Tag Archives: YA fantasy

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Speechless in Achten Tan, by Debbie Iancu-Haddad

I accepted a review copy of Speechless in Achten Tan, by Debbie Iancu-Haddad, through R&R Book tours. The book was also featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight. So, you can hop over there for an excerpt, an interview with the author, and the schedule for the rest of the tour.

speechless with ants

Sometimes Magic leaves you…Speechless!

Eighteen-year-old Mila hasn’t spoken in the five years since she became an Onra, a first level Everfall witch. After failing the test to reclaim her voice and control her magic, her mentor sends Mila to Achten Tan – City of Dust – a dangerous desert town, built in the massive ribcage of an extinct leviathan.

To reclaim her power, Mila must steal a magical staff capable of releasing it, from the sky-high lair of the Bone Master, Chief Opu Haku.

Her only resources are the magical luminous elixirs of the cursed caverns where she grew up, and a band of unlikely allies; a quirky inventor, a giant-ant rider, a healer, a librarian’s assistant, a Tar-tule rider and the chief’s playboy son.

But in the City of Bones, enemies & friends are not who they seem and trusting the wrong person can be deadly.

If Mila fails she will never speak again and her bones may be added to the wasteland.

 


Review:

I have mixed feelings on this book. On the one hand the writing is really quite good. The characters are likeable. The world is interesting. There’s some fun diversity in the characters. It concludes (no cliffie), and I see lots of room for expansion in future books. Plus, we have gnomes as main character, without it being all cutsie-cutsie! So, on that one hand I really enjoyed it.

On the other hand, however, there seems to be a disconnect between the tone of the book and the actual events of the plot. The book feels like an older teen high school drama, of the ‘who’s going to win the big team rivalry,’ or ‘take down the school bully’ sort. (I mean, I literally started to visualize Geb in a letterman jacket every-time he slung his arm over Mila’s shoulder or waist.) But the things happening in the story are literally life and death. This left the tension…not lacking, exactly, but discordant. Plus, every near-death felt jarringly our of place.

I liked the book enough to read the sample of book two at the end (something I don’t usually bother with) and am interested in continuing the series. I liked Kaii a lot, as a character, and am interested to see what happens to him.

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Giveaway:

Click the link below for a chance to win a copy of Speechless in Achten Tan and a $25 Amazon e-Gift Card!

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Book Review: Flirting With Fate, by J.C. Cervantes

I accepted a copy of J.C. CervantesFlirting With Fate for review, as part of it’s blog tour with Literary Bound Tours.

flirting with fate cover

Ava Granados will never forgive herself for being late to her beloved nana’s deathbed. But due to a flash flood that left Ava in a fender bender with a mysterious boy, she missed her grandmother’s mystical blessing— one that has been passed between the women of her family upon death for generations. Then Nana’s ghost appears with a challenge from beyond the grave. As it turns out, Nana did give Ava a blessing, but it missed its target, landing with the boy from the night of the storm instead. Was it fate? Ava refuses to believe so.

With the help of her sisters and Nana’s rather bumbling spiritual guide, she’s determined to reclaim her share of the family magic and set Nana free. For guarded Ava, befriending some random boy is the last thing she wants to do. She’s gotten along just fine protecting her heart— keeping people at a distance is a great way to ensure no one ever hurts you. But as Ava embarks on her mission to retrieve the lost blessing, she starts to wonder if getting close to thunderstorm boy is worth the risk.

my review

This was a super sweet, low drama, young adult fantasy romance (probably closer to magical realism, honestly). True, the whole grandma can’t remember the details, but we have to do X, Y, and Z to succeed felt contrived. But not so much it ruined the story. I loved how solid the sisters’ faith in one another was. I appreciate that the different families had different, though equally valid responses to the trauma of lost family. (Though I 100% didn’t believe Achilles sudden 180° personality shift, even if it was explained.) I liked the way the older generation described fate, and that the book started out from fate’s perspective. The writing was clean and easy to read and the whole thing wrapped up satisfactorily. YA isn’t my go-to genre, but I still very much enjoyed this.

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Other Reviews:

REVIEW: Flirting with Fate by J.C. Cervantes

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Book Review: Anchored, by Bridget E. Baker

I picked up a free audio copy of Bridget E. Baker‘s Anchored on Google Play. It was narrated by Jennifer Jill Araya.

anchored bridget e baker

Two worlds, one fate…

Alora was born with the ability to Lift, a power no other women on Terra possess. If the wrong people find out, there’s no telling what will happen. But when she almost kills a man in self-defense, her secret is exposed and she’s forced to run for her life.

On Earth, Alora’s running from something else: hazy memories of her parents’ death and the social worker who wants to separate her from her brother. When she sees the man she almost killed on Terra at work, she’s flummoxed. She’s never recognized anyone from there before—after all, Terra exists only in her dreams…

When her dreams begin to leach into reality, something incredible awakens in Alora. But she knows better than anyone that everything comes with a cost. As the barrier between worlds crumbles, Alora must decide which is safer, which is more powerful, and which world is worth saving.

my review

It’s not that I didn’t like this, it’s just that I was ready for it to be finished way before it actually was. The book is loooooong and it feels even loooonger than the 412 pages (14 hours 27 minutes) it is listed as. And I get it—the book contains two interconnected, but not completely overlapping stories. So, I understand why it’s required a lot of pages to tell the tale. But good lord, I thought it would never end.

The writing is fine. The narrator did a good job. As far as I can tell in audio, the editing seems fine. But I was just a little sick of the special-special snowflake that was Alora. She was the best at everything, important to almost every named male character in the book (be it familial love, attraction, or fanatic hate) and there didn’t even seem to be any other female characters of note. Plus, Alora was too wrapped up in her own head, too many characters showed up and then were dropped as unimportant as the story progressed, and the ending wasn’t particularity satisfying. Not enough of the overarching issues were actually explained and the last minute attempt to make the villain relatable fell flat for me.

All in all, I didn’t hate it. But I’m not in any hurry to read more of the series either.

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Other Reviews:

Iheart Fictional People – Review: Anchored, by Bridget E. Baker

Ya Books Central – Anchored