Review: Immortal Plunder (Pirates of Felicity) by Kelly St Clare

About the book:

There are three types of people in the Exosian Realm—males, females, and pirates.

I’m a pirate. One with six overprotective fathers for a crew. And if I’m telling the honest truth, not just the pirate truth, having so many fathers is working pretty well for me so far.

When I’m caught eavesdropping on the pirates of Malice, they retaliate with violence, and my fathers become set on revenge. But simple payback cascades into shattering misfortune.

Unexplainable magical happenings and impossible creatures propel me toward a fate much darker than stealing plunder. A terrible beast drags forth horrible truths of my fathers’ pasts which call my entire life into question. Now, my sheltered upbringing is swelling into a furious storm that I must, for the first time in seventeen years, navigate without my crew.

An intense russet-haired landlubber seeks to help me. A savvy silver-eyed Malice pirate strives to hinder me. But the further I drift, the more I wonder—am I helping or hindering myself?

Can I stand on my own two feet to claim victory?

And if so. . .what will that victory cost?

Review by Katy Haye:

A new release by Kelly St Clare is always cause for celebration in my house.

It only took a minute to fall completely in love with Ebba. What a glorious character – smart and determined and yet not stepping onto the page perfectly formed. Ebba has some growing to do and I loved walking alongside while her ideas were challenged and she found a strength she didn’t know she had.

Her fathers were also fabulous characters – with an added edge of intrigue. I can’t wait to find out what happened for Ebba to end up with six fathers who are the deadly enemies of the son of the man who was their captain.

But that’s getting ahead of myself. Kelly St Clare’s writing it always a delight to read, and Immortal Plunder led me on a glorious adventure with new revelations and growing magic at every twist and turn. Tremendously satisfying, I can’t wait for the next in a series I hope will run and run.

Katy Haye writes speculative YA fiction. Check out the first book in her new YA fantasy series, Awakened by Magic. Kyann only wants to save her sister, but a greater destiny of myth and magic awaits her in the Empire of Charnrosa.

NEWSFLASH: Awakened by Magic is FREE this weekend. Grab your copy at no risk whatsoever!

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Review: Facing the Sun by Carol Beth Anderson

About the book:

Tavi Malin is born facing the sun, filled with greater magic than any other sun-blessed child. At age fourteen, her magic awakens, but her uncontrolled power nearly destroys her school, leaving her confidence as shaken as her surroundings.
Tavi and her friends train to use their gifts, unaware of the threat developing in a distant city. Dissidents have banded together, and they’re killing to attain gray magic, an ominous new force that breaks the rules of ordinary magic. But to seize true power, the Grays must grow their ranks—and Tavi is a prize worth pursuing.
In a fight where confidence is as crucial as strength, even extraordinary gifts aren’t sufficient. If Tavi is to prevail against the Grays, she must find a courage that goes deeper than magic itself.

Review by Katy Haye:

This was a cut above anything I’ve read recently. Carol Beth Anderson has a hugely assured writing style that left me immersed in Tavi’s world.

A different and distinct magical system and a gloriously realistic fantasy world combined with a programme of faith unlike anything I’ve read before.

Facing the Sun is a coming of age story with real depth. I wasn’t sure at first when the narrative diverted from Tavi how things were going to work out, but the parallel thread of the ‘grays’ was fabulous, bringing with it a growing sense of threat and tension. It’s not just Tavi in danger, but her whole world.

This is the start of a series (a trilogy, I think), and not all the questions raised are answered in this first volume. I for one can’t wait to find out what happens next – for all the characters.

Katy Haye writes speculative YA fiction. Check out the first book in her new YA fantasy series, Awakened by Magic. Kyann only wants to save her sister, but a greater destiny of myth and magic awaits her in the Empire of Charnrosa.

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Review: Spy Girl 1 – The Prince by Jillian Dodd

About the book:

Can one girl save the world?

An eighteen-year-old covert agent is pulled out of training before graduation by Black X, a espionage group so secret even the President of the United States doesn’t know it exists.

For her first mission, she must go undercover as the long-lost daughter of a recently deceased billionaire, infiltrate high society, and protect the Prince of Montrovia from assassination. But Prince Lorenzo is known as the Playboy Prince for a reason and his sensuality and charisma add a whole other level of complication to her mission.

She knows that her every move is being watched, but what she doesn’t know is that the Prince is just a chess piece in a bigger game that will have world-wide ramifications. And that Blackwood Academy, the place she has called home for the past six years has secrets of its own.

Review by Katy Haye:

This was a delightful, entertaining romp and would make an utterly perfect beach read – I could feel the blue sky and the bright Montrovian sun beating down as I read.

The characters were glitzy-glamourous with lifestyles straight out of a James Bond film, and the plot rattled along at a cracking pace.

I was made uncomfortable by the casual approach all the characters took towards sex. I know that’s very James Bond, too, but James Bond isn’t claiming to be YA entertainment. Huntley’s view that sex = exercise and having little problem with bed-hopping and divorcing sex from emotions seemed inappropriate and unhelpful for teenaged readers who are likely to be trying to negotiate their way through intimate relationships (and yes, of course the Spy Girl books are a fantasy, but – that’s how I felt).

In summary, Spy Girl: The Prince is definitely for upper-YA readers, but it’s fast-paced and was a pleasure to read.

Katy Haye writes speculative YA fiction. Check out the first book in her new YA fantasy series, Awakened by Magic. Kyann only wants to save her sister, but a greater destiny of myth and magic awaits her in the Empire of Charnrosa.

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Review: Trials of Apollo – The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

About the book:

How do you punish an immortal? By making him human. After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disoriented, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus’s favor. But Apollo has many enemies—gods, monsters, and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to go… an enclave of modern demigods known as Camp Half-Blood.

Cover of Rick Riordan's Trials of Apollo

Review by Katy Haye:

I feel like I might be a bit late to the Rick Riordan party. I was introduced via the 13-year-old in my life who inhaled the Percy Jackson series at the end of last school year and moved immediately onto Magnus Chase (Norse mythology) and somebody Kane (Egyptian mythology). Trials of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle was consumed on the sofa in the space of 24 hours with round about a giggle on each page, so I figured it was time to try it for myself.

Rick Riordan is a very talented writer. There’s loads of energy and his characters are glorious. Apollo himself was the source of most of the giggling – the ego of a god inside the body of a flabby, acne-ridden teen boy.

It’s only after I’d finished reading that I saw it’s classified as MG rather than YA, and that’s probably right – it didn’t have the emotional depth I would have liked to find, but it’s terrifically entertaining and highly recommended.

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Review: The Girl Who Shot First

About the book:

Not Every Girl Can Be Katniss Everdeen.

Did she learn to hunt and survive in a post-crisis world?

No. Her father was a scientist.

Her battle is with a parasitic virus that is threatening to wipe out all life on the planet.

The world needs her data before it’s too late. There’s just one problem…

…she’s three hundred miles away from the people that can do something with it.

Review by Katy Haye:

This week, I picked up several books and put them down within a chapter or two, so it was a welcome relief to start The Girl Who Shot First, because it was an absolute, apocalyptic, zombie-filled treat.

I loved Alex, as well as the secondary characters (her sister’s a piece of work, eh?).

The zig-zag narrative that alternated between events leading up to the apocalypse and life after it (“now”) worked really well.

The chapters were well-crafted and tense and drove me effortlessly through the story with numerous good twists along the way.

If you enjoyed Megan Crewe’s The Way We Fall Series, you should try The Girl Who Shot First. There are some obvious apocalyptic comparisons, but chiefly they are both very well written, cracking stories.

Katy Haye writes speculative YA fiction. Check out the first book in her new YA fantasy series, Awakened by Magic, while it’s just 99c/p. Kyann only wants to save her sister, but a greater destiny of myth and magic awaits her in the Empire of Charnrosa.

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Review: Elemental Thief by Rachel Morgan

About the book:

Stealing isn’t her biggest crime. Magic is.

In a near-future city shielded from the elemental magic raging through the wastelands, seventeen-year-old Ridley steals from the wealthy and secretly gives to those in need—which is far less of a crime than the other thing she spends her free time doing: using magic.

Ridley’s managed to stay under the radar for years, but the night she steals a gold figurine from the richest family in the city, everything starts to unravel.

A stranger follows her home and ends up murdered outside the antique store she lives above.

Her best friend—who definitely wasn’t there—is accused of the crime.

And that family Ridley stole from? Their son just walked into her store.

As heir to the city’s largest fortune, Archer Davenport represents everything Ridley hates. She’d prefer to stay well away from him, but he has a problem only Ridley can solve: Turns out that ancient figurine she stole could unlock secrets that will endanger many lives.

Which means Ridley has to get it back. Without revealing her own biggest secret.

As she and Archer journey into the hidden parts of the city, they’ll have to put their differences aside and figure out how to trust each other. Because their true enemy is lurking in the shadows, moving ever closer, and if they don’t get that stolen artifact back, it’ll be their own lives that are at stake.

Cover of Rachel Morgan's Elemental Thief

Click to try it for yourself

Review by Katy Haye:

The first thing I loved about Elemental Thief was the world-building. Rachel Morgan created a world much like ours but with a twist: magic exists and can be used by pretty much everyone as a source of power. Then, she gave it a massive twist: 8 years before the story starts the Cataclysm happened. Magic blew up in humanity’s face, causing the destruction of much of the world, alongside a massive loss of life. Now, the survivors live in those safe cities that are protected from magic, and use of magic is outlawed. If you’re found using magic you’ll be executed – if the magic doesn’t destroy you first.

The second thing I loved was the characters, especially Ridley. Ridley is your usual, everyday teen trying to overcome the death of her mother in the cataclysm, help her father keep their antique shop afloat, and pass her school exams. Except, she’s also hiding the fact that she can still use magic – which she employs in a Robin Hood manner to even out what she sees as injustices that have resulted from the cataclysm. She’s thrown together with Archer, an old friend turned enemy. Their relationship was fabulous. There are no easy answers and Morgan doesn’t try to force them – Ridley and Archer have a lot to get over if they’re ever going to be friends again (but I soooo hope they do!).

And finally, the plotting was glorious. I’m a sucker for pace, as I’m sure you know already, and Elemental Thief was fast and twisty with several shockers that I didn’t see coming (I did think Ridley was daft not to be more suspicious/concerned about what happened to her at Lawrence’s house, but I’ll let it slide just this once).

No cliffhangers, but there’s a bigger world out there waiting for Ridley, and I can’t wait to find out more!

Katy Haye writes speculative YA fiction. Check out the first book in her new YA fantasy series, Awakened by Magic, while it’s just 99c/p. Kyann only wants to save her sister, but a greater destiny of myth and magic awaits her in the Empire of Charnrosa.

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Review: Wolfbound by Jody and Jayme Morse

About the book:

My life isn’t supposed to be this complicated.

At least that’s what I thought… until I met Jax.

I was in for the most boring three months of my life. With my best friend and sister gone for the majority of summer, I was stuck by myself in Cedar Falls, our small town in Indiana.

But then he showed up on my front doorstep – my mysterious, insanely attractive new neighbor.

I was instantly drawn to him.

It was like there was a magnetic force between us, unlike anything I’d ever felt before.

When a series of strange events happen, it seems like there’s only one thing that links them all together: Jax and his family arriving in town.

Little did I know, I wasn’t only imagining it.

Jax has a secret, one that affects both of us.  
He’s a werewolf.

I’ve fallen completely head over heels for a werewolf, which is just as dangerous as it is stupid. But I don’t care. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to be with him, even if it means putting my own life on the line.

But wait.

My life was already on the line, even before he came to town.

Cover of Wolfbound

Click to start reading

Review by Katy Haye:

Wolfbound was as slow as anything, which is usually enough to make me DNF a book, but remarkably, I didn’t mind. Camryn was a fabulously entertaining narrator, and I loved the quietly snarky interactions between her and Jax. I would say, though, you can happily skip the first chapter which we don’t really need: Camryn’s been abandoned for the summer by her sister and her best friend, now start at chapter two.

At times I did think Camryn was a bit dim, and I had to remind myself that even though I knew werewolves were going to feature, it wasn’t fair to expect her to know that.

Wolfbound wasn’t dramatically surprising, but it was nicely intriguing, and mostly satisfying. The fact that no one answers anything beyond giving cryptic hints was annoying, but then that was balanced by the narrative making me feel clever because I totally called the shovel AND the wedding. Go me!

If you like werewolves, this is a fun addition to the genre.

Katy Haye writes speculative YA fiction. Check out the first book in her new YA fantasy series, Awakened by Magic, while it’s just 99c/p. Kyann only wants to save her sister, but a greater destiny of myth and magic awaits her in the Empire of Charnrosa.

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