Review – ‘Future Leaders of Nowhere’ by Emily O’Beirne

Title:  Future Leaders of Nowhere
Author: Emily O’Beirne
Genre:  Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT+
Date of Publication: 15th March, 2017
Page Count: 270 pages (ebook)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

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“Finn’s solid. Not in body, but in being. She’s gravity and kindness and all those good things that anchor.”

“Willa’s confusing. Sometimes she’s this sweet, sensitive soul. Other times she’s like a flaming arrow you hope isn’t coming for you.”

Finn and Willa have been picked as team leaders in the future leader camp game. The usually confident Finn doesn’t know what’s throwing her more, the fact she’s leading a team of highly unenthusiastic overachievers or coming up against fierce, competitive Willa. And Willa doesn’t know which is harder, leaving her responsibilities behind to pursue her goals or opening up to someone.

Soon they both realise that the hardest thing of all is balancing their clashing ideals with their unexpected connection. And finding a way to win, of course.

In short: I loved this book. The main characters were endearing and easy to root for, the love story was gradually developed and their relationship had a solid foundation based on adorably nerdy interactions (no insta-love here!) and their conflicts felt grounded in their individual personalities and beliefs instead of contrived for drama. ALL THE YES.

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At length: This is everything I want in a YA novel!

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ARC Review – ‘Daughter of the Burning City’ by Amanda Foody

Title:  Daughter of the Burning City
Author: Amanda Foody
Genre:  Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBT+
Date of Publication: 25th July, 2017
Page Count: 384 pages (hardback)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

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A darkly irresistible new fantasy set in the infamous Gomorrah Festival, a traveling carnival of debauchery that caters to the strangest of dreams and desires.

Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.

But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.

Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca, and their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all of her loved ones disappear.

I wanted to love this more than I did. I have a lot of respect for the author’s vision and her ambition, but I feel that the execution was a little lacking. This is only her debut novel and it’s such an exciting and promising start, but there are definitely areas that needed more work.

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Let’s start with the positives: this is a stunningly original premise unlike anything I’ve come across before – most fantasy novels will display at least a couple common tropes, but this was a most unique and unusual standout in my reading experience. I didn’t even read the reviews before I requested an ARC because it was so refreshingly different.

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ARC review – ‘Sovereign’ by April Daniels

Title:  Sovereign
Author: April Daniels
Genre:  Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBT+
Date of Publication: 25th July, 2017
Page Count: 350pages (paperback)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

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Only nine months after her debut as the fourth superhero to fight under the name Dreadnought, Danny Tozer is already a scarred veteran. Protecting a city the size of New Port is a team-sized job and she’s doing it alone. Between her newfound celebrity and her demanding cape duties, Dreadnought is stretched thin, and it’s only going to get worse.

When she crosses a newly discovered supervillain, Dreadnought comes under attack from all quarters. From her troubled family life to her disintegrating friendship with Calamity, there’s no trick too dirty and no lever too cruel for this villain to use against her.

She might be hard to kill, but there’s more than one way to destroy a hero. Before the war is over, Dreadnought will be forced to confront parts of herself she never wanted to acknowledge.

And behind it all, an old enemy waits in the wings to unleash a plot that will scar the world forever.

I loved the first book so much that I gave it a 5-star rating and was absolutely thrilled to be approved for an ARC of the second book – so how did I fare?

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I thought after weathering all the ups and downs of Dreadnought, I was prepared for the sequel, but I was SO wrong. This book hurt me on a deep spiritual level because of how much pain and suffering the protagonist went through, and yet I couldn’t stop reading. I was up til 3am finishing this off because I needed to know how it ended and if it would all be okay for Danny at any stage EVER.

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Whimsifybox – May 2017: Fight Like A Girl

Whimsify Box is a monthly subscription book box for YA lovers. You receive a recently published fantasy or sci-fi book along with 4-6 items that relate to the theme picked to match the book.

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Whimsify Box
Cost: $34.95 USD
Shipping Costs: $7.25 within the US |  Internationally – $19.95
Payment Method: Credit Card
Mailed Out: 15 – 20th each month

Good to know: your subscription renews automatically on the 1st of each month

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Review – ‘Break Me’ by Tiffany Snow

Title: Break Me
Author: Tiffany Snow
Genre:  Contemporary, Romance
Date of Publication: 14th March, 2017
Page Count: 316 pages (paperback)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

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Just a few weeks ago, computer prodigy China Mack’s typical night in involved Endor Star Wars pajamas and a sensible bedtime. Now she’s dating gorgeous tech guru Jackson Cooper—one of Forbes’s Top Ten Eligible Billionaires—much to the Twitterverse’s delight.

Turns out, going from socially inept hermit to poster girl for geek chic has its challenges. China’s relationship gets even more complicated because her role heading the top-secret Vigilance program—where she’s partnered with Superman clone Clark Slattery—makes her a target. And when ruthless businessman Simon Lu plans to co-opt Vigilance software to blackmail government and military employees, he’ll need China’s cooperation—willing or otherwise.

But not every enemy is so easily identified. Some hide in plain sight, in very high places, and mistaking foe for friend could be the last mistake China ever makes…

I adored the first book in the ‘Corrupted Hearts’ series – I gave Follow Me a 5-star rating! This sequel fell rather short of the lofty standards set by its predecessor and I felt a bit disappointed after having anticipated this so much. The writing is smooth and assured, the mystery plot is snappy and intriguging, and it honestly had me glued to the screen, gasping in shock at some of the twists and turns. But while ‘Follow Me‘ didn’t have an obnoxious love triangle, its sequel unfortunately doubled down on that aspect.

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Review – ‘Geekerella’ by Ashley Poston

Title: Geekerella
Author: Ashley Poston
Genre:  Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Date of Publication: 4th April, 2017
Page Count: 320 pages (hard cover)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

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Anything can happen once upon a con…

When geek girl Elle Wittimer sees a cosplay contest sponsored by the producers of Starfield, she has to enter. First prize is an invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. Elle’s been scraping together tips from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck behind her stepmother’s back, and winning this contest could be her ticket out once and for all—not to mention a fangirl’s dream come true.

Teen actor Darien Freeman is less than thrilled about this year’s ExcelsiCon. He used to live for conventions, but now they’re nothing but jaw-aching photo sessions and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Federation Prince Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the diehard Starfield fandom has already dismissed him as just another heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, closet nerd Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

Well, don’t I feel foolish now! I have to admit I was completely wrong about this book – I mistakenly requested this on Netgalley when I was really after Queens of Geek (reviewed here); it’s an easy mistake as they both have the word ‘Geek’ in the title, both about nerdy fangirls, both set at conventions… I loved Queens of Geek and didn’t feel like this would live up to its rival, but now I need to declare that I did Geekerella an injustice because it was a fantastic read!

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Whimsify Box – April 2017: More Than Machine

Whimsify Box is a monthly subscription book box for YA lovers. You receive a recently published fantasy or sci-fi book along with 4-6 items that relate to the theme picked to match the book.

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Whimsify Box
Cost: $34.95 USD
Shipping Costs: $7.25 within the US |  Internationally – $19.95
Payment Method: Credit Card
Mailed Out: 15 – 20th each month

Good to know: your subscription renews automatically on the 1st of each month

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‘The Edge of the Abyss’ by Emily Skrutskie

Title: The Edge of the Abyss
Author: Emily Skrutskie
Genre:  Young Adult, Sci-fi, LGBT
Date of Publication: 18th April, 2017
Page Count: 320 pages (ebook)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

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Three weeks have passed since Cassandra Leung pledged her allegiance to the ruthless pirate-queen Santa Elena and set free Bao, the sea monster Reckoner she’d been forced to train. The days as a pirate trainee are long and grueling, but it’s not the physical pain that Cas dreads most. It’s being forced to work with Swift, the pirate girl who broke her heart.

But Cas has even bigger problems when she discovers that Bao is not the only monster swimming free. Other Reckoners illegally sold to pirates have escaped their captors and are taking the NeoPacific by storm, attacking ships at random and ruining the ocean ecosystem. As a Reckoner trainer, Cas might be the only one who can stop them. But how can she take up arms against creatures she used to care for and protect?

Will Cas embrace the murky morals that life as a pirate brings or perish in the dark waters of the NeoPacific?

This was a hard one for me to review – objectively, the author is quite talented; her characters leap off the page, there’s a ton of action and adventure, this alternate reality she’s crafted is amazingly original and the plot had me hooked. BUT I found the lead character so frustrating and some of her reactions and decisions were borderline nonsensical, so it was painful reading certain parts and having to resist the urge to hurl my phone across the room and scream.

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Book Boyfriend Box – February 2017: Out Of This World

Book Boyfriend Box is a bi-monthly US book subscription box that provides you with a new YA release plus 2-6 bookish goodies that may include jewelry, make-up, bath products, candles, accessories & apparel and more.

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Book Boyfriend Box
Cost: $29.99 USD (discounts available on longer subscriptions)
Shipping Costs: USPS Priority Rate | Canada – $14.99 | Internationally – $25.99
Payment Method: Credit Card
Mailed Out: 9-15th February, April, June, August, October & December

***Note: this is a bi-monthly box that ships every 2 months. Renewals happen on the 25th of the month prior to shipping. Subscribe by the 10th of the shipping month to receive that month’s box, otherwise if you subscribe after that date, you’ll receive the box for the next cycle***

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