Review: I Am Still Alive by Kate Alice Marshall

42347249I Am Still Alive by Kate Alice Marshall

Published July 24th, 2018 by Penguin Books.

YA > Adventure, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller

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Cheryl Strayed’s Wild meets The Revenant in this heart-pounding story of survival and revenge in the unforgiving wilderness.

After: Jess is alone. Her cabin has burned to the ground. She knows if she doesn’t act fast, the cold will kill her before she has time to worry about food. But she is still alive–for now.

Before: Jess hadn’t seen her survivalist, off-the-grid dad in over a decade. But after a car crash killed her mother and left her injured, she was forced to move to his cabin in the remote Canadian wilderness. Just as Jess was beginning to get to know him, a secret from his past paid them a visit, leaving her father dead and Jess stranded.

After: With only her father’s dog for company, Jess must forage and hunt for food, build shelter, and keep herself warm. Some days it feels like the wild is out to destroy her, but she’s stronger than she ever imagined.

Jess will survive. She has to. She knows who killed her father…and she wants revenge.

Continue reading “Review: I Am Still Alive by Kate Alice Marshall”

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Review: TITANS by Victoria Scott

Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: February 23rd, 2016
Series: N/A
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Genre(s): Adventure, Sci-Fi
Synopsis from Goodreads:

From Victoria Scott, author of FIRE & FLOOD, comes a thrilling story of impossible odds.

Ever since the Titans first appeared in her Detroit neighborhood, Astrid Sullivan’s world has revolved around the mechanical horses. She and her best friend have spent countless hours watching them and their jockeys practice on the track. It’s not just the thrill of the race. It’s the engineering of the horses and the way they’re programmed to seem so lifelike. The Titans are everything that fascinates Astrid, and nothing she’ll ever touch.

She hates them a little, too. Her dad lost everything betting on the Titans. And the races are a reminder of the gap between the rich jockeys who can afford the expensive machines to ride, and the working class friends and neighbors of Astrid’s who wager on them.

But when Astrid’s offered a chance to enter an early model Titan in this year’s derby, well, she decides to risk it all. Because for a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, it’s more than a chance at fame or money. Betting on herself is the only way she can see to hang on to everyone in the world she cares about.

my ramblesSpecial thanks to Scholastic for providing me with an advance copy of the book for review!

When I first heard about Titans soon after its announcement, I knew I had to read it. I say that a lot, but I loved every aspect of what I heard about it. It seemed like it would be unique in ways that other YA books aren’t. Mechanical horses, a protagonist who is financially unstable, and a story centered around friend and family relationships instead of a romance. Add in the adventure of the Titan Derby, and you’ve got one heck of an awesome book!

The book is really fast-paced. The chapters are quite short, which I like when reading adventure stories. It makes me feel like I’m flying through the story, and that kind of writing style is definitely fitting for a book like this. The race scenes are intense. I was on the edge of my seat, gritting my teeth, rooting for Astrid to go for the win!

Speaking of Astrid, the characters are an aspect of this book that make the story what it is. Astrid was an incredible main character. She’s strong and fierce, and will do anything to save her family. She’s also incredibly stubborn, but you can’t help but root for her. The relationship between her and her entire family, particularly her and her father, was touching. Magnolia, Astrid’s best friend, was another part of the book that I loved. The female friendship was refreshing to see. Both girls are in similar situations, and it’s clear the love they have for each other. Then there’s Rags, first introduced as a grumpy old man, but you’ll come to love him. He becomes the much-needed father figure for Astrid. The dynamic of the whole group is one that is both comical and heartwarming, seeing the relationships build.

But possibly my favorite part of the whole book was the star of the show: Padlock, Astrid’s Titan. Unlike the other Titans, Padlock is given the ability to have emotion. It was sometimes hard to envision a metal horse having feelings and showing affection, but Victoria Scott wrote it pretty darn convincingly! I loved Padlock just as much as her Pandoras. The relationship that formed between him and Astrid was definitely different, but a memorable one. The Titans in general were really cool. I would have loved to have learned more about their build and operation, other than the quick remarks Astrid mentioned for racing. Like, how did Padlock get programed to have emotion? It seems we’ll never know.

Titans is action-packed and intense, but also filled with heart. The characters, relationships, and story is not one that I’ll be forgetting anytime soon. Another win for Victoria Scott!

7

xo

Review + Favorite Quotes: BLACKHEARTS by Nicole Castroman Blog Tour!

Blackhearts.png

I was thrilled when I got the email that I would be a part of the Blackhearts blog tour! Everything about this book sounded right up my alley. Spoiler, IT SO WAS! If you’re into a beautiful story and romance, this book is for you too! And, can we take a quick minute to appreciate that cover?


Review

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: February 9th, 2016
Series: N/A
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss (Blog Tour)
Genre(s): Adventure, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Retelling, Romance
Synopsis from Goodreads:

Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything.

Edward “Teach” Drummond, son of one of Bristol’s richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There’s just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.

Following her parents’ deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to Curaçao—where her mother was born—when she’s stuck in England?

From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.

my rambles

Special thanks to The Fantastic Flying Book Club for hosting the blog tour and to Simon Pulse and Edelweiss for providing me with an advance copy of the book for review!

I. LOVE. THIS. BOOK. SO. MUCH. It has taken me a couple of days to compose my feelings in order to right a proper review. My mind seriously couldn’t put this book into words, and I’m still having some troubles, so bear with me here. Blackhearts is an absolutely beautiful story. Everything about it was just that: beautiful. The writing, the story, the characters, the romance, everything.

I’ll start with the writing. It was descriptive, but not too much so. The writing didn’t take away from the story, but enhanced it. A lot of historical fiction books tend to be long and drawn out, but that’s not the case with Blackhearts. It was an addicting read, but not in the “normal” page-turning sense of the word. I felt like I was taking my time experiencing the story while I was reading, when in reality I was flying through it. I think that speaks to the rich immersive quality of Nicole Castroman’s ability to write a story.

Continue reading “Review + Favorite Quotes: BLACKHEARTS by Nicole Castroman Blog Tour!”

Review: Adrift by Paul Griffin

Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: July 28th, 2015
Series: N/A
Pages: 240
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Genre(s): Adventure, Contemporary
Synopsis from Goodreads:

From critically acclaimed writer Paul Griffin comes a fast-paced young adult novel about five very different teens lost at sea with no one to count on but each other.

Matt and John are best friends working out in Montauk for the summer. When Driana, JoJo and Stef invite the boys to their Hamptons mansion, Matt and John find themselves in a sticky situation where temptation rivals sensibility. The newfound friends head out into the Atlantic after midnight in a stolen boat. None of them come back whole, and not all of them come back.

my rambles

Special thanks to Scholastic Press for providing me with a copy of the book for review!

Okay, wow. So Adrift is a heavy book. Heavier than what I was expecting to say the least. Not only does it deal with the struggles of survival stranded out at sea, but also the internal and mental tensions that the characters are faced with from everyday life and their actions.

I really liked the storyline of Adrift, and that there was more than just the problem of a group of kids being stranded in the middle of the ocean. The story had depth, and other side stories that made the book very realistic, but also that much darker and emotional.

While I greatly enjoyed the story, I really didn’t care for the characters. Matt was the most tolerable out of all of them in my opinion, probably because we read from his point of view for the majority of the book. John was just so stoic, that although his true emotions are later revealed, I couldn’t change my opinion on him. He was just plain cold. Dri had to be my absolute least favorite…for some reason she just made me cringe. She was the typical pretty rich girl, that had brains behind her looks and all that jazz.

But the thing that I disliked the most was the romance, UGH. Insta-love, much?! From the moment Matt lays eyes on Dri he feels something new and different, and felt this connection… And when they finally get stranded on the boat it’s like they’ve known each other forever. It was noted in the book that being put in situations like theirs can bring people together quickly, but they declare their love for each other. That’s not okay for such a short amount of time.

As I’m writing this review I’m realizing that I didn’t really enjoy Adrift as much as I first thought, when I look back at the characters, relationships, etc. But I really did enjoy the story. It was an extremely fast read, and I kept turning pages wanting to know how the tensions would defuse, and if the kids would ever be rescued. [I hope this review doesn’t turn out to sound too negative, because I did like the book for the most part!]

If you’re looking for a book heavy on the action and adventure, Adrift may not be your book. It’s more equal parts psychological, suspense, and adventure rolled into one. It’s definitely a unique and different way to look at survival stories, and while I wasn’t a huge fan of certain parts, the story is definitely worth the read!

xo

Review & Giveaway: The Fog of Forgetting by G.A. Morgan

When I was contacted and asked if I would like to be a part of the blog tour for The Fog of Forgetting I was over the moon with excitement! Being recommended to fans of Narnia and Harry Potter (which I am a fan of both) I was like,” Ummm YES!!!” Keep reading for my review, more about the author and a GIVEAWAY at the end!


Publisher: Islandport Press
Release Date: July 17, 2014
Pages: 339
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Series: The Five Stones Trilogy, #1
Genre(s): Adventure, Crossover Appeal, Fantasy, Middle Grade
Synopsis from Publisher:

Move over, Narnia. The journey to Ayda has begun.
The journey to Ayda begins when five children sneak out for a quick boat ride on a summer day. Engulfed in a curtain of dense, powerful fog, they are transported from the rocky Maine coast to the mysterious island of Ayda.

Rescued by Seaborne, a machete-toting wayfarer of few words, the children suddenly find themselves at the center of a centuries-old battle between Dankar, the ruler of Exor, and three siblings that rule the other realms of Ayda.

At stake are the four stones of power and the elusive Fifth Stone that connects them all.
When 9-year-old Frankie is kidnapped by Dankar, her older sister Evelyn and the three Thompson brothers must learn to harness the powers of the daylights, ancient forces of earth, fire, water, and air, in order to navigate their way through the realms of Ayda, save her, and find a way home.

Add THE FOG OF FORGETTING on Goodreads

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Special thanks to Islandport Press for providing me with an advance copy of the book for review!

The Fog of Forgetting was a magical story, filled with adventure, friendship and mystery! A great start to a new trilogy, those in need of a fun, new series to fill the void of their favorite old adventure, The Fog of Forgetting should be your next read.

The book is said to be Young Adult, but after reading it I felt it was more predominately Middle Grade, which was fine by me. But, there are definitely aspects that would make this book enjoyable by both audiences. The world-builing in this book was something I really loved about this book. There was so much detail that was slowly revealed throughout the story, allowing the reader to learn the history of Ayda along with the main characters.

The idea of the Five Stones and their Keepers was wonderful. Incorporating the earthly elements to the stones also added to the detail and depth of the magical part of this book. I also really liked the general mystery of the fog, and how the children would get home, and what was keeping them on the island.

The characters voices did seem young, especially for the oldest, Chase, being almost fourteen. That being said, I did like the characters. Brothers Chase and Knox created entertainment in their sibling rivalry.

All in all, The Fog of Forgetting is perfect for when you want to return back to the days when you first read stories like Harry Potter and Narnia. Introduced to a whole new, magical world that you can escape to right along with the characters!


About G.A. Morgan

Genevieve (G.A.) Morgan is a writer and editor living in Portland. Maine. She was born in Manhattan and attended the Spence School, a private school on the Upper East Side, where she was her senior class’s valedictorian. She graduated with a BA in English from Bowdoin College, Magna Cum Laude, and won the acting chair award for her class.

When she is not writing or reading, Genevieve does a lot of yoga, walks her dog in the countryside, and practices bass guitar with her neighbor (someday they will have a band). Though she has not officially acted in years, she enjoys reading in different character’s voices and pretending to speak obscure foreign languages to her dog. She lives with her husband and two teenagers in Portland, Maine.

For more about G.A. Morgan visit her website!


Time for the Giveaway!

(US only)

Melor necklace

The Aydan legend of the Five Stones begins at the dawn of time, when the binding force that connects all things, the atar, was divided into separate energies.

Collect all four, seek the Fifth.

Stone of resilience, generation, and stability. Those called to this stone are destined to provide the foundation for any endeavor.  They are often creative, athletic, and loving.

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Stop by The Scenic Life and On Starships and Dragonwings to enter for a chance to win 2 other beautiful necklaces!