Review: The Butterfly On Fire: both contemporary and fantasy at the same time

E.L. Croucher, the author of The Butterfly on Fire, reached out to me to do a review on her book. The Butterfly on Fire is a seemingly strange mix of contemporary and fantasy, the story lines do however fit together. I think I would consider this a New Adult book, since the characters are in their twenties.

dividersynopsis

35127752

The Butterfly on Fire is the story of three different lives, each linked together by a tragic, unchanging truth.

Eric is growing up and realizing how different he is to those around him. How much longer can he hide from himself?

Beam is trying to balance work and romance like everyone else living in London. When embarking on such a journey, anything could happen.

Fubuki is Queen of a magnificent world known as Macha Land, but finds herself struggling to maintain the peace after an innocent man mysteriously dies at one of her Songshows. Will her utopia last with death at her doorstep?

Continue reading “Review: The Butterfly On Fire: both contemporary and fantasy at the same time”

Review: Fallen Flame: a bit flat and unoriginal but a decent start for a series

Fallen Flame by J.M. Miller is an action-packed YA fantasy story about a girl with magic, in a world without magic. The premise sounds a little unoriginal and now that I think back of it, the whole story isn’t really that original, it is a fun book though.

dividersynopsis

34209180Fallen Flame by J.M. Miller

Nineteen years ago, on the island kingdom of Garlin, a girl was born. With charred skin as rough as rock, Vala was instantly feared. For how could one be scorched by magic when it had perished ages before?
Recognizing an asset, the royal family welcomed her on their Guard. Her detail: the prince.
To watch. To protect. She has grown with him, lives her life for him.
When the high kingdom’s princess comes to assess the prince, assassins of rival courtiers come to claim his life. One nearly succeeds in his mission. But with shadowy movements and charred skin like her own, Vala knows he is not like the rest.
As threats to the prince continue and questions about Vala’s life begin to rise, she faces a fear worse than fire or water, worse even than losing him.
She fears finding out who she truly is.

Continue reading “Review: Fallen Flame: a bit flat and unoriginal but a decent start for a series”

Review: On The Spectrum: Romance and Diversity in Paris

As I barely remember any of my opinions and I read it a month ago, I’m going to keep this short and sweet.

General rating: ★★★☆
Diversity rating: ★★ (POC, disability)

On The Spectrum by Jennifer Gold34415919

Growing up in the shadow of a famous mother, Clara has never felt good about her body. Now, at sixteen, she has an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating. After a social media disaster, she decides to escape for the summer to Paris to stay with her estranged dad and her six-year-old brother, Alastair, who is on the autism spectrum. Charged with his care, Clara and Alastair set out to explore the city. Paris teaches Clara about first love and gives her a new love of food. And Alastair teaches Clara about patience, trust and the beauty of loving without judgment.

What I really liked about this book was the diversity and representation in it. Clara is orthorexia, which is basically anorexia but then with a focus on healthy eating. I really enjoyed this, because I hadn’t heard about it before and I learned a lot about it. Clara’s mother has a large influence on how she became to be. Clara doesn’t know her little brother, who now lives with her dad in Paris. Her little brother has autism spectrum disorder.

Her reasons for running to Paris after a debacle on social media, was a bit strange to me. I didn’t really understand why it was such a big deal. Clara and her friend act a bit spoiled, and I didn’t really like them, but during the book, Clara changes a lot and there is a lot of character development.

The love interest in this book is absolutely the perfect, cute, boy-next-door type of guy. He tries to help Clara get better. He works at a bakery and has a hard time understanding why Clara has such a difficult time eating, though he tries very hard to be supportive. This book is about food and how Clara learns to love food. Though the romance was cute, it was not really necessary for the story, and because I’m not usually a big fan of romance in books, I again felt not really that engaged in their relationship.

The joy of this book came from Alastair, the little brother. He is very cute and has a hard time functioning in the world. Clara helps him to fit better in his class. He is very straight-forward, like children with ASD usually are. He is a sweet boy, and I really enjoyed watching Clara and him build a real brother-sister relationship.

I am giving this book 3.5 stars because it was a cute and romantic read, with lots of diversity. The story was fun and interesting, with great character development. Though, I did not enjoy it as much as I would have liked, for no obvious reason. I would recommend this book if you like contemporary books that are short, sweet and diverse.

The Thieves of Nottica: Lovely Diverse Fantasy & A GIVEAWAY (whoohoo)

When I was contacted by the author to review this book I was immediately intrigued, it is namely not only a fantasy book, but it is also very diverse. Diverse fantasy is very rare and I love it. I’m really into diverse fantasy lately, I love it that often, compared to diverse contemporary books, it is not really about the things that makes it diverse, while it is often the main focus in contemporary (there’s nothing wrong with that, I love those books too).

The Thieves of Nottica by Ash Gray34092357

In a world where humans are evil, invading aliens, Rigg is the youngest member of the Keymasters, a band of professional thieves who use their skills to defy an overbearing government known as the Hand. It is a world full of pollution, intrusive surveillance cameras, and injustice, where any who “give the finger to the Hand” are punished with death. The Keymasters are hired to steal a highly sought after treasure, but when one of their number is lost during the job, they find themselves the tools in a power play for said treasure — a mysterious lockbox that no one can open. To ultimately survive in the end, the Keymasters must battle their way through mechanical monsters, airships, and politics, literally going through shit (they travel through a sewage pipe) to make it out alive.

The book is about a group of thieves called the Keymasters, they are three women who are demons. They are not exactly demons, but that is what they were called by the humans. The story takes place in a futuristic but steampunk-ish world where the demons are oppressed by the humans that one took over their world. There are also automatons/humanoids and cyborgs, which is pretty cool. I really liked the worldbuilding in this book, there is this whole background about the world and the characters, which was very cleverly made. 

The characters themselves were great. I loved especially Hari and Rigg a lot, and Lisa was just so sweet and naive, I adored them. Morganith is a badass woman who really speaks her opinion and I can always appreciate a character like that in a book. The relationships between the characters felt really mature, they had a long background together and you could really see that in the way they acted around each other. Lisa is the new addition to their crew but I loved how, once she gained her trust, she was completely accepted as one of theirs. I also loved the love story which was not a large part of the book, but added a lot to the story.

“I solemnly swear that every word I utter is a lie,” whispered Rigg unhappily.
Lisa tilted her head. “What was that?”
Hari glanced at Lisa with hesitation. “It’s the Keymaster oath,” she said with a sad smile. “Nell, Arda and me made it up when we first formed the group. See, the Keymasters aren’t just a bunch of wild bandits. We’ve got rules.”

What made this book stand out, for me, was the huge representation of diversity. All of the characters are in a way diverse. All of them had to deal with oppression, due to their physical attributions (being a demon and all :P), but they were also black, had varied sexual orientations and Morganith is disabled. There was representation of lesbian, asexual, intersexual and bisexual characters. This was actually the very first time I read about an asexual character in a book so I was super excited! (I identify as aromantic-asexual so YAYY)

“No matter how much you loved and respected me, it wouldn’t change society. You cannot change the world for me, Rigg.”
“I can sure as hell try.”

I am giving this book 4.25 stars (I’m breaking my own rules here, I only give half stars but oh well) because it was a lot of fun to read. One minor point was that due to the large amount of information you got in the beginning of the book it was a little hard to come into but once I did, I loved it. The characters and world were great and I loved the diversity!

The Giveaway

The writer was so kind as to allow me to have a giveaway for this book. It’ll be an ebook, which I will send to you. It is a MOBI file which you can open on your Kindle but also on the free Kindle app, which means you can also read it on your phone or laptop or pretty much any device. If you’re interested in the book, enter below!

Enter the giveaway here!

The giveaway will end on Monday July 3rd (and is obviously international :P)

Would you be interested in this book? Have you entered the giveaway?

Review: The Agony Of Bun O’Keefe: Very Diverse Middle Grade about Very Heavy Topics

General rating: ★★★☆
Diversity rating: ★★★★ (POC, LGBT+: gay, drag queen (does that count??), minority: native American, disability/disorder: OCD)

The Agony of Bun O’Keefe by Heather Smith is, I believe, a middle grade contemporary. It tells the story of fourteen-year-old Bun, who is one of the most interesting characters I’ve ever read about. The book is not only really good, it’s also very diverse.

The Agony of Bun O’Keefe by Heather Smith51il7haa5pl

Set in 1980s Newfoundland, The Agony of Bun O’Keefe is the story of a 14-year-old girl who runs away to the city and is taken in by a street musician who lives with an eclectic cast of characters: a pot smoking dishwasher with culinary dreams; a drag queen with a tragic past; a Catholic school girl desperately trying to reinvent herself; and a man who Bun is told to avoid at all cost.

After the mother of the main character Bun tells her to leave, she does. She ends up on the streets, meeting an older boy, who she calls Busker Boy. They become friends and she moves in with him. She gets to know the other people who live in his home, including a drag queen, a cook and a girl she names Big Eyes. Over the book the friendship between these people grows and Bun is taken in like a little sister.

Although this book is marketed as middle grade (or isn’t it?), the topics that this book covers are way heavier than the average middle-grade book. This book covers topics varying from loss, underweight and even sexual assault and abuse. I am not sure whether I would recommend this book to any 12-ish year olds, since these topics are not really pre-teen friendly.

“Do you really not have any goals?” he asked.
“Not that I can think of.”
“I thought everyone had goals, even if it was just to get through the day.”
“That’s not a goal,” I said. “It’s an inevitability. Unless you get hit by a car or something.”

Bun has always lived with her obsessive compulsive hoarder mother, but after her dad left, she stopped feeling. She became distant from all emotions. She didn’t go to school and all she knows is from books and movies. She is surprisingly smart, that is, she knows a lot, but socially her skills are less good. As the characters in the book fell in love with her, I did too. She takes everything literally and doesn’t understand jokes or metaphors. During the book, there is a large character development going on. Bun learns about her own emotions and learns to function socially. But like the characters in this book would say, Bun shouldn’t change herself, because she is perfect the way she is.

“Don’t ever apologize to me for sharing the thoughts that you have in your head. They’re honest and real and, more importantly, they’re you.”

The writing style was quite confusing sometimes. I don’t know if it’s because of my edition, but there often was no line break between different characters talking and often I didn’t know who was speaking.

“We’re all damaged in a way. But it’s nothing that can’t be fixed. You just have to kick out the dents from the inside.”

I am giving this book 3.5 stars because it was very interesting to read about such a character and about all the troubles she uncovered. The book was very diverse, had great main and side characters, showed amazing friendships and felt very real. I’m not giving it 4 stars because it lacked a feeling I can’t really describe, I missed the feeling of being dragged into the story. I really liked it, but I didn’t love it. Overall I would recommend this book to 14+ year old readers who want to read more diverse books and are interested in reading about quirky characters in a setting that is different from any other.

Review: The Color Project: Adorable and Heartbreaking

This book is so cute it’ll make you smile all the way through (well, almost, the time you don’t spend smiling, you spend crying).

General rating: ★★★★☆
Diversity rating: ☆ (There were some POC characters but not major)

The Color Project by Sierra Abrams22892448

Bernice Aurora Wescott has one thing she doesn’t want anyone to know: her name. That is, until Bee meets Levi, the local golden boy who runs a charity organization called The Color Project.

Levi is not at all shy about attempting to guess Bee’s real name; his persistence is one of the many reasons why Bee falls for him. But while Levi is everything she never knew she needed, giving up her name would feel like a stamp on forever. And that terrifies her.

When unexpected news of an illness in the family drains Bee’s summer of everything bright, she is pushed to the breaking point. Losing herself in The Color Project—a world of weddings, funerals, cancer patients, and hopeful families that the charity funds—is no longer enough. Bee must hold up the weight of her family, but to do that, she needs Levi. She’ll have to give up her name and let him in completely or lose the best thing that’s ever happened to her.

This book is about Bee and her family and about Levi, the boy she falls in love with. The idea of Bee not wanting to tell anyone her name is fun in the beginning, but through the book her stubbornness is starting to get back on her. But beside that, Bee is the absolutely sweetest. She loves her family, is caring, and wants to do something good in the world. She is really relatable and funny and I would love her as a friend. (& also I need her family).

The love interest Levi is honestly the best book boyfriend I’ve ever read about. Though it took me a few chapters to get to really see how cute they were/would be together, but after that, I was sold 100%. They are the cutest couple together and they will make you swoon and gush all the time.

“The world spins, and I feel pain everywhere, and I die a little bit inside with every tear I shed, so that I’m left feeling like a husk, empty, ruined, devoured.”

I don’t really want to say what happens in the story, because then I would spoil you, but I do want to tell you that it is such a great story and it all flows just really well. I don’t know, it just works so well together, and it’s not just about happy things, it is about struggles and it feels real. It is sad and beautiful, but also really happy and fun. It’s just such a joy to read this book, that during the entire book I did not for a moment felt bored. I think that if I had the time, I could have read this book all day.

I adored the writing style of this book, it was different from other books I’ve ever read. It was written from the perspective of Bee, but there were little (often funny) comments written between brackets. I also loved the interaction between the characters, especially the sisters, and the text messages.

“Make her stop,” she says, practically weeping.
“I wish I could. Only stabbing her will do the trick.”
“No, that will make her wail louder.” Millie moans again.
“Then there’s nothing left but to bury her in the backyard,” I tease.
This earns a laugh. “Think Mama and Daddy will miss her?”
“Nah.”

Another thing that I thought was a great addition to the book were the songs as titles of the chapters. Though, after a few chapters, I didn’t feel like taking breaks to listen to every song before/while reading the chapter (because that would mean, I had put the book away), I really loved the idea and execution. (I actually wanted to do the same with my WIP, but didn’t do it in the end).

I am giving this book 4.5 stars, because I had the best time reading it. It made me feel so happy and sad and wonderful, that when I finished, all I could do is be all happy and gushy. I just wanted more!! If you want to read a great romance book about family, I will definitely recommend you this book, because I bet that you will love it.

 

Sovereign: The Transgender Superhero is Back! #ownvoices

A couple of months ago I reviewed Dreadnought, which is the first installment in the Nemesis series. I don’t know whether this is going to be a trilogy or a full-blown long series, but it doesn’t state it anywhere so we’ll see, I guess. I was lucky enough to get a free copy of Dreadnought back then and I was lucky again to be able to read this one.

Regular rating: 3.5 stars
Diversity rating: 3 stars (LGBT+, POC, disabled)

Warning: this is the second book in the series, and though I will try to avoid major spoilers, it could happen that you get spoiled. I marked one in white, so be aware!

Sovereign (Nemesis #2) – April Daniels32565582

Only nine months after her debut as the fourth superhero to fight under the name Dreadnought, Danny Tozer is already a scarred veteran. Protecting a city the size of New Port is a team-sized job and she’s doing it alone. Between her newfound celebrity and her demanding cape duties, Dreadnought is stretched thin, and it’s only going to get worse.

When she crosses a newly discovered supervillain, Dreadnought comes under attack from all quarters. From her troubled family life to her disintegrating friendship with Calamity, there’s no trick too dirty and no lever too cruel for this villain to use against her.

She might be hard to kill, but there’s more than one way to destroy a hero. Before the war is over, Dreadnought will be forced to confront parts of herself she never wanted to acknowledge.

And behind it all, an old enemy waits in the wings to unleash a plot that will scar the world forever.

When I first read Dreadnought I had no idea that this was an ownvoices book, which just made me love it even more. The writer, April Daniels is also a transgender woman.

Having lived as a girl for months now, Danielle’s struggles as a transgender are not yet over. There are still people (ahem Greywytch) not accepting her as a girl and not only that, the aftermath of her separation from her (abusive) family has left her in tricky situations. In court, she has to fight her father to be able to live with Doc Impossible, while the whole world is watching. The lines between what is right and what is are slowly fading, because through her job of saving people and hunting bad guys, a lot of people get hurt.

“Falling apart can come later, when people aren’t shooting at me.”

In this second book, we meet old and new characters. We meet Calamity (a black morally gray bi superhero with a prosthetic hand), who became Danny’s friend in the first book. Luckily, I didn’t think she was as irresponsible in this book and I liked Calamity a lot more. We meet a few new faces, a genderqueer, Iranian-American superhero called Kinetiq, a magical boy called Charlie and Karen, a half-American, half-Scandinavian death goddess (her own words) who is afflicted by her death mother’s memories (literally). We also meet new enemies (VERY EVIL, WORTH ALL MY HATE), supervillains who want to take over the world, and Dany has to save it.

I loved the added characters a lot, especially Kinetiq, but Doc Impossible and Danielle are still my favourites. Danielle is a strong character, who, even though she always gets in trouble, finds her way out. She makes mistakes, does things she shouldn’t have done, but in the end, you keep rooting for her. Doc Impossible is Danielle’s new mother figure, who also has her troubles laid out for her. *SPOILER FOR BOOK 1 marked white* Now that she involuntarily betrayed her friends, and is no longer perceived as the human she liked to be, she has to figure out how to live as an android. *end of spoiler*

There is also some romance added to the story and I won’t tell you exactly who or what but I did like it a lot. I thought it brought some extra dimension to the story and I loved that.

I also loved how well-researched and developed the story was. From the way Danielle determines the course to fly to get to her destination to how calculated every move is. You can see in everything how much time and devotion April spent on writing this book.

“There are two things I never get tired of looking at. The stars from low orbit and human brains.”

So by now, you might wonder why I am not giving this book a solid 4 stars or even more, and I don’t really know. I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I’d hoped. In my review of Dreadnought, I mentioned that I always get confused while reading fight scenes, and that still happened. I am giving this book 3.5 stars, because again it gives so much insight and diversity. The diversity makes this story so important. Every character has its own background story and each of them is unique in a way. I really enjoyed reading this book so I will definitely recommend it if you like superhero stories with diversity. Also if you want a badass protagonist, you’ve found one.

*** I want to thank the publisher and NetGally for the chance to review this book, which will come out July 25th 2017**