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review 2017-06-24 02:14
ROAR BY: CORA CARMACK
Roar - Cora Carmack

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I first heard about Roar around a month or so before it released. The premise instantly intrigued me and I knew I wanted to give this book a try so I pre-ordered it. I am so glad that I did! Roar did not disappoint! It was everything I was hoping it would be, and more!

 

Aurora was such an interesting character. I sympathized with her plight, an heir to her kingdom with a huge secret that could topple it before she even got a chance to take the throne. I liked that she was noble enough to want what was best for her kingdom, not just herself and her pride.

 

 

She needed Stormling magic as much for them as she did for herself. I was impressed with the lengths she was willing to go to become independent and strong enough to lead on her own. And considering her sheltered life, hiding herself away so no one would learn her secret, that she lacked her family magic, I thought her going on this epic journey was just what she needed, not only to find her magic, but to also find herself and get a better understanding of the world and the people that she will be ruling over one day.

 

I have to say that not only was Aurora a wonderful leading lady, but each character in this story was enchanting! I genuinely wanted to know more about each and every one, even the ones with the more nefarious intentions, maybe even especially them. Each character was well thought out and multilayered, and it made the story shine that much brighter for it. I loved the rag tag group of storm hunters!

 

 

These misfits that found something like a family in each other and a home in wherever the winds were blowing up the next big storm. They each had a compelling tale to tell, what lead them to where they are now and the things that shaped them. I feel like we have only just begun to hear their stories and know their motivations and I really can't wait to get more!

 

Besides the amazing set of characters the setting is equally enriching. Carmack has created a vast world here and I am desperately hoping to get to see even more of it in future books! And the magic! I loved the idea of these people who can conquer these storms that seem more beastly than natural. Forces of nature have always been something that equally interests me and frightens me. These things that can just come out of nowhere, wreak such havoc and bow to no man.

 

 

There's a reason "ride out the storm" is a saying, what else can you really do against such raw power? That is part of the reason I found the idea of these people who can stand toe to toe with a storm and steal its heart, its very essence, for their own so wild and compelling! And if that sounds as awesome to you is it did to me...just wait until you get to the end of this book! That twist was not something that I saw coming, and might just be my very favorite thing in this story!

 

 

If you are a fan of fantasy and adventure stories with a strong cast of characters I highly recommend giving this book a read! I am so glad that I did and now begins the excruciating wait for the sequel.

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review 2017-06-23 11:03
Review: The Memory Book
The Memory Book - Lara Avery

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

This book was an absolute heartbreaker. And I loved it. Surprised because I really wasn’t expecting much considering I really didn’t like the last book I read by the same author, but I really enjoyed this one.

 

The novel tells the story of 18 year old Samantha, who has a rare disease which will cause memory loss and other nasty side effects, very few teenagers are diagnosed with the disease and very few (if any) survive. Sam is very smart and almost ready to graduate high school, with dreams of going to college in New York. Determined to survive and live her life the best she can, in spite of the horrible news she’s been dealing with.

 

She writes The Memory Book as a guide to her future self for when her memory has been sliding and she can’t remember things. She has two younger siblings, a brother and a sister and involved parents who are reluctant about the whole college thing. She sees a guidance councillor regularly and doctors regularly.  Sam is a brilliant debater, she’s off to Regional Debate Championships with her friend and debating partner Maddie, she’s set to be Valedictorian when she graduates. And the boy she’s had a crush on for years, Stuart, who went off to New York and became a published writer, has come back into town. All going pretty good. She’s going a high school party and actually talks to her long term crush.

 

However, it all starts to go wrong, symptoms of Sam’s illness which cause her to forget where she is, strike suddenly, and unexpectedly. Maddie freaks because Sam didn’t tell her about the seriousness of her illness, Sam is naturally crushed. Bright point of life is when she starts developing a friendship into something more serious with Stuart. At the same time her childhood friend Cooper has recently come back into her life as well, Cooper became a big baseball star in high school then blew it with a pot addiction. Sam finds an unexpected closeness with Cooper, opening up to him as they reminisce about their childhood companionship.

 

The novel was very emotional, I loved Sam’s voice, given what she was dealing with she was incredibly strong and very brave. Her inner monologue went from a range of emotions from excitement and swooning over her developing relationship with Stuart, funny, moody, despair. She talks about her fears, her desires, what she longs for. The struggles with talking about what she’s going through. Dealing with the fall outs when things happen.

 

There’s a love triangle that does pop up but it’s one that works really well and managed to surprise me. And still made me smile.

 

Sam’s memory book also includes input from her parents and siblings and later Cooper who all start adding to the narrative.  The emotional impact was incredibly deep and moving.

 

By the end I was in floods of tears. I was reading the last 20% or so during a slow afternoon at work and by the time I’d finished I had to leave the office and have a cry in the toilets for five minutes. I reread the end again at home and cried all over again.

 

Beautiful, beautiful book. The story manages to go from cute and funny to gut wrenching with some incredibly sad moments. Even so, it was a really amazing read. I loved it so much I bought a finished copy.

 

Thank you Netgalley and Hatchette Children’s Group.

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review 2017-06-20 22:52
SERAFINA AND THE BLACK CLOAK by Robert Beatty
Serafina and the Black Cloak - Robert Beatty

SERAFINA AND THE BLACK CLOAK

Robert Beatty

Format: paperback

ISBN: 9780545948890
Publish date: 2016
Publisher: Scholastic Inc
Pages no: 304
 
A short little review, but a good one-4 stars. Definitely an enjoyable read! Serafina is a great character with a lot of personality. This is set at Biltmore Estate, and the plot shows Serafina discovering not only the Estate but the grounds as well. Beatty brings his characters to life while they deal with some adventure, some friendship, and a little bit of spookiness. I am looking forward to the next in the series. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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review 2017-06-13 00:54
Outpost
Outpost - Ann Aguirre

Picks up where Enclave left off. Deuce and the gang now live in Salvation. Salvation is a completely different place from where she grew up. I thought Salvation was also a dark, depressing place. I could argue its even worse since they have traditional gender roles and anyone who is outside that proscribed roll is treated badly.
I did like how Deuce was willing to try to learn and fit in. She was loved and accepted, just as she was, by her foster family. By the end, she did find her place, but events happened and this ended in a cliffhanger. I have to decide if I want to read book 3. It's been dark and depressing and I'm not sure I will be in the right mood for it.

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review 2017-06-12 20:58
Review: The Disappearances
The Disappearances - Emily Bain Murphy

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

This book was brilliant. So delightfully different and unexpected. I’d completely forgotten what it was about when I started reading it. It’s an early 1940’s based YA novel, set sometime during the Second World War.  Beautifully written and really really unique, the way the fantasy is woven together could almost boarder on magical realism.

 

The novel tells the story of Aila and her brother Miles, their mother has died and their father is a pilot who has gone to fight in the war. With no other close relatives, the two are shipped off to the small town of Sterling, where their mother grew up and move in with a dear friend of their mom’s, Matilda Cliffton. Her household consists of her husband, Dr Clifton, their son William who is Aila’s age, and a housekeeper named Genevieve. The Clifftons are very nice if formal and clearly wealthy.

 

Though Aila notices something strange immediately, whilst going through the small town centre, they pass people well known to Mrs Cliffton, give them the cold shoulder. They’re polite, but very frosty and it all seems to do with the fact that Aila’s mom left the town.

 

In the house Aila notices more strange things and finds out a phenomenon occurs every year something “Disappears”, touch, dreams, reflections. No one really knows how they started, but there are magical remedies called Variants that can recreate these lost things. Aila struggles to make sense of this mystery, at the same time fitting in in a new school and trying to make friends.

 

All the while there is the underlying hint that her mother may have had something to do with starting The Disappearances. Aila’s mother seems to be the only person who has ever left Sterling and regained the things the Disappearances have taken. Which has caused a great mistrust and dislike amongst the townspeople.

 

As Aila makes friends and gets to know the people in her class, she learns more about the history of the town and the founding families and the other interconnecting towns in the area.  Early in the novel Aila discovers a book of Shakespeare’s works that has notes written by her mother. The Shakespeare connection is brilliant. It’s woven beautifully into the narrative without being too overwhelming.

 

There’s also a second point of view in alternate chapters from a mysterious man who appears to be looking for his father. It’s not all together clear (or at least not for this reader) of whether this is something happening at the time or something that happened in the past. It all becomes relevant later on in the novel.

 

The writing is gorgeous and almost lyrical in its tone, it’s completely absorbing and everything is so incredibly described and so so easy to picture. Incredible history and backstory believable as well. Aila was a very likeable, intelligent lead, head on her shoulders, with some recklessness, a good friend and good sister to her little brother Miles.  All the characters are brilliant, all fully fleshed out from the good ones to the nasty ones. There’s a great sense of family as well, the adults are not just side characters, they have their own importance in the novel and not just relegated to necessary background characters.

 

There was nothing about this book that didn’t absolutely love to pieces. I am definitely looking forward to more from this author.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and HMH Books for Young Readers for approving my request to view the title.

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