Review: The Diabolic


Title: The Diabolic
Author: S.J. Kincaid
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Purchased
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

Nemesis is a Diabolic. Created to protect a galactic Senator’s daughter, Sidonia. There’s no one Nemesis wouldn’t kill to keep her safe. But when the power-mad Emperor summons Sidonia to the galactic court as a hostage, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia.

She must become her.

Now one of the galaxy’s most dangerous weapons is masquerading in a world of corruption and Nemesis has to hide her true abilities or risk everything. As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns that there is something stronger than her deadly force: the one thing she’s been told she doesn’t have – humanity. And, amidst all the danger, action and intrigue, her humanity might be the only thing that can save her, Sidonia and the entire Empire…

Review:

This book far exceeded my expectations!

I was pleasantly surprised at this unique story. So many YA fantasy books follow the same storyline: a girl from a low class family ends up going to the main city/castle and meets the prince; then she ends up competing to be the prince’s suitor, and she overcomes her low status to become the future princess. Even though this one has hints of a Cinderella story for Nemesis, it isn’t predictable. 

This story addresses issues of sexual power. Many people in power use their position to exploit people below them. This is very relevant today, since celebrities are constantly being accused of sexual assault. 

Since I’m reading this book after the sequel has been released, I had an idea of what was going to happen. I guessed that s someone would become an Empress in the second novel, since it’s called The Empress. Even though I had this bit of a spoiler, I really enjoyed the story and I found it very surprising. 

I’m so excited to read the sequel in the next couple of weeks!

Review: Practical Magic


Title: Practical Magic
Author: Alice Hoffman
Publisher: Penguin
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Purchased
Release Date: June 13, 1995
Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

The Owens sisters confront the challenges of life and love in this bewitching novel from New York Times bestselling author Alice Hoffman.

For more than two hundred years, the Owens women have been blamed for everything that has gone wrong in their Massachusetts town. Gillian and Sally have endured that fate as well: as children, the sisters were forever outsiders, taunted, talked about, pointed at. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, with their musty house and their exotic concoctions and their crowd of black cats. But all Gillian and Sally wanted was to escape.

One will do so by marrying, the other by running away. But the bonds they share will bring them back–almost as if by magic…

Review:

I picked up this book because I received an ARC of the prequel that just came out, called The Rules of Magic. 

I enjoyed this story. It was very character driven. I usually don’t like stories that are character driven, but a strong plot emerged in the latter half of this book that brought all the characters together. 

I really liked the duos that are in the book. There are three sets of two sisters. There are also dueling kinds of magic. The Owens have a natural kind of magic, while Ben likes doing magic tricks. Ben is also the science teacher, and science is kind of a magic in itself. 

I loved the ending of this story. It felt complete. I like it when all (or most) of the loose ends are tied up by the end. 

Now, I’ll have to watch the movie adaptation!

Review: The Nightmare Before Christmas


Title: The Nightmare Before Christmas
Author: Jun Asuka
Publisher: Tokyopop
Genre: NetGalley
Release Date: September 26, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

Jack Skellington is the Pumpkin King, the ruler of Halloween Town and master of all things creepy and spooky. But he’s tired of his life in the shadows and longs for something new. When he accidentally stumbles upon Christmas Town, he decides this is the perfect chance to try his hand at a brand new holiday and is convinced he’ll have the world yelling “Scary Christmas”! With the young patchwork doll Sally trying to dissuade him and the evil Oogie Boogie waiting in the wings to take over Halloween Town in Jack’s absence, he’d better hurry if he wants to get his plan in place by December 25th! You’ve seen the movie, now read the manga for a new twist on an animated classic!

Review:

I’ve wanted to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas for a long time, but I haven’t yet. So when I saw the manga version, I had to read it. 

I really enjoyed the story. I love that it’s a cross between Halloween and Christmas. Though those two holidays are two months apart, they’re so connected, since as soon as Halloween is over, the shelves are filled with Christmas gifts. 

One problem I had (and I’m not sure if this will be the same in the physical copy) is the colouring. It’s in black and white, and some of the panels were so detailed that it was hard to tell what was happening. When only two colours are used, it’s difficult to distinguish between characters, so sometimes I didn’t know what was happening. Also, many of the speech bubbles didn’t have an obvious direction of who it was coming from, so I couldn’t tell who was speaking. These issues may not be as bad for someone who has watched the movie, but since I wasn’t familiar with the story before, I struggled with these visual problems. 

However, I really liked this story. I’m glad I read this manga edition!

Top Ten Tuesday – Ghost Stories

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is a Halloween freebie, so I’m going to list my favourite ghost stories. Here’s my list:

1. The Raven Boys


2. Shadowland 


3. Ghosts


4. The Turn of The Screw


5. The Shining


6. Long Way Down


7. A Christmas Carol


8. Wuthering Heights


9. Doctor Sleep


10. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children


(All images taken from Goodreads)

Blog Tour: Esme’s Wish

Esme's Wish tour bannerEsme's Wish cover[4]

Title: Esme’s Wish
Author: Elizabeth Foster
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Odyssey Books
Source: YA Bound Book Tours
Release Date: October 30, 2017
Rating: ★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

This was her last chance. Her hand twisted high in the air.

When fifteen-year-old Esme Silver objects at her father’s wedding, her protest is dismissed as the impulsive reaction of a stubborn, selfish teenager. Everyone else has accepted the loss of Esme’s mother – so why can’t she?

But Esme is suspicious. She is sure that others are covering up the real reason for her mother’s disappearance – that ‘lost at sea’ is code for something more terrible, something she has a right to know.

After Esme is accidentally swept into the enchanted world of Aeolia, the truth begins to unfold. With her newfound friends, Daniel and Lillian, Esme retraces her mother’s steps in the glittering canal city of Esperance, untangling the threads of Ariane’s double life. But the more Esme discovers about her mother, the more she questions whether she really knew her at all…

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Preview part of the first chapter on Kobo – https://www.goodreads.com/buy_buttons/6/follow?book_id=33634667

Purchase your copy of Esme’s Wish at elizabethfoster.com.au

Review:

As many of you know, I love Greek mythology. So when this book started off with references to Ancient Greece, I knew I would like it. 

This story was fast paced, with Esme constantly discovering new things about her mother. There was also great tension when she discovered things that didn’t match up with her own memories of her mother.

This book reminded me of the Percy Jackson series, particularly The Lightning Thief. Esme is searching for details about her mother, just like Percy was looking for his father. 

I really liked this story. It’s very well developed. If you like YA fantasy books, this is a great one for you!

About the Author:

Elizabeth Foster read avidly as a child, but only discovered the joys of writing some years ago, when reading to her own kids reminded her of how much she missed getting lost in other worlds. Elizabeth lives in Sydney, where she can be found scribbling in cafés, indulging her love of both words and coffee. Esme’s Wish is her debut novel.

Find out more about Elizabeth at elizabethfoster.com.au

Author Links:

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Giveaway:

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Book Tour Organized by: YA Bound Book Tours

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Thank you to YA Bound Book Tours for letting me participate in this blog tour.

Review: Gybe


Title: Gybe
Author: Kristi M. Turner
Genre: Young Adult
Source: YA Bound Book Tours
Release Date: August 28, 2016
Rating: ★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

Nicole is an 18-year-old, juvenile delinquent who desperately wants to take control of her life but must find a way to overcome her own self-sabotage and a judge who won’t easily let her escape her past. She keeps food on her plate and clothes on her back by stealing. It is far from the life she wants, but she has known little kindness in her life and, therefore, gives little back. When Judge Newton charges her for the first time as an adult, Nicole recognizes a separating path: She can stay on her path to destruction or she can accept the unexpected generosity of the Kutcher family, whose house she is charged with burglarizing.
Child psychologist, Cynthia Kutcher, believes she can help Nicole confront her anger and build back the self-worth she lost when her father abandoned her to a drunken uncle after her mother’s death.
Along the way to building a more valuable life, Nicole meets Keagan, an affluent young man with whom she begins an often overwhelming love affair despite the conflicts their disparate pasts bring.

Review:

I loved the beginning of this story. It was an original story, with Nicole going to prison but then finding help. It was a unique beginning but the story fell into some cliches by the end. 

I really liked Nicole. I felt attached to her right away. Having her in trouble at the beginning created sympathy for her. At first I wondered who Keagan was, since he is introduced long before he enters Nicole’s story. But I liked the clever relationships between characters. 

Halfway through the story, it skips two months ahead. It wasn’t clear what exactly happened during those two months, but a lot of changes happened in their lives. I wish they mentioned what happened then, because I kept wondering about it.

There were some proofreading errors in the story, such as the continuous misspelling of the word “chick.” But I enjoyed this story. There were some clever twists, which made the story unpredictable and exciting. 

Blog Tour: Carry Me Home


Title: Carry Me Home
Author: Jessica Therrien
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
Source: Xpresso Book Tours
Release Date: September 26, 2017
Rating: ★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

Lucy and Ruth are country girls from a broken home. When they move to the city with their mother, leaving behind their family ranch and dead-beat father, Lucy unravels.

They run to their grandparents’ place, a trailer park mobile home in the barrio of San Jose. Lucy’s barrio friends have changed since her last visit. They’ve joined a gang called VC. They teach her to fight, to shank, to beat a person unconscious and play with guns. When things get too heavy, and lives are at stake, the three girls head for LA seeking a better life.

But trouble always follows Lucy. She befriends the wrong people, members of another gang, and every bad choice she makes drags the family into her dangerous world. 

Told from three points of view, the story follows Lucy down the rabbit hole, along with her mother and sister as they sacrifice dreams and happiness, friendships and futures. Love is waiting for all of them in LA, but pursuing a life without Lucy could mean losing her forever.

Ultimately it’s their bond with each other that holds them together, in a true test of love, loss and survival. 

Review:

This book was not at all what I expected, but I really enjoyed it!

This story was an intense rollercoaster at times. There were a lot of serious situations, involving drugs and gangs. These things were even more scary since the story is told from multiple first person perspectives so we get the firsthand account of what was happening. 

I liked how the stories of the two sisters were often conflicting. One would be in a gang fight, while the other was out camping among the wildflowers. These dueling images highlighted the different lifestyles of the sisters and created great tension. 

I didn’t think that the cover of the book suits the story. The light blues and pinks make it appear to be a softer plot than it is. It was actually quite dramatic. I think the cover should have been darker to reflect the story. 

Also, I think the father’s role was forgotten for much of the book. I would have liked to see what happened to him later in the story, rather than them just moving away and forgetting about him. 

I really liked this story. I recommend this book for a thrilling read, that’s reminiscent of the summer. 

About the Author:

Jessica Therrien is the author of the young adult series Children of the Gods. Book one in the series, Oppression, became a Barnes & Noble best-seller shortly after its release. Her trilogy has been translated and sold through major publishers around the world, such as Editions AdA (Canada), EditionsMilan (France), and SharpPoint Press (China).

Aside from her Children of the Gods series, Jessica is the author of a kid’s picture book called, The Loneliest Whale. Her award-winning stories can also be found in a published anthology of flash fiction.

Jessica currently lives in Irvine with her husband and two young sons. She is working on an a YA suspense thriller series and a middle grade fantasy series.

Author Links:

http://jessica-therrien.blogspot.ca/

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https://www.facebook.com/jessicatherrienauthor/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5406182.Jessica_Therrien

Giveaway:

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Thank you to Xpresso Book Tours for letting me participate in this blog tour.