Category Archives: Luna Lovebooks

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

In a high fantasy world based on the Seasons, Meira, a young refugee from the Winter kingdom, is thirsty to prove just how worthy she is. But taking on the big bad guys means she’ll have to step up her game – but as she ventures through a series of political mind games, can her heart handle all the secrets she learns along the way?

TitleSnow Like Ashes
AuthorSara Raasch
SeriesSnow Like Ashes, Book 01
Publish Date: October 14, 2014 by Balzer + Bray
Genre: YA High Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionSixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. The Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been searching for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild their kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, Winter’s future king—she would do anything to help Winter rise to power again. So when scouts discover the location of half of the ancient locket that can restore their magic, Meira decides to go after it herself—only to find herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics, and to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Luna Lovebooks says…

Dislikes: I figured I’d switch it up and get my dislikes out of the way, considering there are few of them. First of all, this is not a terribly original plot. Strong heroine, royal politics, magic, stolen kingdom, and of course, a love triangle. All elements that are normally used in books of this genre. However, it seems to work. While it doesn’t make this novel particularly standout, it doesn’t take away from a good read. Secondly, this book can get a touch info-dumpy at points. Lastly, there is a love triangle! Which leads me to my…

Likes: While Meria is a strong female lead, fighting for her kingdom and refusing to back down, she is also flawed and complex. She tugs at your heartstrings. She is likable. But she isn’t the only one. Even the side characters are complex and well-developed—even the two love interests. They are both so likable and for different reasons. I just couldn’t choose who to root for. The world is another well-developed wonder. This is a seriously complex world with eight kingdoms that have their own customs and people. This information is woven into the plot fairly well for the most part, but as I stated, it can be a bit of an info dump at points.

Despite not being an entirely fresh take on the YA fantasy genre, this book has amazing character and world development that makes it a worthwhile read. I give it 4 snowflakes.

Kat Mandu says…

Meira is feisty and fierce, and the fact that she uses a chakram makes her reminiscent of a younger Xena Warrior Princess in my head. Only with very white hair and pale skin. Her fellow Winterians also have similar features, physical traits reminiscent of their former kingdom, Winter, which is a land that many of them haven’t seen in sixteen years. Meira and her companions are all refugees, driven from Winter by their rival country’s leader (Spring), Angra. Sixteen years ago, Angra forcibly took over the kingdom by imprisoning the Winterian citizens and killing anyone who resisted, including Queen Hannah.

Now, Meira and a handful of survivors – including her mentor, “Sir” (William) and Hannah’s only son, Mather. They’ve managed to stay out of Angra’s eye until now – but they’re trying to get their magical conduit back (the item that represents their power) and Meira knows they can’t wait any longer, especially once news of the conduit’s locations is brought to them.

This story has a lot of adventure and a lot of layered plots as the story unfolds. Aka, there’s a lot going on. It’s not confusing in any way, but prepared to go through a lot of multi-faceted stories within one story.

For one, there’s the fact that the Winterians are trying to get their hands on the conduit, a locket; but Mather, their supposed “king” of Winter, is male and therefore unable to use it due to magical laws set way back when the conduits were first created. This particular detail of the story eventually takes a turn later, but they manage to get the locket anyway.

Then they decide to ally with a Rhythm kingdom, Cordell, and by doing so, Meira ends up engaged to Theron, the heir of Cordell’s king, Niall. She’s not exactly thrilled about the situation, as her heart has always belonged to Mather. But at least in this book, Theron proves to be a very understanding and what more, a protective friend who grows close to Meira’s heart.

So there’s also the romance angle – a love triangle between Meira, Mather, and Theron. Meira finds herself drawn to Theron and seeing Mather as more of a friend.

There’s an entire plotline where Mather and Meira discover a new kind of magic within themselves and that they’re not who they think they are.

Then of course, there’s the final epic battle as Cordell, Winter, and Autumn join forces against the armies of Spring and Angra. And well, stuff happens (no spoilers here).

Overall this is a great book. I found the characters really drove it for me, or at least they mattered more to me than the actual plot, which although is given a unique spin, seems to have a similar theme to other high fantasies I’ve read before. The world building is pretty cool too! But as much as I enjoyed it, I found it hard to keep reading at times; it just didn’t have the same “I’ll stay up all night to finish this” feel for me.

I still give it a four!

Our reviews in this series…

Links will become active as reviews are published.

Other recommendations…

If you love high fantasy check out these other great reads! Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis, the Elemental Trilogy by Sherri Thomas, Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White.

Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

I was really excited to read this since I enjoyed The Girl from the Well duology so well. There are some of the elements that I loved about Girl from the Well that are present in this novel as well: beautiful descriptions, gorgeous settings, and interesting characters. But somewhere it fell flat for me.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

TitleThe Bone Witch
AuthorRin Chupeco
SeriesThe Bone Witch, Book 01
Publish Date: March 7, 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Source: NetGalley

Publisher’s DescriptionA Publishers Weekly Most Anticipated Young Adult Book of Spring 2017!

In the captivating start to a new, darkly lyrical fantasy series for readers of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir, Tea can raise the dead, but resurrection comes at a price…

Let me be clear: I never intended to raise my brother from his grave, though he may claim otherwise. If there’s anything I’ve learned from him in the years since, it’s that the dead hide truths as well as the living.

When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha—one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.

Memoirs of a Geisha meets The Name of the Wind in this brilliant new fantasy series by Rin Chupeco!

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Luna Lovebooks says…

Likes: I love the fact that this is a darkly beautiful world. There is betrayal and war (mentioned in passing for the most part) and, of course, death. But death is what makes this novel unique. How, you ask? The answer is in the very title of the book! Bone witches raise the dead, heal the sick, and defeat demonic-like creatures. The way they are described reminds me of magic wielding geisha! I love the idea of heartsglass as well. It is a wonderful way to detect emotions and a fun way to bring sayings into literal play – for example, if you give someone your heart they have power over you. I love the relationship between Tea and her brother, Fox.

Dislikes: As much potential as this story has, it fell flat for me, and I gradually lost interest until the last couple of chapters when it picked up again. I devoured the beginning for its explanation of this world and the people in it. I flipped excitedly through the pages towards as I wanted to know what would happen. But the middle was a montage of years of training – only not. It felt like no time at all had passed and Tea became an asha in the blink of an eye, still only 14. The two timelines interwoven added to my confusion until the very end. But not much happens in either plot. There is a love triangle, but it is mostly hinted at. I can’t decide if this is worse or not – either way, the story does not need a triangle.

I would love to rate this book higher, but because of my confusion and the loss of interest for the middle section of the book, I have to give this 3 bones.

Other recommendations…

Dreamfall by Amy Plum, Poison Kiss by Breeana Shields, Roar by Cora Carmack.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Teen Hyde by Chandler Baker

A classic tale set in modern times makes for a great read!

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

teen-hydeTitleTeen Hyde
AuthorChandler Baker
SeriesHigh School Horror Story, Book 02
Publish Date: January 10, 2017, by Feiwel & Friends
Genre: YA Horror
Source: provided by the publisher

Publisher’s DescriptionHigh school meets classic horror in this YA contemporary twist on Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Head Cheerleader Cassidy Hyde’s life should have been perfect. But it really, really wasn’t, and she’s about ready to give up and disappear. Until, the first time she takes Sunshine. This new experimental drug makes Cassidy feel like the perfect, golden girl once again. A little memory loss seems like a small price to pay to get her life back . . . at least until boys start to go missing . . . boys that Cassidy NEVER wanted to think of again . . .

Thus begins Chandler Baker’s second twisty-turny retelling of a familiar tale, once again set in the town of Hollow Pines, Texas, where high school is truly horrifying.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Luna_Lovebooks_100Luna Lovebooks says…

Likes: What a great way to bring to light real life issues that teens face today—pressures of school, drugs, and sexual assault. These problems, mixed with the tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, makes this book twice as scary. I did enjoy that this novel is part of a bigger story but can be read as a standalone. Cassidy’s descent into madness is well written and both her and Macy’s voices are distinct.

badge4v5Dislikes: I would like to have heard more about the drug Sunshine. It is never mentioned after a certain point and gives us the impression that this drug is the reason that Cassidy changes, but it never really states so. Many of the background characters could have been a little less in the background. They would have rounded out the story nicely.

This is a great novel about modern issues mixed in with classic horror. Overall I give this 4 tally marks.

Other recommendations…

Looking for more creepy teen reads? Check out the following: Teen Frankenstein by Chandler Baker, The Midnight Club Christopher Pike, The Cellar by Natasha Preston

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys draw ever closer in their search for Glendower, but not everything is what it seems.

blue-lilyTitleBlue Lily, Lily Blue
AuthorMaggie Stiefvater
SeriesThe Raven Cycle, Book 03
Publish Date: October 21, 2014
Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionThe third installment in the all-new series from the #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater!

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs. The trick with found things, though, is how easily they can be lost.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Luna_Lovebooks_100Luna Lovebooks says…

Likes: I still like the characters. I was a little sad that Noah, for the most part, is absent from this novel. But the steamy scene between Gansey and Blue more than made up for that! Can you say sexual tension? I like that we learn more about Glendower and that the boys and Blue are so close to waking him up.

Dislikes: The pacing is still slow. Part of the reason I took so long to read this book is because I would lose interest and be on to other things. I think maybe this series could have been a trilogy or a duology instead of four books. The “bad guys” are more comical than villain-y. They just don’t make me fear for the main characters the way a villain should.

I have to give this book three ghosts. While I love the characters, the pacing is often slow and befuddling and there are still way too many unanswered questions.

Our reviews in this series…

Links will become active as reviews are posted.

Other recommendations…

In the Shadows by Kiersten White, The Lost Sun by Tessa Gratton, Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan.

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys are back at it again in this next installment of The Raven Cycle.

dream-thievesTitleThe Dream Thieves
AuthorMaggie Stiefvater
SeriesThe Raven Cycle, Book 02
Publish Date: September 17, 2013
Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionThe second installment in the all-new series from the masterful, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater!

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after…

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Luna_Lovebooks_100Luna Lovebooks says…

Likes: Readers get to know Ronan better in this novel as it is focused mainly on his history, secrets and his terrifying yet useful ability to pull things from dreams. One of the best things about this book is that it explores the relationships not only between the characters but between the characters and their personalities.

Dislikes: What I liked so much about the first book was that the lines between reality and the paranormal were blurred. Not so much so in The Dream Thieves. The story seems much more functional and informational. It seems like the magic that was found in the first book is decidedly absent in this one.

badge3v4While this book is still essential to the overall story, I think that the magic that appealed to the reader in the first book is decidedly absent, and so I give this 3 feathers.

Our reviews in this series…

Links will become active as reviews are posted.

Other recommendations…

Black Heart by Holly Black, Sorrow’s Knot by Erin Bow, All Our Yesterdays by Christin Terrill.