Book Review: Daughter of the Sun

A book about Egyptian Gods, cats and magic (and it’s released on my birthday?) … I think Daughter of the Sun was meant for me! I am so thankful to Xpresso Book Tours for the chance to review this debut novel by Zoe Kalo.

28934536Daughter of the Sun
by Zoe Kalo
Release Date: May 2016
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Summary from Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old Trinity was born during a solar eclipse and left at the doorsteps of a convent along with a torn piece of papyrus covered with ancient symbols. Raised by nuns in the English countryside, she leads a quiet life until she’s whisked away to the Island of Cats and a grandmother she never knew.
But before they can get to know each other, her grandmother dies. All that Trinity has left is a mysterious eye-shaped ring. And a thousand grieving cats. As Trinity tries to solve the enigma of the torn papyrus, she discovers a world of bloody sacrifices and evil curses, and a prophecy that points to her and her new feline abilities.
Unwilling to believe that any of the Egyptian gods could still be alive, Trinity turns to eighteen-year-old Seth and is instantly pulled into a vortex of sensations that forces her to confront her true self—and a horrifying destiny.

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As a self identifying egyptophile, I get so excited when authors choose Ancient Egyptian mythology / culture / history / religion as a base for a new book. As a practicing Pagan, I’m always a little leery about books involving the Gods of Egypt. Of course there were some artistic license when it came to facts about the Gods (eg, Apep is technically not a God and Ammit did not work for him.) However, Daughter of the Sun was a pleasing read on all accounts.

I’ll admit that it took me a while to get “into” Trinity, our heroine. After around the 30% mark I was completely won over and couldn’t put the book down. I loved her chemistry with Seth, and while there was some teenage crushing and hormones flying, I was happy that this book is insta-love free!

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It is also worth noting that Zoe Kalo is presumably a great lover of cats (and if you doubt me feel free to check out all the adorable kitten photos on her twitter). She way she writes cats into the book is astounding. Every little quirk, mew and lick is incredibly authentic. I love it when a writer is skilled at writing about the animals in the character’s story, it makes it more warm and fuzzy, no pun intended.

However, Daughter of the Sun was not without its faults. The plot moved along a bit too quickly for my liking, falling into the “telling not showing” trap that I as a reader and a writer am all to familiar with. I would have like to see things slowed down a bit so I could get to know Trinity better before her life was turned upside down. As the story went on the narration of pacing did improved a lot.

I hope as the series goes on, Trinity stops being afraid of witchcraft and magic and accepts her powers for what they are. It bums me out when magic doers are instantly labeled bad or cast as villains.

Wrapping up, this was a quick read by a new author who shows much promise. The story was wonderfully imaginative and I hope to see more authors taking inspiration from Ancient Egypt. I can’t wait to read the second installment in the trilogy – but sadly there is no indication on the author’s Goodreads page when that will be.

A free copy of this book was provided for an honest review. Thank you Xpresso Book Tours!

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Book Review: Annabeth Neverending

Anyone who knows me knows that I love books based in Ancient Egypt. So when I saw that Xpresso Book Tours was hosting this gem, I quickly put my name in for a copy.

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Annabeth Neverending 
by Leyla Kader Dahm
Release Date: December 2015
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Summary from Goodreads:

At first, teenager Annabeth Prescott thinks she’s found quite a deal when she talks down the price of an ankh pendant she discovers at a flea market. She soon wonders if the bauble is more than she’s bargained for when she faints and glimpses images from a past life in ancient Egypt.
The discovery coincides with another new find: Gabriel, a handsome young man who takes an interest in her. When she meets his twin brother C. J. at a Halloween party, she realizes they look exactly like two boys who figure prominently into her memories.
Does C. J. share the heroic qualities held by his past incarnation Sethe, her bodyguard when she was Princess Ana? Does Gabriel possess the same evil powers he wielded as Kha, the black sorcerer who sought her affection?
Love meets the supernatural in this gripping young adult paranormal romance. Readers with an interest in reincarnation, as well as ancient Egypt, will be drawn to its mystical mixture of history and hesitation as Annabeth sways between the two brothers.
Will her reincarnated soulmate win out? Or will Kha finally find the way to her heart?

This book hooked me from the description and I was extremely happy to receive a free copy for to to review. I find that the magic and mystery often gets over looked in modern media (or BUTCHERED in the case of Gods of Egypt, but I digress) .

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The book gets right into the story line with Annabeth finding the ankh and meeting Gabriel in the same day. She feels an instant connection to him and they start dating. Soon after she meets CJ and things start to get spiced up.

Annabeth is a good main character / narrator, but I would have liked a bit more backstory and set up to the plot. Annabeth’s past life flashbacks are consuming and very well written. The author has obviously done her research. I’ve done my own learning about Ramses the Second and read other books set during his reign. However,  I felt like she accepted being reincarnated much too smoothly and the fact that she had the confidence to tell her neighbor so quickly (and be completely believed) a bit unrealistic.

I knew from the premise of the book that there was going to be some sort of love triangle. It’s a common theme in YA books and I’ve come to accept that.
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As a self-published book, Annabeth Neverending could have used an editor to make it stronger. What stuck out to me the most was a novice mistake of “telling” rather than “showing”. The story moved along briskly and without much resistance by the main character. Things happened too quickly and too conveniently. However, this is the author’s first book and keeping that in mind, it was very good. We all start somewhere, and I am looking forward to see the author grow her skills.

Wrapping up, this was a quick read by a new author who shows much promise. The story was wonderfully imaginative and I hope to see more authors taking inspiration from Ancient Egypt.

A free copy of this book was provided for an honest review. Thank you Xpresso Book Tours!

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Book Review: The Glass Ceiling

The Glass Ceiling 
by Julie LaVoie
Release Date: December 2015
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Summary from Goodreads:

Darkness can hide in the brightest of places…
Pickaxes, grime, and watery oatmeal are all sixteen-year-old Heart has ever known. Growing up in the tunnels, the only breaks in her muscle-aching monotony are the numerous nights spent cramped in a metal box. Stupid runaway mouth. But when strange visions and a hidden map hint there’s more to life than she’s been led to believe — boys being one of them — only one thing weighs on her mind. Escape.
Yet freedom is a tease. Heart merely trades her small prison for a larger one — a transparent dome controlled by the Guardian, an aging leader bent on creating a genetically perfect race. Heart’s birthmark on her shoulder? An abomination that carries a lifetime sentence of slavery for females.
Refusing to let a glass ceiling deter her, Heart searches for a way out of the dome. But unraveling the Guardian’s secrets is a risky endeavor. Human skulls atop crude sticks serve as a warning: treason is punishable by death. When her new friends are captured, and escape is just an arm’s reach away, Heart must decide. Take the freedom she so desperately wants or save her friends’ lives?

This book hooked me from the description and I was extremely happy to receive a free copy for to review, thanks to YA Bound Book Tours. Initially, I was worried that this might be another formulaic dystopian YA fiction, but I was pleasantly surprised. The author writes with a strong voice and by chapter 5 I was desperately hooked. I switched the file from my tablet to my phone so I could read it on the go, and in the kitchen, and in the bathroom … you get the idea.

The main character Heart, named for the birthmark on her shoulder, starts off as a headstrong trouble maker. All she’s even known is slavery in the mines and cares for the girls around her (even though they’re not all trustworthy). She fights the Matriarch and ends up getting put in a glass prison. Don’t want to risk any spoilers here, but it just snowballs from there with fast-paced adventure!

I expected more feminist themes, based on the title the Glass Ceiling. For those of you unfamiliar, the “glass ceiling” refers to an unofficially acknowledged barrier to advancement in a profession, especially affecting women and members of minorities. (definition by google) While I can see the connections, I was hoping for a bit more girl power and a bit less drooling over boys.

I had been taking breaks from the book tours during my first semester in school and fell behind in my reading. It feels great to get my hands on some ARCs again. Glass Ceiling was a wonderful read over the winter holidays and I’m looking forward to what the author has planned for us next.

*disclaimer* – I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a honest review. 
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Cover Reveal: The Society

OMG I am so excited for The Society by Jodie Andrefski, being released in May 2016 by Entangled Teen. You’d better believe that I’ll be requesting an ARC for this one! I’m so sucker for private schools, conspiracies and secret societies. Let the count down begin!

 

The Society by Jodie Andrefski
May 2016, Entangled Teen

Welcome to Trinity Academy’s best-kept secret.

The Society.

You’ve been handpicked by the elite of the elite to become a member. But first you’ll have to prove your worth by making it through Hell Week.

Do you have what it takes?

It’s time to find out.

Samantha Evans knows she’d never get an invite to rush the Society—not after her dad went to jail for insider trading. But after years of relentless bullying at the hands of the Society’s queen bee, Jessica, she’s ready to take down Jessica and the Society one peg at a time from the inside out.

All it’ll take is a bit of computer hacking, a few fake invitations, some eager rushees…and Sam will get her revenge.

Let the games begin.

 

 
 
About the Author
Jodie Andrefski has been passionate about reading ever since she was a little girl, when she used to climb trees to escape with a favorite book. She now lives and writes in a small town in Pennsylvania with her teenage daughter. Though still an avid reader, she now prefers a comfy chair over the crook of a tree. An unapologetic coffee fiend, she’s even happier if her java comes with pie. Jodie often draws on her background in education and mental health counseling to bring real world experience to her writing. She is a firm believer in the magic of a first kiss, and insists that you should never, ever give up on your dreams.


Author Links:
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50 Book Challenge Update – December

Whew, how fast a year can fly by! I made the 50 book challenge by the skin of my teeth! There’s a slight error in my Goodreads total, because it added books that I DNF and I don’t always record the non-fiction books that I read; so I’m using my blog as the final score.

In hindsight, I wished my reading hadn’t suffered in October and November, but I’ll forgive myself because of mid-terms and NaNoWriMo. I also read a few non-fiction books later in the year, but because I didn’t read cover-to-cover, I decided not to include them in my blog count.

I’m not sure if I’m going to add to the challenge this year coming or not. I think 50 books is a modest goal, but seeing that I lead a fairly busy life, it’s a good one to aim for.

If you’re planning on doing the 50 book challenge in 2016 let me know so we can buddy up! Leave a comment here and/or add my Goodreads profile to follow along.  I will be updating my blog with once a month, but my profile is updated on a weekly / “bookly” basis.

I got my 25 books from  bookoutlet.ca and I can’t wait to get them read! I shared a pic of my haul on instagram, which you can see below.

January – 5/4 – goal exceeded!
1. Redeemed (House of Night #12)
2. Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3)
3. Earth Star (Earth Girl #2)
4. Earth Flight (Earth Girl #3)
5. City of Dark Magic (City of Dark Magic #1)
    

February – 7/4 – goal exceeded!
1. #GirlBoss
2. Hex Hall (Hex Hall #1)
3. The False Princess
4. Demon Glass (Hex Hall #2)
5. Spell Bound (Hex Hall #3)
6. Talon (Talon #1)
7. The Heretic Queen
      

March – 3/4
1. Unleashed (Uninvited #2)
2. Southern Fried Wiccan
3. Perfect Ruin (The Internment Chronicles #1)
  

April – 5/4 – goal exceeded!
1. Catwoman: The Game, New 52 (Volume 1)
2. Golden Son (Red Rising #2)
3. A Necklace of Souls (Soul Necklace #1)
4. No Intention of Dying (The Internment Chronicles #1.5)
5. Burning Kingdoms (The Internment Chronicles #2)
    

May – 4/4
1. Nefertiti
2. The Occasional Diamond Thief
3. Rebel Belle (Rebel Belle #1)
4. Secret of the Sevens
   

June- 5/4
1. Modern Monsters
2. The Rebel Queen
3. Rouge (Talon #2)
4. A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1)
5. Red Queen (Red Queen #1)
    

July- 4/4
1. The Winners Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy #1)
2. Synthetica
3. Miss Mayhem (Rebel Belle #2)
4. Once a Witch
   

August- 4/4
1. Always a Witch (Once a Witch #2)
2. The Winner’s Crime (The Winner’s Trilogy #2)
3. Superstition
4. The Orphan Queen (The Orphan Queen #1)
 

September- 4/4
1. Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1)
2. The Body Institute
3. Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion #1)
4. Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2)
   

October- 2/4
1. Captive (The Blackcoat Rebellion #2)
2. Return Once More (The Historians #1)
3.
4.
 

November- 2/4
1. Shadowshaper
2. The Summer Prince
3.
4.
 

December 5/5
1. The Goddess Test (The Goddess Test #1)
2. The Goddess Hunt (The Goddess Test #1.5)
3. Goddess Interrupted (The Goddess Test #2)
4. Thin Space
5. AntiGoddess (Goddess War #1)
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—– TOTAL 2015 BOOK COUNT – 50/50