March Mini Review Roundup!

 
With March over and April here it is time to wrap up my reads for the month of March. Due to multiple different factors I don't do full reviews over every book I read, but I still like to give some thoughts on them and insights on why I rated them the way I did. This month I read four books that I didn't have to opportunity to full review. Check out my thoughts and opinions below! 

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Title: The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea
Author: Maggie Tokuda-Hall
Genre: Fantasy 
Source: Candlewick via NetGalley
Publisher: Candlwick
Publication Date: May 5th 2020

Summary: 
A desperate orphan turned pirate and a rebellious imperial daughter find a connection on the high seas in a world divided by colonialism and threaded with magic. Aboard the pirate ship Dove, Flora the girl takes on the identity of Florian the man to earn the respect and protection of the crew. For Flora, former starving urchin, the brutal life of a pirate is about survival: don’t trust, don’t stick out, and don’t feel. But on this voyage, as the pirates prepare to sell their unsuspecting passengers into slavery, Flora is drawn to the Lady Evelyn Hasegawa, who is en route to a dreaded arranged marriage with her own casket in tow. Flora doesn’t expect to be taken under Evelyn’s wing, and Evelyn doesn’t expect to find such a deep bond with the pirate Florian. Soon the unlikely pair set in motion a wild escape that will free a captured mermaid (coveted for her blood, which causes men to have visions and lose memories) and involve the mysterious Pirate Supreme, an opportunistic witch, and the all-encompassing Sea itself.
First off, take a look at that cover and how stunning it is? I’ll admit, the cover is what made me hit the request button before I learned what this book was even about. Then I read the summary and I was even more excited.

The Mermaid, The Witch and The Sea is going to take you on a magically journey of you guessed it, mermaids, witches and the sea. Tokuda-Hall did an amazing job of a building a world that completely immerses the reader from the first page. Her characters were complex and all had motives of there own in why they did what they did. The Mermaid, The Witch and The Sea is full of adventure and contains some twists that you might now see coming.

The ending of this book made me tear up and I think that Tokuda-Hall wrapped this story up in a satisfying way that will leave readers content. Their only complaint would be that they might want more!




Title: The Scapegracers (The Scapegracers #1)
Author: Hannah Abigail Clarke
Genre: Fantasy, LGBT, Witches
Source: Erewhon Press via NetGalley
Publisher: Erewhon Press
Publication Date: May 12th 2020

Summary: 
An outcast teenage lesbian witch finds her coven hidden amongst the popular girls in her school, and performs some seriously badass magic in the process. Skulking near the bottom of West High’s social pyramid, Sideways Pike lurks under the bleachers doing magic tricks for Coke bottles. As a witch, lesbian, and lifelong outsider, she’s had a hard time making friends. But when the three most popular girls pay her $40 to cast a spell at their Halloween party, Sideways gets swept into a new clique. The unholy trinity are dangerous angels, sugar-coated rattlesnakes, and now–unbelievably–Sideways’ best friends. Together, the four bond to form a ferocious and powerful coven. They plan parties, cast curses on dudebros, try to find Sideways a girlfriend, and elude the fundamentalist witch hunters hellbent on stealing their magic. But for Sideways, the hardest part is the whole ‘having friends’ thing. Who knew that balancing human interaction with supernatural peril could be so complicated?
The Scapegracers was another book that attracted me because of it’s cover. It’s simple but yet complex at the same time and I loved that about it. The story it self though left me disappointed. I loved the idea behind the witches and revenge but other then that I found the story to be weirdly paced and the relationship dynamic of the characters to be weird as well. Honestly, the characters behaved as if they were twelve rather than sixteen/seventeen year olds that they are suppose to be.

The Scapegracers is the first book in a series, so there is room for the author to have these characters grow and for the writing story to develop. Which I hope it does. But I don’t plan on continuing with this series



Title: Burn Our Bodies Down 
Author: Rory Power
Genre: Horror
Source: Delacorte Press via NetGalley 
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: July 7th 2020

Summary: 
From the author of the New York Times bestseller Wilder Girls comes a new twisty thriller about a girl whose past has always been a mystery--until she decides to return to her mother's hometown . . . where history has a tendency to repeat itself. Ever since Margot was born, it's been just her and her mother. No answers to Margot's questions about what came before. No history to hold on to. No relative to speak of. Just the two of them, stuck in their run-down apartment, struggling to get along. But that's not enough for Margot. She wants family. She wants a past. And she just found the key she needs to get it: A photograph, pointing her to a town called Phalene. Pointing her home. Only, when Margot gets there, it's not what she bargained for. Margot's mother left for a reason. But was it to hide her past? Or was it to protect Margot from what's still there? The only thing Margot knows for sure is there's poison in their family tree, and their roots are dug so deeply into Phalene that now that she's there, she might never escape.

I loved Wilder Girls by Rory Power so when I saw that she was realizing another horror novel I was super excited. Burn Our Bodies Down wasn’t a horrible book, it had me in its grips and I had to know what happened. But I’m a little disappointed in its execution.

Rory gave the creepy edge and prose that made these horrible things came alive in your mind. The climax of the story had me reading as fast as I could to know more and then putting the book down to gather my thoughts. I feel as if more explanation and detail could have been added in certain areas. There was room to expand on a lot of things.

I don’t hate this book, but I don’t love it either. I’m I excited for future books by Rory? Of course I am and I can see why so many people are going to love Burn Our Bodies Down, but this one wasn’t for me.




Title: The First 7 (The Last 8 #2)
Author: Laura Pohl
Genre: Science Fiction, LGBT, Aliens
Source: Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: March 1st 2020

Summary: 
Welcome home. Someone’s been waiting. Clover Martinez and The Last Teenagers on Earth are busy exploring the galaxy after leaving earth behind…even if they can’t help but be a little homesick. So when their ship receives a distress signal from their former planet, they hope against hope that it means other survivors. But as soon as they arrive, they realize something’s deeply wrong: strange crystal formations have popped up everywhere and there’s some sort of barrier keeping them from leaving. Seeking the origin of the formations and the reason for the barrier, the group discovers a colony of survivors hidden in the mountains. But the survivors aren’t who they seem…
I really don’t have much to say about this one. I enjoyed it and I think it was a great wrap up for this duo. I love seeing the growth and progression of the characters as well a satisfying conclusion to Clover’s story. I rated it three stars because I just didn’t love it like I did the first book, I felt like certain areas dragged and then others went to fast. I just wasn’t thrilled with it.




Have you guys read any of this books yet or are they on your TBR? Let us know in the comments below!

Book Blitz & Giveaway: Kind of Famous by Mary Ann Marlowe!



Kind of Famous
Mary Ann Marlowe
Publication date: April 7th 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Layla Beckett has a secret. For the past ten years, she’s run the most trafficked fan site on the Internet for her favorite band—under an alias, naturally. When she lands a job at the prestigious New York City music magazine The Rock Paper, she’s suddenly thrust into the world she’s only observed from the cheap seats. Now that she’s brushing elbows with sexy guitarists and hot frontmen, she wants to play it cool and keep her superfan status on the down low. Although she’s dying to gush on her forum, posting her insider adventures online could expose her real-life identity and blow her cover.
And that’s all before one of those sexy musicians becomes a fan of her.
From the minute he meets Layla, Shane Morgan’s heart beats a heavy metal rhythm, but his head is full of doubt. Since only the most hardcore fans could pick the drummer out of a lineup, he’s resigned to groupies using him to get closer to the more famous guitarists. But he doesn’t want to be Layla’s passthrough.
As Layla gets to know the real people behind the music, she’s drawn to the less-than-flashy drummer’s sweet charms, fascinating mind, and banging hot body, but she worries about his insecurities. She needs to convince Shane she’s moved beyond fandom before he discovers her online history and loses all faith in her intentions.
But the Internet is forever, and secrets have a way of getting out.
EXCERPT:
The moon shone bright, but Shane’s eyes remained dark as the deepest ocean. He blinked twice and ran his thumb down my cheek to my chin. I confess that I’d had some illicit fantasies about the guys in the band, but I’d never felt the one-two punch to the gut that I got when his hand slid around the back of my neck and he pulled me forward to press his lips against mine.
He drew back, slowly enough that his lips continued to touch mine for a lingering moment, and I opened my eyes before he did. He looked like he’d tasted ice cream for the first time and wanted to savor it. My mind reeled with questions, and I had this crazy thought that I wished he were more famous so I’d have read something about him on the Internet before, so I’d know who he was and what I might be getting myself into.
If he were like Adam, I’d know to grab hold of him and never let go. If he were like Noah, I wouldn’t want to give him the time of day.
But those lips.
A tiny smile lit his face. “Should I apologize again?”
With that, I threw caution to the wind and twisted both hands into his T-shirt. He laughed when I pulled him back into a less hesitant kiss, but his laughter stopped when my tongue brushed his, and he spun us around so he could press me up against the metal door behind us.
It had been a long time since I’d been physical with a man. Way too long.
Shane’s lips teased mine, and I felt like I’d lived in a desert my whole life, never knowing that water existed. Suddenly I’d fallen into a deep pool. It might turn out to be an oasis, or I might drown, and I didn’t care. My fingers traced his cheek, then brushed his neck, and his body responded in shivers. He lifted the edge of my shirt and explored my lower back, creeping up my spine until he reached my bra.
I’d lost track of where we were. Everything was him. His mouth on mine. His hands on me. His skin. His . . . I gasped. He pressed harder into me, and I ground back, need flaring inside me.
He took the first step away. “Layla.” The fact that his voice came out ragged and breathless only made me want to tear his shirt off and spend the next ten hours licking every inch of him while he said my name.


Author Bio:
Some Kind of Magic is Mary Ann Marlowe's first novel. When not writing, she works by day as a computer programmer/DBA. She spent ten years as a university-level French professor, and her resume includes stints as an au pair in Calais, a hotel intern in Paris, a German tutor, a college radio disc jockey, and a webmaster for several online musician fandoms, plus she has a second-degree black belt. She has lived in twelve states and three countries and loves to travel. She now lives in central Virginia where she is hard at work on her second novel. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.maryannmarlowe.com, on Facebook, www.facebook.com/marlowemaryann/, and at twitter.com/maryannmarlowe.


We'd like to thank the incredible team over at Xpresso for allowing us to be a part of this book blitz!



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Spotlight: Dawn of Mist by Helen Scheuerer!
















Hi everyone! Today on the blog, we have a spotlight for Dawn of Mist by Helen Scheuerer -- an author that we love working with here at The Book Bratz!  Check out our Interview with Helen, a Guest Post and a Spotlight of War of Mist

Title: Dawn of Mist (The Oremere Chronicles Prequel Collection)
Author: Helen Scheuerer
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Talem Press
Publication Date: April 16th 2020
Kindle, 350 Pages

Summary:
Before their fight to save the realm from mad tyrants and toxic mist, Bleak, Henri and Swinton led separate lives. In this novel-length collection of prequel stories, teenage Bleak sails across the seas, seeking adventure with her best friend, Bren, and guardian, Senior – only to discover that trouble often finds her first. Fiercely loyal Henri and her twin sister, Sahara, train relentlessly to become elite warriors, but soon learn that the Valian Way can be crueller than they ever thought. A young and ambitious Commander Swinton struggles to prove himself worthy of knighthood, but an encounter with a beautiful stranger shows him that there are things in life more important than titles. Join our three heroes as they embark on nail-biting sea voyages, daring jousting tournaments and terrifying mountain ascents. Delve into the secrets, the triumphs and the tragedies of Bleak, Henri and Swinton’s earlier years, and the defining moments that made these much-loved characters who they are.






Helen Scheuerer is a YA fantasy author from Sydney,  Australia. The Oremere Chronicles is her bestselling trilogy (2017- 2019). After writing literary fiction for a number of years, Helen was inspired toreturn to her childhood love of fantasy thanks to novels like Throne of Glass, The Queen’s Poisoner and The Queen of the Tearling.

Twitter / Instagram / Facebook / Website


We'd like to thank Helen for being awesome enough to reach out to us about this! We always love having her around on the blog, so go add this book to your TBR right now! ๐Ÿคฉ๐Ÿ’•

Review: LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff

Title: LIFEL1K3 (Lifelike #1)
Author: Jay Kristoff
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 29th 2018
Kindle Edition, 398 pages

Summary:
On a floating junkyard beneath a radiation sky, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap. Eve isn’t looking for secrets—she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she’s just spent six months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, and the only thing keeping her Grandpa from the grave was the fistful of credits she just lost to the bookies. To top it off, she’s discovered she can destroy electronics with the power of her mind, and the puritanical Brotherhood are building a coffin her size. If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it. But when Eve discovers the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic conscience, Cricket, in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, infiltrate towering megacities and scour the graveyard of humanity’s greatest folly to save the ones Eve loves, and learn the dark secrets of her past. Even if those secrets were better off staying buried.

I am a huge Jay Kristoff fan, so imagine my dismay the first time I tried to read LIFEL1K3 and hated every second of it. I made it about 200 pages in and called it quits. I was quite dissapointed and questioned the fact I considered myself such a big fan. Fast forward to 2020 and I decided it was time to give LIFEL1K3 another chance and what would you know, I LOVED it this time around. Jay as usual is the master of world building and shattering his readers hearts.  

In what's left of the country after World War 4.0, Eve lives on a scrap of land of what used to be the West Coast. Living life looking over her shoulder, Eve isn't looking for trouble. She spends her time building bots and then fighting them in the dome, until one night the fight goes horribly wrong and she destroys the opposing bot with her mind and screaming. Now with the Brotherhood (A band of religious men who believe that people with abnormal abilities are abominations) Eve just wants to keep her head down, but all the changed when Ezekiel, a Lifelike (an robot that resembles as human, with the capability to make its own choices) literally crash lands at her feet, insisting that she is this mysterious "Ana." With her best friend Lemonfresh, her robot companion named Cricket and Ezekiel she is on a quest to save the ones she loves. But in the process, Eve uncovers secrets that change everything. 

I liked Eve's character a lot, I found her fearless and determined. She's rough around the edges and snarky and will do anything for the ones she loves and cares about. As the story unfolds you begin to see a change in Eve, it's subtle but it is there and the more you read the clearer it becomes. In the climax of the book everything is explained. 

I really loved all the secondary characters as well, we get to see some of the story from Lemonfresh's point of view and she is just as sassy and loyal as Eve is. Ezekiel is such a complicated character, in the sense as there is so much more of him that needs to be developed. He is one of the twelve Lifelike's that were created several years earlier and it is easy to tell that his understanding of the world and emotions aren't developed, which I've come to learn was purposely done. (I'm writing this review after having read the whole trilogy, so you will see more of this addressed and discussed in the upcoming novels.)

Jay will always be my favorite when it comes to world building, from Nevernight, Illuminae and Aurora Rising there wasn't one world that he built or helped build that I didn't like. LIFEL1K3 was unique and different and though I wished that the past of what is left of the "yousay" was explained it doesn't change the story. My only complaint was I wish there was a glossary of the slang that Jay has created, at some points it was a little hard to follow because I wasn't sure what the characters were actually meaning. But again, it is only a tiny thing and nothing more. 

Overall I really enjoyed LIFEL1K3 and I am glad I gave it another shot. Like I said above, this review is being written after I I have finished this series so all I have to say is this: Buckle up, because you aren't expected what is going to happen next. 



Amber's NetGalley Pile! ๐Ÿ˜…




Happy Thursday! ๐Ÿคฉ I haven't done a list post in a while and while I was drafting out some posts to do this one hit me like a bag of bricks. Why not do a post on the books that I have requested and been approved for on NetGalley? I'm not going to lie, I get request happy and start requesting anything that catches my eye. Which tends to get me in a lot of trouble. Luckily, I have a lot of free time at the moment, so I hope to blow through this list pretty quick! 

If you aren't similar with NetGalley or what it is, check out this post to learn more about here

I decided to break this list down into two parts, books that haven't been released yet and then books that haven't been published. Yes, that's how far behind I am.


Books Yet To Be Released: 

    

     

    

   

Books Already Released:

    

The funny story behind Gravemaidens and Spin the Dawn is that I already read them and loved them. I just never got around to writing their reviews and now it's been months and I need a refresher on them. The other books though? I have my work cut out for me. 24 books and 6 weeks before Lush opens back up and I get back to work. Let's see if I can do it! 

Have you read any of these yet or are you looking forward to them? What books have you  read from NetGalley recently? Let me know in the comments below!