Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

station elevenTJ Burns — February 27, 2017

5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars

I love well-written dystopian novels and I love solving mysteries, so Station Eleven is right down my ally. The biggest mystery throughout was figuring out how all the players fit together. One-third through, I made a mind map and a timeline to sort things out. Putting together the pieces of the puzzle was as entertaining as it was intriguing, and it took away a bit of the sting from the heavier, more deprestation eleven2ssing subject matter.

I was enraptured from beginning to end by the captivating subject matter, the puzzles to solve, and the diverse and interesting characters.

Published September 9th 2014 by Knopf

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Unearthed by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

unearthedTJ Burns — September 9, 2017

Wow! Just wow! What an exhilarating ride! Interesting, likable characters! Unexpected, unpredictable twists and turns!

This story is amazing! It blew me away. Before I knew it, I was finished and dazed – I didn’t know what hit me!

Mia and Jules are such intriguing, interesting, and likable characters. Mia, tough, athletic, worldly, street-smart, clever, quick-witted, and sharp-tongued. Jules, introspective, sweet, highly-intelligent, soft-spoken, sensitive, and a bit insecure (at least at first).

The fact that we, the readers, were privy to both of their thought processes added depth – we could see, understand, and support (or dispute) their motivations, but even more we could see when they clearly misread, and misjudged each other’s actions and motivations.

Non-stop action; clever dialogue; intriguing characters with substantial character development; twists and turns; puzzles; mysteries; intelligent creative story line… I couldn’t ask for anything more in a novel. Absolutely breathtakingly fantastic read!

I received a copy of this book from Disney-Hyperion via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Expected publication: January 9th 2018 by Disney-Hyperion

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The Border by Steve Schafer

the borderTJ Burns — August 2017

5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars

Pato, Arbo, Gladys, and Marco are such genuine, well-developed characters, I feel I know them — really know them. I had a stake in their fate – I needed to see them through their trials, to safely overcome incredible obstacles, and to reach their destination unknown. I was so emotionally involved in these four teenagers’ lives that I kept thinking about them long after I finished reading.

The fact that the fate and the journey of these four young people is not just fiction to so many, not just in North America, but worldwide, makes this story all the more potent, and hard to swallow.

The writing is fantastic. I never felt like I was reading a novel, but felt rather like I was sharing in the experience, the tragedies, the hardships, the bonding, the friendship, the love.

I received a copy of this book from Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

Expected publication: September 5th 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire

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Wintersong (Wintersong #1) by S. Jae-Jones

wintersongTJ Burns — July 2017

I received a copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Published February 7th 2017 by Thomas Dunne Books

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The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

the-bear-and-the-nightingale

TJ Burns — January 2017

5_Star_Rating_System_4_and_a_half_stars

Expected publication: January 10th 2017 by Del Rey

The Bear and the Nightingale was an amazing story! Fascinating and exciting! The characters were vivid, distinct, and interesting. The story line full of twists and turns, not so much the shocker (boom! I didn’t see that coming) kind, but so variable, full of intrigue, and impossible to predict.

I really enjoyed The Bear and the Nightingale — the descriptions are vivid, the tale is so mysterious and full of political intrigue. I can’t wait to find out what happens next!

Full Review Coming Soon.

 

I received a copy of this book from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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The Mesmerist by Ronald L. Smith

the mesmeristTJ Burns — May 2017

I received a copy of this book from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Published February 7th 2017 by Clarion Book.

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RoseBlood by A.G. Howard

RosebloodTJ Burns — January 10, 2017

5_Star_Rating_System_3_stars

I received a copy of this book from Amulet Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

Published January 10th 2017 by Harry N. Abram.

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A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire #1) by Jessica Cluess

a-shadow-bright-and-burningTJ Burns — February 28, 2017

5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars

I very much like Ms. Cluess’ writing style – it flows nicely. I was pulled in right from the start –intrigued, interested — and had so many questions:
What is the prophecy? What does it mean to be “unclean” and can Rook heal? What are the Familiars? Scary bunch, those… And the Ancients?

Nettie is a fun and interesting character, at times brave and feisty, at others insecure and questioning her abilities — very real, very much the typical teenager, despite her less than typical abilities and environment.

Romance
And of course the possibility of romance looms before Nettie: There’s Rook, the loyal and constant best friend, there’s cavalier and charming Mr. Magnus, and there’s cool, mysterious, and arrogant Lord Blackwood.

Rook was my preference from the start, but I am worried that there may be “complications” (see spoilers on my Goodreads Review page — link below).  I like Magnus a lot — who wouldn’t? But Blackwood may turn out to rise above his upbringing and prove himself worthy… ahhh the choices one must make when one is young… ;). 

The Chosen One
I am not thrilled about the whole “chosen one” business. I’m not a fan of predestination. I think a hero is made through her actions and her choices, not because of predestination or some prophecy. I would really love it if Henriette turns out not be “the chosen one,” but a hero nonetheless (or in spite of it).

I am also worried about Henriette’s connection to the Blackwood family. She knows the house and it feels like “home” in her dreams. I hope she is not part of that noble sorcerer family. That would just make all her claims that even a commoner can rise up and be a hero (and/or a great sorcerer) crumble and support Blackwood’s claim that noble blood is more valuable than common blood.

No sooner had I written my thoughts about disliking the “chosen one” scenario than Ms. Cluess remixed the cards entirely! Yes!

Conclusion
While I was able to guess and predict a few events, many more were total shockers! Despite an exciting and thoroughly satisfying climax, still many unanswered questions remain. Guess I’ll just have to wait for the sequel… 😉

A Shadow Bright and Burning is an exciting story, with interesting characters, full of mystery and secrets, that culminates in a suspenseful and exciting climax!

[Update: I have already got my grubby little hands on an ARC of A Poison Dark and Drowning — So excited to read the next installment!]

 

 

 

Published September 20th 2016 by Random House BFYR

I received a copy of this book from Random House Children’s books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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The Adventurers Guild (The Adventurers Guild #1) by Zack Loran Clark & Nick Eliopulos

The Adventurers GuildTJ Burns — July 14, 2017

5_Star_Rating_System_4_and_a_half_stars

The Adventurers Guild was a fantastic read! I haven’t read anything this good in a long time! An exciting, suspenseful, intriguing, imaginative story, with diverse, colorful, and interesting characters, and a creative, intelligent, and witty dialogue.

I am so tired of series and cliff-hangers, but at 80% through, I was hoping, begging, for there to be a sequel. I can’t get enough of these characters, both kids and adults. (I’m happy to report this wasn’t a cliff-hanger, not really — it ended more in a teaser for the next book, which followed an exiting climax).

The Adventurers Guild reads more like a Young Adult book than a Middle Grade. The kids are 13-years-old, but I imagined them to be more like 16 throughout. I would say the target audience should be 12-18 rather than 8-12. Moreover, I highly recommend this exciting, interesting, intriguing book for adults, as well! At just over 18, a-hemm, well, a tad more than a little over 18, I definitely consider myself as being part of the “target audience” for this wonderful adventure!

Expected publication: October 3rd 2017 by Disney-Hyperion

I received a copy of this book from Disney-Hyperion via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Knights of the Borrowed Dark (Knights of the Borrowed Dark Trilogy #1) by Dave Rudden

Knights of the Borrowed DarkTJ Burns — May 17, 2017

5_Star_Rating_System_4_and_a_half_stars

Knights of the Borrowed Dark is exciting, suspenseful, and entertaining! Full of mystery and intrigue. The story is both thrilling and entertaining. Particularly amusing is the contrast between Denizen’s thoughts and his words/actions.

Denizen’s personality, along with the mysterious atmosphere and the weird and unusual beings coming in from the other side, pulled me into the story immediately.

Knights of the Borrowed Dark2

I liked Denizen’s character from the start. He’s been dealt a nasty deck — orphaned when he was two, sent to this dismal orphanage at the end of the world, with these uncaring adults as staff… But still, he is able to rise above it and convince himself he doesn’t need anybody (except maybe his best friend Simon).

Then his whole reality gets dashed to the side: He has family. And he has powers. And there’s this whole other world out there that is threatening the world he knows. And he can do something to protect the world he knows. He can become a Knight. Cool.

This was a great read! The writing is fantastic. The characters are diverse and interesting. Denizen’s thought process is tons of fun to follow, as well as his personal developmentKnights of the Borrowed Dark3. Unexpected twists and turns provide suspense and surprises!

I can totally recommend Knights of the Borrowed Dark!

 
I received a copy of this book from Random House Children’s Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Published August 16th 2016 by Random House Books for Young Readers.

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The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon

the-bone-sparrowTJ Burns — January 2017

This book was amazing — tragic, heart-breaking, tear-jerking… yet hopeful, showing the power of friendship, family, love, story-telling, remembering…

Published November 1st 2016 by Disney-Hyperion

I received a copy of this book from Disney-Hyperion via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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