Defiance by C.J. Redwine

I am taking part in a new meme hosted by What’s Beyond Forks? where we take a book that’s been on our TBR list and we review it!

I had heard about this book leading up to its release through other blogger friends and I totally meant to get it, but I just never had a chance to. A few months after this was released I got so overwhelmed with school and I just stopped reading for a long time. I went to the SCBWI MidSouth Conference in Sept. and had a face-to-face with Holly Root who recommended that I read this book based on the kind of book that I was writing.

I immediately bought it once I got home from the conference and I read about 65 pages and…didn’t read anymore. I was still at a point where reading was difficult for me because I was just so busy, but then at the very end of January I got a new job that actually affords me a life outside of work so I put it back on my list.

So here is the long overdue review for Defiance by C.J. Redwine.

From Goodreads

Author: C.J. Redwine
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: August 28, 2012
Source: Purchased

Defiance by C. J. Redwine is rich postapocalyptic YA fantasy perfect for fans of Graceling and Tamora Pierce.

While the other girls in the walled city-state of Baalboden learn to sew and dance, Rachel Adams learns to track and hunt. While they bend like reeds to the will of their male Protectors, she uses hers for sparring practice.

When Rachel’s father fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the city’s brutal Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector: her father’s apprentice, Logan—the boy she declared her love to and who turned her down two years before. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father’s survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can’t be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.

This book was a ride! It’s extremely well-paced, quick without leaving out any important details. I am usually really averse to having two characters followed in narrations, but lately I have had so much success with these type of books and this one was in that group. Switching between Logan and Rachel worked really well for this story.
We got to see the developing relationship between the two from both of their perspectives and it was a real treat! Redwine did such a fantastic job with Logan’s inner thoughts. He’s a guy and there is a whole internal conversation he has about Rachel’s breasts in a dress and it’s hilarious! She did not shy away from that and I am so happy because it only made him even more realistic as a character.
The way that Rachel handles grief was perfect! I love when we get to see characters who aren’t strong all the time, that’s not realistic and gives people who read it a very difficult bar to follow.
There were several elements that helped turn this from a traditional post-apocalyptic into a fantasy; the Cursed One, Baalboden, and the Tree People. The Cursed One is a monstrous creature who came out of the ground when humans dug too deep. He is described as a wingless dragon in the book but for some reason in my head he still has wings. I have no idea why that happened, but his description is very clear, but my brain is crazy I guess. Baalboden is the town that they live in and honestly doesn’t feel like anything in our world right now which made it perfect. The people live under the ruthless Commander, who seems to be the only person the Cursed One is afraid of. We only very very briefly get to see the Tree People and I wish we would have actually gotten to see one of their villages. I know that there are two more books, so maybe we will see them then?
Overall this book was great, it was action packed, filled with romance in the face of death and danger, and a monster that destroyed humanity as it was known. I can’t wait to order the other two books and get to read them!

Safe and Sound Read-a-Long

Hey guys! I am super excited to read Safe and Sound by Alli Hope. I was so lucky to be able to read it a few years ago, but I am looking forward to reading the finished product with new eyes. What I remember from before is an incredible story about a girl and a boy thrown back together as they go on an almost impossible journey. It also talks about human trafficking, which is something so serious that feels like it only get discussed when it’s in the Taken movies or when Ashton Kutcher talks about it. Atlanta is a hub for human trafficking and the town I live in isn’t that far from there. I hope that this opens the eyes of so many young adults who are reading it. It’s also a really great story of two teenagers trying to find their way in the world again.

Alli Hope is hosting a Read-A-Long for Safe and Sound from March 24-April 2.

16 year-old, Hailey Perish, knows her life can’t get much worse. Since her dad split a few years ago, Hailey’s mother has spiraled hard and fast, careening toward rock bottom and threatening to take her daughter down with her. Hailey now marks time by evictions, her mother’s poker games, and Saturday School where she voluntarily shows up for weekend detentions to secure her one promised meal of the week. She has no room for relationships, especially with someone like her childhood love and junior class golden boy, Carson Hart. Hailey trusted him once and Carson failed her. She’s determined not to let herself be hurt again.

When Hailey’s mom does the unthinkable and bets her own daughter in a high stakes poker game, Mitch, the loan shark, is all too eager and determined to collect on his debt. To him, Hailey is nothing but property. His property. And he’ll do anything to recover it. On the run from a fate that promises a much worse life than she already knows, there’s only one person in the world Hailey can call for help.

Will Carson be there for her in her darkest hour and deliver her from harm’s way safe and sound? Or will he abandon Hailey—just like he’s always done—just like they all do?

Alli Hope’s debut novel delivers an unforgettable story about love & surviving in the dark places. Safe & Sound contains mature situations and content.

Alli Hope lives on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia. She spends her days working with homeless veterans and her nights putting words on the page. Co-creator of fangirl podcast All The Flails, Alli loves binge watching shows on Netflix or reading swoony books with characters she can fall in love with. She recently married Ricky Whittle and David Ramsey, despite what they’d say otherwise.

Use the tag #SSReadAlong to read along on Twitter! I know I will be!

The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows

Title: The Mirror King

Author: Jodi Meadows

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Publication Date: April 5, 2016

Source: Purchased

From Goodreads

Wilhelmina has a hundred enemies.

HER FRIENDS HAVE TURNED. After her identity is revealed during the Inundation, Princess Wilhelmina is kept prisoner by the Indigo Kingdom, with the Ospreys lost somewhere in the devastated city. When the Ospreys’ leader emerges at the worst possible moment, leaving Wil’s biggest ally on his deathbed, she must become Black Knife to set things right.

HER MAGIC IS UNCONTROLLABLE. Wil’s power is to animate, not to give true life, but in the wraithland she commanded a cloud of wraith mist to save herself, and later ordered it solid. Now there is a living boy made of wraith—destructive and deadly, and willing to do anything for her.

HER HEART IS TORN. Though she’s ready for her crown, declaring herself queen means war. Caught between what she wants and what is right, Wilhelmina realizes the throne might not even matter. Everyone thought the wraith was years off, but already it’s destroying Indigo Kingdom villages. If she can’t protect both kingdoms, soon there won’t be a land to rule.

In this stunning conclusion to THE ORPHAN QUEEN, Jodi Meadows follows Wilhelmina’s breathtaking and brave journey from orphaned criminal on the streets to magic-wielding queen.

Let me start by saying that this book hurts. This book hurt me so much more than I thought it was going to, but I wouldn’t change it at all. Jodi Meadows poured so much into this novel and it came at me in a totally different way than the Incarnate series that will forever hold a place in my heart. Even now, writing this review, my chest still hurts thinking about Wil’s journey. Heartache and terror and beauty and splendor all wrapped up into this gift that Meadows has given the world.
War and wraith come to Wil in The Mirror King. We rejoin Wil in the Indigo Kingdom with the wraith boy she created unknowingly on her journey to the wraithland. During The Orphan Queen I was disappointed we hadn’t gotten to see more of Wil’s time in the wraithland, but I realized that we learned everything we needed to know. Wil’s story is so much more than being able to survive against wraith beasts, and I should have realized it a lot sooner.
Wil’s story is about struggling to discover who she really is, as is evident when she doesn’t even know what her own handwriting is. She can slip into different identities and handwritings seamlessly, but when faced with trying to be herself she struggles. This was such a great way for Meadows to tackle a topic that so many young adults go through without making it over the top and obvious.
Another really great element was the romance. I wanted so badly for Tobiah and Wil to be together, but there were too many obstacles in the way. My mind conjured up a million different ways for them to be together, but they all kept coming back to the same thing: Meredith was perfect. Meredith who knows that Tobiah doesn’t love her, but loves him no matter what. Meredith who is the queen the Indigo Kingdom needs. Watching everyone dance around that complication was interesting to read and made me so sad at the same time because I felt like there would be no happy ending for anyone. Tobiah and Meredith end up together and Wil is heartbroken. Tobiah and Wil end up together a whole slew of other people are heartbroken.
In The Mirror King we finally get a glimpse at Aecor, the kingdom Wil has waited nine years to reclaim. Prince Colin, the overlord of the territory and the impending wraith and war complicate what should have been a wonderful moment for her. There’s this great moment in the book where Wil mentions that she has spent the last nine years waiting to return home to Aecor, but that a part of her would always recognize the Indigo Kingdom as home.
As with every Jodi Meadows book, magic is weaved so realistically into the novel. It’s an integral part of the book, magic causes wraith and wraith is the incoming doom for both countries. These two things will have a huge impact on Wil’s life at the end of the novel.
Why was this book so painful to read? Every one of Jodi Meadows books has a twist that only she can come up with. It’s one of the reasons why every single book I’ve read by her have been five star books. The twists/surprises in this book is one of the reasons why this book was so painful. It all stems from the bleak reality of war.
Meadows does not shy away from showing the gruesome events that happen in war and the choices those in power need to make. She shows how painful conflict can be and how in a real war not everyone lives. Not. Everyone. Lives. Hence the ache in my chest that hasn’t left me since I read it.
I can’t talk about the rest of the amazing elements to this book because I don’t want to give spoilers. I wish that everyone would read this book so that I can talk freely about what’s in between the book covers.

Waiting on Wednesday (March 22, 2017)

Waiting on Wednesday


Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where I get to talk about a book that I can’t wait to come out!

I actually discovered this book while I was writing yesterdays Top Ten Tuesday post. I have been in love with the Two Princesses of Bamarre for so many years and while I was on Goodreads I discovered this book. Coming out this year we will get to enter the world of Bamarre once again on a new adventure. While it’s not the sequel I have dreamed out, getting to go back into this world is still going to be amazing!

The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre

 Release Date: May 2, 2017

In this compelling and thought-provoking fantasy set in the world of The Two Princesses of Bamarre, Newbery Honor-winning author Gail Carson Levine introduces a spirited heroine who must overcome deeply rooted prejudice—including her own—to heal her broken country.

Peregrine strives to live up to the ideal of her people, the Latki—and to impress her parents: affectionate Lord Tove, who despises only the Bamarre, and stern Lady Klausine. Perry runs the fastest, speaks her mind, and doesn’t give much thought to the castle’s Bamarre servants, whom she knows to be weak and cowardly.

But just as she’s about to join her father on the front lines, she is visited by the fairy Halina, who reveals that Perry isn’t Latki-born. She is Bamarre. The fairy issues a daunting challenge: against the Lakti power, Perry must free her people from tyranny.

Let me know what book you can’t wait for!