Diamond City Book Review

Book: Diamond City
Author: Francesca Flores
Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher, Wednesday Books, for providing me with an ARC.

Wow, wow! Where do I even start with this book? I really am liking what Wednesday Books has been putting out there. This gave me Six of Crows and Throne of Glass vibes. I mean we have a dark city ruled by thugs and assassins.  Yes, please! I know a lot of people are saying that this is just another assassin book and really doesn’t change anything. So what? I mean, those of us who love assassin books are really going to love this one.

I was sucked in right away by the world. We have a dark city where people live in fear. There is the Diamond Guard who hunts people down for practicing their faith and assassins who kill those who get in other people’s way. We get to see what it is like to be trapped in an endless cycle of the street life and poverty and the effects of it. A lot of people in this book live the life they do because of what society has handed them in life. This is so true in our current world. I mean, stop and think about it for a second. Francesca does an amazing job at painting the picture. Once you understand this book’s world, then it allows you to understand the characters a lot.

So, let’s talk about the characters.

We have Aina, a street rat turned assassin who has developed a rather unhealthy obsession over her boss, Kohl. In her eyes, he is the hero. After all, he is the one who plucked her from the streets and gave her the life she has. Throughout the entire book, we see her struggle with this and how she refuses to let him go. She is blinded by this worship to see that he is the one who is giving her a lot of pain. I know a lot of people are going to struggle with this aspect of the book. I want you to put yourself in Aina’s shoes. Her parents were killed by the government for their religion and she was shoved aside by society. Kohl steps in and gives her this better life.  He gives what she thinks is everything and is unable to turn away from him. However, she does have dreams and wants to venture out, but, yet, he keeps entering the picture. As the story goes on, we get to see her struggle with this and we get into not just her mind, but head. Francesca really has created this beautiful character in Aina and shows us why she is the way she is. I really can’t go into much more detail on her without spoiling the story anymore than I already have.

Even the side characters are just wow. They all fit so great into this world that Francesca has created. We get to see just truly how society has transformed people into what they are and how life isn’t always pretty. We get to see just how messed up the world can actually be. We get to see just how different levels of social classes affect each other and how the actions of one person, one character can change the world for either the good or the bad.

I love the world and the way everything was presented in this book. We have a lot of action, a very dark world, and great characters. I love how everything just fits and makes sense. Plus, this is a great reflection as to the world we live in. I will say that is it books like that this that make me think that YA still has a chance-after all, YA was not very kind to me in 2019. It is books like this that draws readers in and makes them want to keep going.

Anyway, this book comes out very soon-January 28, 2020.

Youtube: https://youtu.be/ni-3dMjVQbo

New Youtube Video: New Year Book Tag 2020

New Youtube Video:
Link: https://youtu.be/8QEwL2FlKJU
Description:
This week I am doing the New Year Book Tag. Note: Titles mentioned in this video are not suitable for children under the age of thirteen (or really any thirteen year old).

Book Previews Coming Soon:  More to be added! Check back for these videos!

Subscribe, like, comment…You know what to do. Let me know what you want to see and I will try to make it happen.

My Thoughts:

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Publishers, authors, and companies-I do take requests for reviews, interviews, product endorsements, and etc. Check on my livejournal page for more information as to what content I am looking for. Dates do fill up quickly-I only like to feature on thing a day so you aren’t overlooked.

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Blood Heir Book Review

Book: Blood Heir
Author: Amelie Wen Zhao
Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars

This is by far one of the most talked about books of 2019 and not for the best. I wasn’t honestly interested in this book until everything went down. Now, I am glad that I read it and can say that I really enjoyed it.

To those of you who thought it would be cool to bully this author, I will not be reading your books. I honestly didn’t pick up on anything racist in this book. To me, this is a Russian book and I picked the characters as being Russian or Asian. I really don’t get what the big deal was about this. I’m not saying that people of colour are not opposed in this world or anything like that, but I’m saying is that there was nothing in this book that made the characters seem African-which was what the big blow up was about. There are a ton of books out there that have a lot of hatred in them and, yet, they were not/are not targeted. Did the author try to fix it? Yeah. Did it really need to be fixed? I honestly don’t think so. What I guess I am getting at is that these people made the YA community really unwelcoming to Amelie and that is not what we are about. I personally think that if it’s that big of a deal to you, then stop reading the book, and say it wasn’t for you-don’t attack the author. If you want to grow as a person, you are going to have read things that might put you a little out of your zone, but you will have some talking points. To attack a person like Amelie was just isn’t cool and it isn’t right.

There I’m done with that….

I personally really enjoyed this story. For some reason, I have been reading a lot of books based on Russia. I don’t know why, but there is just something special about the way a book is presented when it’s set in Russia. Okay, it just has a different feel to it. I really enjoyed the magic system and how the class system was set up. I kind of got Hunger Games vibes from it for some reason and I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing. I love it whenever one group stands up and says that this isn’t right. Plus, we are on the run and we have great bonds of friendships. Yeah, this one had a little bit of everything that I personally enjoy in a story.

I love how dark the story is. I mean this is hardcore stuff going on here. We have people stacked up against each other. We have opposed magic and people. Plus, everything is kind of in that grey zone. We have characters who also fall into that, but I think everyone is pretty decent at heart. I mean, it’s deep and chilling stuff here (I can’t say too much because of spoilers.). Let me put it this way, if you want to feel something and get sucked into what is going on, pick up this book. Amelie does such a great job at setting the tone for this book.
The writing isn’t prefect or anything. It’s part of the reason why I gave this a four star instead of a five. It’s good and it does suck you in, but there was just a few things that made me filch. You are going to be able to tell that this is the author’s first book and it’s fine. Just the say that some things were structured just kind of made me roll my eyes. Now, this is a very well done book. You are going to feel something when you pick this up. There is just something about the way it is presented that will have you wanting to read more. It is these kinds of moments that still make me have hope for young adult.

Overall, I really did enjoy this one and I can’t wait to read the next book. I do recommend this for older teens though.

The Girls with No Names Book Review

Book: The Girls with No Names
Author: Serena Burdick
Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars

I would like to thank the publisher, Park Row, for sending me an ARC.

So, I was just offered an ARC last week for this title and I almost didn’t agree to it. I mean, it comes out next week  and I like to have my reviews up early. I’m actually glad that I ended up talking it. This book is one of those that is going to hit you in all of the right places and make you really question society. This is one of those books that make you really step back and think about how society attempts to mold people and also gives you a look into what used to happen to those who didn’t follow its’ rules.

The book has a lot of slow parts. Serena goes through and tells us each of the girls backstories. I really liked it, because it shows why they were locked up in the first place. The actual story really doesn’t start until at least a quarter of the way through. I know a lot of you are going to put this book down for that reason, but give it a chance. This really is one of those books where you need that slow start in order to actually build the story. Without all of those so called boring parts at the start, you really wouldn’t have much of a story to go on.

The characters were pretty good. However, they aren’t really going to stick out in my mind. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy them, but they are missing that punch to make them memorable. Plus, we did have a lot of them and I found it hard to keep more than one of them straight. In my defense, the names are very close. I did enjoy getting to see them struggle and how they grew. That’s what I really loved about this book was how the characters changed.

The writing style was pretty good. It kept me engaged and wanting to read more. It’s pretty easy to get into and is pretty straight forward. I do have to admit that I didn’t think it was as emotional as it could have been, but it did get the job done.

Overall, this book is worth the read-espcially if you like more historical pieces or literature. There is no romance, so if that’s not for you, then yeah.

This book comes out on January 7, 2020.

Youtube: https://youtu.be/VEQskubqhi0

The Final Empire Book Review

Book: The Final Empire
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

Yes, yes, yes I am fully aware that I am one of the last people out there to give Brandon Sanderson a try. In my defense, my bookstore just started stocking his books and my library hasn’t even heard of him. So, a lot of people have been talking about Mistborn and, yes, they are right: it’s well worth your time. I really wish that I had found about this series earlier so I could read them as they were coming out; I guess one of the perks of being late to the game means that I can binge them.

I really loved the magic system. It really is unlike anything that I have ever read. I feel like I understand it, but, yet, I think I need to do a reread to fully grasp it. I’m not saying that it’s a difficult magic system; I’m just saying that it’s pretty complex and to fully appreciate it, I need a second read. There was just something about the magic system that sucked in and I could tell right away that this was going to be great. Plus, we are using magic to bring down an evil ruler. Come on! Who’s not up for that?

Plus, this has one of my favourite clichés, I guess if that’s what you want to call, in place. I love it whenever a street rat is taken from the streets and turned into something more. In this case, it’s Vin-who is a Mistborn. I love seeing that journey that the characters have to go on in order to become what they were born to to-I guess for a lack of a better word. We get to see her character change overtime and grow.

Speaking of characters. Yeah, we have a great cast of characters. I love how we do have a rather large cast of them and how each and every one of them is written. We get to see how very different people can be, but, yet, when they are working together something wonderful can happen. I love how these characters will do anything for each other and how hard they work toward a goal. This is what I love about fantasy. I would rather have a good friendship over a romance. Now, there is a romance  here, but it’s one that I like. Like with the characters, I really enjoyed getting to see that romance come out.

The writing is also very good. I’m not saying that Sanderson is a great writer or anything like that. He does, however, have this way of pulling you in and making it very hard to get away. Does this mean his style is prefect? No, but it means that he has something in place to make you care about what he is writing. I love how he weaves everything together and has just the right amount of stuff in the right places. When someone does that, you know it is going to be a good read.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I can’t wait to see where the next books go.

How To Build A Heart Book Review

Book: How To Build A Heart
Author: Maria Padian
Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars

I would like to thank the publisher, Algonquin Young Readers, for sending me an ARC.

So, this book has been on my radar for about a year now. The publisher has been talking about this book with me saying that they think that I will really enjoy it. They were right. Yes, I do normally read more fantasy than anything, but I do like hard hitting contemporaries and this is just what I’m looking for. Whenever I’m reading a contemporary I do expect an easier read, but I also want to get something out of it. Yes, I do like cute reads and there was a lot of cute parts here, but I want it to mean something. This book gave me that punch that I am looking for. We have a super cute romance, but we also have real issues at hand here.

So this follows Izzy who is a high school girl pretty much from the wrong part of town. She attends a Catholic school where everyone seems to have everything. She keeps saying that she’s not ashamed of who she is, but she does seem to hide it. I can see a lot of people being upset by this, but she is a sixteen year old girl surrounded by rich people. Their world seems so prefect and hers doesn’t. I mean, think back to when you were sixteen. I bet you may have tried to do something similar if you were in her shoes.

I really enjoyed the family element of this story. Izzy is multi-cultural. Her mother is from Puerto Rico and her dad is from the south. Not only do we have that going on, but her father was killed in the service. So now she is being raised in a single parent home. They really don’t see anything of their other family members so they are pretty much on their own. They are picked for Habit for Humanity, which is supposed to be a good thing. However, Izzy doesn’t want word to get about this. I can see a lot of people labeling Izzy as a brat about this, but just remember what we know about her character. Also think back to when you were a teenager.

I just really love the strength and seeing how the characters bond throughout the book. To me, it’s the characters that really made this book. We see how they all need each other and how sometimes you really do have to let go of toxic people. I like how they always manage to find their way back to each other.

Anyway, I really enjoyed this book. This is going to be one of my blog’s spotlight books in January, so check it out.
So, this book comes out on January 28, 2020.

Youtube: https://youtu.be/fRc8rNMXMqE

Good Girls Lie Sneak Peek

Hello all! Today I am super excited to be teaming up with Mira Books to bring you a little sneak peek of Good Girls Lie by JT Ellison. This gripping thriller has all the Pretty Little Liar vibes you love, plus a little bit of boarding school secrets-okay, maybe just a little bit. Even though this reads like a young adult and has high school age characters, I recommend this title for older readers. Some of the content is not suitable for younger readers.
Anyway, this title will be released on December 30, 2019.
Without any more delay, here we go…


The girl’s body dangles from the tall iron gates guarding the school’s entrance. A closer examination shows the ends of a red silk tie peeking out like a cardinal on a winter branch, forcing her neck into a brutal angle. She wears her graduation robe and multicolored stole as if knowing she’ll never see the achievement. It rained overnight and the thin robe clings to her body, dew sparkling on the edges. The last tendrils of dawn’s fog laze about her legs, which are five feet from the ground.
There is no breeze, no birds singing or squirrels industriously gathering for the long winter ahead, no cars passing along the street, only the cool, misty morning air and the gentle metallic creaking of the gates under the weight of the dead girl. She is suspended in midair, her back to the street, her face hidden behind a curtain of dirty, wet hair, dark from the rains.
Because of the damage to her face, it will take them some time to officially identify her. In the beginning, it isn’t even clear she attends the school, despite wearing The Goode School robes.
But she does.
The fingerprints will prove it. Of course, there are a few people who know exactly who is hanging from the school’s gates. Know who, and know why. But they will never tell. As word spreads of the apparent suicide, The Goode School’s all-female student body begin to gather, paying silent, terrified homage to their fallen compatriot. The gates are closed and locked—as they always are overnight—buttressed on either side by an ivy-covered, ten-foot-high, redbrick wall, but it tapers off into a knee-wall near the back entrance to the school parking lot, and so is escapable by foot. The girls of Goode silently filter out from the dorms, around the end of Old West Hall and Old East Hall to Front Street—the main street of Marchburg, the small Virginia town housing the elite prep school—and take up their positions in front of the gate in a wedge of crying, scared, worried young women who glance over shoulders looking for the one who is missing from their ranks. To reassure themselves this isn’t their friend, their sister, their roommate.
Another girl joins them, but no one notices she comes from the opposite direction, from town. She was not behind the redbrick wall.
Whispers rise from the small crowd, nothing loud enough to be overheard but forming a single question.
Who is it? Who?
A solitary siren pierces the morning air, the sound bleeding upward from the bottom of the hill, a rising crescendo. Someone has called the sheriff.
Goode perches like a gargoyle above the city’s small downtown, huddles behind its ivy-covered brick wall. The campus is flanked by two blocks of restaurants, bars, and necessary shops. The school’s buildings are tied together with trolleys—enclosed glass-and-wood bridges that make it easy for the girls to move from building to building in climate-controlled comfort. It is quiet, dignified, isolated. As are the girls who attend the school; serious, studious. Good. Goode girls are always good. They go on to great things.
The headmistress, or dean, as she prefers to call herself, Ford Julianne Westhaven, great-granddaughter several times removed from the founder of The Goode School, arrives in a flurry, her driver, Rumi, braking the family Bentley with a screech one hundred feet away from the gates. The crowd in the street blocks the car and, for a moment, the sight of the dangling girl. No one stops to think about why the dean might be off campus this early in the morning. Not yet, anyway.
Dean Westhaven rushes out of the back of the dove-gray car and runs to the crowd, her face white, lips pressed firmly together, eyes roving. It is a look all the girls at Goode recognize and shrink from.
The dean’s irritability is legendary, outweighed only by her kindness. It is said she alone approves every application to the school, that she chooses the Goode girls by hand for their intelligence, their character. Her say is final. Absolute. But for all her goodness, her compassion, her kindness, Dean Westhaven has a temper.
She begins to gather the girls into groups, small knots of natural blondes and brunettes and redheads, no fantastical dye allowed. Some shiver in oversize school sweatshirts and running shorts, some are still in their pajamas. The dean is looking for the chick missing from her flock. She casts occasional glances over her shoulder at the grim scene behind her. She, too, is unsure of the identity of the body, or so it seems. Perhaps she simply doesn’t want to acknowledge the truth.
The siren grows to an earsplitting shriek and dies midrange, a soprano newly castrated. The deputies from the sheriff’s office have arrived, the sheriff hot on their heels. Within moments, they cordon off the gates, move the students back, away, away. One approaches the body, cataloging; another begins taking discreet photographs, a macabre paparazzi.
They speak to Dean Westhaven, who quietly, breathlessly, admits she hasn’t approached the body and has no idea who it might be.
She is lying, though. She knows. Of course, she knows. It was inevitable.
The sheriff, six sturdy feet of muscle and sinew, approaches the gate and takes a few shots with his iPhone. He reaches for the foot of the dead girl and slowly, slowly turns her around.
The eerie morning silence is broken by the words, soft and gasping, murmurs moving sinuously through the crowd of girls, their feet shuffling in the morning chill, the fog’s tendrils disappearing from around the posts.
They say her name, an unbroken chain of accusation and misery.
Ash.
Ash.
Ash.

There are truths, and there are lies, and then there is everything that really happened, which is where you and I will meet. My truth is your lie, and my lie is your truth, and there is a vast expanse between them.
Take, for example, Ash Carlisle.
Six feet tall, glowing skin, a sheaf of blond hair in a ponytail. She wears black jeans with rips in the knees and a loose greenand-white plaid button-down with white Adidas Stan Smiths; casual, efficient travel clothes. A waiter delivers a fresh cup of tea to her nest in the British Airways first-class lounge, and when she smiles her thanks, he nearly drops his tray—so pure and happy is that smile. The smile of an innocent.
Or not so innocent? You’ll have to decide that for yourself. Soon.
She’s perfected that smile, by the way. Practiced it. Stood in the dingy bathroom of the flat on Broad Street and watched herself in the mirror, lips pulling back from her teeth over and over and over again until it becomes natural, until her eyes sparkle and deep dimples appear in her cheeks. It is a full-toothed smile, her teeth straight and blindingly white, and when combined with the china-blue eyes and naturally streaked blond hair, it is devastating.
Isn’t this what a sociopath does? Work on their camouflage? What better disguise is there than an open, thankful, gracious smile? It’s an exceptionally dangerous tool, in the right hands.
And how does a young sociopath end up flying first class, you might ask? You’ll be assuming her family comes from money, naturally, but let me assure you, this isn’t the case. Not at all. Not really. Not anymore.
No, the dean of the school sent the ticket.
Why?
Because Ash Carlisle leads a charmed life, and somehow managed to hoodwink the dean into not only paying her way but paying for her studies this first term, as well. A full scholarship, based on her exemplary intellect, prodigy piano playing, and sudden, extraordinary need. Such a shame she lost her parents so unexpectedly.
Yes, Ash is smart. Smart and beautiful and talented, and capable of murder. Don’t think for a moment she’s not. Don’t let her fool you.
Sipping the tea, she types and thinks, stops to chew on a nail, then reads it again. The essay she is obsessing over gained her access to the prestigious, elite school she is shipping off to. The challenges ahead—transferring to a new school, especially one as impossible to get into as The Goode School—frighten her, excite her, make her more determined than ever to get away from Oxford, from her past.
A new life. A new beginning. A new chapter for Ash.
But can you ever escape your past?
Ash sets down the tea, and I can tell she is worrying again about fitting in. Marchburg, Virginia—population five hundred on a normal summer day, which expands to seven hundred once the students arrive for term—is a long way from Oxford, England. She worries about fitting in with the daughters of the DC elite—daughters of senators and congressmen and ambassadors and reporters and the just plain filthy rich. She can rely on her looks—she knows how pretty she is, isn’t vain about it, exactly, but knows she’s more than acceptable on the looks scale—and on her intelligence, her exceptional smarts. Some would say cunning, but I think this is a disservice to her. She’s both booksmart and street-smart, the rarest of combinations. Despite her concerns, if she sticks to the story, she will fit in with no issues.
The only strike against her, of course, is me, but no one knows about me.
No one can ever know about me.

Sword and Pen Book Review

Book: Sword and Pen
Author: Rachel Caine
Rating: 3 Out of 5 Stars

Let me start out by saying that I thought this was a great read, but it wasn’t at all a strong finale. I think that had this not been the finale, I would have given it a much higher rating. However, since this is the last book, I just can’t go any higher. It was missing that epic punch that a final book in a series is supposed to have. Honestly, this kind of felt like the middle of the series and a filler book.

Okay, so moving forward…

I still really enjoy the characters and their bonds of friendship. I like that they come from different backgrounds and ways, but they always still manage to find their way back to each other. I love the deep bonds of friendship that we get in not only this book, but in this series. It is these bonds of friendship that really make this series stand out for me. A lot of young adult books focus so much on the romance, but this one has a deep friendship. Huge hit with me!

I do love the concept of the story. The Great Library has survived and pretty much rules the world. I love it. However, this was supposed to be the final book with the war and all. It happened, don’t get me wrong that, but it didn’t feel like a war. There was no sense of that we might not make it out of this. yes, it was hinted and Rachel did try to deliver, but we all got a sense that it was going to be okay. It didn’t come across the page that this could truly be the end. It felt like Rachel was just going through the motions to get to the end. I guess the final battle was just missing that punch.

Plus, the start of the book was very slow. This book is just over three hundred pages and a hundred of the pages was the buildup. This is a big problem in a book so short. Sure, you can have a big build up-a ton of books do it. However, those other books are much longer. I think that had we have a little bit longer book, then we really would have been able to bring it home.

Overall, it’s not a bad book, but for a finale, yeah, it’s a very weak book.

New Youtube Video: Vlog: Come Christmas Shopping With Me

New Youtube Video:
Link: https://youtu.be/9CtJpx5Q4Ho
Description:
This week I am bringing you to the mall with me. Plus, we’re going to do a little Harry Potter unboxing.

Book Previews Coming Soon:  More to be added! Check back for these videos!

Subscribe, like, comment…You know what to do. Let me know what you want to see and I will try to make it happen.

My Thoughts:

For Business Inquiries: Aphrodite-venus-u.k@hotmail.com
Publishers, authors, and companies-I do take requests for reviews, interviews, product endorsements, and etc. Check on my livejournal page for more information as to what content I am looking for. Dates do fill up quickly-I only like to feature on thing a day so you aren’t overlooked.

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