Impossible: A Book Review

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Title: Impossible

Author: Nancy Werlin

Genre: fantasy

TRIGGER WARNING:

sexual assault

Synopsis

“Lucy is seventeen when she discovers that she is the latest recipient of a generations-old family curse that requires her to complete three seemingly impossible tasks or risk falling into madness and passing the curse on to the next generation. Unlike her ancestors, though, Lucy has family, friends, and other modern resources to help her out. But will it be enough to conquer this age-old evil? “

Lucy is a high school student, an athlete, looking forward to her first school dance. Her dreams are shattered when the date ends in a rape. Lucy winds up pregnant. So far, it’s a pretty straightforward story. However, Lucy is not your average teenager. She’s a victim of a curse. She finds out that she’s got just 9 months to break the curse or another generation will have to suffer the same fate. She’s determined to save herself and her daughter.

I had mixed feelings on this book. I know that some readers objected to Lucy’s reaction to finding out she was pregnant, but I felt that it was a personal matter and her choice made sense given her situation. That doesn’t mean it would be right for everyone or that I thought the author was trying to say that it was right for everyone.

 

 

 

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Caitlin Sangster: Author Interview

28797211 Remember that book I gushed about this fall called Last Star Burning? I was able to get an interview with debut author Caitlin Sangster! I’m so excited to post it here for you.

Here’s the brief synopsis of the book:

Sev is branded with the mark of a criminal—a star burned into her hand. That’s the penalty for being the daughter of the woman who betrayed their entire nation.

Now her mother’s body is displayed above Traitor’s Arch, kept in a paralyzed half sleep by the same plague that destroyed the rest of the world. And as further punishment, Sev is forced to do hard labor to prove that she’s more valuable alive than dead.

When the government blames Sev for a horrific bombing, she must escape the city or face the chopping block. Unimaginable dangers lurk outside the city walls, and Sev’s only hope of survival lies with the most unlikely person—Howl, the chairman’s son. Though he promises to lead her to safety, Howl has secrets, and Sev can’t help but wonder if he knows more about her past—and her mother’s crimes—than he lets on.

But in a hostile world, trust is a luxury. Even when Sev’s life and the lives of everyone she loves may hang in the balance.


Now for the interview!

14926007 (1)Where did you get the idea for this story?
The story itself came from reading a book about encephalitis lethargica during the swine flu awfulness that happened a few years ago. It’s where the disease in LAST STAR BURNING comes from. Weaponized flu that then puts you to sleep and turns you into someone who might accidentally hurt other people sounds so YA dystopia, doesn’t it? That and being the biggest Asia nerd ever. I love Chinese history, and it seemed like the two went well together.
What kind of research did you have to do for this book?
I read books about the sickness, read lots of Cultural Revolution primary sources…have lots of very scary search history about flash bang grenades and how people die. So that’s cool. Mostly it was trying to find the right balance of detail to make the world feel authentic without being an overload and finding the right voice Sev.
Are any of your characters based on people you know? 
No, not really. Maybe someday I’ll kill ex-boyfriends in my books, but it hasn’t come to that yet. (SR – Love this idea!)
What character do you identify with most in this book?
That’s an interesting question. I think I probably am sort of like all of the characters in some ways because they all came out of my head. I wish I were more confident the way Howl is, I wish I were LESS passive the way Sev starts, but I probably sit more in June’s camp and keep my mouth shut.
You ended on a terrible cliffhanger and I kind of hate you. But I also want to know when the next book is coming out?
Awww it isn’t that bad of a cliffhanger is it?  SHATTER THE SUNS (the sequel) comes out in Fall 2017. I feel like I should probably tell you this is a trilogy. It was going to be a duology but we just sold a third book this fall!!!! (can you tell I’m excited?) — Me too! SR
Why do you think teens are interested in dystopian fiction?
I think it’s kind of fun (in a sick sort of way) to think about how you would handle the end of the world as you know it. I think high stress and extreme situations are fun to put yourself into, because you want to be important. Want to be brave enough to face down the awfulness, instead of being the person on the sidelines who gets killed. It gives teens a chance to be heroes in really big ways instead of the smaller steps and smaller victories that normal life has for us. I think it also puts problems in a very black and white context with black and white answers, which is nice because real life isn’t like that.
What advice do you have for writers just starting out or on getting published?
Don’t give up. Be persistent. Rejections are subjective and don’t define the quality of your work. Be ready to revise, especially if you get feedback from a professional. Writing is work.
Can you describe where you work?
I usually write at the library at a table in the middle of the non-fiction section. The fewest weird people who want to strike up a conversation sit there. Not that I’m adverse to talking to people. I’ve just had one too many CIA conspiracy conversations down in the science fiction section to feel like it’s viable working space anymore.
How do you balance your home life and your writing?
I have working hours. My family takes my career seriously, just like any other job, so there are times when I’m home momming, and times when I’m not. It takes a lot of discipline, scheduling and being willing to throw everything up in the air and not care some days 🙂
What experiences did you have as a kid that made you want to become a writer?
My grandfather always told the most amazing stories about his life and about us and his parents. I learned to love stories and to love telling them from him. Also, my whole family is addicted to books. Growing up, I felt like there was something radically wrong if I didn’t have an awesome book stashed somewhere on my person.
What writers do you admire?
Patrick Ness. Patrick Rothfuss. Patrick Symmes. All the Patricks. Also, Maggie Steifvader. Brandon Sanderson. They are all amaaaazing.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I like to run a lot. And dance. And play the guitar.

I’d like to thank Caitlin for taking the time to do this interview. Really, she was just lovely and you should all check out her book!

Book Club This Month

51i-h33m4kL._SY346_ I’m so excited for our book club this month! Partly because I missed last month and I hate it when I miss, partly because it’s our Christmas book exchange, and partly because I picked the book this time! I loved it too. We’re doing Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller. If you haven’t tried this one, you’ve got to give it a read. Alosa is not your average pirate. She’s fierce and in charge. She’s got serious skills and a deadly wit. She definitely meets her match in Riden, first mate on his brother’s ship. The only question is will they both survive to give romance a shot? The ending is a great cliffhanger and I can’t wait for February’s release of the sequel, Daughter of the Siren Queen.

Fateful Impact: A Review

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed remain my own.35556066

Title: Fateful Impact (Crimson Nightmare #1)

Author: Samantha Hoffman

Setting: Future space around Earth

Genre: YA science fiction

Plot Summary:

Cressida has lived on the Olympus Station her entire life, having been born in space just like the last several generations before her. When her class is allowed to take a field trip to a neighboring military station, everyone is excited at the chance to see someplace new. Everyone except for Cress. While her classmates are eager to get a glimpse of life at the most prestigious military academy on this side of the universe, she’s more worried about what lies below. 

When several convicts organize a prison break from the maximum security prison lurking in the bowels of the station, Cress and several of her classmates are taken hostage during the escape. With the convicts in charge of their shuttle, they crash land on an uncharted planet far away from home and even further from any hope of rescue. 

The students band together in an attempt to survive as long as possible, but it won’t be easy. Aside from the convicts who are willing to do anything to survive, they will have to fight starvation, the elements, and the many surprises the planet has to offer. With their lives falling apart, Cress begins to understand that things were never truly as they seemed back home. While lost, she finds a sense of purpose, and it drives her to survive at all costs. 

My review:

It’s not often that we get YA in space. YA fantasy is extremely popular, as is dystopia or contemporary fiction. When I heard this one was set in space, I admit to being curious. Then add in a penal colony, starships, and a crash landing on an alien planet, and that checked all kinds of boxes for me.

As for the characters, I admit I didn’t love Cress at first. She seemed very stuck on herself, but by the time they got to the planet I began seeing another side of her. She begins to take charge from the time they’re kidnapped. I like seeing her strength. Her friendship with Pandora and the other girls was well written. I’m not sure I bought the love interest though. It seemed awfully sudden, just sort of thrown in there at random.

The story is gripping. I raced through it. I’m not sure it all made sense, but it was so much fun that I wasn’t feeling especially picky. It was a killer ending – quite the cliffhanger! So if you pick it up, be prepared. Recommended.

4 Days Till Giveaway!

Don’t forget, you have 3 days left to enter for the chance to win a *SIGNED COPY* of Last Star Burning by Caitlin Sangster! I’m also going to include a LSB bookmark and a postcard from me, Speedy Reader, of a Utah landmark. The entries are pretty low at this point. To remind you, you need to like this post, comment about a page you read, and follow my blog. This giveaway IS international, so it’s open to everyone this time around.

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Win Me!

Here’s what other folks are saying about this book!

“Sevvy’s story is thrilling to get lost in. By the end, readers will be clamoring for more. Incredibly immersive and tightly plotted.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Fast paced and fun. I couldn’t stop turning the pages.” -Dan Wells, New York Times bestselling author of the Partials Sequence

I tried to get an author interview in time for the giveaway, but Caitlin is really busy so I don’t think that will happen. But keep posted! You never know!

The deadline is

——————-November 4———————–

And the giveaway is

—————————————November 5————————————-

 

Good luck to you!

SR

The Demon King: A Review

6342491Title: The Demon King (Seven Realms #1)

Author: Cinda Williams Chima

Genre: YA fantasy

Synopsis:

Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for his family. The only thing of value he has is something he can’t sell—the thick silver cuffs he’s worn since birth. They’re clearly magicked—as he grows, they grow, and he’s never been able to get them off.

One day, Han and his clan friend, Dancer, confront three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to keep him from using it against them. Soon Han learns that the amulet has an evil history—it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece that powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.

Meanwhile, Raisa ana’Marianna, princess heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. She’s just returned to court after three years of freedom in the mountains—riding, hunting, and working the famous clan markets. Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea—the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But her mother has other plans for her—including marriage to a suitor who goes against everything the queendom stands for.

The Seven Realms tremble when the lives of Hans and Raisa collide, fanning the flames of the smoldering war between clans and wizards.

Review:

If that description sounds like a classic fantasy trope, the Farm Boy made good and the Ruler in Exile, well, it is. But that doesn’t mean it’s bad. In fact, this book takes a lot of the tried and true and makes them interesting.

Han also goes by Hunts Alone or Cuffs, depending on whether he’s up the mountains with the clans or down the hill in the city. Either way, he’s a tough, independent guy who’s used to looking over his shoulder. But now, with what seems like half the queendom looking for his blood, it’s time for him to put his childhood behind him and grow up. If he can survive that long.

Princess Raisa also needs to grow up, but this time, I mean she needs to stop being such a spoiled brat. I really wanted to shake her and tell her to quit making such stupid decisions. But then, I’m an adult and she’s only 15. She’s allowed – expected, even – to make a few mistakes like kissing the wrong boy. And wow, does she ever make mistakes.

Both Han and Raisa are caught in political maneuvering beyond their control. Wizards are tired of the tight controls that have been placed on their power. Sure, a wizard nearly caused the end of the world 1000 years ago, but times have changed and they want to be in charge again. Raisa’s mother, the Queen Marianna, is weak and easily influenced, just when a weak ruler would cause the most trouble for the land. Stubborn as Raisa is, no one could call her easily influenced.

Chima has a talent for writing realistic YA characters and relationships you care about. That’s not to say the writing is bad. It’s not. But it’s the plot and the characters that shine. I think she could have done a better job with the setting, at least with the clan. But the city is easy to imagine.

I would definitely recommend this series. I started it on audio and got so aggravated at not being able to follow the story fast enough that I got it on ebook as well. So that should tell you how much I liked it! A little bit predictable at the end, but I’m looking forward to the next book.

Cover Reveal!

So the book in the giveaway is …..

Last Star Burning

by

Caitlin Sangster

 

28797211

Synopsis:

Sev is branded with the mark of a criminal—a star burned into her hand. That’s the penalty for being the daughter of the woman who betrayed their entire nation.

Now her mother’s body is displayed above Traitor’s Arch, kept in a paralyzed half sleep by the same plague that destroyed the rest of the world. And as further punishment, Sev is forced to do hard labor to prove that she’s more valuable alive than dead.

When the government blames Sev for a horrific bombing, she must escape the city or face the chopping block. Unimaginable dangers lurk outside the city walls, and Sev’s only hope of survival lies with the most unlikely person—Howl, the chairman’s son. Though he promises to lead her to safety, Howl has secrets, and Sev can’t help but wonder if he knows more about her past—and her mother’s crimes—than he lets on.

But in a hostile world, trust is a luxury. Even when Sev’s life and the lives of everyone she loves may hang in the balance. 

My brief take:

This one was very suspenseful, full of complex characters and a cliffhanger ending! I just kind of discovered this one by accident, but I really hope you all give it a try. I’ll have a more complete review soon.

Just a reminder, to win you need to comment on my post and follow my blog. Last day to enter is November 3 and I’ll be announcing the winner on November 4. International winners are OK on this one. I might tuck some other goodies in the package, it just depends on the budget! Good luck!

Last Set of Clues!

Open book on wooden table.

October is going fast, which means only a couple of weeks left until I draw the winner for a FREE SIGNED BOOK by a mystery author. I don’t want to drag the mystery out too long, however, so this is the last set of clues I’m going to give you before revealing the book!

 

 

  1. This author grew up in California then moved to China.
  2. This is her first published book.
  3. It’s published by Simon & Schuster.
  4. This is a YA sci fi/dystopia.
  5. This book was just released THIS WEEK!
  6. It’s the first in a series.
  7. It has a little fairy tale twist going on.
  8. This author currently lives in Utah with her family.
  9. The fairy tale twist is from Sleeping Beauty.
  10. The main character is a girl accused of a crime.
  11. There’s a strong Chinese influence in the book.

I hope that’s enough to get you thinking, maybe doing some research online. This book is for sale on Amazon, but it hasn’t hit bestseller status yet. It should! I’m really enjoying it. So suspenseful! I’m dying to see what happens next!

Make your guesses down below and check back on Friday, when I will do the cover reveal!

What are you reading?

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? I had a yucky cold! Which means I got lots of reading and gaming done, but not much else. I did go to Winger’s for burgers with my husband, and that was fun. But otherwise it was a slow weekend.

Now for what I’m reading!

The old opened book is christian Psalter

I guess I got on the Net Galley’s good list at last, because I got everything I asked for! I’m happy and stressed, because now I have even more to catch up on. Plus I got an ARC from Library Thing too. Add all my indy review requests, and I really don’t need to go to the library for a month.

Currently reading:

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This is one of the ones I got from Net Galley. I was SUPER excited at that, because I loved The Martian, book and movie. I’ve already finished it and a review is coming soon. My son, who discovered this author before I did, is really jealous. Let me just describe it briefly as a space version of Ocean’s 11.

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This one is my audio book from Overdrive I’ve been listening to while I sew. It’s about the scientists who discovered aspects of evolution before Charles Darwin. It’s interesting, but not so much that it’s keeping my attention. I find my mind wandering and realize that I missed everything for several minutes.

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This book is a different story. The plot and the characters are so well done that I keep wanting to drive somewhere just so I can listen. This one is on audio book in my car on CD and it’s so good. It’s got magic and wizards and hints of evil plots to steal the throne. I think something bad is about to happen and I can’t wait!

I’m also reading a CERTAIN BOOK that I can’t name because it’s SECRET! It’s about to be revealed on Friday and then you’ll have plenty of time to tell your friends to follow my blog and have a chance to win a SIGNED COPY. But it’s really exciting, with an orphan MC, an oppressive government, and a fairy tale twist.

Have you read any of these? What did you think? What are you reading? Comment below and let me know.

More Clues!

Open book on wooden table.
Open book on wooden table. Knowledge and education conceptual image.

Are you getting excited for the giveaway? I am! Remember, this is for a free signed copy of a hardback book, along with a bookmark and maybe a few other related goodies. Ready for more clues?

Open book on wooden table.
Open book on wooden table. Knowledge and education conceptual image.
  1. This author grew up in California then moved to China.
  2. This is her first published book.
  3. It’s published by Simon & Schuster.
  4. This is a YA sci fi/dystopia.
  5. This book was just released THIS WEEK!
  6. It’s the first in a series.
  7. It has a little fairy tale twist going on.

I haven’t finished it yet, so I can’t let too many clues about the plot drop. But don’t worry, I hear all kinds of great things about it so I think you’ll love it. More clues soon!