Tag Archives: young adult

aurora cycle

Book Review: Aurora Rising & Aurora Burning, by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

I borrowed an audio copy of Ami Kaufman and Jay Kristoff‘s Aurora Rising from the library. When they didn’t have an audio copy of Aurora Burning, I borrowed an ecopy.

Description from Goodreads:

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.

my review

These days, I go into Young Adult books hoping for the best and expecting to be disappointed. But Aurora Rising not only didn’t disappoint me, it was an all-out pleasant surprise. I had a lot of fun with it. I laughed frequently, liked the characters and diversity, and was invested in the plot.

Yeah, I thought there was some predictability and a few cliches. But I also liked the unexpected nature of some of them. The heroine doesn’t fall for who you’d expect, for example. All in all, I liked the book and raced out for book two. (OK, ‘raced out’ means I went online to digitally borrow the next book. But you know what I mean.)

As to the audio, I thought the narrators did a great job. I only had one irritant. As much as I liked all the character voices, I couldn’t figure out how three people who grew up in the same place (knew each other from Kindergarden) would end up with drastically different accents. Or rather one of them would sound completely different from the other two. Even if your parents are from different places, you’d still sound like where you’re from…all of you.


aurora burning

Description from Goodreads:

First, the bad news: an ancient evil—you know, your standard consume-all-life-in-the-galaxy deal—is about to be unleashed. The good news? Squad 312 is standing by to save the day. They’ve just got to take care of a few small distractions first.

Like the clan of gremps who’d like to rearrange their favorite faces.

And the cadre of illegit GIA agents with creepy flowers where their eyes used to be, who’ll stop at nothing to get their hands on Auri.

Then there’s Kal’s long-lost sister, who’s not exactly happy to see her baby brother, and has a Syldrathi army at her back. With half the known galaxy on their tails, Squad 312 has never felt so wanted.

When they learn the Hadfield has been found, it’s time to come out of hiding. Two centuries ago, the colony ship vanished, leaving Auri as its sole survivor. Now, its black box might be what saves them. But time is short, and if Auri can’t learn to master her powers as a Trigger, the squad and all their admirers are going to be deader than the Great Ultrasaur of Abraaxis IV.

Shocking revelations, bank heists, mysterious gifts, inappropriately tight bodysuits, and an epic firefight will determine the fate of the Aurora Legion’s most unforgettable heroes—and maybe the rest of the galaxy as well.

my review

As is so often the case with second books, especially when they’re also middle books, I didn’t like this as much as the first. That isn’t to say I didn’t still enjoy it, but not quite as gleefully. I missed having the crew together and all the banter that went with it. And I thought the predictability in the plotting stronger here too. I still like the characters though. I’m still interested in seeing how it all plays out, and look forward to book three. Unfortunately, it’s not out yet. Which I didn’t realize when I picked the series up. If I had, I might have waited a few more months to start it. Oh well, now I have to wait. But I will, because I do want to read it.

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

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