Tag Archives: young adult

Luminous by Mara Rutherford Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young witch who has hidden her power her entire life must unlock her potential after her sister is taken by a nefarious warlock and her best friend disappears in author Mara Rutherford’s “Luminous”.

Advertisements

The Synopsis

From the author of Crown of Coral and Pearl comes an immersive new fantasy about a witch who must learn to harness her power—or risk losing her loved ones forever.

Liora has spent her life in hiding, knowing discovery could mean falling prey to the king’s warlock, Darius, who uses mages’ magic to grow his own power. But when her worst nightmare comes to pass, Darius doesn’t take her. Instead, he demands that her younger sister return to the capital with him. To make matters worse, Evran, Liora’s childhood friend and the only one who knows her secret, goes missing following Darius’s visit, leaving her without anyone to turn to.

To find Evran and to save her sister, Liora must embrace the power she has always feared. But the greatest danger she’ll face is yet to come, for Darius has plans in motion that will cause the world to fall into chaos—and Liora and Evran may be the only ones who can stop him.  

The Review

A truly unique and intense new YA Fantasy world! This novel did an amazing job of drawing the reader into this unique world where witches, mages, and warlocks take on an entirely new meaning. The theme of sisterhood and family, as well as the theme of accepting ourselves for who we are, was felt widely in this narrative, as the story unfolded the layers of Liora’s past and her true nature beautifully.

The balance of world-building, mythology, and character growth was so well-written in this book. The exploration of Liora’s sheltered life and the fear of her magic was a great reflection of every parent’s desire to shield their children from the dangers our world presents, and the harm that can come from being too protective and letting our own fears dominate our children’s lives. Liora’s evolution as a protagonist was great to see unfold, showing the inner strength that blossomed her from a shielded witch in hiding to a powerful force for change and light in the darkness. 

The Verdict

Emotional, mythological in its world-building, and heartfelt in its delivery, author Mara Rutherford’s “Luminous” is a must-read YA Fantasy novel of 2021. A wholly unique take on witches and magic overall, and the theme of self-acceptance, this novel does a wonderful job of keeping the reader on the edge of their seat, delivering shocking and heartbreaking revelations, epic confrontations, and beautiful relationships that tie into the story of hope that Liora represents. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Mara Rutherford began her writing career as a journalist but quickly discovered she far preferred fantasy to reality. Originally from California, Mara has since lived all over the world with her marine-turned-diplomat husband. A triplet born on Leap Day, Mara holds a master’s degree in cultural studies from the University of London. When she’s not writing or chasing after her two sons, she can usually be found pushin_g the boundaries of her comfort zone, whether at a traditional Russian banya or an Incan archaeological site. Mara is a former Pitch Wars mentee and three-time mentor.

Social Links:

Author website: https://www.mararutherford.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mararaewrites

Instagram: www.Instagram.com/mararutherfordwrites 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/56030266-luminous 

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Luminous-Mara-Rutherford/dp/1335405658 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/luminous-mara-rutherford/1138317759?ean=9781335405654 

Books a Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Luminous/Mara-Rutherford/9781335405654?id=8287773942852 

IndieBound:  https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781335405654

BookShop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/luminous-9781335405654/9781335405654 

AppleBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/luminous/id1540957165 

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Mara_Rutherford_Luminous?id=gK0JEAAAQBAJ 

Q&A with Mara Rutherford

Q: What was the hardest scene to write in Luminous? What was the easiest?

A: The hardest scene to write in Luminous was probably the climax. This book has changed a ton over the past five years, so balancing a few different aspects of the novel was challenging. I don’t want to give anything away, but I hope I hit the right combination of exciting and heartbreaking. Fingers crossed! The easiest part to write was somewhere in the middle… Again, I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say I really enjoy writing anything with monsters. 

Q: Did you hide any secrets in your book? (names of friends, little jokes, references to things only some people will get)?

A: I always have some inside jokes/secrets in my books. In Luminous, the three sisters are inspired by the three daughters of our good friends. My husband and I had a black greyhound as our first dog, so that helped inspire Lord Darius’s sighthounds (although ours was adorable and in no way demented!). There’s a part where Liora, the MC, is looking at the stars and she recalls a myth about one of the constellations. The triplets referenced are inspired by my triplet siblings.

Q: What do you hope people remember about Luminous?

A: I suppose with all my books I hope people will remember how they felt when reading them, and in this case, I hope they feel inspired to embrace the parts of themselves they may fear or doubt. Liora is a somewhat reluctant heroine given her circumstances, and I hope young readers will remember that even if you don’t feel like the hero of your own story, you can be.

Q: Did Luminous have a certain soundtrack you listened to while writing?

A: I currently listen to a combination of alternative music, classical, and Taylor Swift when I write. I drafted this novel a long time ago, and at the time I didn’t listen to music when I wrote. But I will say that Folklore and Evermore were on repeat for all of 2020.

Q: What is your dream cast for Luminous?

A: This question is always weird for me because I’m 41 now and not particularly in touch with who the up and coming young actors are! I think Mackenzie Foy would make a good Liora based on looks, however.

Advertisements

Excerpted from Luminous by Mara Rutherford, © 2021 by Mara Rutherford. Used with permission from Inkyard Press/HarperCollins.

My father once described magic as an invisible beast, an unseen enemy that could snatch our lives away at any moment. As a small, impressionable child, I had imagined a lupine creature lurking outside among the whispering pines, breathing over my shoulder in our garden. For years, I didn’t even leave the house; it was magic that had killed my mother, after all.

I was old enough now to understand that magic didn’t work that way. But as I hurried down the dark road, past the woods that had become my haven during daylight hours, my childhood fears didn’t feel so foolish. I glanced behind me, sure I’d find Belle Sabine, the fabled witch of every young woman’s nightmares, swooping down as silent as an owl, ready to steal my youth and leave an empty husk behind.

To my relief, there was nothing there. My only traveling companion was the wind nipping at my heels, spurring me forward. But in my brief distraction, I tripped over a rock in the road, falling hard onto my knees. Cursing myself for my clumsiness and superstition, I dusted off my hands, wincing as a sharp pebble dislodged from my palm. I couldn’t afford this kind of delay. It was close to midnight, and there was no moon to speak of, which made my situation even more precarious; my exposed skin glowed so brightly that moths circled me like a flame. But my little sister, Mina, was missing. I had to tell Father.

As I rose, I heard the sound of footsteps up the road. I glanced around for a place to hide, but there was no time. A moment later, a figure loomed at the margins of my glow.

Some said Belle Sabine had died, others that she was biding her time until the townspeople became complacent once again. But I was convinced she had come to kill me on the one night I had dared to venture past our threshold.

I shrank back as skirts and slippered feet came into view, followed by a woman’s arms cradling a basket, and finally, the face of Margana, the weaver who lived next door. Not here to kill me, then. But a witch, nevertheless. And one arguably as dangerous as Belle Sabine, given who she worked for.

“What are you doing on the road, Liora? It’s the middle of the night.”

“Mina is gone,” I said. “Father is still at work, and I didn’t know what else to do.”

Margana scrutinized me for a moment. “You’re a witch.”

A chill that had nothing to do with the cool night air crept over my scalp. No one had ever called me a witch to my face before, though of course I knew what I was. My entire life revolved around my glowing skin and the fear that the kingdom’s most powerful warlock would discover it. Lord Darius was employed by the king himself, gathering mages and torturing them if they didn’t do his bidding.

I pulled Father’s cloak tighter around myself, but it was futile. She already knew. I had wasted too much time getting up the nerve to leave the house after I found Mina’s bed empty, wringing my hands at the window, wondering if she’d been kidnapped by drifters or lured into the forest by a ghost lantern. Then, once I was on the road, I had foolishly stopped to look at the devil’s footprints, little white mushrooms that grew in pairs of two, resembling the cloven hooves of a demon. I’d seen them in daylight plenty of times, but never at night. They had caught my eye because their glow was so similar to my own.

Oddly, Margana’s basket was full of the mushrooms. Her cornflower-blue eyes and auburn hair were pale and otherworldly in their light. As if sensing my curiosity, she shifted the basket to her other hip. Margana was one of the few people who lived outside the gates of the ancient village of Sylvan, like us. She was also my best friend Evran’s mother—and the only other witch I knew.

“I always wondered why your father moved you girls out here after your mother died,” she said. “Now it all makes sense. But something tells me your father wouldn’t be pleased to know you’re outside, exposing yourself.” She grabbed one of my hands and turned it over, examining it like a bruised apple at market. Against Margana’s dull skin, mine looked false, as if I wasn’t a real person at all.

I pulled my hand free as politely as possible. “I should go.”

She sighed. “Keep your head down, and pray you don’t meet anyone on the road. Darius’s spies are everywhere.”

My eyes widened in fear, and she chuckled to herself. “Not me, silly girl.”

I swallowed audibly. If there really were spies in Sylvan, Margana was the most likely suspect. After all, she did work for Lord Darius. She might not be his servant by choice, but he was dangerous enough that no mage dared cross him. No mage who had lived to tell about it, anyway.

I was about to step around her when my eyes drifted to the basket once again. “I thought the devil’s footprints were poisonous.”

Her lips curved in a smile that didn’t reach her eyes. “Oh, they are. Highly. Fortunately, I don’t plan on eating them. Good luck, Liora.”

I nodded and hurried to the stone steps leading down to Sylvan, which was tucked away in a gorge, hidden from the roving eyes of river pirates. Above me, a heavy iron chain was suspended between the cliffs. As far as I knew, Sylvan was the only village in Antalla—maybe the world—that could boast having attracted not one, but two falling stars. A fragment of the first had been melted into the shape of a five-pointed star and hung from the chain. At night, it was only a glimmer overhead.

The second star—my star—had disintegrated amid the flames when it landed.

I wound my way silently through Sylvan’s narrow streets, toward Father’s shop. He and Adelle, my older, more responsible sister, were likely the only ones working at this hour. Just as I quickened my pace, I heard a high-pitched shriek from somewhere above me. I looked up to where a lamp winked on in an apartment window, illuminating two silhouettes, then down to the shop on my left. The tailor’s shop.

Mina.

Without thinking, I grabbed the cast-iron boot scraper sitting by the front door of the shop and hurled it through the window. Glass shattered, leaving a jagged hole that gaped like a mouth midscream.

Heart racing, I flattened myself against the alcove by the door as a man shouted and a window screeched open. The tailor, a young man nearly as alluring as the fabrics he sold, poked his head out for a moment, then disappeared, likely heading downstairs to look for the culprit. I scurried to the nook in front of the butcher’s, hoping my light would be hidden there.

“Get behind me,” Luc said from somewhere inside the shop. “The thief could still be out there.”

“You’re so brave.”

I sighed in relief at the sound of Mina’s voice, before fury shot through me like an arrow. I should have known she would come to the tailor’s; she had flirted with Luc relentlessly today, which was how we’d acquired four yards of the champagne-colored silk she wanted for the dress I’d spent all evening working on.

A moment later, they emerged onto the street, Mina clutching at Luc’s sleeve as he lifted his lamp and peered into the darkness.

He tossed his black hair out of his eyes and frowned. “It doesn’t look like they stole anything. Just vandals, I suppose.”

“Or someone trying to send you a message,” Mina breathed, dramatic as ever. “Do you have any nemeses?”

When he turned his dark gaze on her, something tugged at my heart. She was wearing a dress I’d made for myself when I was her age. It hung loose on her thin frame, but the hem grazed her calves, a sure sign she had altered it. She had nothing but a shawl pulled around her shoulders, and from where I stood, it was painfully clear that the tailor was not interested in her the way she no doubt hoped.

“I have to find a member of the night guard and report this. You shouldn’t be here. If your father catches you, he’ll have me hanged. You’re a sweet girl, Mina, but this is inappropriate.”

“But the silk…”

“That was for your sister. Now, please, go home.”

Mina caught her lip in her teeth to keep from crying. With a nod, she hurried away, tears already streaming down her cheeks. I waited for Luc to start up the street before I ran out of the alcove to catch her.

She squealed in alarm when I placed my hand on her shoulder, and I quickly clapped my other hand over her mouth.

“It’s me,” I whispered, lowering my hand slowly when I was confident she wouldn’t scream.

She swiped at her tears. “Liora? What are you doing out? What if someone sees you?”

My anger softened at her concern, until I remembered that she was the reason I was out in the first place. “I might ask you the same questions. If Father had come home and found you missing, he’d have killed you.”

“And what if he goes home and finds both of us missing? Have you considered that?”

I opened my mouth to scold her, but she was right. “You can explain what you were doing once we get back,” I said.

In typical Mina fashion, she stuck her tongue out at me, then turned and ran toward home.

* * *

We were indeed lucky. We made it home not long before Father and Adelle. By the time he came to our room to check on us, we were both in bed. I waved sleepily at him and Mina let out an emphatic snore, but once the door was closed, I threw back my covers and leaped out of bed.

“I hope you have a good explanation for this,” I hissed.

Her voice was muffled by the thick blanket pulled up to her nose, but I could hear the tremor in it when she said, “I thought Luc liked me.”

“And I thought you were dead!” I whisper-shouted, then stalked to the window ledge to keep myself from throttling her. I plucked a pendant from the collar of my nightgown, running my fingers over the five points on the star charm to calm myself. Evran had given it to me, years ago, and its contours were as familiar to me now as the feel of his hand in mine as he pulled me through the Sylvan woods toward home at twilight. Perhaps I was being too hard on Mina. I would risk a lot of things for Evran.

“Luc told me he was having a party tonight,” she said. “I didn’t realize how late it was when I got there. Everyone else had already left.”

I was surprised that the thought of her getting ready for a party, the excitement she must have felt as she sneaked into Sylvan to meet a handsome young man, made me more envious than angry. “I heard you cry out.”

The whites of her eyes flashed in the dark.

“Don’t you dare roll your eyes at me,” I snapped.

“I’m just stretching them, Ora.” The world-weary tone was classic Mina: so eager to be a grown-up, ever since she was little. “A moth got tangled in my hair. Anyway, Luc was a perfect gentleman. And as it turns out, it’s not me he wants.”

The silk was for me. The last of my anger waned as I imagined how sure Mina must have been of Luc to do something so foolish, only to find she’d made a huge mistake. This was his fault as much as it was hers. “He was just being kind because I spend so much money in his shop.”

She snorted. “He spoke about you the entire time. He asked why you hadn’t come to the party, and what you liked to do in your free time, and why he never saw you out in town.”

“What did you tell him?” I dropped the pendant into my collar and pulled back the edge of the curtain just a bit to gaze at the real stars.

“I told him you were making me a dress, that that’s what you’re doing most of the time.”

I sighed and let the curtain fall. For a girl with glowing skin, I sounded unbearably dull. But it was the truth. If I wasn’t sewing, I was cooking, cleaning, or rereading one of our few books.

Father trusted me enough to let me go out on sunny days now. The smallest stars don’t shine at noon, he said, and my glow could be kept dim as long as I stayed in control of my emotions. But the downside of having even just a little bit of freedom was that it came with responsibilities. Father had only given me permission to go to town for errands, never to dawdle, which made taking Mina along particularly frustrating. She had made an art form out of window-shopping. I missed my afternoons in the woods with Evran, those glorious days when I could sneak out unnoticed while Father was working and my sisters were in their lessons.

I climbed back into bed and pulled the covers up, a wave of guilt washing over me. Had I really believed Mina was in mortal peril? Because if not, there was no excuse for my own behavior. What if some part of me had risked going out tonight because I wanted to prove to myself, finally, that my magic wasn’t as dangerous as Father feared?

If that was the case, I had failed spectacularly. It had only taken a few minutes for me to undo all our years of hard work, and I couldn’t blame my sister for that.

“Promise me you won’t sneak out again, Mina. I don’t know what I’d do if something happened to you.”

She twisted onto her side to face me. “I’m sorry. I should never have put you at risk like that. I won’t do it again.”

“It’s all right. Get some sleep now.”

Mina responded a moment later with a very genuine snore.

I smiled and tried to fall asleep myself, but I lay awake for hours, thinking about Margana. Would she tell Darius about me, potentially destroying not just my life but those of everyone I loved? I thought of Father and wondered if all this time it hadn’t been me he was protecting, but them.

Because as much as I had wanted to believe that the invisible beast was out there, that if I simply hid myself away like a secret, we would be safe, I had known for quite some time that the beast Father feared most lived inside of me.

Cold Hearted (Villains #8) by Serena Valentino Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

The true origin of one of the most notorious evil stepmothers is revealed in author Serena Valentino’s “Cold Hearted”, the eight book in the VILLAINS series.

The Synopsis

It’s a familiar tale: A kind and beautiful young girl, reeling from loss. A doting father, frantic to bring a mother’s love back into his daughter’s life. And the selfish, cruel woman who insinuates herself into that family―a woman so unfeeling, so cold hearted, that when her new husband dies, she makes the girl a servant in her own home.

But who is that evil stepmother, that icy lady of the house? How did she become so closed off that, in the face of a child’s grief, she thought only to seek wealth and power for herself and her abhorrent daughters? Before that fateful ball, before the glass slipper and the prince, there was another story―a story of love and grief, of hope and of dreams dashed. It is the story of Lady Tremaine.

Even the coldest of villains are sometimes wives and mothers, women who loved and lost and hoped for

something grander for their lives . . . once upon a dream.

The latest novel in Serena Valentino’s deliciously devious Villains series introduces the most famed and hated wicked stepmother of them all―but turns everything you know about her on its head.

The Review

A truly haunting and engaging story, the author has masterfully brought to life the story of Cinderella in a whole new light. Seeing the story through Lady Tremaine’s eyes was amazing, not only showcasing who she was before her marriage to Cinderella’s father, but showcasing how all the girls of the household became victims of his cruel nature. Even Cinderella, beloved by her father, found herself a pawn in his game of control. The pacing of the novel really helped draw readers in, while the setting changes from London to the Many Kingdoms highlighted the change in magic and it’s effect on those not of that world.

The character growth was definitely the highlight of the narrative. The story helped balance the original characters and gave them more dimension. From Cinderella inadvertently giving her father the means to push Lady Tremaine over the edge to the inclusion of the Fairies and their dark counterparts, The Odd Sisters, and even the tumultuous path that put the step sisters in the path of villainy, readers won’t be able to help feeling sympathetic towards the women.

The Verdict

A brilliant, entertaining, and chilling take on a classic fairy tale, author Serena Valentino’s “Cold Hearted” is a must read YA novel of the summer. Capturing the essence of classic fairy tales and elevating the narrative to include much more well rounded characters, the book is one readers won’t be able to put down. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

Serena Valentino has been weaving tales that combine mythos and guile for the past decade. She has earned critical acclaim in both the comic and horror domains, where she is known for her unique style of storytelling, bringing her readers into exquisitely frightening worlds filled with terror, beauty, and extraordinary protagonists. The books in her best-selling Villains series are best enjoyed when read in the following order: Fairest of All, The Beast Within, Poor Unfortunate Soul, Mistress of All Evil, Mother Knows Best, Odd Sisters, Evil Thing, and Cold Hearted.

https://www.serenavalentino.com/

https://www.twitter.com/SerenaValentino

https://amzn.to/3qS8knn

Loki: Where Mischief Lies by Mackenzi Lee Review

A young Loki living in the days before the Age of Heroes of the Marvel Universe finds himself desperate to be seen as heroic, but finds living in his beloved brother Thor’s shadow and assumptions about his future villainy overwhelming. Sent to Earth by Odin to investigate a series of murders related to Asgard magic, Loki discovers a journey throughout 19th century London that takes him to the source of his power in author Mackenzi Lee’s “Loki: Where Mischief Lies”. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis

This is the first of three young adult novels from New York Times best-selling author Mackenzi Lee that explores the untapped potential and duality of heroism of popular characters in the Marvel Universe.

Before the days of going toe-to-toe with the Avengers, a younger Loki is desperate to prove himself heroic and capable, while it seems everyone around him suspects him of inevitable villainy and depravity . . . except for Amora. Asgard’s resident sorceress-in-training feels like a kindred spirit-someone who values magic and knowledge, who might even see the best in him.

But when Loki and Amora cause the destruction of one of Asgard’s most prized possessions, Amora is banished to Earth, where her powers will slowly and excruciatingly fade to nothing. Without the only person who ever looked at his magic as a gift instead of a threat, Loki slips further into anguish and the shadow of his universally adored brother, Thor.

When Asgardian magic is detected in relation to a string of mysterious murders on Earth, Odin sends Loki to investigate. As he descends upon nineteenth-century London, Loki embarks on a journey that leads him to more than just a murder suspect, putting him on a path to discover the source of his power-and who he’s meant to be.

Allrecipes: 12 Month Subscription

The Review

A fascinating read, the story truly dives into the complex mind and behavior of one of Marvel Comics’ most incredible villains. The exploration of Loki as a character was great to see unfold. From his deep relationship of humor and overshadowing between him and his brother Thor to the understanding and connection he feels with characters like Amora on Asgard and Theo on Earth, Loki explores not only his bonds with others and the trust he places in them but the fine line between heroism and villainy that has steered him back and forth so often in the comics and MCU. The only thing I’d loved to have seen is a more accurate portrayal of his sexuality as according to comic creators in the past and now more recently the MCU, as he has been confirmed to be bisexual rather than pansexual, and it is so crucial to have accurate representation throughout the narrative.

The historical and mythological aspect of the narrative was a big win for me. As a fan of Norse mythology and the history of 19th century London, it was great to see such an in-depth look into these settings and the cultural differences between the two worlds as well, from the early exploration of the organization that would become SHIELD to the acceptance of sexuality and gender identity in Asgard as opposed to the lack of acceptance on Earth during this time. These important social themes and identity storylines really helped elevate the magic and mystery aspects of the novel.

The Verdict

An engaging, action-packed, and brilliant narrative, author Mackenzi Lee’s “Loki: Where Mischief Lies” is a fantastic study of the classic Avengers villain and how we as a society can become responsible for the way people become villains through our own actions. Although some more character growth and development for Loki would have been great to see as far as his identity, the overall narrative and story do a great job of showcasing representation overall and creating an exciting new chapter in Marvel history. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Mackenzi Lee holds a BA in history and an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Simmons College. She is the New York Times bestselling author of the historical fantasy novels THIS MONSTROUS THING, THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE, which won a 2018 Stonewall Honor Award and the New England Book Award, and its sequel, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO PETTICOATS AND PIRACY, which debuted at #3 on the New York Times bestseller list. She is also the author of BYGONE BADASS BROADS (Abrams, 2018), a collection of short biographies of amazing women from history you probably don’t know about but definitely should, based on her popular twitter series of the same name.

When not writing, she works as an independent bookseller, drinks too much Diet Coke, and romps with her St. Bernard, Queenie.

http://www.mackenzilee.com/

https://www.bookbub.com/books/loki-where-mischief-lies-by-mackenzi-lee

Misfit by Jo Zaida Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Two teens find themselves caught in a war between two orders for control of not only their world, but the world of the dead as well in author Jo Zaida’s “Misfit”, the first book in THE ASURA CHRONICLES series.

Advertisements

The Synopsis

Two clashing orders battle for power over their world and the realm of the dead, using teenagers as their pawns. The teenagers, however, have other ideas.

In the New World, Elle is visited by a ghost from the Asura, a realm existing between the mortals and the Gods. The Asura challenges everything she thought she knew about herself, her family and the Ministry that controls them, and throws her into an adventure of chaos and discovery.

River, meanwhile, has been welcomed into a secret organization with tantalizing promises of a better future. But not everything is as it seems. His loyalty to his father is challenged as he gets pushed into a strategic engagement with a girl he does not like, and starts to discover more about the Alliance’s darker schemes.

Worlds collide for young adult readers who will love the fast-paced thrills, the chemistry between characters, and the interplay of dystopian fantasy and science fiction, self-discovery and friendship in Misfit, book one of The Asura Chronicles trilogy.

It is a perfect cross-market read for fans of Hunger Games and Harry Potter, both young adult and adult readers who are searching for the next enduring sci-fi/fantasy classic. 

The Review

A fantastic exploration of a futuristic society that has blended technology with the spiritual realm, the author has expertly layered this YA narrative with elements of politics, themes of morality, and the complex relationships we form with our families. The author does a wonderful job of exploring each faction introduced in the world of this novel, both the good and the bad, and highlights how no one side is ever truly “right” and the other “wrong”. Instead those in power, no matter what side they choose, deserve to be challenged and held accountable when situations arise.

The world-building in this novel was incredible. Richly layered throughout the novel, the author crafts an impressive story of those who pass on from the world and the few who manage to ascend, in essence, into a state of higher spiritual existence. On top of the secret societies and shady government operations hoping to take control of these beings, the author also creates complex and interesting characters that are multi-dimensional. The hardships and struggles these teens have not only with these factions fighting for control but with their own family lives make this story shine brightly, and also showcases that both politics and family are rife with secrets and lies that have the power to change things forever.

The Verdict

An engaging, entertaining, and beautifully written narrative, author Jo Zaida’s “Misfit” is a fantastic YA sci-fi and dystopian fantasy read. The first in what proves to be an exciting and much-needed new YA series, the book expertly wades into some complex themes that deserve to challenge YA readers everywhere and highlights how young people are just as powerful and needed in the evolution of a nation or faction as anyone else. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab this amazing read for yourselves today!

Advertisements

About the Author

People say that authors write themselves into their characters. But I am not Elle. 

Does the way the world works frustrate me? It does. Am I stubborn and rebellious? Sometimes. I hope I’m a little less moody…

Like Elle, I love traveling and adventure. 

I also love books, cats, music and RuPaul’s Drag Race.

https://www.theasurachronicles.com/

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/jo-zaida?list=author_books

Bittersweet Legacy (The Patricians #1) By R.G. Angel Audiobook Review/Tour

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young woman’s world is turned upside down as she learns she is part of a family she never knew existed, and must navigate a world of lies, conspiracy and murder in author R.G. Angel’s “Bittersweet Legacy”, the first book in The Patricians series.

Advertisements

The Synopsis

You don’t realize when your life is about to change forever, how a simple text can tear your world apart.

Esme Danvers doesn’t have an easy life but at least she is loved by her widower father… or at least that’s who she thought he was for 17 years. Enter William Forbes, top 10 of America’s 1% and her actual father – or rather the father of Esmeralda Forbes, the girl she was born to be, the heir to a legacy she’d never known or wanted.

Esme’s thrown into a world of glamour and money, smoke and mirrors, hate, pain and unspoken rancor. A world with a distant, calculating and uncaring father; Archibald, a brother who hates her; and Caleb, his best friend who is as wicked and mean as he is beautiful and charismatic.

Caleb, this broken boy whom she can’t seem to hate enough to keep him out of her bloodstream, a boy who doesn’t seem to hate her enough to stay away.

But as the past reveals itself in ways Esme didn’t expect, she finds herself in the middle of a swirl of lies, betrayals, conspiracy and even murder, with barely anyone to watch her back.

The only thing she really wants is to get back to being Esme Danvers, to find a way out before it’s too late.

The Review

This was a fantastic story. The author immediately does an incredible job of layering the mystery and suspense of the narrative, creating a protagonist many people could relate to and throwing her into a whirlwind of psychological and emotional upheavals that drastically change the course of her life. 

The narrator does an amazing job of bringing this story to life. Readers and listeners really can feel the protagonist’s struggle and emotional journey. The story plays out like a blend of Cruel Intentions meets Pretty Little Liars, expertly navigating the YA genre while artfully crafting a suspense thriller that both entertained and engaged the reader on multiple levels. 

The Verdict

A thrilling, breathtaking and shocking yet fun read, author R.G. Angel’s “Bittersweet Legacy” is a must-read YA suspense novel. The audiobook does a great job of implementing emotional storytelling with a brilliant sense of imagery. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of this audiobook today and read for yourself how this shocking first novel ends in a massive cliffhanger. 

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

Author: R.G. Angel

Narrator: Stevi Incremona

Length: 8 hours 14 minutes

Series: The Patricians, Book 1

Publisher: Angel Production

Released: Nov. 24, 2020

Genre: Romance; New Adult

Continue reading

Interview with Author Margi Preus

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

When I didn’t get the part I wanted in the kindergarten musical, I started making up my own plays so I could star in them. Once I learned how to write, I started writing plays (also in which to star)  My friends and I would put on these plays, no doubt after much revision from the cast, for our unwitting parents (or maybe they were witting, I don’t know). In high school I wrote the homecoming skits, in college I got involved writing for and performing in and eventually directing a touring children’s theater company, and after college I started a professional theater company. By that time I had quit performing and was sticking with writing and directing. I did this for a very, very long time before trying my hand at writing books for young readers. But I think all that theater writing as well as working in an ensemble situation really helped me with novel writing.

Advertisements

2) What inspired you to write your book?

This particular book is the third in a mystery series, so I would have to say the other two books inspired this one! I couldn’t just leave my protagonist hanging there without finally finding out what happened to her mother! (Also I wanted to know,)

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I guess I think more about raising questions for readers to ponder than imparting a takeaway message. In any case, I certainly don’t think I could put a message into a sentence for you— As Isadora Duncan said, “If I could tell you what it meant, there’d be no point in dancing it.” 

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I’ve always loved mysteries. I like to read them; they are also my favorite kind of audiobooks to listen to, and I am devoted to British (and other) TV mystery series. So naturally I wanted to try my hand at writing them. As Eudora Welty said, “Writing comes out of a superior devotion to reading.” I find this to be true—we crave to write what we like to read. 

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

If I told you who and what I would ask, it would give away too much. So I guess I’d ask Francie’s grandfather just what he did in his younger life that he knows how to break out of jail, surveil people (albeit in a nursing home), and give advice on what to do if you feel you’re being followed.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

No doubt any or all would be helpful if I was better at using social media! I am very impressed with writers who write books and keep up a robust presence on social media, and also seem to navigate it so easily. I also feel I am always lagging behind, in every way possible. Of the sites, I guess I favor Instagram (follow me @margipreus—and you’ll see pictures of my dog in a kayak, bears in our backyard, and the snow we had to shovel off our dock before we took it out of the lake this weekend.) But also follow me on FB (Margi Preus Books or Margi Preus) and Twitter (@MargiPreus) Oh! And my brand new Youtube channel. 

Advertisements

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Well, it’s always to READ, isn’t it? Good books are your best teachers. Read like a writer, once for enjoyment, then go back and read again to figure out how the author created tension, suspense, all the emotions, all with just little words on paper. It’s some kind of magic, when you think about it. Try to analyze it as if you’re figuring out a magic trick.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I have a couple of picture books in the pipeline. Not due out til 2022 or beyond. And then I have several things on simmer burners. 2020, as crazy as it was, was my year to put out books: Village of Scoundrels, (Feb.) The Littlest Voyageur (March) and The Silver Box (October). C’est la vie!
Et merci, Anthony Avina!

The Silver Box is available to purchase at Amazon.comBarnes and Noble, and Thrift Books. You can also add this to your reading list on GoodReads.com.

About the Author Margi Preus

Margi Preus is the author of the Newbery Honor book Heart of a Samurai and other books for young readers, including the Minnesota Book Award winning West of the Moon, and the Midwest Booksellers Choice Award book The Clue in the Trees. Her books have won multiple awards, landed on the New York Times bestseller list, been honored as ALA/ALSC Notables, selected as an NPR Backseat Book Club pick, chosen for community reads, and translated into several languages. New titles in 2020 include Village of ScoundrelsThe Littlest Voyageur, and The Silver Box, part of the Enchantment Lake mystery series. 

Back when such things were done, Margi enjoyed traveling, speaking, and visiting schools all over the world. Now mostly at home in Duluth, she likes to ski, hike, canoe, or sit quietly with a book in her lap.  

You can follow her online at: 

https://www.margipreus.com/

Twitter: @MargiPreus 

Instagram: @MargiPreus

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MargiPreusBooks/

Youtube

Advertisements

— Blog Tour Dates

October 12th @ WOW! Women on Writing

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Stop by WOW’s blog The Muffin and join us as we celebrate the launch of Margi Preus’s book The Silver Box. Enter to win a copy of her entire Enchantment Lake Mystery series.

https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/

October 13th @ Mindy McGinnis

Join Mindy McGinnis as she interviews author Margi Preus about how she came up with the idea of The Silver Box and the Enchantment Lake Mystery series.

https://www.mindymcginnis.com/

October 14th @ Bring on Lemons

Visit Crystal’s blog today and read her review of Margi Presu book The Silver Box, book three in The Enchantment Lake series. 

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

October 14th @ Reviews and Interviews

Join Lisa as she interviews Margi Preus and finds out more about this incredible author!

http://lisahaseltonsreviewsandinterviews.blogspot.com/

October 15th @ Karen Brown Tyson’s Blog

Join author Karen Brown Tyson as she interviews author Margi Preus about her book The Silver Box, book three in The Enchantment Lake middle-grade series.

https://karenbrowntyson.com/blog/

October 16th @ The Frugalista Mom

Visit Rozelyn’s blog today and read her review of The Silver Box, book three in The Enchantment Lake series. You can also enter to win a copy of the entire series!

https://thefrugalistamom.com/

October 17th @ Carrie Sorens’ Blog

Visit Carrie’s blog and read author Margi Preus’ guest post about raising big questions for readers to ponder (that don’t always have an answer).

https://www.cksorens.com/blog

October 18th @ Fiona Ingram’s Blog

Visit Fiona’s blog today and read author Margi Preus’ guest post about her writing house.

http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

October 20th @ The Faerie Review

Join Lily as she reviews The Silver Box, book three in The Enchantment Lake middle-grade series.

http://www.thefaeriereview.com/

October 20th @ Susan Uhlig

Join us today as Susan reviews The Silver Box, book three in The Enchantment Lake middle-grade series.

https://susanuhlig.com/

October 21st @ Lady Unemployed

Visit Nicole’s blog today where you can read Margi Preus’ guest post about how all writing is political and how to weave local or national issues into storytelling.

https://ladyunemployed.com

October 21st @ The Frugalista Mom

Rozelyn goes live on Facebook with author Margi Preus. Join them as the author talks about her wonderful middle-grade mystery series.

https://www.facebook.com/AllergyFriendlyHome/

October 22nd @ The Knotty Needle

Visit Judy’s blog today and read her review of The Silver Box, part of the Enchantment Lake middle-grade series.

https://knottyneedle.blogspot.com

October 24th @ Carrie Sorens’ Blog

Join Carrie again where you can read her review of The Silver Box, part of the Enchantment Lake middle-grade series. You can also win a copy of the series too!

https://www.cksorens.com/blog

October 26th @ Bev. A Baird’s Blog

Visit Bev’s blog today where she shares Margi Preus’ guest post about creating a fictional place from an amalgam of places. A must-read if you are working on your story setting today!

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com

October 28th @ Kathleen Pooler’s Blog

Join us at Kathleen’s blog today and read author Margi Preus’ guest post about what she learned from her dog about writing.

https://krpooler.com

October 29th @ It’s Alanna Jean

Stop by Alanna’s blog today where she shares Margi Preus’ guest post about finding inspiration out the window.

http://itsalannajean.com/

October 30th @ Lori Duff Writes

Join Lori Duff as she reviews Margi Preus’ book The Silver Box, the third book in the Enchantment Lake mystery series. 

https://www.loriduffwrites.com/blog/

November 1st @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony’s blog today and read his review of The Silver Box, book three in The Enchantment Lake series. 

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

November 2nd @ World of My Imagination

Join Nicole as she reviews The Silver Box, book three in The Enchantment Lake series. Also, you can enter to win a copy of the whole series.

https://worldofmyimagination.com

November 3rd @ Jill Sheets’ Blog

Visit Jill’s blog today and read author Margi Preus’ guest post about how not writing is probably still writing. 

http://jillsheets.blogspot.com/

November 4th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Join Anthony’s blog again today and you can read his interview with author Margi Preus.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

November 4th @ Crafty Moms Share

Join Carrie as she reviews The Silver Box by author Margi Preus, the third book in the Enchantment Lake mystery series.

https://www.craftymomsshare.com/

November 5th @ Bev. A Baird’s Blog

Join Bev as she reviews The Silver Box by author Margi Preus, the third book in the Enchantment Lake mystery series. Don’t miss her review of this charming middle-grade fiction series!

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com

November 7th @ BookMama789

Join us over at Jean’s Instagram page as she reads and reviews The Silver Box by author Margi Preus, part of the Enchantment Lake mystery series. 

https://www.instagram.com/bookmama789/

November 8th @ Shoe’s Stories

Join Linda at her blog today and read her review of The Silver Box by author Margi Preus, part of the Enchantment Lake mystery series. 

https://lschuelerca.wordpress.com/

November 9th @ Always in the Middle

Visit Greg’s blog today and read his review of The Silver Box by author Margi Preus. You’ll love hearing about this middle-grade mystery series.

https://gpattridge.com/

November 10th @ Deborah-Zenha Adam’s Blog

Visit Deborah’s blog today and read author Margi Preus’ guest post about the magic ball of yarn and using folk and fairy tales as a guide in story writing.

http://www.deborah-adams.com/dzas-blog/

November 11th @ Bookapotamus

Join Kate as she reviews The Enchantment Lake mystery series, part of The Silver Box blog tour. You’ll love hearing about this middle-grade mystery! 

https://bookapotamusblog.wordpress.com/

November 13th @ Choices

Visit Madeline’s blog today and read author Margi Preus guest post about how research can be a cure for writer’s block.

http://madelinesharples.com/

November 14th @ Reading in the Wildwood

Visit Megan’s blog today she reviews The Enchantment Lake mystery series, part of The Silver Box blog tour. You’ll love hearing about this middle-grade mystery! 

https://readinginthewildwood.com/

November 15th @ Shoe’s Stories

Visit Linda’s blog again today where she shares author Margi Preus’ guest post about whether or not you should know the ending before you start writing.

https://lschuelerca.wordpress.com/

The Silver Box: An Enchantment Lake Mystery (Northwoods #3) by Margi Preus Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A young girl in possession of a mysterious box finds herself in the midst of a series of investigations, with all signs pointing to the box, and enemies closing in who are willing to do whatever it takes to get it back in author Margi Preus’s “The Silver Box: An Enchantment Lake Mystery”, the third in the Northwoods series. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis

In the final Enchantment Lake mystery, Francie’s search for the truth about her mother—and herself—plunges her into danger during a North Woods winter

When she wakes in her aunts’ cold cabin on the shore of Enchantment Lake, Francie remembers: everything about her life has changed. Or is about to. Or just might. Everything depends on the small, engraved silver box that she now possesses—if only she can follow its cryptic clues to the whereabouts of her missing mother and understand, finally, just maybe, the truth about who she really is. 

Francie, it turns out, has a lot to learn, and this time the lessons could be deadly. Her search for answers takes her and her best friends Raven and Jay as far afield as an abandoned ranch in Arizona and as close to home as a sketchy plant collector’s conservatory and a musty old museum where shadows lurk around every display case. At the heart of it all is a crime that touches her own adopted North Woods: thieves dig up fragile lady’s slippers, peel bark from birches, strip moss off trees, cut down entire forests of saplings to sell for home décor. But Francie is up against no ordinary plant theft. One ominous clue after another reveal that she possesses something so rare and so valuable that some people are willing to do anything to get it. When Francie’s investigation leads her into the treacherously cold and snowy North Woods, she finds out  that she too is being pursued.

The Review

This was a fantastic read! A modern-day Nancy Drew style heroine takes center stage as Francie takes readers on a personal journey like never before. The mystery surrounding her mother’s disappearance all those years ago finally comes full circle, and the payoff for fans of the series is well worth the wait. Yet the great thing about the way the author writes is that readers who are new to the series are able to jump right into the action. While some of the finer details surrounding Francie’s backstory may be better understood by reading the first two books, the mystery of the Silver Box gives readers plenty of narratives to become engaged in.

The author does a wonderful job of not only setting the tone throughout this read of mystery and suspense but of crafting memorable and well-rounded character arcs for Francie and her friends. Her youthful determination and growth throughout the series is evident as this book comes to a close, and gives young readers someone to relate to and aspire to all at once. 

The Verdict

An evenly-paced, mystery-driven narrative, author Margi Preus’s “The Silver Box” is a must-read YA adventure. The twists and turns the story takes readers and the cast of characters on are a perfect fit for the genre and give readers a satisfying and well-rounded journey overall. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

The Silver Box is available to purchase at Amazon.comBarnes and Noble, and Thrift Books. You can also add this to your reading list on GoodReads.com.

Advertisements

About the Author Margi Preus

Margi Preus is the author of the Newbery Honor book Heart of a Samurai and other books for young readers, including the Minnesota Book Award winning West of the Moon, and the Midwest Booksellers Choice Award book The Clue in the Trees. Her books have won multiple awards, landed on the New York Times bestseller list, been honored as ALA/ALSC Notables, selected as an NPR Backseat Book Club pick, chosen for community reads, and translated into several languages. New titles in 2020 include Village of ScoundrelsThe Littlest Voyageur, and The Silver Box, part of the Enchantment Lake mystery series. 

Back when such things were done, Margi enjoyed traveling, speaking, and visiting schools all over the world. Now mostly at home in Duluth, she likes to ski, hike, canoe, or sit quietly with a book in her lap.  

You can follow her online at: 

https://www.margipreus.com/

Twitter: @MargiPreus 

Instagram: @MargiPreus

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MargiPreusBooks/

Youtube

— Blog Tour Dates

October 12th @ WOW! Women on Writing

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Stop by WOW’s blog The Muffin and join us as we celebrate the launch of Margi Preus’s book The Silver Box. Enter to win a copy of her entire Enchantment Lake Mystery series.

https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/

October 13th @ Mindy McGinnis

Join Mindy McGinnis as she interviews author Margi Preus about how she came up with the idea of The Silver Box and the Enchantment Lake Mystery series.

https://www.mindymcginnis.com/

October 14th @ Bring on Lemons

Visit Crystal’s blog today and read her review of Margi Presu book The Silver Box, book three in The Enchantment Lake series. 

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

October 14th @ Reviews and Interviews

Join Lisa as she interviews Margi Preus and finds out more about this incredible author!

http://lisahaseltonsreviewsandinterviews.blogspot.com/

October 15th @ Karen Brown Tyson’s Blog

Join author Karen Brown Tyson as she interviews author Margi Preus about her book The Silver Box, book three in The Enchantment Lake middle-grade series.

https://karenbrowntyson.com/blog/

October 16th @ The Frugalista Mom

Visit Rozelyn’s blog today and read her review of The Silver Box, book three in The Enchantment Lake series. You can also enter to win a copy of the entire series!

https://thefrugalistamom.com/

October 17th @ Carrie Sorens’ Blog

Visit Carrie’s blog and read author Margi Preus’ guest post about raising big questions for readers to ponder (that don’t always have an answer).

https://www.cksorens.com/blog

October 18th @ Fiona Ingram’s Blog

Visit Fiona’s blog today and read author Margi Preus’ guest post about her writing house.

http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

October 20th @ The Faerie Review

Join Lily as she reviews The Silver Box, book three in The Enchantment Lake middle-grade series.

http://www.thefaeriereview.com/

October 20th @ Susan Uhlig

Join us today as Susan reviews The Silver Box, book three in The Enchantment Lake middle-grade series.

https://susanuhlig.com/

October 21st @ Lady Unemployed

Visit Nicole’s blog today where you can read Margi Preus’ guest post about how all writing is political and how to weave local or national issues into storytelling.

https://ladyunemployed.com

October 21st @ The Frugalista Mom

Rozelyn goes live on Facebook with author Margi Preus. Join them as the author talks about her wonderful middle-grade mystery series.

https://www.facebook.com/AllergyFriendlyHome/

October 22nd @ The Knotty Needle

Visit Judy’s blog today and read her review of The Silver Box, part of the Enchantment Lake middle-grade series.

https://knottyneedle.blogspot.com

October 24th @ Carrie Sorens’ Blog

Join Carrie again where you can read her review of The Silver Box, part of the Enchantment Lake middle-grade series. You can also win a copy of the series too!

https://www.cksorens.com/blog

October 26th @ Bev. A Baird’s Blog

Visit Bev’s blog today where she shares Margi Preus’ guest post about creating a fictional place from an amalgam of places. A must-read if you are working on your story setting today!

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com

October 28th @ Kathleen Pooler’s Blog

Join us at Kathleen’s blog today and read author Margi Preus’ guest post about what she learned from her dog about writing.

October 29th @ It’s Alanna Jean

Stop by Alanna’s blog today where she shares Margi Preus’ guest post about finding inspiration out the window.

http://itsalannajean.com/

October 30th @ Lori Duff Writes

Join Lori Duff as she reviews Margi Preus’ book The Silver Box, the third book in the Enchantment Lake mystery series. 

https://www.loriduffwrites.com/blog/

November 1st @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony’s blog today and read his review of The Silver Box, book three in The Enchantment Lake series. 

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

November 2nd @ World of My Imagination

Join Nicole as she reviews The Silver Box, book three in The Enchantment Lake series. Also, you can enter to win a copy of the whole series.

https://worldofmyimagination.com

November 3rd @ Jill Sheets’ Blog

Visit Jill’s blog today and read author Margi Preus’ guest post about how not writing is probably still writing. 

http://jillsheets.blogspot.com/

November 4th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Join Anthony’s blog again today and you can read his interview with author Margi Preus.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

November 4th @ Crafty Moms Share

Join Carrie as she reviews The Silver Box by author Margi Preus, the third book in the Enchantment Lake mystery series.

https://www.craftymomsshare.com/

November 5th @ Bev. A Baird’s Blog

Join Bev as she reviews The Silver Box by author Margi Preus, the third book in the Enchantment Lake mystery series. Don’t miss her review of this charming middle-grade fiction series!

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com

November 7th @ BookMama789

Join us over at Jean’s Instagram page as she reads and reviews The Silver Box by author Margi Preus, part of the Enchantment Lake mystery series. 

https://www.instagram.com/bookmama789/

November 8th @ Shoe’s Stories

Join Linda at her blog today and read her review of The Silver Box by author Margi Preus, part of the Enchantment Lake mystery series. 

https://lschuelerca.wordpress.com/

November 9th @ Always in the Middle

Visit Greg’s blog today and read his review of The Silver Box by author Margi Preus. You’ll love hearing about this middle-grade mystery series.

https://gpattridge.com/

November 10th @ Deborah-Zenha Adam’s Blog

Visit Deborah’s blog today and read author Margi Preus’ guest post about the magic ball of yarn and using folk and fairy tales as a guide in story writing.

http://www.deborah-adams.com/dzas-blog/

November 11th @ Bookapotamus

Join Kate as she reviews The Enchantment Lake mystery series, part of The Silver Box blog tour. You’ll love hearing about this middle-grade mystery! 

https://bookapotamusblog.wordpress.com/

November 13th @ Choices

Visit Madeline’s blog today and read author Margi Preus guest post about how research can be a cure for writer’s block.

http://madelinesharples.com/

November 14th @ Reading in the Wildwood

Visit Megan’s blog today she reviews The Enchantment Lake mystery series, part of The Silver Box blog tour. You’ll love hearing about this middle-grade mystery! 

https://readinginthewildwood.com/

November 15th @ Shoe’s Stories

Visit Linda’s blog again today where she shares author Margi Preus’ guest post about whether or not you should know the ending before you start writing.

https://lschuelerca.wordpress.com/

Eden Rising (Eden Rising #1) by Andrew Cunningham Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Two young teens find themselves in a fight for survival as they become one of the few survivors of a planet-ending event, and must discover how far they are willing to go in order to live in author Andrew Cunningham’s “Eden Rising”. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis

“The Earth died in less than a minute. Maybe that’s an exaggeration. It’s not like the planet ceased to exist altogether. It just seemed like it. Cities were reduced to rubble. Millions of people died that day. I’ve since been told that 95% of the Earth’s human population was wiped out. I don’t know if that’s true—I mean, who can know that for sure? It’s not like we still have any of the technology that we once used to determine such things. But I do know that it was almost empty of people—live ones, that is…”

Thus begins the journey of Ben and Lila, two ordinary teenagers forced to rise to extraordinary heights when faced with a world that has suddenly and inexplicably died. Dealing with the sorrow of all they have lost, but the love they have found in each other, they set off on an odyssey that will bring them to the limits of human endurance and face to face with the frailty of their very existence. From the extreme violence of many of the surviving humans toward one another, to a world physically falling apart at the seams, Ben and Lila are determined to make it through the devastation in their quest for a place to quietly share their life together. In the process, they have to become as violent as the world around them in order to survive, while struggling to hold onto the humanity that will keep them sane. Eden Rising is a survival tale and a love story, but it is also a book that delves deeply into the human psyche to discover just how far we would go to survive, and how much inner strength can be found when things are at their absolute worst.

The Review

This audiobook was not only well read, but incredibly well-written. The action kicks up immediately, as the two protagonists find themselves going from awkward teen romance hanging in the air to waking up and finding the people of the world dead. 

The author does an amazing job of leaning hard into the dystopian YA sci-fi genre, while also bringing a maturity to the narrative by examining the psychological affect an apocalyptic event like this would have on any survivors, let alone two young teens forced to grow up very quickly. The pain of the loss brings to them a bond that highlights a growing romance, while the horrors they endure in the narrative and the lines they must contend with crossing showcase complex and deep character developments, a key to this novel’s pacing and delivery overall.

The Verdict

A must-read, heart-pounding audiobook and novel, author Andrew Cunningham’s “Eden Rising”, the first in the Eden Rising series, is an edge of your seat dystopian YA novel that is not to be missed. Memorable characters, romance and deep psychological character studies all define this amazing novel, and readers will not be able to get enough of this wonderful work. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author 

Andrew Cunningham is the author ten novels, including the award-winning Amazon bestselling thriller Wisdom Spring; the “Lies” Mystery Series (All Lies, Fatal Lies, Vegas Lies, Secrets & Lies, and Blood Lies); the Cape Cod terrorist/disaster thriller Deadly Shore; and the post-apocalyptic Eden Rising Series (Eden Rising, Eden Lost, and Eden’s Legacy). As A.R. Cunningham, he has written a series of 5 humorous children’s mysteries in the Arthur MacArthur series for middle-readers. Formerly an interpreter for the deaf and a long-time independent bookseller, Andrew has been a full-time freelance writer and copy editor for the last 18 years. A 4th-degree Master Blackbelt in Tang Soo Do, Andrew finally gave up active training when his body said, “Enough already!” Andrew was a long-time resident of Cape Cod, and he and his wife now live in Florida. He can be contacted at info@arcnovels.com. Visit his website at www.arcnovels.com. He can also be found on Facebook (Author Andrew Cunningham), and Twitter (@arcnovels).

Blood and Silver by Vali Benson Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A young girl must find a way to save her mother from a nefarious Madame in the town of Tombstone in author Vali Benson’s “Blood and Silver”. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis

What is a twelve year old girl to do when she finds herself in the silver boom town of Tombstone, Arizona, in 1880, and her only home is a brothel and her only parent is a drug-addicted mother? If she is Carissa Beaumont, she outsmarts the evil madam and figures a way out.

After tricking the madam, Miss Lucille, into summoning a doctor for her mother, Lisette, she discovers that Miss Lucille has been drugging her. She and the kind doctor make a plan to try to save Lisette by dosing her down on the drug.

Doctor Henderson tells Carissa that the only source for the drug is a Chinese immigrant named China Mary, who lives in Hoptown, at the other end of Tombstone. Carissa has no choice but to go to the powerful woman for help. Many say that China Mary is the one who really controls Tombstone.

China Mary admires Carissa’s brave spirit, and uses her influence to get her a job at the new Grand Hotel, which will free Carissa from her many duties at Miss Lucille’s. She will work along with Mary’s twelve year old niece, Mai-Lin. The two girls become fast friends.

Then, disaster strikes, and the two girls must work together to stay alive.

With a host of colorful characters and meticulous attention to period detail, Blood and Silver is a story of the best and worst of human nature, the passion for survival and the beauty of true friendship.

The Review

This was a fast-paced, intricate character study and intense YA historical read. The author does a great job of focusing on character development within the narrative, and the historical nature of the novel was very well researched and integrated naturally into the book as well. 

The story takes off immediately from the very first pages, with a murder leading to Carissa’s discovery of her mother’s condition and the lengths Miss Lucille will go to secure her business. The young woman risks it all to save those closest to her, and historical fiction and YA fans will love the intricate way the setting plays into the character’s arc and the narrative overall. 

Advertisements

The Verdict

A must-read novel, author Vali Benson’s “Blood and Silver” is a truly one-of-a-kind read. The historical fiction YA adventure is filled with a gritty Western theme and does a great job of giving a voice to people who are usually relegated to background characters in the typical Western novel, making this a wonderful read. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Vali grew up in the Midwest. She now lives in Tucson with her husband, two sons and grandchildren.

After graduating from the University of Illinois, Vali started and sold two successful businesses before she decided to pursue her real passion of writing. She published several articles in a variety of periodicals, including History Magazine before she decided to try her hand at fiction.

In April of 2020, Vali published her first novel, “Blood and Silver”. That same month, she was also made a member of the Western Writers of America.

Website:

Amazon:

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53167218-blood-and-silver

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/RealValiBenson/?modal=admin_todo_tour