Book Review: For the Clan

I really enjoyed this book. For the Clan had so many different surprises that I consider this to be one of the most memorable books I have read so far this year! I am so thankful to Xpresso Book Tours for the chance to review this novel by Archer Kay Leah.


29470767For the Clan
by Archer Kay Leah
Release Date: May 2016
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Summary from Goodreads:

Canada, 2165 AD. The Water Wars and a decimated economy have taken their toll. Anyone who doesn’t live in a military-patrolled metropolis lives in a clan. But being in a clan doesn’t mean safety.

And for a Ven like Roan Lee, it doesn’t matter where he lives. Safety is a luxury. So is freedom.

Roan is desperate to escape the governtary’s exploitation and torture. He is nothing to them but 54σK1, an artifact born from a genetic mishap. When the chance to escape arises, he makes a run for it—and encounters the lover from his past, twisting his future into a second chance he never expected.

As leaders of Clan Teach, Jace Ama and his wife, Cayra Diega, have enough difficulty keeping their people safe. When Roan is thrown to their feet as a prisoner, their marriage becomes an additional challenge. Jace still loves Roan, but where does that leave Cayra?

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When I requested to review For the Clan, I wanted to read it because it was a dystopian novel that was set in Canada. (Yay, Canadian here!) And what’s more awesome is that my home down of Windsor got a shout out! 😀

I loved the dystopian world that Archer Kay Leah created. It has been written in such a way that it could actually seem plausible for it to happen in the near future, except for the magic using Ven people. I don’t want to leave any spoilers, but the action was AWESOME!

The bulk of this story focuses on a polyamorous romance between Jace, Roan and Cayra. (MMF) I wasn’t expecting this to happen, because the blurb does not really hint to it, but I was pleasantly surprised. The romance felt natural (maybe a little too fast, but still good) and the sex was pretty darn hot. I was a little worried for the author, considering that the romance was only briefly mentioned in the blurb, but it was categorized properly in Amazon, so I guess we’re all good.

The two aspects of the book that I feel needed work were the lack of back story and the “easiness” of it all. I feel like this novel could have easily filled 300+ pages instead of less than 200, and I would have been happy to read every single word. Though the Water Wars were mentioned, I would have appreciated a bit more back story. The rest of the plot moves quick, and their obstacles seem to be over come with little effort (relatively speaking of course).

I love, love, loved the cover. The feel of it is so dystopian, military-action, video-gamy goodness. (I really can’t think of any other way to explain it.)

In closing, I found For the Clan to be a quick, fun read. I hope that the author continues to use their skills and write more dystopian stories in the future.

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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Book Review: Burning Kingdoms

After being blow away by Perfect Ruin, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Burning Kingdoms, which was released in March. I read in entirely in two sittings. Unfortunately, it really suffers from second book syndrome. Burning Kingdoms served as a bridge between book 1 and book 3, and it probably could have been done successfully in half the amount of pages.

Burning Kingdoms
by Lauren DeStefano
Release Date: March 2015
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Summary from Goodreads:

After escaping Internment, Morgan and her fellow fugitives land on the ground to finally learn about the world beneath their floating island home.

The ground is a strange place where water falls from the sky as snow, and people watch moving pictures and visit speakeasies. A place where families can have as many children as they want, their dead are buried in vast gardens of bodies, and Internment is the feature of an amusement park. It is also a land at war.

Everyone who fled Internment had their own reasons to escape their corrupt haven, but now they’re caught under the watchful eye of another king who wants to dominate his world. They may have made it to the ground, but have they dragged Internment with them?

There was a 2 year gap between books the first two books and a cover change. The difference in titles is reflective of this gap, Perfect Ruin does not flow with the latter two titles (Burning Kingdoms and Broken Crowns) I feel like DeStefano might have lost some steam in writing this book, or maybe the publisher wanted to take it in a different direction, and that’s why this book wasn’t as interesting as the first.

The plot consistent mostly of catching up with the characters who spent their time drinking and partying and whining. The world around them is vast and huge, but they spend all their time at home or in speakeasies. I figured there would be a lot more exploring going on.

The world that they have descended to is a light-fantasy mixed with 1920’s (ish) earth. The country is at war over a precious metal and Internment hovers above a amusement park. The people on the ground are aware of the floating island, but they do not have the technology to reach them. The introduction of mermaids was interesting, though they never were actually seen. What I loved the most was Morgan’s comments about graveyards, calling them gardens of bodies and her narration surrounding how this world buried their dead instead of cremating them.

I won’t deny that Lauren DeStefano is a brilliant writer. Her style is fluid and poetic. Her writing is a joy to read. However, this book did lack a lot of the plot, action, mystery and intrigue that the first book was packed with. Burning Kingdoms was very anti-climactic. In this book, we learn more about the characters and are introduced to many new ones. One thing that Lauren DeStefano is amazing at is writing conversations and revealing the bonds between characters. This lady really gets people and knows how to write them realistically and keep the reader engaged. (Something that I as I writer do struggle with, I’ll admit!)

I found the ending rather adrupt, and the final installment Broken Crowns doesn’t release until sometime in 2016. But I just found the 2.5 short story epub about Prince Azure to tide me over until then. I really hope the plot gets kicked into gear for the final installment, because this series started out with so much promise.

Book Review: Perfect Ruin

Since December, I’ve been trying to fill the void left by Lauren Oliver’s Delirium Series. I’ve been searching for a YA Dystopia that’s not only believable but also well written and utterly consuming. That search led me to Perfect Ruin.

Lauren DeStefano is best known for her Chemical Garden series, but due to the mixed reviews I hadn’t read it… yet. After being blown away by Perfect Ruin, that might change. The premise of Perfect Ruin intrigued me, so I completely ignored the long list of gif-laden reviews on Goodreads, and dived right in. I’m so glad I did.

Perfect Ruin
by Lauren DeStefano
Release Date: March 2013
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Summary from Goodreads:

On the floating city of Internment, you can be anything you dream, unless you approach the edge. Morgan Stockhour knows getting too close can lead to madness, like her older brother Lex, a Jumper. She takes solace in her best friend Pen, and in Basil, the boy she’s engaged to marry. When she investigates the first murder in a generation, she meets Judas. The suspect was betrothed to the victim, but Morgan believes he is innocent. Nothing can prepare Morgan for the secrets she will find – or whom she will lose.

Perfect Ruin started slow, but around the 50% mark, it took off like a rocket. The first half of the book was used to build the world and increase suspense.

I enjoyed the pacing, because I had time to get to know the characters. Morgan is a believable heroine who unknowingly gets caught up in a revolution with her friends and family. Mogan and Basil had a realistic relationship and I liked that they really loved each other despite being betrothed. In contrast, Pen and Thomas contrasted by not being the perfect couple, but sticking together because it was their duty. (Even though I think Pen has more feelings for him that she admits.) Lex was by far my favorite character and there are so many unanswered questions about him. I respect Alice’s character fore enduring such hardships and making sacrifices for the family and I corrected with her deeply.

I’ll admit, based on the premise, I was expecting a fantastical world like in Castle in the Sky. I should have known better, with it being a YA Dystopian themed novel, that it would be darker than that. (Please, note that I’m still going to include a Castle in the Sky gif, just for fun.) Anyways, the world building in this series is some of the best I’ve seen in a while. The author gives us the information we need in the narrative and avoids annoying info-dump sessions.

Castle in the Sky – Studio Ghibli

I am a cover-judger, as you all know. AND I LOVE THESE COVERS. The original 2013 covers were ok, but I prefer how the broken porcelain ties the series together. I love when a series has cohesive covers because they look better on my shelf that way.

Perfect Ruin is a 3-part series (surprise) called the Internment Chronicles. Book 2, Burning Kingdoms was released in March 2015 and I’m on the waiting list for it. There was also a 1.5 novella released in 2014, titled No Intention of Dying. It revolved around Daphne, but I was hesitant to read it, being let down by so many “point five” releases before. When I found out it was only 15 pages, I figured what the heck, may as well. After the fact, I could take it or leave it as it didn’t really add much to the story besides some back info about Daphne and her betrothed.

All in all, a great book and a very interesting series. The cliff hanger left me on the edge of my seat and I hope more is revealed about Lex in book two.

Book Review: Delirium Series

I finished reading the Delirium Series (Delirium, Pandemonium and Requiem) in October. The entire series left me breathless and lost for words. So lost, that I’ve been trying to figure out how I was going to write a review. This series written by Lauren Oliver impacted me in a way that YA books often fail to. I’m not saying it was perfect, but it has wriggled its way into my soul and changed me.

I entered the world of Lauren Oliver through her book Panic. I was interested in Panic simply because it was a YA novel that didn’t unnecessarily drag itself through 3 or more books. I’m a quick reader and I generally enjoy fast paced books. So after Panic blew me away with its raw look at teenage angst, the search for oneself and the desire for freedom, I knew I had to read the Lauren Oliver’s other series.

The official teaser of Book 1 is:

Ninety-five days, and then I’ll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It’s hard to be patient. It’s hard not to be afraid while I’m still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn’t touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don’t.

After that, I had to read it. I have a love/hate relationship with love. Romantic love has been in my life but it hasn’t ever turned out as planned. I also have a young daughter, whom I love with all my heart, but the intensity of maternal instinct is enough to drive me insane. Love is a crippling emotion in all its forms.

But here’s the problem: I still do not know how to express myself when it comes to Delirium. It’s so caught up inside me that every time I try, it doesn’t seem to come out right. SO I’m going to attempt to make this a fact-based post, and leave out all the fluffy emotional stuff because it would probably cause a lot of spoilers for all you who haven’t read it yet. (I’m saying YET because you have to!)

Also, it’s important to note that I did not read all the accompanying novellas. (Annabel, Raven and Alex) but I did read Hana. After reading novella 1.5 I decided against reading any more because they did not add much value for me, considering the 3rd book left me gobsmacked and I selfishly didn’t want anything to ruin it.

The premise of the book was enticing, a near-future Earth, set in what was the United states, where love is outlawed and thought of as a disease. It was an interesting idea, and I wanted to see how it would pan out. The story is typical in the dystopian fashion of 1 person rebels against the status-quo, joins a team to over throw the government, etc. But because we saw it through Lena’s eyes, we see the people behind the rebellion. The struggle of the outsiders, unedited and cold. In Requiem, we also get a peek into her friend Hana’s world, which helps to bring the story into a full 360 as we see both sides of the struggle.

The covers were just ok. Just pretty and cohesive and, well, pretty. I think they could have been changed, but I also like the simplicity of a simple portrait with flowers. The flower theme was continued throughout the novella covers as well.

I enjoyed the formatting of the chapters, including the little nursery rhymes, quotes and press releases woven into the stories. It helped add depth to the world outside of Lena’s 1st person point of view. Lauren Oliver also did this in Panic.

This book speaks so much about love. The ups and the downs. Sometimes I wish I couldn’t feel at all, but then what kind of life would I be living? The Delirium series reminded me that love has a million sides and in order to enjoy the best parts, you need to accept the bad. And if there were no bad, how would you even notice the good?

I’ll admit it: I’m going to be a Lauren Oliver fan for life now. There’s so much in this series that impacted me on such a personal level, but it’s chock full of spoilers so as a courtesy, I will keep those thoughts to myself for now. Just to put the emotions in perspective, I finished this book during rush hour on a crowded train – I cried in public. Once I can get my fingers to type out my feelings, I might do a follow up review.

Take Down The Walls.