurant. The restaurant is failing, so when her best friend offers her a chance to be on the new reality show Cooking with the Stars, she decides she must do it to get the money for the restaurant. Rico Silva is soccer player who went into an early retirement following a knee injury. When he finds out that Ashna is going to be a chef on Cooking with the Stars, he knows he must be the celebrity to cook with her. He wants to get the closure from their relationship that ended suddenly 12 years ago when they were teenagers. The tense competition brings back their feelings, opening up many old wounds.

I read Persuasion by Jane Austen years ago. I loved the book. This story is a great retelling, like the first book in the series, Pride and Prejudice and Other Flavors. It’s an updated version of the classic Austen story, with more contemporary themes.

This story was much darker and more serious than Pride and Prejudice and Other Flavors. There are some trigger warnings that should be included, such as suicide, substance abuse, and rape. These things were addressed, though they didn’t directly happen in the story. It was realistic to show these things happening, even though they were upsetting to read. The characters hadn’t addressed these things in the moment that they happened, due to the stigma around mental health problems. Those were tense moments in the story, and made it a much more serious book.

This is a great Persuasion adaptation.

Thank you HarperCollins for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Trouble with Hating You by Sajni Patel

The Matchmaker’s List by Sonya Lalli

Other Books in the Series:

Have you read Recipe for Persuasion? What did you think of it?

‘Waiting on’ Wednesday – May 27

This is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. In this post we highlight a book that’s highly anticipated.

The book that I’m waiting on this Wednesday is 10 Things I Hate About Pinky (Dimple and Rishi #3) by Sandhya Menon. The expected publication date is July 21, 2020.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The follow-up to When Dimple Met Rishi and There’s Something about Sweetie follows Pinky and Samir as they pretend to date—with disastrous and hilarious results.

Pinky Kumar wears the social justice warrior badge with pride. From raccoon hospitals to persecuted rock stars, no cause is too esoteric for her to champion. But a teeny-tiny part of her also really enjoys making her conservative, buttoned-up corporate lawyer parents cringe.

Samir Jha might have a few . . . quirks remaining from the time he had to take care of his sick mother, like the endless lists he makes in his planner and the way he schedules every minute of every day, but those are good things. They make life predictable and steady.

Pinky loves lazy summers at her parents’ Cape Cod lake house, but after listening to them harangue her about the poor decisions (aka boyfriends) she’s made, she hatches a plan. Get her sorta-friend-sorta-enemy, Samir—who is a total Harvard-bound Mama’s boy—to pose as her perfect boyfriend for the summer. As they bicker their way through lighthouses and butterfly habitats, sparks fly, and they both realize this will be a summer they’ll never forget.

What books are you waiting on this week?

Review: Here Comes Hercules (Hopeless Heroes #1)

Title: Here Comes Hercules (Hopeless Heroes #1)
Author: Stella Tarakson, Nick Roberts (illustrator)
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Sweet Cherry Publishing
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: February 22, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

When Tim Baker breaks his mum’s favourite vase, it’s the least of his problems. The Greek hero he’s released is in danger of doing far worse. To the flowers, the rug—Oh, no! Not the kitchen!

Hercules is only trying to be helpful but he’s just hopeless. It’s time to send this dim demigod home before Tim becomes ancient history.

Review:

While cleaning his house one day after school, Tim knocks his mother’s ancient Grecian vase over and breaks it. This releases Hercules from the vase, where he was trapped by Hera. Hercules tries to help Tim around the house, but he makes everything even worse. The problem is that while Hercules is causing all kinds of trouble, but Tim is the only one who can see him. Tim has to figure out a way to fix Hercules’s messes and send him back into the vase.

I love Ancient Greece, and I especially love when it’s featured in children’s books. In this story, Tim wasn’t familiar with the story of Hercules or the gods of Ancient Greece. The reader can learn alongside Tim throughout the story as he learns more about Hercules. I didn’t read stories about Ancient Greece when I was a kid, though I became interested in them as I got older. I think I would have loved this story when I was a kid.

This was a funny story. Hercules had a lot of strength but no common sense, so he was constantly messing up things in the house. For example, when Tim asked him to weed the garden, Hercules ended up cutting up all the flowers and burning them because he thought they were all enemies. When Hercules would cause trouble, Tim was blamed since no one could see Hercules. Even though Hercules caused some problems for Tim, he was able to chase away Tim’s bullies, so they helped each other in a way.

This was a great middle grade story.

Thank you Sweet Cherry Publishing for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Hera’s Terrible Trap (Hopeless Heroes #2) by Stella Tarakson, Nick Roberts (illustrator)

Arachne’s Golden Gloves (Hopeless Heroes #3) by Stella Tarakson, Nick Roberts (illustrator)

Other Books in the Series:

  • Hera’s Terrible Trap
  • Arachne’s Golden Gloves

Have you read Here Comes Hercules? What did you think of it?