Enduring Freedom by Trent Reedy and Jawad Arash

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Enduring Freedom

Author: Trent Reedy and Jawad Arash

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 3/5

Publication Date: May 18, 2021

Genre: YA War/Political Novel

Recommended Age: can’t recommend, DNFed

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Pages: 352

Synopsis: On September 11, 2001, the lives of two boys on opposite sides of the world are changed in an instant.

Baheer, a studious Afghan teen, sees his family’s life turned upside down when they lose their livelihood as war rocks the country.

A world away, Joe, a young American army private, has to put aside his dreams of becoming a journalist when he’s shipped out to Afghanistan.

When Joe’s unit arrives in Baheer’s town, Baheer is wary of the Americans, but sees an opportunity: Not only can he practice his English with the soldiers, his family can make money delivering their supplies. At first, Joe doesn’t trust Baheer, or any of the locals, but Baheer keeps showing up. As Joe and Baheer get to know each other, to see each other as individuals, they realize they have a lot more in common than they ever could have realized. But can they get past the deep differences in their lives and beliefs to become true friends and allies?

Review: Had to DNF this book at 113 pages in. The book is good, but it’s not for me and it wasn’t really striking anything in me to keep reading.

Verdict: It sounds good, but it wasn’t for me.

Knight in Paper Armor by Nicholas Conley

Disclaimer: I received this ebook from the author. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Knight in Paper Armor

Author: Nicholas Conley

Book Series: Standalone for now

Rating: 5/5

Diversity: Guatemalan side character

Recommended For…: ya readers, sci-fi readers

Publication Date: September 15, 2020

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Recommended Age: 14+ (immigration TW, human experimentation, Holocaust mentioned, poverty, violence, gore, grief)

Publisher: Red Adept Publishing LLC

Pages: 426

Synopsis: Billy Jakobek has always been different. Born with strange and powerful psychic abilities, he has grown up in the laboratories of Thorne Century, a ruthless megacorporation that economically, socially, and politically dominates American society. Every day, Billy absorbs the emotional energies, dreams, and traumas of everyone he meets—from his grandmother’s memories of the Holocaust, to the terror his sheer existence inflicts upon his captors—and he yearns to break free, so he can use his powers to help others.

Natalia Gonzalez, a rebellious artist and daughter of Guatemalan immigrants, lives in Heaven’s Hole, an industrial town built inside a meteor crater, where the poverty-stricken population struggles to survive the nightmarish working conditions of the local Thorne Century factory. Natalia takes care of her ailing mother, her grandmother, and her two younger brothers, and while she dreams of escape, she knows she cannot leave her family behind.

When Billy is transferred to Heaven’s Hole, his chance encounter with Natalia sends shockwaves rippling across the blighted landscape. The two outsiders are pitted against the all-powerful monopoly, while Billy experiences visions of an otherworldly figure known as the Shape, which prophesizes an apocalyptic future that could decimate the world they know.

Review: I really liked this one! It was cute but it had the perfect blend of social issues and fantasy. The book doesn’t shy from the horrors of the world and the characters are well written. The world building is also well done and I loved the  plot.

The only issue I had with the book is that there was a lot going on all at once. The amount of information in this book and historical/social/racial/etc issues presented in this read was great, but a little overwhelming for what would be the target audience, not to say that they shouldn’t know about these issues, it’s just too much for one book in my opinion.

Verdict: It was great!

The Woman with the Blue Star by Pam Jenoff

Disclaimer: I received an e-arc of this book from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: The Woman with the Blue Star

Author: Pam Jenoff

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 5/5

Diversity: Polish main character and Jewish main character and side characters

Recommended For…: historical fiction fans, WWII readers

Publication Date: May 4, 2021

Genre: Historical Fiction

Recommended Age: 18+ (drowning, Nazis, violence, gore, side character romancing SS officers)

Publisher: Park Row

Pages: 336

Synopsis: 1942. Sadie Gault is eighteen and living with her parents amid the horrors of the Kraków Ghetto during World War II. When the Nazis liquidate the ghetto, Sadie and her pregnant mother are forced to seek refuge in the perilous sewers beneath the city. One day Sadie looks up through a grate and sees a girl about her own age buying flowers.

Ella Stepanek is an affluent Polish girl living a life of relative ease with her stepmother, who has developed close alliances with the occupying Germans. Scorned by her friends and longing for her fiancé, who has gone off to war, Ella wanders Kraków restlessly. While on an errand in the market, she catches a glimpse of something moving beneath a grate in the street. Upon closer inspection, she realizes it’s a girl hiding.

Ella begins to aid Sadie and the two become close, but as the dangers of the war worsen, their lives are set on a collision course that will test them in the face of overwhelming odds. Inspired by harrowing true stories, The Woman with the Blue Star is an emotional testament to the power of friendship and the extraordinary strength of the human will to survive.

Review: I really liked this read. The book was well written and it conveyed the horrors of WWII and it shows the reader the terror of having your ghetto raided as a Jewish family during that time. The horror almost immediately starts, so please be advised of the TWs before you read the book. The book had well done character development and world building. The plot is also well done and will keep you going throughout the read.

The only issue I really had with the book is that the pacing was a bit fast in places. It really feels like running a marathon reading this book in certain places.

Verdict: Highly recommend.

Columbia by David White

Disclaimer: I bought this ebook. Support your local indie authors!

Book: Columbia

Author: David White

Book Series: The River Exiles Book 1

Rating: 2/5

Recommended For…: MG readers, dystopian lovers, sci-fi lovers

Publication Date: October 25, 2020

Genre:  MG Sci-Fi

Recommended Age: can’t recommend, DNFed

Publisher: Indie Published

Pages: 250

Synopsis: In a world devastated by drought and disease, and ruled over by a brutal regime, children over 12 are forced to leave their homes to go and discover new lands.
When Megan and Jacob Hadaway make the long journey to Columbia, they find their new life is filled with untold dangers – and mysteries. Why is the population so old? What has happened to the other children who have been exiled? And how can they escape from the guards who watch their every move?
As they begin to unravel the terrible secret that underpins their society, they realise what they need to do in order to bring down a ruthless system.

Review: Had to DNF this read at 23%. The book just wasn’t interesting to me and wasn’t picking up my interest. I do like the concept and I would love to get into it, but I just can’t at this time.

Verdict: DNF but sounds good!

Scars of Cereba by Rachel Emma Shaw

Disclaimer: I received the e-arc from the author. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Scars of Cereba

Author: Rachel Emma Shaw

Book Series: Memoria Duology (Book 2)

Rating: 4/5

Recommended For…: fantasy readers, ya readers

Publication Date: May 10, 2021

Genre: YA Fantasy

Recommended Age: 16+ (grief, kidnapping, TW suicide/suicidal thoughts, miscarriage TW, violence, gore)

Publisher: Indie Published

Pages: 300 (not an official number)

Synopsis: Falon’s mind is broken. By returning his memories, Sarilla fractured him into the man he was and the man he became after his memories were stolen. Now, he’s fighting to rejoin his two halves, but he’s locked up in the prison below the palace, his neck already fitted for the hangman’s noose. Time is quickly running out.
And it’s not just his memories that are fighting for control of his mind. He’s stuck with those of the memory thief who caused all his problems in the first place. The woman half of him loves, but the other half loathes. Her memories have stained his eyes black, making the people of Dranta and its new queen fear him. It’s up to Falon to find a way out of this mess, but it’s not going to be easy. Especially since all three of the people in his head have very different plans for how to go about it.

Review: For the most part I really liked this book. The character development improved from the first book and the world building was well done as well. The writing is easily one of my favorite parts of the book and I really felt like it greatly improved from the first book.

The only thing that I didn’t really like was that the pacing was pretty slow in a lot of places and I thought that some of the inner monologue parts, while great, went on a bit longer than necessary.

Verdict: Highly recommend for fantasy lovers!

Heart of the Sungem Book Tour Email

Tour Schedule:

May 10 – Paige @popthebutterfly
May 11 – JP @mr.pink.ink
May 12 – CE @chelscey
May 13 – Nicole @thereadingrebel
May 14 – Jess @jessatlgirl
May 15 – Camryn @camryndaytonas
May 16 – Sadie @sadiesspotlight
May 17 – Carmilla @carmilavoiez
May 18 – Anca @summon_fantasy

In a land where every murderer is condemned to the underrealm, one girl managed to escape.

Sinisa Strigidae made peace with the darkness that haunted her, and in so doing she freed herself from the crow that kept her bound to Veltuur.

Now, she sets out on an epic quest to help Prince Acari do the same.

Teaming up with an unlikely friend, Sinisa must traverse the kingdoms of Tayaraan in search of a way back into the underrealm. Without the powers of a Reaper to rely on, she’ll have to discover the forgotten strength inside her as she is tested by beasts and puzzles alike.

But with each task she faces, an even greater threat is exposed, and Sinisa will be forced to choose between her own desires and the destiny carved out for her.

Heart of the Sungem is the second book in this dark, high fantasy, adventure series. Enter a world where Reapers are the balance between life and death, the Gods who once reigned over the mortal realm have suspiciously disappeared, and one young girl finds that she is somehow tangled in all of it.

Corrupted: The Truth Shall Be The Nail In Your Coffin by Jared Dixon

Disclaimer: I received this ebook from the author. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Corrupted: The Truth Shall Be The Nail In Your Coffin

Author: Jared Dixon

Book Series: Corrupted Book 1

Rating: 2/5

Publication Date: October 15, 2019

Genre: Fiction

Recommended Age: can’t recommend, DNFed

Publisher: Full Circle Press

Pages: 277

Synopsis: Jeremiah (Jerry) Nelson was happy, living the life of a struggling writer in New York City and proudly owning his identity as a gay man. However, his past catches up with him once he is forced to return home to his dysfunctional family, a history that involves a tragic loss, his bulimia, and his indelible stint in conversion therapy.

Harriet Nelson never recovered from the loss of her daughter five years ago, passively watching as her marriage disintegrated before her eyes. When her oldest son, Jerry, comes home from New York, Harriet slowly finds the fortitude to be happy, no matter the cost.

Carl’s identity as a preacher’s kid has never allowed him the space to own his identity as a gay young man. On the cusp of entering college, he dangerously ventures into the “forbidden” world of same-sex relationships just as his father has a revelation to preach a message of conversion to heterosexuality.

Through the help of his friends Carl and Mel and his younger brother, Leo, Jerry finds the courage to channel his painful past into exposing the dangerous, duplicitous world of conversion therapy as a field reporter for an online magazine, Rainbow Warriors. As Jerry digs into a world he vowed to never return to, a world Carl’s father is convinced holds the key to salvation for homosexuals, he discovers a shocking criminal connection that threatens not only his own life but the lives of some of his closest friends as well.

Corrupted: The Truth Shall Be The Nail In Your Coffin’s exploration of conversion therapy, Christianity, grief and loss, eating disorders, infidelity, racial identity, and other social issues will challenge readers to not only examine their own views on these pivotal topics but also engage in difficult conversations that have the potential to spark positive social change.

Review: I had to DNF this book about 20% in. The book isn’t for me and while the book sounds really interesting, it just wasn’t something I could get into. However, I do recommend this book. It does sound pretty good.

Verdict: DNF but it sounds good.

Test of Time by Jacqueline T. Johnson

Disclaimer: I received this ebook from the author. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Test of Time

Author: Jacqueline T. Johnson

Book Series: Sons of Meir Book 1

Rating: 3.5/5

Recommended For…: fantasy lovers, friendship novels

Publication Date: April 1, 2013

Genre: Fantasy

Recommended Age: 17+ (violence, gore)

Publisher: Indie Published

Pages: 256

Synopsis: In a time when battles are fought and leaders rise and fall, an unlikely friendship is formed between two men, Erich, a fearless commander from the kingdom of Meir and Nash, a rogue assassin from the kingdom of Noyi. These men meet on a crossroad to their destinies to discover they are pawns used by their governments to start a war of power. Three kingdoms, two men, one mission. Can their friendship withstand the test of time or will one be forced to question can he kill the man he consider his friend, his counterpart…a brother?

Review: For the most part this was a good fantasy novel. The book read more of a character study than anything else and the development of the main characters was well done. The book did well with the plot as well and the writing was very well done.

The only issue I really had with the book is that the world building wasn’t well done and the pacing was a bit slow in places. There was also some wonky moments where the narration was a bit confusing.

Verdict: It was good.

The Reincarnationist Papers by D. Eric Maikranz

Disclaimer: I received the e-book of this book from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: The Reincarnationist Papers

Author: D. Eric Maikranz

Book Series: The Reincarnationist Papers Book 1

Rating: 3/5

Recommended For…: sci-fi fans

Publication Date: January 13, 2009

Genre: Science Fiction

Recommended Age: 18+ (sex, drug usage, violence, gore)

Publisher: Parallax Publishing

Pages: 324

Synopsis: The electrifying book that introduces readers to the Cognomina, a secret society of people who possess total recall of their past lives. “Haunted by memories of two past lives, a troubled young man stumbles upon a centuries-old secret society of similar individuals and dares to join their ranks.” Evan Michaels’ now public account takes us into this organization whose members have been agents of change throughout history.

Review: This was an ok book. I liked the concept and the plot. The book also did well with the world building and it made me want to watch the movie for the most part.

However, I did feel like the book was really slow. The flashbacks weren’t exciting from a reader’s perspective. The book was also too straight forward and I didn’t like how the author threw in sex and drugs for no plot relevance, it just felt like it was trying too hard to connect with the readers.

Verdict: It was ok, but not for me.