The Mark of the King
by Jocelyn Green Published by Bethany House
on January 3rd 2017 Genres: Christian
, Religious Pages:
Sweeping Historical Fiction Set at the Edge of the Continent. After being imprisoned and branded for the death of her client, twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana, where she hopes to be reunited with her brother, serving there as a soldier. To make the journey, though, women must be married, and Julianne is forced to wed a fellow convict.When they arrive in New Orleans, there is no news of Benjamin, Julianne's brother, and searching for answers proves dangerous. What is behind the mystery, and does military officer Marc-Paul Girard know more than he is letting on?With her dreams of a new life shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous, rugged land, despite never being able to escape the king's mark on her shoulder that brands her a criminal beyond redemption.
In order to regain her freedom, Julianne chooses to be one of many exiled from France to the colony of Louisiana, but even such a promising choice comes with unforeseen consequences and heartbreaks along the way even after settling into New Orleans—a place of turmoil and lawlessness. Already forced to marry a stranger before leaving the shores of France, Julianne must face one trial after another.
I was surprised with The Mark of the King because the writing did not flinch away from the attitudes and particularly vile actions of men in those times (the barn thing and Pascal in general). I haven’t read much of the French colonies, so I found Julianne’s journey interesting. Julianne, despite everything that kept happening, proved herself to be a strong, persistent woman when any other might have just called it quits. I’m glad everything worked out at the end—even if it turned out to be bittersweet.
And though I liked the story, I’m not completely satisfied with the storyline surrounding Julianne’s brother. It was just meh and not enough for me to care about, even though everything else was good.
by Tiffany D. Jackson Published by Katherine Tegen Books
on January 24th 2017 Genres: Alternative Family
, Orphans & Foster Homes
, Social Themes
, Young Adult Fiction Pages:
Orange Is the New Black meets Walter Dean Myer’s Monster in this gritty, twisty, and haunting debut by Tiffany D. Jackson about a girl convicted of murder seeking the truth while surviving life in a group home.Mary B. Addison killed a baby. Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: a white baby had died while under the care of a churchgoing black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary’s fate now lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But does anyone know the real Mary?
Mary allegedly killed a baby when she was only nine years old. But did she commit the act or was it someone else? Following her life within a group home and struggles with other the girls, Mary strives to create a future for herself despite the bleak uncertainty. Full of drama, suspense, and the all too realness of the judicial system, Allegedly is a fastpaced page-turner meant for more than just entertainment but also for discussion.
My expectations were blown away by Allegedly. The story went in a totally different direction from what I thought was going to happen, and it was—wow. It’s certainly a story that you’ll have to think about even after finishing the last page to fit the pieces into the puzzle. Allegedly is a prime example of great storytelling, I could not say more than that (actually I could say I’d like to read a sequel or something of that nature).
So read it.
Milk and Honey
by Rupi Kaur Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing
on October 6th 2015 Genres: Body, Mind & Spirit
, Romance Pages:
The book is divided into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose. Deals with a different pain. Heals a different heartache. Milk and Honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.
When it comes to Milk and Honey, I’m clearly in the minority of not really feeling anything special towards this collection of tumblr poetry. I felt like the poems were not very original or even well-written. I’ve heard and seen these messages all before. I’ve seen better unpublished work on tumblr and in bathroom stalls that have moved me more.
You’re probably thinking, ‘well, you probably never experienced pain before so you can’t understand…’ But let me tell you that’s not true. I just felt meh overall about this collection. I can understand why people love Milk and Honey. It’s simplistic and has the aesthetic appeal many love.
The style was something I didn’t care for. You could take any kind of slogan and make it into a deep or fake deep poem just by breaking up the words.
One poem I felt was recycled from everything already out there:
salt for sugar
if he wants to
be with you
it’s that simple
Seriously, I’ve heard this all my life. It’s just…duh.
There were a few that I thought were okay, but nothing I really care to share.
Blood Rose Rebellion
I received this product for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion or the content of my review.
by Rosalyn Eves Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers
on March 28th 2017 Genres: Action & Adventure
, Young Adult Fiction Pages:
Sixteen-year-old Anna Arden is barred from society by a defect of blood. Though her family is part of the Luminate, powerful users of magic, she is Barren, unable to perform the simplest spells. Anna would do anything to belong. But her fate takes another course when, after inadvertently breaking her sister’s debutante spell—an important chance for a highborn young woman to show her prowess with magic—Anna finds herself exiled to her family’s once powerful but now crumbling native Hungary.
Her life might well be over.
In Hungary, Anna discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. Not the people around her, from her aloof cousin Noémi to the fierce and handsome Romani Gábor. Not the society she’s known all her life, for discontent with the Luminate is sweeping the land. And not her lack of magic. Isolated from the only world she cares about, Anna still can’t seem to stop herself from breaking spells.
As rebellion spreads across the region, Anna’s unique ability becomes the catalyst everyone is seeking. In the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and Romanies, Anna must choose: deny her unique power and cling to the life she’s always wanted, or embrace her ability and change that world forever.
Historical setting + magic= Y e s
I’ve never been one for magic in modern settings (never read or seen HP), but I adore it in historical settings because it just seems more magical that way to me. So I was pleasantly surprised with Blood Rose Rebellion and enjoyed the story much more than I thought I would. The first few chapters made me think Blood Rose Rebellion was going to be as generic as Red Queen because it sounded like every other book out there, but then quickly became more interesting when Anna left for Hungary.
I liked Anna, her cousins, and especially Gabor (what a babe). I’m not sure that I like Anna and Gabor as a couple yet. But I am happy a romance wasn’t overshadowing the plot (and no love triangle) or the main focus of Anna’s thoughts. She had a hard decision to make, on breaking the binding or not, and was sensible about it—at least I believe she was.
Though, on a side note, I kind of ship Anna and Hunger. I think they had more chemistry (in a weird way) than Anna and Gabor did in the entire book. If there are other books, I hope he returns.
As Red As Blood
by Salla Simukka Published by Crown Books for Young Readers
on January 17th 2017 Genres: Thrillers & Suspense
, Young Adult Fiction Pages:
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Six of Crows--this international bestseller is an edge-of-your-seat thriller that chills to the bone, and not just because of the icy winter setting. Lumikki Andersson has made it a rule to stay out of things that do not involve her. She knows all too well that trouble comes to those who stick their nose where it doesn't belong. But Lumikki's rule is put to the test when she uncovers thousands of washed Euro notes hung to dry in her school's darkroom and three of her classmates with blood on their hands. Literally. A web of lies and deception now has Lumikki on the run from those determined to get the money back--no matter the cost. At the center of the chaos: Polar Bear, the mythical drug lord who has managed to remain anonymous despite his lavish parties and notorious reputation. If Lumikki hopes to make it out alive, she'll have to uncover the entire operation. Even the cold Finnish winter can't hide a culprit determined to stain the streets red.
A mysterious bag of money.
And dangerous drug lords.
As Red as Blood is touted a thriller/mystery, but it wasn’t that thrilling or mysterious—and the story didn’t pick up until around or after the 50% mark, which isn’t good considering it’s such a small book. The beginning was dull and at times confusing. I didn’t like most of the characters—Elisa was all right—and the bad guys were portrayed as every mafia stereotype out there with no depth.
There were certain things within the plot that made little sense.
(1): Why did she take it upon herself to do those things on her own (even though she wasn’t involved, and was able to do everything with relative ease)?
(2): Why were the two boys so useless (they had a few dumb lines and that’s about it)?
(3): The ending (so quick and glossed over…how did it come to that)?
(4): Her parents in general??
Overall, I don’t think it was a bad book. The story picked up enough for me to like it, but I know I won’t bother reading the sequel (the synopsis on that one is…errm okay). It just seems like everything around Lumikki is just extreme happenstance. And I don’t think it was wise to compare As Red as Blood with Six of Crows. Totally different books, not a single similarity in my opinion. The whole book name meets book name thing needs to die.