Ultimate Blog Tour: Amari and the Night Brothers

Amari Peters is a 13-year-old girl that has never quite fit in with other kids due to her background. When her older brother Quinton goes missing, Amari feels like she has lost her only friend. A few months after his disappearance, Amari finds a briefcase meant for her eyes only. The briefcase contains a nomination for a summer tryout at the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, and instructions for her interview. If Amari manages to pass all tests, she will be promoted to a Junior Agent and have the chance to find out what happened to her brother, who apparently was a celebrity at the Bureau. Will she manage?

The book is excellent for both kids and adults. Amari is a strong character and could be a great example for other kids. She’s incredibly resilient and loyal to her friends and family. The friendships Amari builds are based on trust and understanding for each other. Elsie is Amari’s roommate and becomes a loyal friend. More importantly, she’s a weredragon! Dylan van Helsing is a legacy kid and an unexpected friend, who shares a secret with Amari.

The story is set in our world, but filled with other creatures. Regular people don’t know of their existence, even though the creatures live among them. The Bureau of Supernatural Affairs deals with, well, supernatural affairs. The Bureau contains several departments, for example the Department of Supernatural Investigations, the Department of Creature control and many, many more.

Of course, a contemporary fantasy isn’t that unique. However, the way the fantasy world works in Amari and the Night Brothers is. For example, the yetis are incredibly rich because they own a popular ice-cooling company. I don’t know how anyone can think of something like that but I love those tiny details.

The book is plot-driven and quick-paced. I flew through it! It was hard to put down because of all the twists that occurred. I’ll be honest, people can see the twists miles away (even though I didn’t expect quite a few!), but despite seeing the twists coming, I enjoyed them!

Amari and the Night Brothers is an excellent read for both middle grade and young adult readers. I highly recommend it. The story is filled with action and feels incredibly real as you get sucked into the story. I personally can’t wait for the sequel. The release of Amari and the Night Brothers is a great way to start off 2021!

Here’s the official blurb of the book:

Quinton Peters was the golden boy of the Rosewood low-income housing projects, receiving full scholarship offers to two different Ivy League schools. When he mysteriously goes missing, his little sister, 13-year-old Amari Peters, can’t understand why it’s not a bigger deal. Why isn’t his story all over the news? And why do the police automatically assume he was into something illegal?

Then Amari discovers a ticking briefcase in her brother’s old closet. A briefcase meant for her eyes only. There was far more to Quinton, it seems, than she ever knew. He’s left her a nomination for a summer tryout at the secretive Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. Amari is certain the answer to finding out what happened to him lies somewhere inside, if only she can get her head around the idea of mermaids, dwarves, yetis and magicians all being real things, something she has to instantly confront when she is given a weredragon as a roommate.

Amari must compete against some of the nation’s wealthiest kids—who’ve known about the supernatural world their whole lives and are able to easily answer questions like which two Great Beasts reside in the Atlantic Ocean and how old is Merlin? Just getting around the Bureau is a lesson alone for Amari with signs like ‘Department of Hidden Places this way, or is it?’ If that all wasn’t enough, every Bureau trainee has a talent enhanced to supernatural levels to help them do their jobs – but Amari is given an illegal ability. As if she needed something else to make her stand out.

With an evil magican threatening the whole supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she is an enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t pass the three tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton.

Get Amari and the Night Brothers here!

Review: Subversive, by Colleen Cowley

I received a free copy of this book from the author. This did not affect my review.

So I actually wrote my review for the sequel, Radical, before I started writing this one because I completely forgot it! Mistakes have been made, but fortunately they can be fixed! It’s been a while since I read Subversive though, but my opinion of the book and the series as a whole stayed the same. 😉

In a world where women barely have any rights at all, and wizards control the country in a highly unfair way, Beatrix Harper is a subtle force to be reckoned with in the small town Ellicott Mills. While working in a shop to pay for her sister’s tuition, Beatrix encounters wizard Peter Blackwell who returned home after many years away. And Beatrix’ well known stance against wizards and magic did not prevent Peter from forcing her to become his assistant. What were is intentions and how will this end?

This magical world is one of the most unique worlds I have ever seen. It reminds me of The Handmaid’s Tale, with present-day technology but a government that’s way behind on people’s rights. The magic system is believable as well, with wizards requiring fuel to use magic. I can’t actually really place this book in a genre! It’s more of an alternative world that definitely could have been real if the magic system existed in our world.

The book consists out of 2 POV’s: Beatrix’ and Peter’s. This made the dynamics between the two so much more interesting! Both their POV’s were crucial to the plot and gave more insight in the characters and their motives.

One of the things I love the most in this book is that THE CHARACTERS DISCUSS THINGS. Instead of the usual fade to black technique that is used when characters make plans, we finally see the discussions and their outcomes! I’m guessing not everybody is a fan of that, so be warned because the book might come across much slower if you don’t like those parts.

And then we come to the romance… I’M NOT OVER THIS. Okay this is all I’ll be saying to avoid spoilers: the romance is unlike any other I’ve read and so is the tension between them. The way you interpret what I said is up to you 😉

I highly recommend starting this series. Subversive is an incredible fantasy book with a strong, feminist protagonist. The dynamics are complex and better executed than I’ve seen in many bestselling books.

 

 

Ultimate Blog Tour: The Cousins

I am SO happy that I was able to participate in a blog tour for this book! Big thanks to The Write Reads for organizing the blog tour and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of the book.

The Cousins follows the cousins (obviously) Milly, Aubrey and Jonah as they are invited by their grandmother to spend the summer working at her island resort. However, their grandmother disinherited their parents before they were born and not one family member has seen or heard from her in about 20 years. So why would she suddenly invited the grandchildren she has never seen?

The book has multiple POV’s and a few flashbacks that all add value to the story. The story was FILLED with twists that I did not see coming, and scenes that made me physically smile and cringe and I think my boyfriend thought I was going crazy. All characters have their own value. Aubrey was this sweet, innocent girl who seriously grew some balls as the story developed. Milly was a strong character from the very beginning, but highly underestimated. And Jonah, well he had his own value in the story that I will not spoil.

This was the first book of Karen McManus that I ever read, even though her books have been sitting on my TBR shelf for a very long time. And let me tell you, she did not disappoint. She has a way of writing that makes it hard for the reader to put the book down. The writing style is easy but gripping and that’s the perfect combination for me.

I enjoyed this book tremendously and, as mentioned before, couldn’t put it down. I will never forget the experience that I was able to read an ARC of a well-known author, even though I hadn’t read any of her other books yet. But let me tell you, as soon as my TBR is a little smaller, I will definitely add Karen McManus’ books to my collection. All of them.

Here’s the official blurb of the book:

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of One of Us Is Lying comes your next obsession. You’ll never feel the same about family again.

Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah Story are cousins, but they barely know each another, and they’ve never even met their grandmother. Rich and reclusive, she disinherited their parents before they were born. So when they each receive a letter inviting them to work at her island resort for the summer, they’re surprised . . . and curious.

Their parents are all clear on one point—not going is not an option. This could be the opportunity to get back into Grandmother’s good graces. But when the cousins arrive on the island, it’s immediately clear that she has different plans for them. And the longer they stay, the more they realize how mysterious—and dark—their family’s past is.

The entire Story family has secrets. Whatever pulled them apart years ago isn’t over—and this summer, the cousins will learn everything.

Buy The Cousins here!

Review: The Chalice and the Crown, by Kassandra Flamouri

I received a free copy of this book. This did not affect my review, all opinions are my own.

The Russian Sasha Nikolayeva is a talented ballerina, plagued by nightmares that seem so real it’s like she’s living them. Just as she lands a famous role in The Swan Lake, Sasha’s nightmares become more common and she starts hallucinating. One day, she’s fully sucked into her nightmare, a new fantasy world where she’s a thrall without her memory. Can Sasha remember who she was and come back to reality?

Okay, I’ll admit, I hadn’t read the complete blurb before I started the book. I read ‘ballet’s crown princess’ and ‘neurological symptoms’, and I requested a copy. I didn’t know what I was getting into when I started reading. It felt like I was reading a contemporary novel, with some random dream passages in between. As the story progressed and the dreams came more often, I started noticing a coherence in the dreams, and suddenly Sasha was in her parallel dream world.

I have never ever read a book with this layout. The subtle changes in the layout of The Chalice and the Crown (I’m not going to spoil what those changes are!), had real impact on me. The story shows how friends help each other, while still being independent. It’s sad but hopeful and filled with important choices that define Sasha’s future. Sasha grew as a person and her priorities changed. I already respected Sasha at the start of the book, but even more when I finished it.

The Chalice and the Crown is a beautiful dark fantasy that contains racism, pain and sadness, but also friendship, love and hope. It sends a message of finding the good in the bad. It contains morally grey characters and a surprising ending. As I’m writing this review, I don’t even know why I gave this book only 3 stars. I’m going to give it 4 stars, because the author created something incredibly dark, despite being beautiful. It’s not a long book, so I highly recommend you read it.

Review: Crystal Shadows, Gripping New Blood

I received a copy of Crystal Shadows in exchange for an honest review. This didn’t affect my review.

Sarah’s father has always been secretive about her dead grandfather, even though Sarah and her father share a close bond. However, her fathers behavior hasn’t stopped Sarah from asking questions. And when Sarah and her friends start investigating the strange noises from the attic, they come to the shocking discovery that Sarah’s ‘grandfather’ had actually been living in the attic! And they also discover that her grandfather needs them to save the world…

I wanted to like it, I really did. I don’t often read middle grade books, but the premise was incredibly interesting so I took a chance. Unfortunately, as soon as I started reading it, I was lost. The dialogue between the characters wasn’t logical and incredibly hard to follow. I also couldn’t imagine the characters at all because the ways all the characters talked and acted weren’t realistic. First there was a huge revelation, and suddenly Carly Rae Jepsen (I truly don’t know if I spelled her name correctly) was doing a performance during a basketball game? Why is there a performance in the last few pages of the book when there’s so much that still has to be solved?

Furthermore, I missed a lot of world building. Descriptions of the house, of Sarah’s friends, her father, anything that would make it easier to imagine the story. Instead, too many words were used for (I’m so sorry) useless dialogue. It had a negative influence on the flow of the story.

And lastly, the plot. I’m actually not sure if there’s going to be a sequel or not. If there is, this book was building up to it, and in that case this book and the sequel should have been one book. If not, I’m afraid the only real plot that the book thoroughly executed was Sarah finding her grandfather in the attic, which was already spoiled in the blurb of the book. Nothing happened with the amulet that was supposed to help Sarah fight the darkness and there’s too much that still needs to be solved.

The story has real promise, it really does. The book just needs lots of editing. Make the dialogue more realistic and create a better flow in the book. That will give Crystal Shadows a better chance to go to its full potential.