Book Review: Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

Title – Author: Vengeance Road – Erin Bowman
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Series/Standalone: Standalone
Format – Source: e-ARC – Publisher via Edelweiss

When Kate Thompson’s father is killed by the notorious Rose Riders for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. What she finds are devious strangers, dust storms, and a pair of brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, she gets closer to the truth about herself and must decide if there’s room for love in a heart so full of hate.

In the spirit of True Grit, the cutthroat days of the Wild West come to life for a new generation. (via Goodreads)

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This book is one wild ride. It starts with a murder and just picks up pace from there. I didn’t want to put it down for a second because I knew Kate was getting into some kind of trouble just around the corner.

I absolutely adored Kate Thompson. She’s bold, brash, and a woman of action. When her father is murdered, she immediately sets out to get revenge. It’s so important to have female main characters with agency and I loved how even when Kate was faced with impossible and dangerous situations, she doesn’t give up. Her actions have consequences, and she struggles with the emotional fallout of what she does. Even on this long, tough road, she doesn’t lose her humanity.

Bowman does a masterful job at building the wild wild west atmosphere. Every detail of her world feels so real that at times I found myself wanting to quit my job and go traipsing around the mountains looking for a legendary mine. She clearly did a lot of research and her novel feels authentic and genuine in every scene.

Screen Shot 2013-05-17 at 11.56.59 PMVengeance Road is an adventure from page one, an engrossing and impressive feat of storytelling that will make you want to ride out into the sunset with hat jauntily tipped and gold shining in your pockets.


Book Review: Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

Title – Author: Lair of Dreams – Libba Bray
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: August 25, 2015
Series/Standalone: Series – The Diviners #2
Format – Source: e-ARC – Publisher via NetGalley

After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. Now that the world knows of her ability to “read” objects, and therefore, read the past, she has become a media darling, earning the title, “America’s Sweetheart Seer.” But not everyone is so accepting of the Diviners’ abilities…

Meanwhile, mysterious deaths have been turning up in the city, victims of an unknown sleeping sickness. Can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld and catch a killer? (via Goodreads)

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Libba Bray is the berries, folks. She completely delivers with Lair of Dreams, a terrifying, atmospheric, and witty novel that I was happily engrossed in.

The strongest parts of the first novel for me were the characters, and that was once again the case with the sequel. I love everyone, including the new addition, Ling. This a group of characters who will make you laugh, swoon, shake your fist, and cry alcohol-infused tears. I love every single one of our crazy Diviners and I’m kind of crazy nervous that something awful is going to happen to my precious babies.

Once again, Libba perfectly balances the smaller plot line of this book (dreams that can literally kill you) with the series’ overall arc of something evil creeping ever closer. While Evie and her friends battle dream creepies and emotional turmoil, you can sense something larger at play.

Screen Shot 2013-05-17 at 11.56.59 PMLair of Dreams is a pos-i-tutely fabulous follow-up to The Diviners.

Book Review: Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman

Title – Author: Legacy of Kings – Eleanor Herman
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: August 18, 2015
Series/Standalone: Series – Blood of Gods and Royals #1
Format – Source: e-ARC – Publisher via NetGalley

Imagine a time when the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men, when the last of the hellions roam the plains and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn, and in their ashes, empires rise.

Alexander, Macedonia’s sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world but finds himself drawn to newcomer Katerina, who must navigate the dark secrets of court life while hiding her own mission: kill the Queen. But Kat’s first love, Jacob, will go to unthinkable lengths to win her, even if it means competing for her heart with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince. And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander’s unmet fiancée, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.

Weaving fantasy with the salacious and fascinating details of real history, New York Times bestselling author Eleanor Herman reimagines the greatest emperor the world has ever known: Alexander the Great, in the first book of the Blood of Gods and Royals series. (via Goodreads)

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Legacy of Kings has a great hook: Alexander the Great before he was Great. He’s one of history’s most fascinating people (and one I don’t know much about though I’m pretty sure I watched that terrible Colin Farrell movie). Because this book is fiction, it really made me want to pick up a nonfiction biography of Alexander.

There are multiple POVs in this book, which is something that really worked for me here. You can tell the arc of this story is going to be vast; there are so many players, each with their own motivations and machinations. I liked getting into so many of their heads. This is a group of highly flawed individuals, and some of them make terrible choices, but you understand why everyone is doing what they’re doing.

This is clearly a first book in a series. The ending feels very open-ended. It’s like holding a bunch of strings in your hand. You know they’re going to weave together into something completely different at the end, but right now they’re only lightly tangled.
Screen Shot 2013-05-17 at 11.56.59 PMLegacy of Kings is a solid start to the series, with the promise that there’s so much more to come for this diverse cast of characters.