Book Review: The Mentalist Series by Kenechi Udogu

The Mentalist Series by Kenechi Udogu

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BOOK 1

BOOK INFO
Title: Aversion
Author: Kenechi Udogu
Publisher: Self-Published
Publish Date: December 1, 2012
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.00 / Community 3.80

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
For Gemma Green’s first time, things should have been straightforward. Find your subject, hold their gaze and push a thought into their head to save them from future disaster – Aversion complete. A pretty simple process given that the subject was to have no recollection of the experience. But Russ Tanner doesn’t seem to want to forget. In fact the more she tries to avoid him, the more he pushes to get to know her. Gemma knows she has a problem but is she facing the side effects of a failed Aversion or has the school’s tennis champ really fallen for her?


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MY REVIEW
Gemma Green is special, but blends into the background. She’s what is known as an Averter – someone who can change other people’s behavior to help save them from bad decisions and dangerous situations. Gemma is ready for her first Aversion, but things do not go according to plan.

The first book in The Mentalist series by Kenechi Udogu. A short, entertaining YA fantasy. I like that Gemma is smart and independent. The story has some romance, but it isn’t the usual formula. A fresh and interesting read. I look forward to the next book in the series.

BOOK 2

BOOK INFO
Title: Sentient
Author: Kenechi Udogu
Publisher: Self-Published
Publish Date: October 27, 2013
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.00 / Community 3.88

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
Mastering her Progressive Empath abilities isn’t going as well as Gemma hoped. In fact, months after finding out what she really is, she still has no clue what this truly means. All she can do is wait to see if any new abilities will eventually manifest. Things aren’t going great with Russ either. Unsure of how to handle her Sentient Link with him, she tries to integrate herself in his busy social life but struggles to adjust to her new circumstances.

When she is plagued by recurring nightmares, Gemma realises things are changing and knows she has to do something, fast. The arrival of two sets of strangers in town, both offering the much needed assistance she needs to unearth her powers, escalates the situation even further. Gemma attempts to decipher whose intentions are genuine, but does she have enough time to figure out who has her best interest at heart?


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MY REVIEW
The second book in The Mentalist series by Kenechi Udogu. In the first book, Aversion, Gemma learns she is more than just an Averter and she finds out about Sentient Twins. This second book gives more information about the world of the Mentalists. That’s interesting, and needed, but this was a slower paced read than the first book.

A short, entertaining YA fantasy. Great characters. Interesting story. Looking forward to the next book in the series.

BOOK 3

BOOK INFO
Title: Keepers
Author: Kenechi Udogu
Publisher: Self-Published
Publish Date: December 19, 2016
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.0 / Community 4.03

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
The dust appears to have settled after the brief descent of the Progressive Empaths on Sandes. But, if there is any truth to Anthony’s story, Gemma and her friends know they might soon have to face the mysterious Keepers. Myth or real threat, one thing is certain; running is no longer an option, for any of them. Can Gemma protect the ones she loves without forming an unlikely alliance?


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MY REVIEW
The third book in The Mentalist series by Kenechi Udogu. Gemma and friends are faced with new challenges and have to question who they can trust. This book wraps the series up nicely, and adds even more to the world of the Mentalists.

Keepers is a little different than the first two books because it uses alternating points of view. It was great to get not only Gemma’s POV, but Russ’s viewpoint in this last book. Also, this book is a little longer than the others, and it allowed for a little more development of the story and characters. A great ending to the series.

PREQUEL

BOOK INFO
Title: Broken Ties
Author: Kenechi Udogu
Publisher: Self-Published
Publish Date: May 1, 2014
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy
Goodreads Ratings: Me 4.00 / Community 3.87

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
“There was nothing unusual about the night everything changed. No flashing lights in the sky, no searing fire in my belly; no sign whatsoever to suggest the shift which was to come…Nora Brice did strange things to me. Strange and awful things…”

Paul Colt has a problem, and it is not one most teenage boys face. Yes, he likes a girl; one he’s pretty certain he’ll do foolish things for, given the chance. But he can’t go after her, or any other girl for that matter. That’s what he gets for being an Averter; forced to toe the line for the propagation of the collective. He knows some rules are okay to trifle with, and there are some which should never be broken. The gravest of them all?

Don’t fall in love.

Ever.

This is the story of how Paul breaks that rule.

This prequel novella to the Mentalist Series can be read before or after Aversion, Book One of The Mentalist Series.


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MY REVIEW
A prequel in The Mentalist Series by Kenechi Udogu. This book takes place before book 1, Aversion, so it can be read at any time. Broken Ties is about Paul and Nora, Gemma’s parents. This is the story of how they met and fell for one another.

Told with alternating points of view, this novella gives a glimpse into the lives of Paul and Nora. They are in high school, and suddenly find themselves irresistibly drawn to one another. A quick and entertaining read.


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I received a free digital copy of this book series from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase.

BOOK INFO
Title: Vanishing Girls
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publish Date: March 10, 2015
Genre: Young Adult – Mystery
Goodreads Ratings: Me 3.0 / Community 3.59

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara’s beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged.

When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked.

Now, Nick has to find her sister, before it’s too late.

In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.


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MY REVIEW
Two sisters, Nicola (Nick) and Dara, were once best friends. As teenagers, their relationship has become strained, and it is forever changed after a terrible car accident.

This story is told using alternating timelines – before the accident (“then”) and after the accident (“now”). The story is also told using multiple points of view – Nick’s POV, Dara’s POV, random news reports, and entries from Dara’s diary. I found the hopping around to be a bit jarring. It wasn’t hard to follow the story, but it didn’t flow well.

The “then” part of the story deals with the sisters crumbling relationship, which has to do with a boy. Nick’s best friend is a guy, and Dara goes after him. Not cool. The “now” part continues to deal with the sister’s relationship, but also involves a young missing girl. When Dara goes missing too, Nick believes it has something to do with the other missing girl.

A dark story with a twisty ending. I read this in one sitting, so it was a compelling read, but it was also awkward. Mainly, it was too disjointed with the jumping narrative. I’ve enjoyed other books by Lauren Oliver, and will continue to read her work, but this isn’t one of my favorites by her.

I won this Kindle ebook in a Goodreads Giveaway.

Book Review: What You Hide by Natalie D. Richards

What You Hide by Natalie D. Richards

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BOOK INFO
Title: What You Hide
Author: Natalie D. Richards
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publish Date: December 4, 2018
Genre: Young Adult
Goodreads Ratings: Me 3.0 / Community 3.65

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
Mallory didn’t want to leave home, but it wasn’t safe to stay. So she sleeps at her best friend’s house and spends the rest of her time at the library, doing her online schoolwork and figuring out what comes next. Because she’s not going live in fear like her mother.

Spencer volunteers at the library. Sure, it’s community service for a stunt he pulled, but he likes the work. And it’s the perfect escape from his parents’ pressure to excel at school, at ice hockey, at everything. Especially after he meets Mallory.

Then there is a tragic death at the library. Suddenly, what was once a sanctuary turns sinister. Ghostly footprints, strange scratching sounds, scrawled messages on bulletin boards and walls… Mallory and Spencer don’t know who or what is responsible, but one thing is for sure:

They are not as alone—or as safe—as they thought.


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MY REVIEW
Mallory is sixteen and has a difficult home life. Her stepfather is controlling, and a little disturbing. She wants to get her and her mother away from him, but it’s hard to convince her mom to leave. Mallory decides to go on her own, and ends up being homeless while she spends her nights with friends and her days at the library. Spencer, also a teenager, comes from an affluent family, but still feels lost and unsure about his future. He’s a little rebellious, and, after getting into some trouble, ends up doing community service at the library. When he meets Mallory, he is immediately drawn to her.

This story is told from the alternating viewpoints of Mallory and Spencer. Both are struggling with personal issues in their lives – Mallory has a troubled home life and Spencer feels pressure from his family about his future. They are from completely different backgrounds, but are attracted to one another.

What You Hide is a contemporary young adult novel with a little romance and suspense. The two main characters are clearly drawn to each other, but, of course, things are complicated. The suspense part deals with happenings at the library. After a mysterious death at the library, strange events start occurring. Someone is leaving messages around the library, unknown footprints are found throughout the library, and occasionally strange sounds are heard. Mallory and Spencer both encounter some of these strange events, and are curious as to who could be behind them and why.

This YA book combines romance and mystery in an interesting coming of age story. The main characters are very different – Mallory is homeless and struggling, Spencer is rich and privileged. This is a light read with some darker elements. I enjoyed the coming of age story, but the mystery wasn’t gripping.

I received a free eARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Sadie by Courtney Summers

Sadie by Courtney Summers

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BOOK INFO
Title: Sadie
Author: Courtney Summers
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publish Date: September 4, 2018

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.


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MY REVIEW
Sadie’s younger sister Mattie is found dead. Sadie loves her sister more than anyone else in her life, and she’s determined to find and kill the man responsible for Mattie’s death. Sadie goes in search of the man, but she doesn’t tell anyone what she is doing. When Sadie is not heard from, she is reported missing. West is a man with a podcast, and when he hears about Sadie and Mattie, he starts looking into Sadie’s disappearance. As he looks for Sadie, he interviews the different people that Sadie has encountered after leaving home.

This book uses Sadie’s point of view and West’s podcasts to tell the story. Sadie’s POV tells about her experience with the people she encounters on her journey. The podcast includes West’s interviews with people from Sadie’s hometown and the people she meets after leaving home. Using the information he gathers about Sadie, West tries to find her. His podcast follows Sadie’s story several months after she is reported missing. I’ve read a few books that use a podcast to tell the story, and have found it an intriguing way to tell a story.

Sadie and Mattie have a difficult childhood. Their mother is a drug addict and leaves when they are still young, but Sadie takes it upon herself to provide for her and her sister. The only adult in their lives is their neighbor, who has known the girls their entire lives and does what she can to help them out.

Sadie is stubborn, independent, and loving. I was rooting for Sadie the entire time. Sadie’s life is an unhappy one, and that makes for a very emotional read.

Sadie is considered a young adult novel, but it read almost as an adult novel. Some difficult topics are covered, including pedophilia, sexual abuse, child abuse, and poverty. Heartbreaking, dark, and tragic.

I borrowed this book from my local library.

Book Review: The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas

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BOOK INFO
Title: The Cheerleaders
Author: Kara Thomas
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publish Date: July 31, 2018

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook.

First there was the car accident–two girls dead after hitting a tree on a rainy night. Not long after, the murders happened. Those two girls were killed by the man next door. The police shot him, so no one will ever know his reasons. Monica’s sister was the last cheerleader to die. After her suicide, Sunnybrook High disbanded the cheer squad. No one wanted to be reminded of the girls they’d lost.

That was five years ago. Now the faculty and students at Sunnybrook High want to remember the lost cheerleaders. But for Monica, it’s not that easy. She just wants to forget.

Only, Monica’s world is starting to unravel. There are the letters in her stepdad’s desk, an unearthed, years-old cell phone, a strange new friend at school. . . . Whatever happened five years ago isn’t over. Some people in town know more than they’re saying. And somehow, Monica is at the center of it all.

There are no more cheerleaders in Sunnybrook, but that doesn’t mean anyone else is safe.


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MY REVIEW
Monica’s sister Jennifer died five years ago. Jennifer committed suicide shortly after four of her friends died… they were all cheerleaders. The town was upset by the loss of the five teens, and the school ended the cheerleader program. The deaths were all somewhat suspicious – car accident, murder, and suicide. Monica believes there to be more to her sister’s death, and that of her friends. In an effort to discover the truth, Monica enlists the help of her friend Ginny and they start digging into the past.

Most of the story is told from Monica’s point of view. She is a teen troubled by the loss of her older sister five years earlier. Monica is sixteen years old and facing typical teen issues, but also some not so typical issues. This novel takes on some difficult topics, such as abortion, depression, suicide, and drugs.

This is a dark, and sometimes depressing, mystery. The deaths were all suspicious. The first two cheerleaders to die were killed in a car accident, but there were some questions concerning the cause of the accident. The next two girls to die were killed by a neighbor. Unfortunately, the police killed the neighbor before a motive was ever determined. The last death was Monica’s sister, Jennifer. She killed herself, but Monica thinks there was more to that story than she was ever told.

I’m a fan of young adult novels, and since I’ve always been drawn to mysteries and thrillers, this one seemed like a perfect fit. I did enjoy some parts of the novel, but some parts didn’t pull me in. The overall story is complex and intriguing. I kept guessing as to who was behind the deaths, so the story did deliver in that area. Due to the darker storyline, this book is more geared toward older teens, but also an interesting read for adults. Complex, dark, and twisty.

I borrowed this book from my local library.

Book Review: Dreamfall by Amy Plum

Dreamfall by Amy Plum

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BOOK INFO
Title: Dreamfall
Author: Amy Plum
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publish Date: May 2, 2017

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:
Seven teenagers who suffer from debilitating insomnia agree to take part in an experimental new procedure to cure it because they think it can’t get any worse. But they couldn’t be more wrong.

When the lab equipment malfunctions, the patients are plunged into a terrifying dreamworld where their worst nightmares have come to life—and they have no memory of how they got there. Hunted by monsters from their darkest imaginations and tormented by secrets they’d rather keep buried, these seven strangers will be forced to band together to face their biggest fears. And if they can’t find a way to defeat their dreams, they will never wake up.


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MY REVIEW
A group of teens with insomnia undergo a new procedure for treatment. During the treatment, something goes wrong, and the teens are trapped in a dream world.

Told from multiple points of view – Cata, Fergus, and Jaime. Cata and Fergus suffer from insomnia and are undergoing treatment. Jaime is a pre-med student observing the treatment. The different POVs were interesting, especially since it covers viewpoints from both sides – those undergoing the treatment and an observer of the test subjects.

The dream worlds the teens go through are nightmares. Each teen suffers from severe insomnia, and they all have nightmares. While trapped in the dream world, the teens go from one nightmare to another, never knowing what they will encounter and if they will be able to escape.

A fast-paced and entertaining sci-fi thriller. Exciting, creepy, and mysterious. It does end on a cliffhanger, and I look forward to reading the next one in the series, Neverwake.

I won a Kindle version of this book in a Goodreads Giveaway.

Book Review: The Thousandth Floor Trilogy by Katharine McGee

The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGeeThe Dazzling Heights by Katharine McGeeThe Towering Sky by Katharine McGee

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BOOK INFO
Title: The Thousandth FloorThe Dazzling HeightsThe Towering Sky
Author: Katharine McGee
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publish Date: August 30, 2016 • August 29, 2017 • August 28, 2018

BOOK BLURB
from Amazon:

The Thousandth Floor
A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. But people never change: everyone here wants something… and everyone has something to lose.

Leda Cole’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction–to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.

Eris Dodd-Radson’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

Rylin Myers’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world–and a romance–she never imagined… but will her new life cost Rylin her old one?

Watt Bakradi is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy by an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.

And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is Avery Fuller, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.

The Dazzling Heights
New York, 2118. Manhattan is home to a thousand-story supertower, a breathtaking marvel that touches the sky. But amidst high-tech luxury and futuristic glamour, five teenagers are keeping dangerous secrets…

Leda is haunted by memories of what happened on the worst night of her life. She’ll do anything to make sure the truth stays hidden–even if it means trusting her enemy.

Watt just wants to put everything behind him… until Leda forces him to start hacking again. Will he do what it takes to be free of her for good?

When Rylin wins a scholarship to an upper-floor school, her life transforms overnight. But being there means seeing the boy whose heart she broke, and who broke hers in return.

Avery is tormented by her love for the one person in the world she can never have. She’s desperate to be with him… no matter the cost.

And then there’s Calliope, the mysterious, bohemian beauty who arrives in New York determined to cause a stir. And she knows exactly where to begin.

But unbeknownst to them all, someone is watching their every move, someone with revenge in mind. And in a world of such dazzling heights, just one wrong step can mean a devastating fall.

The Towering Sky
Welcome back to New York, 2119. A skyscraper city, fueled by impossible dreams.

Leda just wants to move on from what happened in Dubai. Until a new investigation forces her to seek help–from the person she’s spent all year trying to forget.

Rylin is back in her old life, reunited with an old flame. But when she starts seeing Cord again, she finds herself torn: between two worlds, and two very different boys.

Calliope feels trapped, playing a long con that costs more than she bargained for. What happens when all her lies catch up with her?

Watt is still desperately in love with Leda. He’ll do anything to win her back–even dig up secrets that are better left buried.

And now that Avery is home from England–with a new boyfriend, Max–her life seems more picture-perfect than ever. So why does she feel like she would rather be anything but perfect?


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Buy from amazon.com
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MY REVIEW
In the future, there’s a huge 1000-floor tower in New York City. It’s a city within a city, where the rich live in the upper floors and the poor live in the lower floors. A creative, dystopian-type world.

Each book picks up shortly after the previous one ends. The first book introduces all of the characters, with only one new main character coming into play in the second book. The final book wraps up everyone’s stories, so (mostly) everything is all nice and final with the last book.

These are more of a guilty pleasure type read. The characters are all teens in high school and most of them are wealthy and live in the upper levels of the tower. Basically, this is a futuristic Pretty Little Liars / Gossip Girl type book. There are several main characters… and lots of gossip and drama.

Each book has about five or six main characters, so there are that many points of view. That can get a little confusing, especially keeping up with the minor characters.

My main issue with this book was the relationship between Avery and Atlas. They are step-siblings, so not actually related, but still, their whole relationship was, for lack of a better word, icky.

Overall, this is a fun and entertaining series. There are mysteries, secrets, and plenty of lies to go around. Also, the covers for these books are fantastic.

I borrowed these books from my local library.

Book Review: The Legends of Eve by Anonymous

The Legends of Eve by Anonymous

BOOK INFO
Title: The Legends of Eve
Author: Anonymous
Publisher: DreamWords Publishing
Publish Date: January 27, 2019

BOOK BLURB
Everyone is a part of the Circle of Time, eternally reliving the same life. But Destrou is the anomaly. And this is his first chance at life—maybe his last, if everything works out.

S’rae is a lonely girl born light-years after Destrou. Before she could achieve her dream to graduate top of her class at the School of Wind, the professor tells her she is one of the twelve destined students from the three elemential schools chosen to visit the Valley of Gaia. Fun, right? Except this destiny was written by the blood of Gods and no one has seen the Valley in over three thousand years.

How are they linked?

Destrou has a book written about his life, which has been bound away since the beginning of time.

And S’rae is destined to read it.

At first, reading a book to uncover a secret seems foolish until S’rae finds herself with the ability to affect its world, watching the words of his life change before her eyes. But that’s nothing compared to the shadows plotting to kill them to make sure Destrou’s secret is not told.

As S’rae is drawn deeper into the book, it teaches her that no one ever truly knows when they’re the villain in someone else’s story. Not only must she find the courage to face impossible choices and figure out how she’s connected to Destrou, but she must battle the dark secrets in her own heart that tell her she may be the villain in her story.

The Legends of Eve by Anonymous
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MY REVIEW
A creative fantasy world full of magic and prophecies. In this world, people are separated by their elements (Earth, Wind, Water, and Fire). Twelve students are chosen, or destined, to go to the Valley of Gaia to learn magic. Once there, the students are also taught from The Book of Eve.

Two stories are being told. One story is about Destrou. The other story centers around S’rae. S’rae is a student reading a book about Destrou’s life. The two stories are intriguing, but the flow of the story was sometimes disrupted due to sudden transitions between timelines.

A complex story of secrets and adventures. This is a fairly long book that took a while for me to read. The worldbuilding was fantastic, but so much happens that I kept losing focus. This is the first book in a series, so I completely understand the need for a solid foundation for the magical world. That said, there were so many characters and things happening, the story sometimes became confusing.

Overall, an interesting magical world to get lost in. Imaginative, adventurous, and entertaining.

I received a free eARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Smoke and Iron by Rachel Caine

Smoke and Iron by Rachel Caine

Smoke and Iron
by Rachel Caine

The fourth book in The Great Library series by Rachel Caine. Jess and his friends are back, and trying to save the Great Library from evil and corruption.

This story is told using multiple points of view. That is different than in the earlier books, but it works for this one. The characters aren’t all in the same location the entire time, and a lot is happening. It was nice to see all of the pieces coming together.

A creative and engaging fantasy world. A great series for fans of young adult fantasy stories set in a dystopian world. I’ve read the previous three books in the series (Ink and Bone, Paper and Fire, and Ash and Quill), and definitely recommend reading them before this one. There is one more book to follow after this one, and I can’t wait to see how the series ends.

I received a digital ARC from Berkley and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart

Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart

Grace and Fury
by Tracy Banghart

Serina and Nomi are sisters living in a world where women have no rights. Serina is being groomed to be a Grace, basically a concubine to the king. In this case, the heir to the throne is selecting his first Grace. Nomi is serving as Serina’s handmaid. With a twist of fate, Nomi catches the heir’s eye. A dangerous secret is revealed, and Serina takes the fall.

Serina is charming and beautiful. Nomi is bold and headstrong. They couldn’t be more different. They desire completely different things in life. Due to unforeseen circumstances, both end up in very different positions than they ever imagined.

The story is told from the alternating viewpoints of Serina and Nomi. They face challenges that take them completely out of their elements. However, they are both strong females in a world where women are oppressed.

This looks to be an exciting new YA fantasy series. Twists and turns make for a fast-paced and fun read. Interesting characters in a challenging world.

I received an eARC from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.