The Electric Heir by Victoria Lee

GoodReads Summary:
Six months after Noam Álvaro helped overthrow the despotic government of Carolinia, the Atlantians have gained citizenship, and Lehrer is chancellor. But despite Lehrer’s image as a progressive humanitarian leader, Noam has finally remembered the truth that Lehrer forced him to forget—that Lehrer is responsible for the deadly magic infection that ravaged Carolinia.
Now that Noam remembers the full extent of Lehrer’s crimes, he’s determined to use his influence with Lehrer to bring him down for good. If Lehrer realizes Noam has evaded his control—and that Noam is plotting against him—Noam’s dead. So he must keep playing the role of Lehrer’s protégé until he can steal enough vaccine to stop the virus.
Meanwhile Dara Shirazi returns to Carolinia, his magic stripped by the same vaccine that saved his life. But Dara’s attempts to ally himself with Noam prove that their methods for defeating Lehrer are violently misaligned. Dara fears Noam has only gotten himself more deeply entangled in Lehrer’s web. Sooner or later, playing double agent might cost Noam his life.
The Electric Heir (Feverwake #2)Review:
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me this eARC in exchange for an honest review. So, if you read my review for the first book you’ll remember that I said I was bored for the first chunk of it. That was definitely not the case with The Electric Heir. This book felt like almost nonstop action. There was so much going on that it was almost hard to follow at times.
We get two perspectives this time. One is Noam’s and the other is Dara’s. Dara is still my favorite and must be protected at all costs. I believe I mentioned in my review for the first book that I could really relate to him and that’s why I liked him so much. I too have struggled with alcohol and still do. So the parts with Dara trying to stay away from drinking even though he literally lived above a bar hit me hard. I know what he was feeling and I really just love him. I felt betrayed by Noam when he did, I was feeling all of the things right beside him. I think he has incredible growth in this book and I’ll love him forever.
Now, Noam. Honestly…I hated him. I was just as pissed as Dara was when I found out what he’d been doing with Lehrer. He was the kind of person that thinks he knows what he’s doing and because of that won’t take advice from those that actually know more than him. He really just made me mad over and over again. I felt bad for him at times because he didn’t deserve to be going through some of the things he had to deal with but he still really made me mad.
I loved that the rest of the friends from Level IV got involved in the craziness too. They are a great found family and I adored them.
As for the ending, I’m a bit disappointed. It seemed a little rushed to me. I liked the transcripts that summed up a bit of right after the big climax, but we get a sort of summary after that and I thought it could have been more. I don’t know if I missed it or what but I didn’t see anything about the big bad losing his power or dying and that’s very disappointing to me. I did see there were some legal ramifications. But they weren’t explained.
I really enjoyed that we got to see more of this version of America and hear a bit about how the other places (Texas) run things. It was something I’d hoped for in this sequel and I’m glad that I got it.
Overall, this was a quick read because so much is happening and it’s all very high stakes. But I’m left with so many questions about the end result of the villain. While I definitely liked this series and understand why so many love it, it wasn’t anything over the top for me.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Bonds of Brass by Emily Strutskie

GoodReads Summary:
A young pilot risks everything to save his best friend–the man he trusts most and might even love–only to learn that he’s secretly the heir to a brutal galactic empire.
Ettian Nassun’s life was shattered when the merciless Umber Empire invaded. He’s spent seven years putting himself back together under its rule, joining an Umber military academy and becoming the best pilot in his class. Even better, he’s met Gal Veres–his exasperating and infuriatingly enticing roommate who’s made the Academy feel like a new home.
But when dozens of classmates spring an assassination plot on Gal, a devastating secret comes to light: Gal is the heir to the Umber Empire. Ettian barely manages to save his best friend and flee the compromised Academy unscathed, rattled both that Gal stands to inherit the empire that broke him and that there are still people willing to fight back against Umber rule. As they piece together a way to deliver Gal safely to his throne, Ettian finds himself torn in half by an impossible choice. Does he save the man who’s won his heart and trust that Gal’s goodness could transform the empire? Or does he throw his lot in with the brewing rebellion and fight to take back what’s rightfully theirs?
Bonds of Brass (The Bloodright Trilogy #1)Review:
Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Bonds of Brass was immediately interesting. I love stories that take place in schools, which this was essentially a school in space. There were many things I love about this book, the characters, the world-building, the secrets, the romance. I loved it all.
We follow Ettain as his whole world changes. He’s found out that his roommate, best friend, and crush is actually the heir to literally everything. A secret that’s been kept for years. He figures out that things aren’t going how their supposed to and rescues him. I loved and laughed during these pages. The pair manage to escape and find themselves on a planet outside of the empire that Gal is intended to inherit. Things were a little slow at times when they were in this other world. But they make friends with a local and she becomes a part of their little run-away crew. All of them are pilots, some more trained than others.
As I mentioned, there were lots of secrets. One in particular toward the end that I legitimately said “no fucking way” out loud and my husband definitely gave me the side-eye. I think the suspense and drama leading up to this secret was so well done.
Overall, I loved this. I loved all the piloting, all the antics, and banter. I love the different parts of the world, the action, and drama. But that ending was a killer. We’re left with a cliffhanger that may or may not has actually torn out a piece of my heart. A definite must-read for science fiction lovers. Also, a side note. I’ve read this is Star Wars related, but I’m not a big part of that fandom so I don’t know much about those connections, but not knowing didn’t make me enjoy this any less.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow

GoodReads Summary:
Two years ago, a misunderstanding between the leaders of Earth and the invading Ilori resulted in the deaths of one-third of the world’s population.
Seventeen-year-old Janelle “Ellie” Baker survives in an Ilori-controlled center in New York City. Deemed dangerously volatile because of their initial reaction to the invasion, humanity’s emotional transgressions are now grounds for execution. All art, books and creative expression are illegal, but Ellie breaks the rules by keeping a secret library. When a book goes missing, Ellie is terrified that the Ilori will track it back to her and kill her.
Born in a lab, M0Rr1S (Morris) was raised to be emotionless. When he finds Ellie’s illegal library, he’s duty-bound to deliver her for execution. The trouble is, he finds himself drawn to human music and in desperate need of more. They’re both breaking the rules for love of art—and Ellie inspires the same feelings in him that music does.
Ellie’s—and humanity’s—fate rests in the hands of an alien she should fear. M0Rr1S has a lot of secrets, but also a potential solution—thousands of miles away. The two embark on a wild and dangerous road trip with a bag of books and their favorite albums, all the while making a story and a song of their own that just might save them both.
The Sound of StarsReview:
Thank you to NetGalley and the applicable publishers for providing me an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I had to wait a few days to write this review because I had to talk with a friend who also read it and gather my full thoughts. I know I say this a lot but, which any book there were things I liked and things I didn’t. I think it’s pretty even on what I liked and what I didn’t.
This story follows Ellie who is a human living in a distant future where the world has been taken over by aliens. I really liked Ellie. She’s an avid reader and managed to hide her books and lend them out to others that living in her building. She lends books and follows the motions to get through the day. I believe she’s pansexual, though that word is never actually used. But she does say that gender doesn’t matter if she feels a deep connection to a person.
We also follow Morris, which is spelled with numbers in his language. He’s an alien that’s developed the “vaccine” that his superiors plan to use on the human race. He has a secret too. He loves music, though he’s not supposed to. I liked Morris because he wanted better for his people. He wasn’t in agreement with the things they were making him do and he was working toward dismantling the system.
I thought the concept of the aliens was really interesting. But there was a lot I didn’t understand about them. They seemed almost like cyborgs but I feel like it wasn’t very well explained. There were also other aliens that we met and their species (?) wasn’t explained very well either. Though I did see the identity of the other aliens coming from a mile away.
Another problem I had with this book was that it was a bit repetitive and over political. Our main character is black and lived in the Upper East Side before the alien invasion so she dealt with a lot of racism. I’m all about these sorts of topics because they’re real and relevant, but she mentioned it about a hundred times. I think it would have been okay to mention a few different events. But she thought about and talked about the same events over and over.
Overall, I had a good time reading this book. Right up until the ending. If there’s going to be another book (I’ve not seen it announced anywhere or anything) I’m more okay with the ending, but the final action scene seemed rushed and the events after were even more rushed. There wasn’t really a resolution either. I’m really hoping it has a sequel because if not, the whole goal they were working toward was never achieved. So if there will be another (which I will be asking when I see this author at the NoVaTeen Book Festival) I can accept the ending but if not then I will definitely be lowering my rating. This was a fun science fiction book, but it has a few issues.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel

GoodReads Summary:
For the first eighteen years of her life, Rose Gold Watts believed she was seriously ill. She was allergic to everything, used a wheelchair and practically lived at the hospital. Neighbors did all they could, holding fundraisers and offering shoulders to cry on, but no matter how many doctors, tests, or surgeries, no one could figure out what was wrong with Rose Gold.
Turns out her mom, Patty Watts, was just a really good liar.
After serving five years in prison, Patty gets out with nowhere to go and begs her daughter to take her in. The entire community is shocked when Rose Gold says yes.
Patty insists all she wants is to reconcile their differences. She says she’s forgiven Rose Gold for turning her in and testifying against her. But Rose Gold knows her mother. Patty Watts always settles a score.
Unfortunately for Patty, Rose Gold is no longer her weak little darling…
And she’s waited such a long time for her mother to come home.
Darling Rose GoldReview:
As with all my ARC reviews, I will be starting by saying thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Sadly, by the time I finished this book I did not like it. I really enjoyed the first half. The suspense of whether or not Patty really poisoned Rose Gold and made her sick all those years. The mystery of Rose Gold’s life after her mother was sent to prison. But the more I got to know Rose Gold, the less I liked her. She was a liar, for no good reason. I understand she had a really shitty childhood, but after finding her dad, there was so much potential for good things in her life and she threw it all away. Instead of moving on, trying to make a better life for herself now that her mother was in jail, she plotted revenge.
As for Patty, I didn’t like her from the start. I have a one-year-old, and I understand the stress and worry about whether my child is healthy or not, but to purposefully make my child sick? I could never, even when she’s getting four molars at the same time and cries at me to hold her all day long.
I’m going to keep this short and to the point because I’d like to wipe this story from my memory as soon as possible. While the writing was really good, and the story was fast-paced and interesting, I hated both main characters so much that it ruined the story for me. There are likely lots of people out there that will enjoy this, but I’m not one of them.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Girls With Razor Hearts by Suzanne Young

GoodReads Review:
It’s been weeks since Mena and the other girls of Innovations Academy escaped their elite boarding school. Although traumatized by the violence and experimentations that occurred there, Mena quickly discovers that the outside world can be just as unwelcoming and cruel. With no one else to turn to, the girls only have each other—and the revenge-fueled desire to shut down the corporation that imprisoned them.
The girls enroll in Stoneridge Prep, a private school with suspect connections to Innovations, to identify the son of an investor and take down the corporation from the inside. But with pressure from Leandra, who revealed herself to be a double-agent, and Winston Weeks, an academy investor gone rogue, Mena wonders if she and her friends are simply trading one form of control for another. Not to mention the woman who is quite literally invading Mena’s thoughts—a woman with extreme ideas that both frighten and intrigue Mena.
And as the girls fight for freedom from their past—and freedom for the girls still at Innovations—they must also face new questions about their existence…and what it means to be girls with razor hearts.
Girls with Razor Hearts (Girls with Sharp Sticks, #2)Review:
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for approving my request for this eARC in exchange for an honest review. This second book made me just as angry as the first. But this one was less with the girls than with the rest of the world. The things that the girls face in this world hit a bit close to home. They were things that women in the real world deal with every day and it honestly just hurt my heart.
I think my favorite part of this book is Young’s writing. She tells the story in a way that I just can’t put it down. The story was fast-paced, even though not much really happened.
Sadly, as I said above, not all that much happened in this story. They had a mission and successfully completed it along with a bit of a side mission. But other than that, they didn’t learn much more about themselves and I wanted them to take more of an initiative to make the word different. They helped the school they attended, but they didn’t really have any ideas or plans for the bigger picture.
I still enjoyed this book and flew through it. It was a wild ride. But I didn’t love it. I think maybe this series is just not for me because I didn’t love the first one either. But I will probably eventually read the third just to see what’s going to happen next.

Quotes:

“All the attention society pays to the behavior of girls, and never once have they realized how they’re neglecting their boys. The absence of rules is turning them into feral animals.”

“Deeply felt emotions are our power. Our ability to feel is just as important as our ability to think.”

“Words have immeasurable power, Philomena. They affect what we believe, how we see the world.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

GoodReads Summary:
You probably know someone like Shay Miller.
She wants to find love, but it eludes her.
She wants to be fulfilled, but her job is a dead end.
She wants to belong, but her life is so isolated.
You probably don’t know anyone like the Moore sisters.
They have an unbreakable circle of friends.
They live the most glamorous life.
They always get what they desire.
Shay thinks she wants their life.
But what they really want is hers.
You Are Not AloneReview:
What a wild ride this book was. I have to start by sending a thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
I really enjoyed this book. There were parts that were kind of confusing because there were so many characters. Let me explain. We start by meeting Shay. She witnesses a woman, Amanda, kill herself via jumping in front of a train. Shay is understandable thrown by this and through a series of events, meets Amanda’s friends. Enter the Moore sisters. The most interesting thing with this book was that I liked all of the characters. I understood and even cheered for their actions at times. But as the story went on things got darker and it was an uncomfortable feeling to have once cheered for the things these sisters did. Along with the Moore sisters, there were a few others in their friend group. Once we start to meet them, the chapters start to jump around in time to explain how these friends met the Moore sisters. This was where it was confusing. Trying to remember all of the names and the origin story of each of these women was a lot. This was a pretty short book, so to be given so much information about characters whose story would quickly be over was too much. I liked the chapters of Amanda’s final days that were included, but I think the history of the other friends could have just been explained in the Moore sister’s chapters.
This book was fast-paced and compelling. I liked all of the characters and really came to love Shay. I loved that Shay figured out what was going on before it was too late. I liked that the authors made the Moore sisters so likable that when their true colors were shown it was uncomfortable for me as the reader. I’m always impressed by this author duo and You Are Not Alone was no exception.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin

GoodReads Summary:
Elle and her friends Mads, Jenny, and Summer rule their glittering LA circle. Untouchable, they have the kind of power other girls only dream of. Every party is theirs and the world is at their feet. Until the night of Elle’s sweet sixteen, when they crash a St. Andrew’s Prep party. The night the golden boys choose Elle as their next target.
They picked the wrong girl.
Sworn to vengeance, Elle transfers to St. Andrew’s. She plots to destroy each boy, one by one. She’ll take their power, their lives, and their control of the prep school’s hierarchy. And she and her coven have the perfect way in: a boy named Mack, whose ambition could turn deadly.
Foul is Fair is a bloody, thrilling revenge fantasy for the girls who have had enough. Golden boys beware: something wicked this way comes.
Foul Is FairReview:
Huge thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review. I buddy read this ARC with my favorite twinny, Alana @ The Bookish Chick.
I absolutely adored this story. It was dark and gritty, murderous and magical, fast-paced and captivating. I loved Elle (or Jade). She was vengeful and I freaking loved it. I don’t even know how to explain it. She’s clever and devious in all the best ways. But I liked even more that we still got to see her when she was vulnerable. She was drugged and raped, but won’t take anyone’s bullshit. She and her coven have a plan to get their revenge.
The coven. I adored them. They were magical and loyal. I loved the dynamic between these girls. They were some serious friend goals. I loved all the scenes with the coven doing their part to scare the boys of St. Andrews.
The writing in Foul is Fair was incredible. Even during the slow points of the story, it felt like I was flying through it because of the writing. The author sucked me into the story, chewed me up, and spit me out. The writing was beautiful and dark. Never quite clear about whether the coven was actually casting spells and flying with their wings. I adored it.
Overall, this book was incredible. I loved every single murderous page. I think this one will be a hit once it’s published and I know I will be shouting about it all year.

Quotes:

“Killing hurts worse if somebody you love is holding the knife.”

“It’s beautiful. We’re beautiful. This night, dark and deadly and stained with blood, is a masterpiece too perfect for any museum in the whole world.”

“As soon as I speak they’ll never see that same girl anymore, and knowing that makes my fingernails bite into my skin because I want it so hard, to rip those boys’ faces open. Tear their hearts out and hold them, still beating, in my hands.”

“We’re magic. I can feel it right now in the dark. We’re invisible when we need to be and then so firework-bright no one can look away. We’re patience and brilliance. We never forget. We never forgive.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.