Spoiler-Free Review: Evading The Dark by E.M. Rinaldi
Evading The Dark (The Cross Chronicles #1) by E.M. Rinaldi
Genre(s) - YA Paranormal, Fantasy
Synopsis: High school sucks. It doesn’t matter who you ask; jock, cheerleader, computer nerd, or band geek, they will all say the same thing: It’s a nightmare. But Casey is still wondering how she got the short end of the stick. Just a Sophomore at the prestigious Luthos Academy for Magical Beings, Casey already knows more about heartache and fear than any almost-sixteen-year-old should. Orphaned and left to be raised by the Academy, she spends her days training to become a Guardian, but that dream is looking dimmer with every day that passes. Unlike the wand-waving heroines in all her favorite books, Witches in her world don’t cast spells, they are born wielding the power of nature: water, fire, earth, or air; powers Casey never developed. She’ll be lucky if they even allow her to take her final exams.
She is top of her training class, but that doesn’t keep her from being looked down upon by every other being at her school. All Casey wants is to be given a chance, instead she finds the only life she’s ever known targeted by an unfathomable evil. Thrust into the center of an age-old prophecy, a war is coming with Casey at the reins.
Will relying on her hard earned training be enough for her to make it out alive?
*I was sent a copy of this book in trade of an honest review. All opinions are honest and my own* Thanks to the author for providing me with a copy!
I was hesitant about reviewing this book. I've always leaned more towards Contemporaries as I have a kind of hit or miss relationship with paranormal and fantasy books/series. I decided to bite the bullet and agree to reading and reviewing this one though and I'm so glad I did.
Straight away you're thrown into the story, following Casey, who has ended up at the Luthos Academy, despite her lack of powers. You see a key moment of her childhood, before the academy, and then it switches to her as a teenager. I was surprised about how quickly you begin to pick up information and learn about Casey in the story, but it was a good thing as it makes the story so much easier to get into.
I knew from the start I was going to like Casey. She's kind of a misfit at the academy. Due to her not yet discovering her powers or talent, her fellow students exclude her and she goes through some terrible bullying from one student in particular. Despite all this, she has her best friend Cedric beside her and her teacher and I guess carer, Eli to look over her. She's getting through the best she can but nothing ever seems to go that great for her.
Across the country, other academies are faced with an emergency when students begin to disappear, creating fear in the Luthos academy. This is where Casey's story starts, I guess.
I said above, but with Evading The Dark, you're pretty much thrown straight into the story and I loved this. Within those first couple of pages you get a glimpse of who Casey is and get a real grasp for the story. From that point I couldn't stop reading.
With previous fantasy/paranormal books that I've read, I normally struggle to get into the story. mainly due to the writing style. It was the exact opposite for me with Evading the Dark. Rinaldi's writing reads so easily and you get swept along and only realise how much time has passed when you manage to break yourself away from Casey and the Academy, which I'm warning you now is quite difficult to do once you really get into the story.
Just like with some other popular fantasy series, it does feature a magic school/academy and I was expecting it to stick to some of the tropes and ideas that go along with this, but the Academy is pretty different. It's so much easier to understand and relate to I guess. It's like a normal high school with the way the students communicate with each other and the relationships etc. I'm glad Rinaldi included Casey and her being bullied into the story because not only does it show a vulnerable side to Casey, but it's also relatable for so many young teens.
Evading The Dark is also completely full of twists and turns. When I started the story, I could never predict the way it would end. Once I was into the story, it was so easy to be swept along and I loved being so wrapped up in what was happening that I kind of forgot about the real world around me. I haven't had that from a book in quite a while and loved getting the escapism that I needed.
I did find one or two scenes a bit cringy, surrounding a relationship that develops in the story, but other than that I can't really fault it. I loved the characters (especially Falon and Casey), the pacing, the story, the writing, so basically everything about the book.
Overall, I loved Evading The Dark and definitely need to get my hands on the sequel to satisfy my need for more of this world, especially after that cliffhanger. It's definitely opened my eyes to maybe trying more paranormal and fantasy in the future (leave recommendations below). I'd definitely recommend giving this series a go. It'd especially be good if you're reading paranormal or fantasy for the first time as it is really easy to get into.
Rate - 4.5/5
GR - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26781995-evading-the-dark?ac=1&from_search=true
BD - https://www.bookdepository.com/Evading-Dark-E-M-Rinaldi/9781987699999?ref=grid-view&qid=1533760877099&sr=1-1
Spoiler-Free Review: Dear You by Derra Nicole Sabo
Dear You by Derra Nicole Sabo
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Dear You is a lovely invitation into Derra Nicole Sabo's world.
A wonderful opportunity borne out of a complex and challenging experience, to recall the good times with loved ones, the chance to express the rarely spoken profound specifics of what binds friends and family together.
This is a heart-warming collection of letters to loved ones that explores the wonder, frailty and extraordinary qualities of friendship, family, love and life.
*I was sent a copy of this book for review as part of a blog tour. All opinions are honest and my own*
I'm just going to start this off by saying I loved this. It's the first read in a while, where I just feel so connected to what is being told. Dear You is a collection of letters, written by Derra to family and friends, narrating parts of her life. In such a short space of time, you learn so much about Derra and what she has been through, both the good and the bad and more importantly, how she has come back from the bad.
I loved the format of this and the personal feel to each letter. It just felt like such a unique experience and almost felt like I was joined with Derra, following her journey for real.
Each letter told a new part of Derra's story, it was a new connection to Derra. I felt like I had known her all my life, but also that I hadn't.
The depth to each letter, reading all these glimpses of events that happened to Derra made me so emotional. I never really cry at books, but everything about this one seemed to make me feel such strong emotions and I felt I had a real connection to Derra, despite having next to no similarities.
There were some hard bits to get through in this story and I only managed to get through them because I realised that for me to be reading about them, meant they had actually happened to Derra, It was like a rollercoaster of emotions reading letter to letter, but one I'm glad I went on.
I loved the relationship Derra has with her father, with the water fights etc. It was such a cute father, daughter relationship and made me smile for them. I also enjoyed reading about the letters to both her sister and her brother, showing the sibling relationships that I can relate to very much. It seemed to push this really important family dynamic and it was interesting to see this from a different persons' perspective.
Along the way there are some quite motivational and inspiring moments as we read about the problems Derra has overcome and how she has managed to become such a strong person. I really loved these bits and felt I could relate so much.
Overall, I'm really glad I got the chance to read and review such an important, but also personal book. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone, but please keep in mind this book does cover some dark topics and these may be sensitive to some people. I'm definitely going to keep an eye out for more work from Derra and hope it can have as much of an affect as Dear You had on me.
Rate - 4.25/5
GR - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35910544-dear-you?ac=1&from_search=true
My name is Derra Sabo, I am a Cali native who stumbled into writing as a way to escape the daily life as the freak born with a rare disorder. That disorder being Epidermolysis Bullosa, or EB for a non tongue twisted pronunciation. I was the kid who was never meant to live past the age of 14 and here I am 33 years young. The best way to describe my life is nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. My family and friends are my everything. My scars and past demons are my inspiration to never give up. While most of my insomnia nights are filled with writing and tunes vibrating through my beats headphones, my days are my time to spend with my squad, cooking, movies, reading, blogging and spending as much time as possible at the beach. I'm the extroverted introvert who loves a good sunset and a caramel macchiato.
On Facebook: www.facebook.com/hazeleyes1984
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/derra_nic
On Instagram: @derra_nic
On B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dear-you-derra-nicole-sabo/1127119268?ean=9781786293077
On Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Dear-You-Derra-Nicole-Sabo/dp/1786293072
Spoiler-Free Review: How I Magically Messed Up My Life In 4 Freakin' Days by Megan O'Russell
How I Magically Messed Up My Life In 4 Freakin' Days(The Tale of Byrant Adams #1) by Megan O'Russell
Date Started - 13/10/2017
Date Finished - 1/1/2018
Genre(s) - YA Fantasy, Magic
Synopsis: Ever wanted to grow a five-story tall flower in central park? How about fight a deadly battle under the subway tunnels of Manhattan?
Don't worry. I never wanted to either. But if you're ever being chased by ladies made of mist and you have to save the girl with the sparkly eyes you've never had the guts to say actual words to, there's an app for that.
I found a magic cell phone, opened an app I shouldn't have, burned down the set shop for my high school's theatre, and it was all downhill from there. A drag queen seer who lives under a bridge is my only hope for keeping my mom alive, and I think the cops might be after me for destroying my dad's penthouse.
But it gets better! Now I'm stuck being the sidekick to the guy who got me into this mess in the first place. It'll be a miracle if I survive until Monday.
*Requested for review. All opinions are my own and honest*
I was meant to have reviewed this for November, but things sort of piled up and I just didn't really get to properly read it until December. I just didn't have much time to read it, so that's why it took me nearly 4 months to read it. Sorry!
I did read the synopsis before I requested the book, but by the time I started it I'd sort of forgotten what it was about. I knew it was a fantasy and something to do with magic, but that was about it.
Starting it, I did struggle to get in to the story at first, so I did put it down for a couple of days because I was already starting to get into a reading slump and I didn't want to make it worse. I came back to after a week or so and tried it again and read further. The second time round, it pulled me in and I really got a feel for the voice of Bryant, the main character.
It took me a while to understand the characters and the setting, but once I did I was able to really get into he storyline. it took a couple of chapters before the action started and the story began to start. Once Eric was introduced and this mad chase began to take place, I was hooked. From here we got to learn the magic world that is featured in this story and the rivalries. I was completely invested into this new world and I loved getting to learn new things.
As the story developed, the pacing was brilliant. It matched the events perfectly and there seemed to never be a dull moment and when the action really started, I found myself on the edge of my seat.
I liked most of the characters, especially Elizabeth. She wasn't just the pretty girl, she was smart and brave too. She took charge of some of the situations well and overall she seemed like a good example of a strong female character. Bryant had a bit of a crush on her to begin with and I enjoyed seeing him turn into this nervous awkward character around her. You got to see a lot of character development between the pair as they went on this adventure together.
I also really loved Devon, Bryant's best mate, and his humour. I did find it a bit tedious and annoying when Devon and Bryant had some arguments over Elizabeth and her relationship status. Not going to say too much more as I don't want to spoil it, but it just annoyed me as it was like what Elizabeth thought or wanted didn't matter. This did change later and I was glad to see her making her own decisions.
Eric also played a huge part in the story, especially from the middle on to the end. I loved his snarky comments towards Devon and vice versa. Their relationship or lack of was brilliant to read and I found myself laughing out loud at certain comments between the two. Eric was just quite a humorous character and I really enjoyed his part in the development of the story.
Towards the end there are some action scenes that I thought were just brilliantly done by Megan. They were fast and action-packed and they broke up the bits in between well. I was sat on the edge of my seat through some of the tenser ones and I found myself rushing through the pages, desperate to know what was going to happen.
The ending closed up the story well, but left it open to continue easily with the rest of the series to come in the future. I really enjoyed this first instalment and getting to know this new world and set of characters.
Overall, it took me a bit to get into, but from the middle onwards I was completely hooked and sped through the story through December. I'm looking forward to seeing what Megan will bring to this series in the future and I can't wait to see what will happen to Bryant, Devon, Elizabeth and Eric next.
Rate - 3.75/5
GR - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32231955-how-i-magically-messed-up-my-life-in-four-freakin-days?ac=1&from_search=true
BD - https://www.bookdepository.com/How-I-Magically-Messed-Up-My-Life-in-Four-Freakin-Days-Megan-ORussell/9781976416293
AMAZON - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Magically-Messed-Life-Four-Freakin/dp/1976416299/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1517682144&sr=8-1&keywords=how+i+magically+messed+up+my+life+in+4+freakin%27+days+by+megan+O%27russell
Book Blitz: Grown Ups’ Crusade by Audrey Greathouse (Excerpt & Giveaway)
Today I'm posting as part of the book blitz for The Grown-Ups' Crusade by Audrey Greathouse. The Grown-Ups' Crusade is the third book in the YA Fantasy/Fairy Tales series, The Neverland Wars. This title was released earlier this week on the 27th March.
To celebrate the release, I get to share an excerpt as well as an international giveaway.
Carry on reading!
The Grown Ups’ Crusade
by Audrey Greathouse
(The Neverland Wars #3)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: March 27th 2018
Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Young Adult
Gwen has returned to Neverland with Peter Pan and the lost children, but this time, the adults are following close behind.The Anomalous Activity Department has plans to finally conquer Neverland by bringing the final battle to the vulnerable island. The children will have to rally fairies, mermaids, and allies from other magical realms to stand a chance against the shadow-casting army of grown-ups heading for them.
The black-coat soldiers are far from their only problem. Lasiandra is missing. No one has seen her since Gwen left her at the lakeside with Jay, and the mermaids searching have found only grave omens in the stars. With the island on the cusp of a war that threatens to strip the land of its magic, the last thing Peter and Gwen need is the ancient flagship that appears on their horizon, sailing pirates straight for their shores.
When the battle begins amid old and new enemies, Gwen’s maturity will be a double-edged sword. She will either grow stronger or grow up… maybe both.
Audrey Greathouse is a lost child in a perpetual quest for her own post-adolescent Neverland. Originally from Seattle, she earned her English B.A. from Southern New Hampshire University's online program while backpacking around the west coast and pretending to be a student at Stanford. A pianist, circus artist, fire-eater, street mime, swing dancer, and novelist, Audrey wears many hats wherever she is. She has grand hopes for the future which include publishing more books and owning a crockpot. You can find her at audreygreathouse.com
Excerpt:Excerpt 1: A Mermaid Goes Missing
Gwen gathered fruit as fast as she could in the dim of the early morning. Mangos and marionberries, peaches and papayas, star fruit and oranges… she shoved the land fruit into her bag, never breaking pace as she trekked weast across the island. She needed to get to the coast and back before any fairies awoke. The entire fairy population had indulged in joyful revelries the night before, celebrating some amorphous holiday unknown to humans. The dawn would find even the most temperate fairies still lolling in drunken dreams and merry slumber. But dawn had not yet arrived and not everyone slept; stars still speckled the bluing sky and certain inhabitants of Neverland were still speaking with them.
Tromping over vines and fungi, Gwen bushwhacked her way through the forest-jungle on anxious feet. The mermaids had not been helpful as of late.
The new mermaids she’d met wouldn’t even give her their names. Eglantine and Cynara had been snide at best, and contemptuous at worst. Gwen wouldn’t have minded it—she didn’t care what mermaids thought of her—but she felt certain they knew what had happened to Lasiandra and refused to explain. This drowsy morning offered her a chance to tempt them with an overabundance of land fruit without anyone noticing. She would persuade the mermaids to cede their starry secrets and hurry back before any stray fairy or curious child found her at the incriminating lagoon.
Gwen reached the wood’s end and hurried down the steps carved into the chalky cliff face. She moved so fast she half-flew toward the slender figures half-submerged in the lagoon.
Gwen had not seen Lasiandra since the night she escaped with Jay from Lake Agana. In the chaos, she had never retrieved the scale from Lasiandra, and thus lost her ability to call her friend. She hadn’t worried about it—until days and weeks passed without sight of her at the lagoon.
“What business have you with Lasiandra?” Eglantine had demanded last time Gwen visited. “What matter is she to you?”
“I’m just worried about her,” Gwen had answered, innocent and truthful. The region’s entire Anomalous Activity Department had been on duty that night, trying to apprehend lost children and capture whatever magic followed them. Lasiandra’s disappearance was ominous, to say the least. A few fairies had not returned from the mission, and there was no question of what fate had befallen them.
In response, the mermaids had only mocked her, contorting their melodic voices into cackling imitations of her land-dwelling accent, “I’m just worried about her.”
“Worried about her! Concerned about a mermaid?” Cynara had declared, insulted and amused. “We are not of such a feeble nature as you landmaids. Mermaids have more strength in a single scale than you have in all of your heart. You need not worry for a mermaid, girl. We can take care of ourselves.”
Gwen had wanted to believe her.
GIVEAWAY - ENDS APRIL 5TH
Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)
Hello and welcome to SprinkleOfBooks! I'm Beth and on this blog I share a mix of all my bookish thoughts through reviews, book tours and hauls. Have fun!