Review: Songs of Autumn

I’ve been reading more YA Fantasy recently – I think it’s because I want some escape from 2020 and there’s nothing like escaping into a completely fantastical world and carried along on a magical journey.

They description of Songs of Autumn caught my attention immediately:

“What if your entire life you knew the exact day you were going to die? ​Liz does.”

First – wow. So many bucket list items I’d want to check off the list. Second, tell me more!

Liz is the “Red Princess” who the prophecies told would save her kingdom from endless winter by being a blood sacrifice. However, on the day of the ceremony, Liz and her friend Tia escape the palace and run into the forest, heading for the mountains and hopefully far enough away from Liz’s husband/murderer as possible before winter hits.

I came into this book expecting my heart broken, but not as much as this book hurt my heart.

I loved Liz and Tia – their relationship so sweet. In fact, I fell in love with the entire journeying party Liz and Tia fall in with while traveling over the mountain passes.

The growing romantic relationship between with Matioch Steele and Liz is also incredibly romantic – with plenty of heat and tension. (But still very PG-13 for YA readers!)

I absolutely couldn’t put this book down and loved every minute of it. But the cliffhanger at the end. Ugh! I cannot wait until book two is released – because I need to know what happens NOW!

Thank you to Turn the Page tours for including me on this and to Lauren Sevier for providing me with this free copy in exchanging for my honest opinion.⁠

Book Description: 

What if your entire life you knew the exact day you were going to die?

​Liz does.

​Magick in the Kingdom of Aegis has almost run out. When that happens, the seasons will stop changing, the tides will cease to turn, and the sun will no longer be able to rise and set. The only way to save the lives of her people is if Liz agrees to be a blood sacrifice in a brutal ceremony that will take her life.

​The problem is, Liz isn’t ready to go.

​With the help of a mischievous wanna-be soldier, Matioch Steele, Liz dares to take her fate into her own hands. Defying a blood-thirsty sorcerer, her desperate flight teaches her how to truly live while Mat finds out what’s worth dying for. Each other.

​Love, Death, Magick, and Mystery come together to weave one girl’s epic tale of self-discovery.

​Her song will echo within us all.

Author Bio:

Lauren Sevier lives a simple life in small town Walker, Louisiana with her family and two mischievous dogs. She’s a proud firefighter wife and mother to her miracle son, born through IVF after an eight-year battle with infertility. She works full-time for a non-profit hospital in Cardiology caring for the elderly and low-income families all over the state of Louisiana in satellite and outreach clinics. Writing and being in the service of helping others are her two passions in life.

She started writing song lyrics and poems on the front porch swing of her family home nestled amidst a 200-year-old pecan tree orchard that was once part of a Civil War plantation. She’s inspired the most by Shakespeare, the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, and JK Rowling. Her background in Theatre introduced her to classic British literature, playwrights, and poets from a very young age. This helped her to understand story concepts, dramatization, and character development the way Shakespeare once did, as an actor.

Now her biggest inspiration for writing is her son who, like all children, learns by example. Lauren is determined to set a specific example for him; to live simply, work hard, and to never stop chasing her dreams. Because, one day, you just might catch them.

Author Links:

https://www.laurensevier.com/

https://www.twitter.com/laurensevier/

https://www.instagram.com/laurensevier/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUeZHxk_ovbB93BIVeInF1A

GIVEAWAY:

Enter to win one (1) digital copy of Songs of Autumn by Lauren Sevier! Open USA and international.

Giveaway starts: Sunday, November 15, 200

Giveaway ends: Sunday, November 22, 2020 at 12:00 a.m. CDT

Direct link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1e4a114d7/

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49204479-songs-of-autumn?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=Hi1KhKlNke&rank=1 

Book Purchase links:

Review: Fly for the Both of Us

I can’t decide if Fly for the Both of Us was the most romantic book I’ve red recently, or if it was the most frustrating book I have read this year. And here’s why.

The story follows star-crossed lovers Ben and Kai over the course of four years. They meet at Ben’s dad’s photography studio in Hong Kong, when Kai is there for a modeling photo shoot. Ben is a shy, reserved, nerdy guy, whereas Kai is more sociable and outgoing.

Their romance starts over a “lunch swap,” where they decide to bring lunch for the other person over the course of a few weeks. (This to me, by the way, sounds like a great way to get to know a person and expand your food horizons.)

Once their agreed upon “lunch swap” timeframe ends, Ben and Kai’s relationship keeps going. Through the summer, through the school year, through the next summer, until Kai is offered a modeling gig in LA.

I loved the characters of Ben and Kai – I felt like I knew them, and I know people JUST like both of them. Ben: shy, reserved, feels like he has to hold the whole world together on his own and only focuses on what is directly in front of him. Kai: a little self centered, a little dramatic, a little dense, but always means well and wants to be helpful.

The love, the tenderness and the tension in Ben and Kai’s relationship over the four year time span and the 7,235 miles between them kept me coming back to this story. What drove me crazy was the lack of descriptions of the setting or a sense of place other than “Hong Kong” or “LA.” 

In fact, at one point, Kai thinks “I try to imagine what it’s like to see all of this from Ben’s point of view.” I wanted to scream, “so would the reader! Tellustellustellus!”

I’m fortunate to have visited both locations. I fell in love with  Hong Kong last fall and the promise of that setting and the chance to fall back in love with the city drew me to this book. I would have loved if the buzz and the beauty of Hong Kong had been translated to the page.

Fly for the Both of Us is an own voices contemporary young adult novel, that does contain mild sex, drug use, and eating disorders.

Thank you to Turn the Page Tours and E. Mellyberry for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book. 

Review: The Puppetmaster’s Apprentice

Thank you to Turn the Page Tours and Page Street YA for hosting this tour!

I LOVED this The Puppetmaster’s Apprentice! The story was so immersive and I enjoyed the gender swap retelling of Pinocchio. 

Set in an old world German-style town, I felt like I could walk right in and become part of this town. The town, the shops, the maker’s, even the local pub felt so real. 

And the makers – I loved them all, especially Nan who felt like the big sister to everyone. Taking care of them all, but also a little sassy.

As Pirouette works for the Margrave and she enlists the help of the makers, I fell in love with each of them all over again. Their friendships are so beautiful and honest and the way the come to each other’s aid is heartwarming.

The use of forbidden magic in the town was used well. The tension between Pirouette’s existence and what brought her to life was palpable. And use of magic and its consequences throughout the book helped to thread the tension throughout the story.

I found myself reading through this story quickly; Lisa DeSelm’s writing is engaging and easy to read. I loved that the elements of the Pinoccio story came through, but DeSelm made the story her own.

BLURB

Impressed by the work of the puppetmaster and his apprentice, Tavia’s ruler, The Margrave, has ordered dozens of life-size marionette soldiers to be sent to Wolfspire Hall. When the orders for more soldiers come in with increasingly urgent deadlines, the puppetmaster’s health suffers and Pirouette, his daughter and protégé, is left to build in his stead. But there is something far more twisted brewing at Wolfspire—the Margrave’s son wants Pirouette to create an assassin. And he wants her to give it life.

With Tavia teetering on the brink of war and her father dying in the dungeons, Pirouette has no choice but to accept. Racing against the rise of the next blue moon—the magic that will bring her creations to life—she can’t help but wonder, is she making a masterpiece…or a monster?

Review: You Know I’m No Good

I absolutely devoured this book! Jessie Ann Foley’s writing in You Know I’m No Good is fast paced and continually left me breathless. Not to mention the short chapters almost always ended in something of a cliff hanger that had me turning the page for just “one more chapter” despite the hour or what household chores needed to be done.

I don’t want to go into too much detail in my review, as I don’t want to give too much away from the story. That said, I don’t typically give star ratings in my reviews, but this is definitely a five-star read.

The reader truly feels and lives through Mia – her pain, her happiness, her sorrow. And when she has that break through emotionally – ahhh! – it cut deep in the feels. 

And then Foley works her author magic, building Mia and the reader back up, bringing both together through the hard work Mia does emotionally. Healing hearts, souls, and relationships.

And the ending! Just, ugh! So much love.

In the span of these pages, Foley broke me down, filled me with hope, and built me back up. She also beautifully opened a dialogue and discusses many tough topics, such as teen drug and alcohol use and self-harm.

Thank you to Jessie Ann Foley and Turn the Page Tours for this hosting this tour of You Know I’m No Good and this free copy in exchange for my honest review.

TRIGGER WARNINGS: Sexual Assault, Suicidal Ideation, Drug and Alcohol Use, Self-Harm

GIVEAWAY INFO: Up for grabs is ONE copy of Jessie Ann Foley’s You Know I’m No Good. This giveaway is open to US residents only, and will run from October 9th – October 16th at 11:59PM CST. Enter to win via the rafflecopter link below.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1e4a114d6/?

BLURB:

From Printz Honor winner and William C. Morris Award finalist Jessie Ann Foley comes the story of one girl’s battle to define herself as something other than her reputation.

Mia is officially a Troubled Teen she gets bad grades, drinks too much, and has probably gone too far with too many guys. But she doesn’t realize how out of control her parents think she is until they send her away to Red Oak Academy, a therapeutic boarding school in rural Minnesota.

While there, Mia starts confronting her painful past, and questions the purpose of Red Oak. After all, if the Red Oak girls were boys, they never would have been treated the way that they are. Amidst the revelations that cause her to question the way that society treats young women, circumstances outside of her control force Mia to discover what happens when she makes herself vulnerable enough to be truly seen by the rest of the world.

AUTHOR INFO

Jessie Ann Foley’s debut novel, The Carnival at Bray, was a Printz Honor Book, a Kirkus Reviews Best Book, a YALSA Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults title, and a William C. Morris Award finalist. Her second novel, Neighborhood Girls, was an ALA Booklist Editors’ Choice and a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults title. Sorry for Your Loss, her third novel, was an Illinois Reads selection. You Know I’m No Good is her fourth novel. Jessie lives with her husband and three daughters in Chicago, where she was born and raised. To learn more about Jessie, visit her online at www.jessieannfoley.com.