The Friday 56: Beyond the Red

The Friday 56The Friday 56 is a weekly blog meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. Join us every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you’ve been reading.


*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
*Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple.

**Be sure to leave a link to your Friday 56 post in the comments!**

“My ears ring, and with it is an echo of something else–the low roar of angry voices carried through the air. Plumes of gray and greenish smoke rise high into the clear violet sky, turning it the ugly shade of an old bruise.”

Ava Jae’s Beyond the Red is a bit of a mixed bag for me. I loved a lot of the world building elements and the author’s descriptions really brought this alien planet to life, but I wasn’t a big fan of the romance. Read my full review of this one hereCover is linked to Goodreads.

From the Goodreads Synopsis:

      “Alien queen Kora has a problem as vast as the endless crimson deserts. She’s the first female ruler of her territory in generations, but her people are rioting and call for her violent younger twin brother to take the throne. Despite assassination attempts, a mounting uprising of nomadic human rebels, and pressure to find a mate to help her rule, she’s determined to protect her people from her brother’s would-be tyrannical rule.
      Eros is a rebel soldier hated by aliens and human alike for being a half-blood. But that doesn’t stop him from defending his people—at least until Kora’s soldiers raze his camp and take him captive. He is given an ultimatum: be an enslaved bodyguard to Kora, or be executed for his true identity—a secret kept even from him.
      When Kora and Eros are framed for the attempted assassination of her betrothed, they flee. Their only chance of survival is to turn themselves in to the high court, where revealing Eros’s secret could mean a swift public execution. But when they uncover a violent plot to end the human insurgency, they must find a way to work together to prevent genocide.”

The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig

Title: The Ship Beyond Time
Author: Heidi Heilig
Series: The Girl From Everywhere, #2
Pages: 464
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: February 28th 2017

      “Nix has spent her whole life journeying to places both real and imagined aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. And now it’s finally time for her to take the helm. Her father has given up his obsession to save her mother—and possibly erase Nix’s existence—and Nix’s future lies bright before her. Until she learns that she is destined to lose the one she loves. But her relationship with Kash—best friend, thief, charmer extraordinaire—is only just beginning. How can she bear to lose him? How can she bear to become as adrift and alone as her father?
      Desperate to change her fate, Nix takes her crew to a mythical utopia to meet another Navigator who promises to teach her how to manipulate time. But everything in this utopia is constantly changing, and nothing is what it seems—not even her relationship with Kash. Nix must grapple with whether anyone can escape her destiny, her history, her choices.

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“Bullets zipped in the air like bees; I crouched at my father’s feet as the mist of the Margins swallowed us whole. Then Slate cried out–I blinked up at him in the sudden darkness. His face was pale in the gloom…

Heidi Heilig once again wows with her sequel The Ship Beyond Time, taking readers on a thrilling and fanciful adventure. Nix has seen what love and loss has done to her father and is more determined than ever to not end up like him. But fate has other plans. When a prophecy foretelling the loss of someone she loves, Nix finds herself desperate to change her destiny. A mysterious encounter with a stranger will change everything and Nix will be faced with unimaginable choices. Her former convictions are put to the test when she is given the chance to discover whether it’s truly possible to change the past, to control the destiny of not just yourself, but a whole world of people.

Heilig has a way of weaving together both myth and history, making each feel equally vivid and real. In The Girl From Everywhere, Heilig explored 1884 Oahu, but in this sequel Nix and her crew arrive at the fabled island of Ker-Ys, a utopia destined to fall. New characters like the ambiguous Crowhurst, who carries secrets Nix is desperate to uncover, and the mysterious Dahut, who may be the key to unlocking the truth behind Crowhurst’s reign in Ker-Ys, broaden the possibilities of time-travel in Heilig’s universe. The island itself had a lot of interesting architecture and mythical creatures that I wanted to explore more of. The locals were also a bit of a mystery and learning more about them would have made this mythical island come more to life.

Nix isn’t the only one struggling with philosophical issues. Kashmir, who was such a steady force in The Girl From Everywhere, must contend with his own identity. I was so happy to find a few chapters in this one told from Kash’s perspective. Taken from a land only found in folklore, Kash struggles with his very existence. Is he a real person or only a figment of someone else’s imagination? For other characters, the chance to change history, to right the wrongs of the past is almost too much of a temptation to resist. Nix herself spends so much time fighting against fate that she doesn’t realize that her fear is keeping her from truly living and making the most of what little time she and those she loves may have together.

The Ship Beyond Time is a story of love, loyalty, and sacrifice. With gut-wrenching twists that will steal the breath right from your throat, this conclusion to The Girl From Everywhere duology will have you wishing for a time-traveling ship of your own.



Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Things That Make Me Instantly Want (or Not Want) to Read a Book

Top Ten TuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is an original blog meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is “Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly NOT Want To Read A Book.” I just came back from my hiatus a few days ago and since I missed last week’s topic, I thought I’d combine last week’s and this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topics.

Book Turn-Offs:

1. Love Triangle – Raise your hand if you knew this was going to be on my list. I am not a fan of the love triangle. I have all sorts of feelings about this, but one of them is that I hate how it can unnecessarily pit two characters against each other while adding nothing to their character development.

2. Vampires – I’ve never read Twilight, so this is not where the aversion to vampires comes from. I’ve just always felt that we’ve romanticized these creatures so much and their darker, more sinister version are far more interesting.

3. Incest – I don’t even understand why I need to put something like this on this list, but I don’t get the appeal of books that have family members falling in love. I’m especially turned off by books where the characters have grown up together thinking they are related, but when they find out they aren’t, it somehow makes the relationship okay. No. Just no.

4. “Not Like Other Girls” Mentality – I need this trope to die in a flaming crash with nothing but the smoke from its incineration left to bear witness.

5. Insta-Love – I will almost never pick up a book if I think it has insta-love in it. There is only one case of insta-love that I will defend to the death and that is Nicola Yoon’s The Sun Is Also a Star.

Book Turn-Ons:

6. Magical Realism – I need all the magical realism novels in my life. I have not read nearly enough, but when I do, I fall instantly in love with the genre all over again.

7. Witches – Witches, witches, give me all the witches. I need more witchy books and more specifically, more modern-day witches would be amazing.

8. Latinx protagonist – There’s nothing like seeing yourself reflected in a book. Seeing more and more books with Latinx protagonists sometimes makes me want to cry a little because I almost never got to see myself reflected in media when I was a kid.

9. Friendship – Can we just get more books that focus on friendship? I love a good romance (I’m a sucker for the slow burn), but I also think that there are other relationships beside romantic ones that have just as much value. I’d love to see more books focus on this.

10. Something Different – This last one isn’t very specific, but there are some storylines that I feel like I’ve read multiple versions of, but if a story sounds truly unique, I’ll probably be interested in checking it out.

I missed last week’s Top Ten Tuesday, so what was number one on your list of things that instantly make you want to read a book? Do we have any book turn-offs in common this week? Let me know in the comments and be sure leave a link to your own TTT post, so I can visit.

The Hiatus is Over!

My blogging hiatus officially ended yesterday, but I ended up being really busy and didn’t have a chance to sit down and catch up on anything. I really enjoyed my blogging hiatus and ended up also taking a break from Twitter which sort of drove me crazy the first couple of days (my fingers were itching to open the app), but ultimately I think taking a break from both blogging and Twitter together was a good call. I’m still feeling my reading slump and didn’t read quite as much as I’d lhoped over the past week and a half, but I’ve kind of been dying to get back to blogging in general. I missed so many things about this community though and am ready to get back to discussing books with everyone. I will try to get to all the comments that I missed while away, but I do have a bit of blogging to catch up on including a couple of reviews, so don’t be surprised if I don’t get to them all. I hope everyone has had a lovely April so far. I’m so ecstatic to be back!

Mini Reviews: Blackmoore + When the Moon Was Ours

MiniBless the mini review! There’s nothing like breaking up the monotony of full book reviews than a mini review. I’m on hiatus until the 22nd, but I thought I’d share a couple of mini reviews while I’m away. This week I have mini reviews for Julianne Donaldson’s Blackmoore and Anna-Marie McLemore’s When the Moon Was Ours. Covers below are linked to Goodreads.

Title: Blackmoore
Author: Julianne Donaldson
Series: N/A
Pages: 286
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Release Date: September 9th 2013 

      “Kate Worthington knows her heart and she knows she will never marry. Her plan is to travel to India instead—if only to find peace for her restless spirit and to escape the family she abhors. But Kate’s meddlesome mother has other plans. She makes a bargain with Kate: India, yes, but only after Kate has secured—and rejected—three marriage proposals.
      Kate journeys to the stately manor of Blackmoore determined to fulfill her end of the bargain and enlists the help of her dearest childhood friend, Henry Delafield. But when it comes to matters of love, bargains are meaningless and plans are changeable. There on the wild lands of Blackmoore, Kate must face the truth that has kept her heart captive. Will the proposal she is determined to reject actually be the one thing that will set her heart free?”

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“The ocean wet the air, flavoring each breath with salt and freedom and foreignness. The towering building loomed overhead, darker than the darkening sky. The moors stood like a stretch of barrier—an impenetrable wilderness hemming and shielding and pushing this building toward the ocean. It was wild and dark and grand and tall and fierce and haunting all at one.”

If Kasie West is my go-to author for a light and satisfying contemporary read, Julianne Donaldson may just be mine for when I’m in the mood for a quick, enjoyable historical romance. Donaldson’s second novel Blackmoore had me swoony from start to finish. Kate Worthington is determined to escape the caged life she knows awaits her through marriage, so makes an impulsive deal with her conniving mother. If she can get proposed to three times while visiting Blackmoore, her mother will grant her the freedom to go to India with her aunt. Of course, nothing goes according to plan, Kate isn’t quite sure how to persuade one, let alone three gentleman into proposing, and there is also the issue of her long-suppressed feelings for her childhood best friend Henry Delafield. These two completely tore me apart. There was so much chemistry between Kate and Henry. I loved how the author incorporated Kate’s flashbacks because it gave their relationship so much more depth. Because of them, I could not put this book down and ended up finishing it in a day. Donaldson’s writing took a leap forward between Edenbrooke and this one. I was immediately taken in by the beautiful and haunting atmosphere of Blackmoore and would love to have explored this manor more. If you haven’t checked out Julianna Donaldson’s novels Edenbrooke and Blackmoore, I encourage you to do so.

Rating: 4/5


Title: When the Moon Was Ours
Author: Anna-Marie McLemore
Series: N/A
Pages: 288
Publisher: Thomas Dunne
Release Date: October 4th 2016

      “To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town. But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.

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“All these things reminded her of his moons, and his moons reminded her of all these things. He’d hung a string of them between her house and his, some as small as her cupped palms, others big enough to fill her arms. They brightened the earth and wild grass. They were tucked into trees, each giving off a ring of light just wide enough to meet the next, so she never walked in the dark.”

Anna-Marie McLemore’s When the Moon Was Ours is one of the most stunning novels I’ve ever read. It’s a short novel, but I found myself pausing every few pages because McLemore’s writing was so beautiful, I needed a moment to truly appreciate it. Taking inspiration from the folklore of La Llorona, McLemore weaves a tale about a boy and girl trying to discover who they are in a world that doesn’t quite understand them. Miel’s past is a mystery, from the moment she emerged from the water tower, her past has been locked up deep inside her. Most people aren’t sure what to make of her and the roses that grow from her wrist, but she’s always found a companion in Sam, a transgender boy who’s always felt like an outsider himself. Sam is trying to understand his own gender identity while also trying to appease those around him. Though it was hard to read when people tried to take advantage of Sam and “expose” him, it was an honest display of how many believe they have more of a right to determine someone’s identity than the person themselves does. McLemore’s characters are a mix of vulnerability and strength; her story is both dark and whimsical; and her words are moving and breathtaking. It’s novels like When the Moon Was Ours that make me love the genre of magical realism even more. If you haven’t picked up Anna-Marie McLemore’s novels yet, I strongly encourage you to do so.

Rating: 5/5


The Spring Has Sprung Book Tag

This spring I have a lot of cleaning and organizing to do when it comes to my bookish life. This includes me taking care of all those tags I’ve got in my drafts. But I just could not resist when Elizabeth @ Musings From Neville’s Navel tagged me for this (thank you!). I’m currently on hiatus, but I wanted to schedule a couple of posts while I was away and this tag just seemed perfect. Covers linked to Goodreads.

Look on your shelves. What is the most beautiful book both inside and out?

Anna-Marie McLemore’s When the Moon Was Ours is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. I actually read a library copy of this one, but almost immediately ordered my own because I literally want to weep over McLemore’s words again.

What is a book that you find others like way more than you do?

I wouldn’t even say that I like Shatter Me at all. I read this one about five years back, so my memory’s a little iffy, but I just remember rolling my eyes a whole lot while doing so.

What’s a great book that lifts your spirits when you’re down?

Kasie West’s books always have a way of making me smile. P.S. I Like You was such a cute read, I almost wish it had never ended.

What book made you feel alive?

I don’t know if it’s Leigh Bardugo’s characters or the excitement of Six of Crows, but this book gives me so many feels. I suddenly want to be a part of a team of criminals and pull some inconceivable heists. Who’s with me?

What book did you find unpredictable?

Jennifer Lynn Barnes’s The Long Game, sequel to The Fixer, completely pulled the rug out from under me. She shattered my very soul and I am forever broken because this is only a duology and how am I supposed to put myself back together again?

What was a book that you struggled with only to be happy that you read it in the end?

Susan Dennard’s Truthwitch kind of lost me when I first picked it up. There’s a lot of terminology you have to learn in order to understand this world, but ultimately I really enjoyed this one (enjoyed it even more the second time around) and the sequel was all kinds of amazing.

What’s a book that you couldn’t finish or didn’t enjoy?

I still don’t really get why so many liked Vic James’s Gilded Cage. I really wanted to like this one, but the characters just did not do anything for me.

What book did you love and want more of?

I mentioned this in my review of Rhoda Belleza’s Empress of a Thousand Skies, but it was far too short! I needed more of these characters and story and I’m so stoked for the sequel.

What book have you not read yet but really want to?

I am dying to read Ibi Zoboi’s American Street. Before I went on hiatus, I requested this book because I will need some amazing reading material while I’m away from the blog.

What book made you feel a strong connection to the characters?

There are a couple of mini reviews I’ve written that I wish I had not been in a bit of a writing slump because they are so deserving of all the praise. Meg Medina’s Burn Baby Burn is one of them. I connected with the protagonist Nora almost from the very start and I can’t wait to get my own copy so I can reread it.

What book makes you feel safe when you read it?

My comfort book is definitely Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve read this story, I fall in love with it every time I pick it up. It’s also my comfort movie.

What book do you feel is intelligently written?

Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give is one of the most brilliant books I’ve ever read. Thomas’s story touches on so many subjects, I’m just amazed she was able to fit so much into this book.

What book puts a smile on your face?

I love Natasha and Daniel so much. Nicola Yoon’s The Sun Is Also a Star made me so unbelievably happy. I think I’ve written off every single case of insta-love I’ve come across, but I will fight you to the death defending these two. So good.

If you’d like to do this tag, consider yourself officially tagged!