ARC Review: The Electric Heir

Title: The Electric Heir
Author: Victoria Lee
My rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Series: Feverwake #2
Genre/s and Tags: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia, LGTBQ+, Bisexual rep, POC, Racism, M/M romance, OwnVoices
Content Warnings: Profanity, alcohol/drug abuse, mental health and suicide, non-consensual/rape, emotional abuse and manipulation, physical abuse. For a much more detailed list, see this content warning post from the author themself.
Publication date: March 17, 2020
Goodreads synopsis:

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.

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I received an e-arc of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much Skyscape!

img_9282Okay book nerds. Strap in because this book may just be my top/favorite read of 2020.

I read The Fever King a couple of days ago and I loved it! I got sucked into the story and the world and the characters in no time. I was just so excited for the sequel to come! And so, you can imagine my surprise when I found out that the sequel was available for request on NetGalley, and what’s even more surprising is that my request was approved! I dove right in.

The Electric Heir is one conclusion I will never forget. It’s powerful, it’s gripping, it’s intense, it’s heartbreaking, and above all, it’s beautifully done. I am truly in awe of this book.

Beautifully written

The Electric Heir is beautifully written. There’s no other way to go about it. Every sentence, every chapter, every archive part, every flashback—they were all there for a reason, they were all there to create a powerful story that will affect the readers. And boy, was I affected. My breath was knocked out of me; I was left feeling horrified; I cried; I felt all the anger, the frustration, the sadness, the angst, the fear, the hope; everything. I was so emotionally invested with the characters and the story because of the prose and how the author carefully built the story. I admire it so much.

I also loved the addition of Dara’s point of view. It was so great to know more of his perspective, his experiences, his thoughts, his feelings. He was an enigma in The Fever King, and here in The Electric Heir, we’re given the chance to peek into his mind. I loved it.

Complex characters

I loved how the author created such complex characters and explored each and every one of them. From Noam, to Dara, to Lehrer, and even the minor characters like Ames, Bethany, Taye, Leo, Priya and Claire. I applaud the author for such a great job with these characters.

Noam, my sweet boy, Noam. There’s a drastic change from the Noam in The Fever King to the Noam here in The Electric Heir. He’s braver, smarter, definitely more powerful, but there’s also a new kind of darkness inside of him—a mix of guilt, longing, trauma, secrets, wrong decisions, and more.

And Dara, my darling boy, Dara. There’s also a drastic change in Dara, all right. With him being no longer a Witching, we see him struggle and try to cope with being a normal person. We also see him try to deal with all that happened while he was gone, deal with the new Noam, and deal with the horrors Lehrer has imprinted on his mind.

And that brings me to Lehrer. Just when I thought I have an idea of what kind of person Lehrer is, I am proven wrong. Lehrer’s character is such a good villain, I have to admit that, even though I have a newfound hatred for him. Him being an antagonist is good because it’s so real, because his character exists in the real world—in the faces of abusers, of corrupt politicians, of tyrants, of manipulators. That’s what makes him so good, and so scary, and so frustrating.

Gripping storyline with significant themes

The author dedicated The Electric Heir to survivors. Because above all, this story is about surviving. Surviving abusers, surviving tyranny, surviving your own demons. I absolutely loved how the author focused on themes such as abuse, trauma, mental health, politics, relationships. There were already themes like these in The Fever King, but it’s in this book where these themes were such a distinct part of the plot. The author has woven them all together with such regard and, for me, it created such a powerful, gripping, and emotional story that will really stay with me as a reader and as a person. It was brilliant.


 

Overall, this book is just so, so good. Actually, it’s more than that, it’s magnificent, What a finale! I’m pretty sure this is my new obsession now, and I can say that Victoria Lee is now one of my favorite authors.

Sad to think about how this is the conclusion, but hey, good thing it’s been adapted into a Webtoon. Haha!

If I could give a million stars to this book, to Noam and to Dara, I would.

ARC Review: Spellhacker [Blog Tour]

Title: Spellhacker
Author: M.K. England
My rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐💫
Genre/s and Tags: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Adventure, LGTBQ+, Non-binary rep, F/Non-binary pairing, Other queer characters
Publication date: January 21, 2020
Goodreads synopsis:

From the author of The Disasters, this genre-bending YA fantasy heist story is perfect for fans of Marie Lu and Amie Kaufman.

In Kyrkarta, magic—known as maz—was once a freely available natural resource. Then an earthquake released a magical plague, killing thousands and opening the door for a greedy corporation to make maz a commodity that’s tightly controlled—and, of course, outrageously expensive.

Which is why Diz and her three best friends run a highly lucrative, highly illegal maz siphoning gig on the side. Their next job is supposed to be their last heist ever.

But when their plan turns up a powerful new strain of maz that (literally) blows up in their faces, they’re driven to unravel a conspiracy at the very center of the spellplague—and possibly save the world.

Back again with another tour stop! Today is my stop in the Spellhacker Blog Tour hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club and I have a review to share with you book nerds.

Spellhacker is one of my most anticipated releases this 2020 and I adored reading it! It’s absolutely delightful! With queer characters everywhere and a fast-paced and fun story, you just can’t help but enjoy this book!

Good writing

The writing style is good! Spellhacker is told in the first person point of view and that really allowed me to get to know the main character and see the story unfold the way she saw it. The tone is light and fun, but it can also get exciting or thrilling and even emotional.

Memorable characters

There are a lot of memorable characters in this book.

Diz, the main character, is great. She’s hilarious and talented, but also very insecure and maybe a little bit emotionally stunted, too. She had bad experiences in the past, which makes it understandable that she’s afraid of letting herself feel. Still, there were moments that I was frustrated at her. Fortunately, she redeemed herself and I loved her character development! I also loved that I was sucked into her thoughts and feelings. Reading the story through her perspective was exciting!

The minor characters are also memorable. Remi is too precious for this world, Jaesin is such a dad, and Ania is amazing! I loved the dynamic between all four of them (hooray for found-family tropes!), and in a way, I can relate to Diz and her fear of parting ways.

And yes, there are numerous queer characters in the book and it’s absolutely delightful to read about them and know that it’s perfectly normal in their world.

Fast-paced and fun plot

Spellhacker has a fast-paced and a fun plot. I remember reading only the first chapter, and there were already action and adventure. I loved that!

The plot also touched on some points that made me more invested in the story, e.g. anti-capitalism, frequent natural disasters on their planet (which can be likened to global warming). There are some plot twists that were a little predictable for me though, so it wasn’t much of a surprise but I still managed to enjoy it.

Romance is also a significant part of the story, and y’all there was definitely a lot of pining. The chemistry was good and I couldn’t help but root for that pairing!

Awesome world-building

I also loved the world-building in this story. The author created such an interesting world, one filled with magic and science but also riddled with natural disasters. Would have loved to know more about their planet though. There were different fictional countries and cities mentioned, but there weren’t much details about them. A map would have been a nice addition as well!


Spellhacker Buy Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book DepositoryGoogle Books | Kobo | iTunes | Audible | Libro.fm | HarperCollins

About the Author

MKE Headshot 2016
M.K. England is an author and YA librarian who grew up on the Space Coast of Florida and now calls rural Virginia home. When they’re not writing or librarianing, MK can be found drowning in fandom, rolling dice at the gaming table, digging in the garden, or feeding their video game addiction. They love Star Wars with a desperate, heedless passion. It’s best if you never speak of Sherlock Holmes in their presence. You’ll regret it.

THE DISASTERS is their debut novel. Follow them at http://www.mkengland.com.

Goodreads | Twitter | InstagramTumblr | YouTube

Tour Schedule

See more reviews, interviews, guest posts, playlists, and dream casts from other wonderful bloggers in this blog tour hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club! Click here to see the tour schedule!

Giveaway

PRIZE: Win a signed hardcover of SPELLHACKER (US only), and one swag pack including a sticker, postcard, signed bookplate, and bookmark (INT)
STARTS: 15th January 2020
ENDS: 19th January 2020

Enter here!

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Book Review: The Fever King

Title: The Fever King
Author: Victoria Lee
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Series:
Feverwake #1
Genre/s and tags: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Bisexual rep, POC, Racism, M/M romance, OwnVoices
Content warnings: Graphic descriptions of death, violence, and murder, mentions of sex, drugs, alcohol/lots of drinking, rape, lots of swearing. For a much more detailed list, see this content warning post from the author themself
Goodreads synopsis:

In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.

The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.

Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.

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Book nerds, it’s my first ever 5-star read of 2020! 

The Fever King surprised me! I never thought it would be so captivating—from the prose, to the plot, the characters, and the romance. But here I am, with my mind still reeling. I love it!

Excellent writing style

I am an absolute fan of the writing style of this book! The prose is sharp, but also kind of mellow, the kind that will grab hold of your emotions no matter what the scene is. The author used a lot of metaphors, but that just made the imagery and the tone so excellent.

Great characters and romance

The characters are just captivating; whether it be a major character or a minor character, and whether it be a protagonist or an antagonist (and to be honest, it’s so hard to grasp who is the hero and who is the villain, and I love that!).

I love Noam! He’s sassy, and brave, and so determined to help the situation of the refugees. Dara, on the other hand, is cold, intelligent, yet he can also be so loving and hopeful. I wish these two just would have just talked more to avoid their miscommunications, but of course, their journey is slow and angsty. Lehrer was such an interesting character, too, and he made the plot all the more interesting.

The romance is also one of my favorite things in this book! It’s slow burn, with a lot of tension and angst! At the end of the book, I was left wanting more. (I just want more of Noam and Dara, please.)

Unpredictable plot

The Fever King is full of twists and turns and I was truly invested with the plot from start to finish. There were times when I thought I knew what was happening or that I was right about my predictions, but I was wrong and the author was able to surprise me with every plot twist.

I love how the plot focused on politics, racism, and immigrants and refugees trying. I know this is such an important and relevant topic, especially in the US, and to have that as a main focus of the story is enlightening.

Awesome world-building

The world-building in The Fever King is also intriguing. It’s set in a “former United States”, and although the place is quite the same, there are differences with the timelines, the history, and of course, the presence of the viral magic. I wish we’ll get to know more about how that viral magic started as well!

Quotes from the book

“The whole world was a sea of data, so many electrical impulses sparking from pockets and tablets and streetlights and cameras and drones. It was like someone had plugged in a cord and turned on the galaxy.”

“History is written by the victors.”

“If Noam kissed him right now, Dara would think Noam was just like everyone else. And maybe Noam wasn’t special, bu he wanted to be.”

“And I meant it when I said I wasn’t gay,” Noam said. Ames looked disbelieving, but she didn’t pull away. Noam smirked. “Bisexual isn’t gay.”

“Dara, who claimed he hated everything but secretly dreamed of counting the stars.”


 

I never thought I’d love this book so much! Definitely including this one to my 20 LGBTQ+ Books in 2020 reading challenge!

How about you guys? Have you read The Fever King yet? What were your thoughts?

ARC Review + Playlist: Jane Anonymous [Blog Tour]

Title: Jane Anonymous
Author: Laurie Faria Stolarz
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐💫
Genre/s and tags: Young Adult, Contemporary, Crime/Thriller, Trauma
Publication date: January 7, 2020
Goodreads synopsis:

Bestselling author Laurie Faria Stolarz returns with Jane Anonymous, a gripping tale of a seventeen-year-old girl’s kidnapping and her struggle to fit back into her life after she escapes.

Then, “Jane” was just your typical 17-year-old in a typical New England suburb getting ready to start her senior year. She had a part-time job she enjoyed, an awesome best friend, overbearing but loving parents, and a crush on a boy who was taking her to see her favorite band. She never would’ve imagined that in her town where nothing ever happens, a series of small coincidences would lead to a devastating turn of events that would forever change her life.

Now, it’s been three months since “Jane” escaped captivity and returned home. Three months of being that girl who was kidnapped, the girl who was held by a “monster.” Three months of writing down everything she remembered from those seven months locked up in that stark white room. But, what if everything you thought you knew―everything you thought you experienced―turned out to be a lie?

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Hi book nerds! Welcome to my stop in the Jane Anonymous Blog Tour hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club! Not only am I posting a book review for this one, I’m also including a playlist I created!

Jane Anonymous is a gripping and deeply emotional story. It explores trauma and healing, and offers you suspense and heartbreak along the way.

My thoughts on Jane Anonymous

An interesting read and a deeply emotional story. That’s what this novel is. I was curious about this book because I wanted to know how the author will tackle such topic and how the characters will go through their journey. Safe to say, I was not disappointed.

The writing style of the author is great for this story. Not only did it grip my attention, it also provoked my emotions. As I read, I was able to connect with the main character Jane and her perspective, her thoughts, her trauma, her confusion, her struggle for closure, and her struggle to get back to normalcy. The exploration of trauma was really good and the alternating “THEN” and “NOW” perspectives made it more compelling. As a reader, I saw how Jane’s experiences in those seven months affected her life, her personality, her mind, her friends and her family.

The plot, although it was great, there were some aspects that were kind of predictable to me and there were still some subplots or questions that seemed unanswered. It would have been nice to get some answers about those certain things.

I also feel like the author could expounded more on certain elements. For example, most of the book was Jane recounting her experience and narrating her struggle on trying return to her normal life. It wasn’t until the end that we started to see Jane actually healing. And although I liked the ending, I would have liked to see more of that healing process and how she will overcome or accept her trauma.

Overall, this was a great read! My actual rating: 3.5 stars.

Content warnings: kidnapping, emotional manipulation, PTSD, self-harm, depression, mentions of sexual assault

Jane Anonymous Book Playlist

Paranoid – Post Malone
Escape Route – Paramore
Game of Survival – Ruelle
Find Myself – Faze
Breathe – I Belong to the Zoo
Praying to a God – Mr. Probz
Can’t Sleep – K.Flay
Man or a Monster – Sam Tinnesz feat. Zayde Wolf
Time to Heal –  Vittoria Emanuelle

All these songs were inspired by various scenes and lines from Jane Anonymous. I definitely had a lot of fun creating this book playlist. I hope you like it!

This playlist is available to listen to! Listen to the Spotify playlist here!



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Jane Anonymous Buy Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble Google BooksKobo

About the Author

stolarz author image
Laurie Faria Stolarz grew up in Salem, MA, attended Merrimack College, and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston.

Laurie Faria Stolarz is an American author of young adult fiction novels, best known for her Blue is for Nightmares series. Her works, which feature teenage protagonists, blend elements found in mystery and romance novels.

Stolarz found sales success with her first novel, Blue is for Nightmares, and followed it up with three more titles in the series, White is for Magic, Silver is for Secrets, and Red is for Remembrance, as well as a companion graphic novel, Black is for Beginnings. Stolarz is also the author of the Touch series (Deadly Little Secret, Deadly Little Lies, Deadly Little Games, Deadly Little Voices, and Deadly Little Lessons), as well as Bleed and Project 17. With more than two million books sold worldwide, Stolarz’s titles have been named on various awards list.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Tour Schedule

See more reviews, interviews, guest posts, playlists, and dream casts from other wonderful bloggers in this blog tour hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club! Click here to see the tour schedule!

Giveaway

Two copies of Jane Anonymous are up for grabs! This ends January 21, 2020, so go ahead and enter now! Good luck! (Open to US/CAN only.)

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ARC Review: Woven in Moonlight [Blog Tour]

Title: Woven in Moonlight
Author: Isabel Ibañez
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Genre/s and Tags: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, POC
Release date: January 7, 2020
Publisher: Page Street Publishing
ISBN: 9781624148019
Goodreads synopsis:

A lush tapestry of magic, romance, and revolución, drawing inspiration from Bolivian politics and history.

Ximena is the decoy Condesa, a stand-in for the last remaining Illustrian royal. Her people lost everything when the usurper, Atoc, used an ancient relic to summon ghosts and drive the Illustrians from La Ciudad. Now Ximena’s motivated by her insatiable thirst for revenge, and her rare ability to spin thread from moonlight.

When Atoc demands the real Condesa’s hand in marriage, it’s Ximena’s duty to go in her stead. She relishes the chance, as Illustrian spies have reported that Atoc’s no longer carrying his deadly relic. If Ximena can find it, she can return the true aristócrata to their rightful place.

She hunts for the relic, using her weaving ability to hide messages in tapestries for the resistance. But when a masked vigilante, a warm-hearted princess, and a thoughtful healer challenge Ximena, her mission becomes more complicated. There could be a way to overthrow the usurper without starting another war, but only if Ximena turns her back on revenge—and her Condesa.

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Hi book nerds! Welcome to my stop on the Woven in Moonlight Blog Tour hosted by The Royal Polar Bear Reads! Thanks so much Raf and Page Street Publishing for sending me a digital review copy!

Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez is described as “A lush tapestry of magic, romance, and revolución, drawing inspiration from Bolivian politics and history.”  and to be honest, I have never come across such a perfect and accurate synopsis/description of a book. Everything is lush and gripping—from the writing style, to the characters, the immersive plot, and the incredible world-building. I absolutely loved it!

Great writing style

The writing style was great. I loved how the author narrated to the story from the littlest of details to the grander perspective. As a reader, I was shown a rich culture, a complex history of land and people, a harmful game of war and politics, a slow-burn romance, the process of learning to overcome judgment, and more. It was so good and I was hooked the moment I read the first page.

Remarkable characters

I loved the characters in this book! Ximena is a strong-willed character full of hope and heart, she’s also intelligent and brave. I loved reading the story through her perspective. I also found her very interesting, especially her struggle to be her true self. She’s a decoy, a stand-in, and as a result, she needs to act like the Condesa, think like the Condesa, not herself. I have to say, it was incredibly satisfying to see her finally show her true self.

Rumi is a charmer. He seems aloof at first, but we get to see more of him and know more of his agenda, is desires, and his loyalty as the story progresses.

The minor characters are memorable as well! There’s Juan Carlos, Tamaya, El Lobo, Catalina, Suyana, the priest, and even the woolly animals! For me, they helped build the story and it really wouldn’t be the same without them.

Immersive plot

Here’s what I really like about the plot of Woven in Moonlight: it’s entertaining, it’s compelling, and best of all, it’s cohesive—everything makes sense and the flow of the story was just smooth and well-written. There were some plot twists I didn’t see (but loved), and there were some that were just obvious (but I still loved!).

I also love how the story provokes an inner battle in choosing between right or wrong and knowing the different shades of morality when it comes to war and politics.

As for the romance, I loved it! It was not rushed, which is something I really appreciate when it comes to romantic pairings in books. And although the romance affected the plot, it’s not the main part of the story. It didn’t steal the show, nor did it become something that will badly impact the characters or the story.

Incredible world-building

The world-building in Woven in Moonlight is nothing but incredible. From the food, to the language, to the culture, to the politics and history, the author really managed to show the readers the bad, the good, and the beautiful sides of a Bolivian-inspired world.

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This book is one of a kind, indeed. Also, that cover is gorgeous! I definitely loved it even more when I found out that the author is also the cover artist! How awesome is that?! 5 stars for this wonderful book!

Woven in Moonlight Buy Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble Google Play | Book Depository

About the Author

ibanez author image Isabel Ibañez was born in Boca Raton, Florida, and is the proud daughter of two Bolivian immigrants. A true word nerd, she received her degree in creative writing and has been a Pitch Wars mentor for three years. Isabel is an avid movie goer and loves hosting family and friends around the dinner table. She currently lives in Winter Park, Florida, with her husband, their adorable dog, and a serious collection of books. Say hi on social media at @IsabelWriter09.