Comic Mini-Reviews: Skyward #1 by Joe Henderson & Death or Glory #1 by Rick Remender

Skyward by Joe Henderson (Writer), Lee Garbett (Illustrator),

& Antonio Fabela (Illustrator)

Amazon  –  Goodreads

Published: 18 April 2018

Publisher: Image Comics

Category: Comic Books

“MY LOW-G LIFE,” Part One One day, gravity on earth suddenly became a fraction of what it is now. Twenty years later, humanity has adapted to its new low-gravity reality. And to Willa Fowler, a woman born just after G-day, it’s…well, it’s pretty awesome, actually. You can fly through the air! I mean, sure, you can also die if you jump too high. So you just don’t jump too high. And maybe don’t stumble into a dangerous plan to bring gravity back that could get you killed…. From writer JOE HENDERSON (showrunner of Fox’s Lucifer) and artist LEE GARBETT (Lucifer, Loki: Agent of Asgard), SKYWARD is an adventure-filled exploration of our world turned upside down and a young woman’s journey to find her place in it.

Rating: 4 Stars

The concept of gravity vanishing one day is both terrifying and really interesting. On the one hand, I’m pretty sure humanity at large would freak out. On the other hand, based on Skyward #1, there’s a lot of development that’s been made in the twenty years since, so humanity in this world isn’t doing as badly as I would’ve imagined.

This issue introduces us briefly to the main character, Willa, who’s never known gravity since she was born shortly before it disappeared. Her father knows something, though, and apparently has a way to bring it back. What would this mean, though, for Willa’s co-worker, a young man who is a double amputee that is able to maneuver in a way that would be impossible if gravity returned.

I’m definitely going to keep an eye on this series, not only for the information I’m curious about (how did knowledge of certain things vanish in 20 years? how did humans adapt so well?) but also for Willa. Is she going to be able to travel the world like she wants, or will her loyalty to her father keep her in the city?

 

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Death or Glory #1 by Rick Remender (Writer), Bengal (Illustrator),

Duncan Fegredo (Illustrator), & James Harren (Illustrator)

Amazon  –  Goodreads

Published: 2 May 2018

Publisher: Image Comics

Category: Comic Books

Meet Glory, raised off the grid in a convoy amid truckers—the last men and women fighting for true freedom on the American open road. Now, in order to pay for her beloved dying Father’s surgery, Glory has three days to pull off four dangerous cross-country heists with mob killers, crooked cops, and a psycho ex-husband all out to bring her in or die trying.The new ongoing series by New York Times bestselling author RICK REMENDER and legendary French superstar BENGAL brings you a high-speed chase across the American West that examines our dwindling freedoms and the price paid by those who fight for an untethered life, in this special double-sized first issue with 40 pages of story!

Rating:  2 Stars

I wasn’t sure what this title was about when I selected it to review, but the description itself sounds jam packed with action: car chases, robberies, etc. The action in the book certainly lives up to the summary, complete with a specially modified car ramming a police vehicle off the road.

Illustration wise, things were clear and easily followed, something that can lack in action comics. The drawings aren’t particularly attractive, but neither are they painful to look at for the length of the book.

Story wise is where I had the biggest problem. It was kind of boring, even in a double length first issue. The basics were set up, but even those didn’t capture my interest. If it weren’t for what Glory found in the back of the truck, then I might not even want to continue reading. As it is, I might flip through, but as for a lasting series, I don’t feel any oomph in the story or connection to the characters that would make me actually want to read more.

 

 

 

 

 

I received copies of these books from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

 

Release Day Blitz: Bacon Pie by Candace Robinson & Gerardo Delgadill

BACON PIE

Today’s the day I get to share with you all the release day blitz for Bacon Pie by Candace Robinson & Gerardo Delgadillo. It’s out today and I’m sharing not only the highlights of the book, but also an excerpt AND a giveaway for a $25 Amazon Gift Card courtesy of the authors and Rockstar Book Tours!

If Bacon Pie is new on your radar, be sure to check out all the details below.

About the Book

Title: BACON PIE

Author: Candace Robinson & Gerardo Delgadillo
Pub. Date: April 13, 2018
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 314
Find it: AmazonB&NiBooksGoodreads
Lia Abbie has the easy life—kicking it back with old school video games, hanging out with her best friend Barnabas, and alternating her living schedule between the apartments of her two dads and her mom.

Kiev Jimenez is a theater geek who loves him some Shakespeare and taking care of his pet armadillo. He has one set goal in life: obtaining the role of Horatio for the Hamlet school play.

When a showdown between Lia and Kiev lands them in the principal’s office,
they’re forced into volunteer work at the cringe-worthy Piggy Palooza Festival,
or risk being suspended. Lia and Kiev aren’t thrilled about the situation,
especially when it interferes with Lia’s relaxed life and Kiev’s theater role.
But by working together, they may find more than just bacon—possibly a little
love in the air.

Excerpt

The door is already wide open. Mr. Walker is missing in action, but two guys are already
there—Tweedle Jerk and Tweedle Jerkier.

 

I’m not dealing with this crap today. I march up to Cole, who is sitting in my seat again, and watch as Kiev’s eyes seem to follow me all the way until I’m standing in between both of them.

 

“You need to get out of my seat,” I say to Cole. Does he have his usual basketball shirt
on today? He does.

 

He holds up both hands like he’s trying to tame a wild boar. “Calm down. Calm down, Miss Ophelia Abbie. The bell has not announced the start of this oh-so-wonderful
class.”

 

I give him a look of disdain. “Enough with the Ophelia stuff.”

 

“What’s wrong with the name Ophelia?” Kiev pipes in. “It’s like the name from Hamlet.”

 

“What?” I turn to Kiev, not sure what this idiot is talking about.

 

“You know, O-phe-li-a.” He draws the name out super slowly to get his point across.

 

“I don’t give a crap about Hamlet—that has nothing to do with my name,” I huff.

 

Tapping his fingers on the desk like he’s typing on a keyboard, Kiev stares at my face.
“Are you sure your parents didn’t name you after the character?”

 

“Who the hell names their kid after a stupid Shakespearian play?” I’ve read two, and I hated them both.

 

“Plenty of people. Juliet Weaver, in our grade, was named after Romeo and Juliet.”

 

“Quit being pretentious.”

 

“Quit being a—”

 

I narrow my eyes at him. “A what?”

 

“You know what you’re being.”

 

“Shut up, Kiev. Oh, my parents named me after the capital of Russia, because I’m such an
important person who has to answer questions for people when they don’t need
help answering!” I yell.

 

“Um, Kiev is actually the capital of Ukraine.” He bobs his head. “You know that, right?”
I hear Cole’s loud hooting to my right.

 

That’s it! Without thinking, I slam my fist directly into Kiev’s nose.

 

About Candace

 

My name is Candace Robinson. I’m just your average hemiplegic migraine sufferer. My days are spent writing, book reviewing and traveling through books for my blog, Literary Dust.

I live just outside of Houston, Texas, where it feels like the hottest place on Earth with the crazy weather. No, seriously, one day it’s 30 degrees and the next it’s 70 degrees! I live with my husband and awesome daughter!
 
You can also follow me on my review blog Literary
Dust
 
 

About Gerardo

Gerardo’s amazing bio.

Yup. Even though I’m like one-hundred-and-fifty-nine years old, spelled all out, I love to write about contemporary teens in distress. So no magic, dragons, or unicorns.

 

About me

 

At the tender age of sixteen years old, when giant lizards ruled the world, I used to be a DJ–turntables and all.

I was born in the States, raised in Mexico, and now live in Big D.

 

Cloud computing is my area of expertise–just don’t ask me what cloud computing means.

I love football, the one played with the feet by footballers, La Liga from Spain being the best.

 

Chilaquiles is my favorite food. Yummy.

 

About my novels

 

Multi-cultural is my writing trade, in English and Español. My writing must be emotional or else…

 

I believe in the Oxford comma, but the Oxford comma doesn’t believe in me. Love first person present tense POV. In my novels, food tends to be another protagonist.

 

 

Giveaway Details: Open INT!

1 winner will receive an Amazon Gift Card, International.
Ends on April 24th at Midnight EST!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

 

 

All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

DNF Review: A Guide for Murdered Children by Sarah Sparrow

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Amazon  –  Barnes & Noble  –  Book Depository  –  Goodreads

Published: 20 March 2018

Publisher: Blue Rider Press

Category: Fantasy/Fiction/Mystery

We all say there is no justice in this world. But what if there really was? What if the souls of murdered children were able to return briefly to this world, inhabit adult bodies and wreak ultimate revenge on the monsters who had killed them, stolen their lives?

Such is the unfathomable mystery confronting ex-NYPD detective Willow Wylde, fresh out of rehab and finally able to find a job running a Cold Case squad in suburban Detroit. When the two rookie cops assigned to him take an obsessive interest in a decades old disappearance of a brother and sister, Willow begins to suspect something out of the ordinary is afoot. And when he uncovers a series of church basement AA-type meetings made up of the slain innocents, a new way of looking at life, death, murder and missed opportunities is revealed to him.

Mystical, harrowing and ultimately tremendously moving, A Guide for Murdered Children is a genre-busting, mind-bending twist on the fine line between the ordinary and the extraordinary.

Rating: 1.5 Stars

CW: language (particularly regarding an autistic side character and the R word, then potentially autistic children in general), fat-phobic terminology

A lot of time there’s no justice in the world. I think that’s at least part of what made me want to request this book, the idea that murdered children could get revenge on those that had wronged them. It’s a brilliant concept,  I thought, and while the cover is a bit bright for my tastes, it wasn’t too bad.

The contents, on the other hand…

From the very first page the writing seemed very crass. It was very uninteresting and I struggled with reading it. There was no connectivity to Willow, the ex-narcotics detective we’re seeing this story through, other than the author painting him as a physically abhorrent person. The language is used isn’t great, such as “fatty”, and a lot of time is spent on his health, whether it be potential cancer (liver or skin) or sexual performance ability (he praises Cialis).

He is a stereotypical has been cop, a self proclaimed American Mythic Washed-up Cop. This admission doesn’t make his story better, it makes it sadder. He knows it, the author obviously knows it, and yet the reader is still made to endure more tired descriptors. I kept waiting for trumpet music from a classic movie to play over this tripe.

It was hard to get a grasp on the story and get into it. The passages that were spent with Willow were especially bad because it felt like I was reading the inside of his brain. Willow’s a recovering (maybe?) alcoholic and the narrative felt like what would happen if you cracked his head open and poured the contents out through a word processor.

The parts that were flashbacks were no less clear. Introducing new characters only seemed to make things worse. They were convoluted, bringing new threads to tangle and make into a big mess with unclear relationships and motivations that were in turns nonsensical and insulting. I spent more time going back and forth trying to figure out who people were, who they were related to, and what they were supposed to be doing then actually enjoying the book.

There was some coolness with the “magic system” or whatever you’d call it that that had the ghosts/souls returned to the living world and into bodies, or tenants and landlords. It was a bit tricky because there were metaphors abound and you had to remember them or you’d be lost; not just the ones for the children and their hosts, either, but also for Annie, a “porter” who guides the children, for example. She was actually kind of an interesting character that I liked reading about.

Overall, the beginning of this book damaged any hope there was of finishing it because it was so poor. The writing was not to my liking, I did not care about the characters, and even reading further and finding one good one wasn’t enough for a narrative that turned out to be, quite frankly, dull.

 

 

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

 

Review: Virgin Territory (Hellions Angels #3) by Lia Riley

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Published: 6 March 2018

Publisher: Avon Impulse

Category: Contemporary/Romance/Sports Romance (Hockey)

Practice Makes Perfect

Patrick “Patch” Donnelly has what it takes to be the best goalie in the NHL…if only he could learn to control his temper. When Coach orders him to get his head in the game with private yoga classes, Patch isn’t having it. There’s no way this tough Boston guy would be caught dead downward dog-ing his way to inner peace. But if he refuses, he risks his starting position and the dream he sacrificed everything for, including joining the priesthood.

Yoga instructor Margot Kowalski is over men. After yet another toxic relationship, she’s eager to forget love and focus on growing her business. Doing the Hellions head coach a favor by helping out a troubled player can’t hurt, and it might give her career a high-profile boost. But free-spirited Margot is soon charming the pants off Patch. Literally. Her sassy combination of sweet and sexy proves irresistible to the goalie. Before Patch can give into temptation though, he’ll have to confess his biggest secret:

He’s a virgin.

But Patch is hiding more than sexual inexperience, and his dark past soon threatens to destroy his shot at true love.

Rating: 3 Stars

Steaminess Level: Mature

I requested this book for review based on a Twitter recommendation (thank you!). I didn’t know much about it beforehand, so there weren’t a lot of expectations going into it regarding content, steaminess, etc.

I’m not a sports enthusiast, so I was pleasantly surprised when I actually enjoyed the hockey content. To be fair there weren’t actually a whole lot of scenes regarding the sport and what there was wasn’t terribly detailed, so that might have had something to do with it. I think there was more information given to the yoga aspect of the story than any of the hockey playing, but that wasn’t really a problem because neither the yoga nor the hockey was actually a big part of the story, more vehicles for the characters.

Margot and Patch are introduced when Patch, needing to deal with some anger issues following a lawsuit brought by a sleazy lawyer, makes an appointment with Margot, a yoga practitioner. This idea actually sounded really good to me, but I really think that the yogi/client relationship degenerated far too into “hockey player’s girlfriend happens to be a yoga practitioner”. While their relationship as a couple seemed nice, the development was full steam ahead from the time they met and love happened in the course of less than a week if my timeline is correct and they were engaged/business partners two months later.

Speedy plot aside, the difficulties that Patch and Margot faced in the book were resolved very quickly and easily, almost too much so. Stefan, Margot’s ex who exhibits stalker behavior and commits minor vandalism, vanishes from the story in off page action and is dealt with in convenient terms (he happens to have been committing tax fraud, something that never came up during the rest of the book). Guy, the lawyer threatening Patch, conveniently threatens Patch in a hallway during a settlement meeting, laying out his sleaziness which Margot and Patch’s friend/priest Sully catch on camera and audio.

Virgin Territory is a quick read that was decently fun and I think people that like well written intimate scenes would enjoy it a lot. There are two current companion novels that were previous published whose characters appear in this one, thought I wouldn’t say they’re required reading before picking this up.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Review: Women in Sports: 50 Fearless Athletes Who Played to Win by Rachel Ignotofsky

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Published: 18 July 2017

Publisher: Ten Speed Press

Category: Non-fiction/Sports/Feminism

Women in Sports highlights notable women’s contributions to competitive athletics to inspire readers young and old. Keeping girls interested in sports has never been more important: research suggests that girls who play sports get better grades and have higher self-esteem–but girls are six times more likely to quit playing sports than boys and are unlikely to see female athlete role models in the media. A fascinating collection full of striking, singular art, Women in Sports features 50 profiles and illustrated portraits of women athletes from the 1800s to today including trailblazers, Olympians, and record-breakers in more than 40 different sports. The book also contains infographics about relevant topics such as muscle anatomy, a timeline of women’s participation in sports, statistics about women in athletics, and influential female teams.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Ten Speed Press continues their Women In… Series with a sports themed book. It felt really thematically appropriate to read and review this shortly after the Winter Olympics where women from all countries and of all ages competed at the height of their sport for the world to see.

Women in Sports features fifty examples of women in history from a variety of sporting events that more people should know about. From the well known to those that deserve to have their names come up in conversation more, I really felt encouraged to look into the history of the sports more.

The sexist nature of the Olympics was touched on and how there were breakthroughs, particularly in figure skating, and how that sport changed over time from simple skating programs to the intensely complicated ones we see now.

Visually the illustrations were on the cartoon side which was good for the younger readers that might want to look at this book or any other in the series. I liked the illustrations, though I think that it might have been better if they’d gone for a more realistic approach.

I’d recommend this book for anyone interested in learning more about the history of various sports, particularly when the competitors are women from around the world. Their efforts to promote the sport cannot be understated and their stories need to be remembered and passed on.

 

 

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Review: 806 by Cynthia Weil

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Published: 13 March 2018

Publisher: Tanglewood Press

Category: Young Adult/Realistic Fiction

Sibling 1 throws blenders and plays guitar. Sibling 2 is allergic to everything and is into magic. Sibling 3 is a varsity swimmer with a group of female fans. Enough said. The only thing they have in common is their biological father, and the only thing they can agree on is that they all want to meet him. With the help of a broken-down, “borrowed” Jeep, KT, Jesse, and Gabe make their way across the country evading police, trying their luck on the slots, and meeting a life-changing pig, all to track down Donor 806, their father. Any hope of success requires smarts, luck, and ingenuity. Good thing they have each other…even if they don’t see it that way.

Rating: 1 Star (though I’d rate it negative stars if possible)

CW: offensive comment relating to homophobia, stalker behavior

I think I have found my least favorite book since The To-Do List by J.C. Miller, which I reviewed last year. Not since then have I found a book that so made me want to heave my phone through a window, and that includes the books I’ve already DNF’d this year.

I could almost respect this book if it were a satire of other books of similar genres, but I don’t think it is. It takes itself far too seriously for how badly I found it to be written. The characters start out badly and get worse the more of them are introduced. The pacing is all over the place. The plot was flimsy at best. There were so many head shaking moments I felt like I was getting a headache.

The best I could say about this book is that the author clearly loved putting in as many musical references as possible. KT was always picking up a guitar, even if she didn’t play it at the moment, or talking about the title of a song. I didn’t know at the time I picked this book up, but the author is apparently a famous songwriter, so that’d account for those details.

Now I’ll go into detail on the problems I had with 806:

 

The Characters

 

Kim, KT’s mom: is a throwaway parent that is disrespected at every turn. She makes some questionable romantic choices, but never any that seem to put her and her daughter in danger, simply ones that don’t lead to commitment or seem good enough according to her or KT’s standards. That alone doesn’t make her a bad person, though it certainly seems so to KT. What does make Kim less than a desirable character/mother is that she is so flimsy. There’s no depth to her as a person other than this love obsessed person who chooses one wrong guy after another.

Kim’s biggest mistake, and the one that infuriated me the most, is her handling of the KT-and-her-“dad” situation. All KT’s life her mom has told her that Max, KT’s “dad”, walked out before she was born and when at 17 KT demands to see him, Kim gives her a Yellow Pages advert for his place of work. Off KT goes to confront him only to find out that a( he never left and b) he’s not her dad in any sense of the word, she’s actually the product of a sperm donor/potential inheritance scam. Why the F*** would you send your daughter off to someone she’s never met, who she thinks is her FATHER, knowing full well he’s going to blow the biggest secret of her life? That was a terrible character decision and terrible development.

KT: herself had a really grating personality. She was a caricature of a brat, someone who assumed they knew better than everyone around them, especially their mother. While granted she did not have the best example both due to the writer’s fault and the character’s personality, I’m not willing to place all the blame on KT’s mother. KT had no respect for either her mother or anyone else. She even turns on her friend and band mate, Sasha, when she thinks Sasha got a tattoo, then plays off her vile reaction like it’s a joke that she had a say in what Sasha does with her body. The only person who might have deserved the level of bratty behavior that oozed out of KT was Dylan, the third part of the band who was little more than a harasser and a whole other problem in the book.

She has no filter regarding other people, whether it be their sexualities or their dietary practices. KT is vegetarian and makes comments about being ready to be rid of Jesse and Gabe, her biological siblings, after they order meat products at their first meeting at a Fuddruckers. She barely knows them beyond passing high school stereotypes because they apparently attend the same school, but sees that as a fit idea to have towards others.

Then there’s a moment when Jesse tells the group that his moms are splitting and he has to choose which he’ll stay with. Instead of being compassionate and offering sympathies, KT’s first response? “Did one of them go straight?” What the hell, KT? What the hell, Author?

Her prejudice against her bio sibs based on their apparent carnivore tendencies and her careless homophobic comment made me dislike her all the more.

Dylan: one of the most irritating characters of the book. He was a harasser for the sake of being a harasser and served no purpose to the narrative. Every moment he spoke was a painful one from a reader’s perspective, particularly when he became a stalker. He shows up outside her bedroom to sing her a song her wrote, he tries to follow her to Arizona, all of this after repeated rebuffs. And does the author get anyone to recognize this, much less KT? NO! KT thinks it’s sweet and ends up dating this creep at the end, after he stalks her across the country with Jesse’s help, no less! No, honey, that’s some danger right there.

Gabe/Jesse: Honestly, there wasn’t much to get from either of these characters. They had some basic characteristics. Gabe like magic tricks and had allergies. Jesse was a jock that was good at swimming. That was about it. They had nothing built upon this foundation and I couldn’t really get any sense of personality from them.

 

The Plot

 

It rushes and takes no time to develop anything, which is an enormous pet peeve of mine. There were so many coincidences and easy outs that I was surprised that the donor dad didn’t end up calling them and telling them his address.

The plot was flimsy at best and utterly unbelievable at worst. There were “developments”, such as donor numbers being mixed up (806 is actually 908), that sounded absurd. The cross country trip, which could have been pretty interesting, was based on even flimsier evidence than the donor numbers. From St. Lois to Sedona to L.A, the hijinks were ridiculous and felt like plot points pulled out of a hat of tricks rather than a well thought out journey.

I get that KT, Jesse, and Gabe are teenagers, but when you call the contact info your bio dad left to follow up a lead who you thought went to Harvard and find out that a) the office sounds like a pet hoarder’s home and there’s Jerry Springer playing in the background and b) it wasn’t Harvard but “Horvard University”, home of the mail order degrees in the “Artistry of Auras” and “Working With Your Animal Allies”, are you really going to steal a car and go to Arizona? That seemed really, really stupid.

 


 

Conclusion: I really can’t understand why this book went to print. It felt very poorly done. While the concept had promise, I believe it would have benefited from a lot of heavy editing, both for time and for characterization. There’s no enjoyment in this book, nothing to keep a reader engaged. It would be a waste to print physical copies in its current state, I’m sorry to say.

 

 

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

 

The Fantastic Flying Book Club Blog Tour: Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody – A Review

TOUR BANNER

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Kobo  –  iBooks  –  Indiebound

Published: 10 April 2018

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Category: Fantasy/Young Adult

Welcome to the City of Sin, where casino families reign, gangs infest the streets…
and secrets hide in every shadow.

Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her finishing school—and her reputation—behind to follow her mother’s trail to the city where no one survives uncorrupted.

Frightened and alone, her only lead is a name: Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and a con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam, so he doesn’t have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne’s offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems.

Their search for clues leads them through glamorous casinos, illicit cabarets and into the clutches of a ruthless mafia donna. As Enne unearths an impossible secret about her past, Levi’s enemies catch up to them, ensnaring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. To save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city…

And she’ll need to play.

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Told in alternating perspectives, the story begins with Enne’s arrival in New Reynes. She is bewildered, as this is very different world than she is used to. I would say it’s something like a young lady from England arriving in Las Vegas, so I understand her nerves. Her determination to find her adopted mother, Lourdes, is strong, though, as it allows her to, if not cast aside these nerves, then tamp them down, as she almost immediately plunges into the underbelly of the South side of the city with Chez, a member of the Iron Hands, after an encounter with the White Boots (law enforcement).

This leads her to meet Levi, another story perspective. He’s Lord of the Irons, a gang that operates within New Reynes and is technically the only gang that’s never broken the law. Owing to a pressing need for money due to a ponzi scheme going south and a past connection with Lourdes, Levi enters into an arrangement to help Ennes find her mother in exchange for a monetary reward.

Enne’s chapters were not my favorite. I found her personality in turn too petulant for my liking and then, wildly, the opposite end too cold. For the first half of the book, I thought that her upbringing as a lady was one thing, but for it to be quite a lot of her personality was too much. There’s also the motivation for her finding Lourdes. Lourdes being her mother is one thing, but in spite of that, I never really felt like there was a connection between Enne. It felt like the motivation of “mother is missing, find mother” was one note and it’s execution in the narrative flat. Enne was a bit whiny about the ordeal when she arrived in New Reynes, but her feelings about the situation, if they can be called that, felt a bit clinical. The words were there, but they were hollow.

The last, say, third of the novel, when Enne’s personality changed, almost could have been agreeable, but then I thought about the time frame that all these changes had happened in. It felt strange that she would go from this sheltered girl to a killer in a matter of a fortnight with next to no qualms.

Levi’s perspective was more interesting. While I felt a bit of deja vu reading him (as I’ll explain in a bit), I also felt more warmth from his character than any other in this book. He was trying so hard to do different things, whether saving himself, protecting the Irons from the effects of Vianca’s machinations, or assisting Enne due in part to a debt owed to Lourdes and due in part to his own part in her difficulties in New Reynes. His orb making talent, too, was a neat bit of magic that I liked imagining and I think would look fabulous on screen.

I had some debate with myself about whether fans of Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows series would Ace of Shades because it has some of the same qualities. From the beginning I got the distinct impression that I was reading about the Dregs and Ketterdam again, but not in the same ruthless manner. The gang of criminals that weren’t quite as dastardly as criminals are “supposed” to be that we all fall in love with, the city riddled with crime that the head of the gang has wrapped around his finger. When I mentioned previously having a dejavu feeling, it was regarding how Levi could very well have been a cousin of Kaz Brekker, but he didn’t have the ruthlessness that made Kaz such a daring and engaging character in addition to his other rich characteristics.

The secondary cast wasn’t particularly memorable, so I can’t say that there’s much to comment on except to say that I wish there’d been more detail put into them that would’ve made them pop off the page. There were a couple that I thought might have been good to get to know, but by the end I was shrugging and finding myself saying, “meh”.

Amanda Foody did take a different tact and added some cool elements with blood talents and split talents, abilities that everyone is born with to varying degrees. It was confusing at first because I was unclear as to how these talents manifested themselves in people, how middle and surnames were given if you weren’t sure which talent was going to be stronger until the child was older, etc. Even at the end I’m not clear on how the magical system works.

The pacing is the final thing I’ll mention that was a downer. The best thing I can compare it to is this: the book is set up by, as well as alternating perspectives, days rather than chapters (i.e. Day 1, Day 2, etc.). As I was reading, it was as if I could feel every day passing. Nine days, 216 hours, and being away for every one of them; it was not a fun time.

Ace of Shades was, in the end, a book full of potential. It had a setting that was familiar, but with twist and a magic system that could have made it new and dazzling. However, characters and plot devices too similar to other, more well written stories and dry, ill paced writing brought it down and made for a disappointing read.

 

About the Author

 

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Amanda Foody has always considered imagination to be our best attempt at magic. After spending her childhood longing to attend Hogwarts, she now loves to write about immersive settings and characters grappling with insurmountable destinies. She holds a Masters in Accountancy from Villanova University, and a Bachelors of Arts in English Literature from the College of William and Mary. Currently, she works as a tax accountant in Philadelphia, PA, surrounded by her many siblings and many books.

DAUGHTER OF THE BURNING CITY is her first novel. Her second, ACE OF SHADES, will follow in April 2018.

 

Giveaway

  • Prize:5 copies of ACE OF SHADES (The Shadow Game #1) by Amanda Foody
  • Open US/Canda Only
  • Starts: 3/26
  • Ends: 4/19

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Tour Schedule

 

March 26

Pink Polka Dot Books– Welcome Post

March 27

Luchia Houghton Blog– Meet the Characters

March 28

Bookish In Bed– Review & Favorite Quotes

March 29

March 30

Keep Reading Forward– Meet the Characters

April 2

Pooled Ink– Official Book Playlist

April 3

Vicky Who Reads– Review/ Gif Story

April 4

The Book Maiden– Review & Favorite Quotes

April 5

Here’s to Happy Endings– Review & Book Style

April 6

Kourtni Reads– Review
Books of a Shy Girl– Official Book Playlist

April 9

The Cursed Books– Guest Post
Books & Babbles– 10 List

April 10

Mama Reads Blog– Playlist
Storybook Slayer– Creative Post

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss as part of a blog tour in exchange for an honest review.

All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Review: Bus! Stop! by James Yang

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Amazon  –  Barnes & Noble  –  Book Depository  –  Goodreads

Published: 13 March 2018

Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers

Category: Picture Book/Transport

Few words are needed in this inventive and fun transportation adventure!

“Bus! Stop!” a boy yells, as his bus pulls away one early morning. He must wait for the next bus. But the next one does NOT look like his bus at all. And neither does the next one, or the next. At first, the boy is annoyed. Then he is puzzled. Then intrigued. The other buses look much more interesting than his bus. Maybe he should try a different bus after all, and he’s glad he does!

Here is a book with few words and delightful illustrations that shows very young children that trying something a little different can be a lot of fun.

Rating:  3 Stars

Always on the look out for a good picture book to share with my son, I accepted this one to review because he’s been interested in vehicles lately. While the title of this book might lead you to believe that you’ll only see buses, there are such a variety that the art is never boring.

I’m not sure the book achieves what the summary says it set out to do. Trying new things can be fun and I’m sure the child in this book might have had fun, but there’s no indication of his experience on the bus he does eventually choose (which is not is). His getting on this bus by himself, after spending all day looking at the various bus-like vehicles that cross his path, was a bit worrisome because it seemed like a problem waiting to happen in some form or another.

The simplistic dialogue and the art work make the book a quick story for story or bedtime, though I’d hope that any person reading this to a young child would explain the bad idea that is getting into an unfamiliar vehicle by yourself late at night when you’re a child.

 

 

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.