Tag Archives: young adult

The Awakening Kaylee Johnston

Book Reviews: The Witch & The Awakening, by Kaylee Johnston

I first came across Kaylee Johnston’s The Witch & The Awakening when Sadie’s Spotlight had a Release Day Blitz for The Awakening. I read them as part of my Awakening Challenge, where I set out to read eight books titled Awakening. (Or rather, I read The Awakening for the challenge and read The Witch because it’s the preceding novella.)


the witch kaylee johnston

Description from Goodreads:

Magic always has a cost.

In a world where humans aren’t meant to know about witches, Ella Louise Duncan just wants her boyfriend to know who she truly is and what she can do before they take their relationship to the next level. When she shows him her true identity, she doesn’t expect him to completely reject her — or send a posse after her and all of the other witches in town.

With the humans wanting to do away with witches for good, Ella Louise is ready to bring the fight to them. When her parents and all the other elder witches force her to run with her sisters, she’s not exactly happy. She is ready to fight for her right to live out of the shadows, but nobody else agrees.

When she runs into a stranger who reveals he’s not who he says he is, she has to learn how to take responsibility for her actions, follow directions even when she doesn’t want to, and protect her friends and family. Does Ella Louise have what it takes to bring the witches out of the dark and into the light…or will it all end in ruin — and her death?


Not all out horrendous, but sloppy and inconsistent. I appreciate that Ella Louise was strong and willing to stand up for herself, but I disliked her to the extreme. She was selfish, stubborn, and ultimately ignorant to the obvious, a fact I found implausible.


the awakening kaylee johnston

Description from Amazon:

Not everyone wants magic.

In a world where humans hate witches, there’s no one who hates them more than Jameson Tyler – they are the reason his mother and little sister are dead. Then one morning, he wakes to find those he’s hated for his entire life are now his only hope to understanding his new identity, his new life…as a witch.

Jameson has to get to the witch’s side of town – a place he’s never been and has loathed his entire life – and give up everything he’s ever known before the Witch Special Forces (WSF) captures him. On top of avoiding the WSF, when his new Headmistress attacks him, things get even more complicated.

He must accept his new fate and life before being killed, letting the Magical Community fall into the wrong hands. Can Jameson put his hatred aside or will he let his prejudice destroy them all?

my review

I hate to do this. I mean really, really hate to do it. I abhor having to leave a bad review as the first review a book gets and every second it sits as the only review a book has bothers me. But I’ve promised myself to be honest in reviews, so I’m not going to pull punches. This book is A MESS. I often read ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) that haven’t had a final edit yet. I am accustomed to overlooking a few editing mishaps. This is not an ARC as far as I know, since it was published in February. But even if it was, I’d call it too much of a mess to have been sent out for review.

I’m talking homophones (passed and past are misused a lot), repeat words (scoffed used in subsequent sentences, for example), inconsistencies (has it been 1000 or 50 years since the last Guardian), and timeline quagmires. At one point a new un-introduced character shows up and then in the next chapter the main character meets her (and there’s no time travel involved).

Then there’s just the story itself. The main character is literally homicidally anti-witch. He tries to kill one. Then he meets a witch and in less an hour is laughing and making friends with him. The plot leaps around, focusing on the minutia and literally skipping over the important events. At one point the main character is kidnapped and rescued, resulting in a death of someone important, and the author literally doesn’t show it, just lets the friends relate the events in about 3 paragraphs. But we’re told about cooking a roast over several pages.

I think even if someone came to me and said, “Hey, you actually did read an ARC” or “turns out the author uploaded the wrong file, not the final one” and I had to ignore all the editing problems, I’d probably still give this a 1 or 2 stars based on the jagged writing and overblown emotions. No one talks, everyone yells. Peoples’ miens swing from calm to exaggerated in seconds. The pacing is inconsistent, etc.

I hate to say it, but skip this one…at least if or until a new edition comes out.

Aofies Quest banner

Book Review: Aofie’s Quest + Giveaway

This is my stop during the bookstagram blitz for Aofie’s Quest by Angela J. Ford. Aofie’s Quest is a New Adult Fantasy Adventure book with Celtic mythology, strong heroines, magical weapons, mythical beasts, gods & goddesses and a slow burn romance.

This bookstagram blitz is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. This bookstagram blitz runs from 15 till 19 March. See the tour schedule here.

Don’t miss the tour wide giveaway! One lucky winner will win digital copies of Angela J. Ford’s Night of the Dark Fae series. You can enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post.

Aofie's Quest coverAofie’s Quest
Gods & Goddesses of Labraid #1
By Angela J. Ford
Genre: Fantasy Adventure
Age category: New Adult
Release Date: March 26, 2021

A warrior princess with a dire future embarks on a perilous quest to regain her fallen kingdom.

Eighteen-year-old Aofie’s Mor is an outcast princess, hiding in the sacred forest of the centaurs. She’s spent her life training for one purpose: to take back her kingdom from the angel of death.

When she comes of age, the centaurs prepare her to reunite with the humans. However, on the morning of her departure, she learns a horrific truth that leaves her questioning her true identity.

Frustrated, but taught not to question the will of the gods, Aofie travels deep into perilous lands in search of her birth mother. Along the way she accidentally frees a dangerous goddess, befriends a mysterious iceman, and meets a magic-wielding nymph.

But threads of betrayal and corruption run deeper than Aofie imagined. As she faces trials and tribulations, she begins to question everything she’s assumed to be true. Caught in the ultimate war between good and evil, Aofie must make a choice about her future.

Will she have the strength and courage to take back her kingdom? Or will she turn her back on fate and choose her own destiny?

Welcome to the land of Labraid, a war-torn world where demons rise and the gods and goddesses toy with the desires of humans.

Aofie’s Quest is a dark and exciting fantasy adventure. If you like fierce heroines, treacherous royals, mischievous immortals, wild plot twists and Celtic Mythology, buy Aofie’s Quest today.

Links:
Goodreads
Bookbub
Amazon

Aeofie's Quest

Review:
What first attracted me to Aofie’s Quest was the cover, or more specifically the illustration of Aofie on it. She looks like the warrior she’s supposed to bebroad shoulders, muscular arms, leather armor (but not useless sexy leather armor), even one forearm that maybe looks bigger than the other, as I’d expect for an archer (though that may just be the angle of the picture). I thought, “Here is a author/illustrator who made an effort to genuinely depict a physically strong woman” and I very much appreciated that.

I’m uncertain if that carried through into the actual book though. Aofie does not come off as physically strong for a lot of the book. I don’t think she shoots a single arrow (losing her bow very early on) and she barely fights, which is only an issue since her being a warrior princess is emphasized several times. But she does survive quite a lot and undergoes a lot of emotional growth. One strongly senses that this was just the beginning of a longer journey for her. I feel this is the book in which she grew into the warrior princess title, rather that the one in which she actually is a warrior princess. I’m a bit disappointed by that, as I’m a little burned out on such Young Adult books. But I can’t penalize the book for being what it isa YA book.

The writing is quite readable, though there are a few anachronistic phrases tossed around on occasion and I thought the editing a little rough in patches. Though I’ll state for the record that I got my physical copy directly from the author and it might be an ARC, which wouldn’t have had it’s final edit yet. It’s not labeled as such (which is why I’m mentioning the editing), but I happen to know that e-copies that went out at roughly the same time were labeled as ARCs. So, there’s a chance this was meant to be. And if that’s the case, this whole editing comment can be disregard.

Romance is a strong subplot here, not the main brunt of the story. But I felt cheated by it. I appreciate that the man filling the possible love interest role for most of the book is a bit more gray than we’re used to. But the sudden departure from the established path that the romance took at the VERY END made me feel like every previous romantic hint should have just been left out entirely. I got a bit of whiplash from it; though I admit to liking the individual at the end better. (I hope I managed to write that sentence in a suitably vague and non-spoilerish way, but also convey my meaning. It’s often a challenge.)

All in all, I didn’t dislike Aofie’s Quest by any means. But I feel I’d probably like future books more than I did this one. It’s strong in the YA and that’s not my bread an jam. But for those for whom it is, I think Aofie will steal hearts.

Aongela J. FordAbout the Author:
Angela J. Ford is a bestselling author who writes epic fantasy and steamy fantasy romance with vivid worlds, gray characters and endings you just can’t guess. She has published 14 novels, 6 short stories, and sold over 32,000 copies.

Angela is also a Co-Founder of Booksniffer. A new app for book lovers, plus an effective way for authors to market their books to new readers.

She enjoys traveling, hiking, and playing World of Warcraft with her husband. First and foremost, Angela is a reader and can often be found with her nose in a book.

Aside from writing, she enjoys the challenge of working with marketing technology and builds websites for authors.

Angela is passionate about helping indie authors succeed and co-hosts a podcast called Indie Author Lifestyle.

If you happen to be in Nashville, you’ll most likely find her enjoying a white chocolate mocha and daydreaming about her next book.

Author links:
Website
Indie Author Lifestyle podcast
Marketing for Authors website
Booksniffer
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Amazon
Instagram
Newsletter

Giveaway
There is a tour wide giveaway for the bookstagram blitz for Aofie’s Quest. One winner will win digital copies of the Night of the Dark Fae series by Angela J. Ford. You can enter the giveaway here. Or use the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lola's Blog Tours graphic

Review of City of York (Kingdom in Darkness, #1), by A. Person

I received a paperback copy of City of York from the author, A. Person.

Description from Goodreads:

The Kingdom has been around for as long as mud has been on the planet. Magic abounds—and dragons are its physical manifestation. Once vibrant and proud, they now live in varying states of depression after having their wings clipped. New dragons have not been created since that fateful day, and the magical force has only dwindled with the passing of each dragon.

The Community, the residents of the Kingdom, are no longer the dominant beings in the world. They have ceded that title to humans, or as they inconsiderately call them, Cromies. To ensure the Kingdom’s survival, the Council of Elders made the monumental decision to concentrate all the magic in one place: New York City. From the far corners of the world, the Exodus occurred. Dubbed the City of York by this mythical Community, here they all follow the Order to stay concealed and not bring harm to the general population. Unbeknownst to the inhabitants at large, the Community lives among them.

In the present day, Emily and her friends Cat and James run a start-up news organization. Their quest to inform the public has them unexpectedly crossing paths with members of the Community. When it is discovered that they have an affinity to magic, they are all provided guides, and they immerse themselves in this hidden world.

A motley cast of additional characters is encountered along the way. Prominent among them is Hollister McAvoy, who is a magically made billionaire. He has harnessed the power emanated by dragons and brought cheap, renewable energy to the city. While the Cromies rejoice, he continues to work toward his ultimate objective. There is an age-old prophecy that foretells the dawn of a magical revival. With access to money and technology, he aims to fulfill it by creating prosthetic wings and returning dragons to their former prestige. Can the Kingdom remain in darkness when dragons once again fly?

Review:

Reviewing this book is difficult for me. So, I’m going to start with a note. I accepted a copy of this book from the author for review. Unfortunately, there was some time between when I got the initial email and when I investigated the book on Goodreads to see if I wanted to read it. The result was that I missed the fact that though “Emily and her friends Cat and James run a start-up news organization” they are in fact teenaged journalist. (In all fairness, Person’s email did say this, but I depended on the book blurb in the moment.)

This means that I expected an adult fantasy book, but found myself reading a lower young adult (almost middle grade) book. One with a tendency to purposefully mix metaphors and spells with names like bye-bye boo-boo. I was not pleased with this discovery. Of course, that’s not the book’s fault. But I mention it because it 100% affected my enjoyment in reading it and I think it would be unfair to not mention it.

Outside of the disappointment around genre, I found the book to have too many characters, depend too heavily on its quirkiness, and lack a satisfying conclusion. That’s not to say it was without positives. If you do enjoy silly witticisms, this will be right up your alley. The world the book builds is interesting, the writing is clean and it’s well-edited.

I think, sadly, this is just a case of the wrong book for the wrong reader. A tween-slash-lower teen would probably really enjoy it. With that in mind, I intend to see if my 13yo would like to read it (maybe even review it) and then I’ll put it in the Little Free Library.