Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody

Rating: 2/5

 

Genre: YA Fantasy

 

Recommended Age: 16+ (sexual references, child prostitution, trigger warnings for suicide and rape, violence, gore, gambling, drinking, and drug use and references)

 

Pages: 416

 

Author Website

 

Amazon Link

 

Disclaimer: None, I received this book in my BluBearBazaar April bag.

 

Synopsis: Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her finishing school—and her reputation—behind to follow her mother’s trail to the city where no one survives uncorrupted.

 

Frightened and alone, her only lead is a name: Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and a con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam, so he doesn’t have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne’s offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems.

 

Their search for clues leads them through glamorous casinos, illicit cabarets and into the clutches of a ruthless mafia donna. As Enne unearths an impossible secret about her past, Levi’s enemies catch up to them, ensnaring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. To save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city…

 

And she’ll need to play.

 

 

Oh boy, I feel like I lost all my earnings in a poker game. So, the good news about this new release is that this is an authentic young adult novel. It actually borders on new adult with all of the references this book has. This book does take place in a reimagined Las Vegas though so you kinda have to expect it going into this book. Anyways, I thought the premise behind this book was amazing and so intriguing.  I loved Foody’s Daughter of the Burning City and I thought that she could bring her special brand of weirdness to this novel to make it a spectacular read.

 

However, I was mistaken. This book is really clunky, meaning that there is a whole lot of story in this book but with little plot to drive it forward. The characters are very one dimensional and I feel no connection to them. The events in this book are predictable and the romance is very awkward. The writing is all over the place and it tries so hard to emulate Six of Crows, but it falls flat on its face. I think the main problem with this book is the lack of world building we are presented with. The book is very confusing for the reader and there are things mentioned throughout this book that aren’t ever brought up again or are vague or foreign to the reader. The characters don’t have much of a personality and it lacks their own backstory to make the characters memorable. The book also alternates between POVs of Enne and Levi, both of whom make idiotic decisions constantly. For a street criminal and a “proper lady”, you’d think they’d have avoided many of the issues they both faced. The book also gives characters powers but does little to explain these powers and the magic behind them and gives characters plot conveniences to escape detection from our main characters. In short, this book is a hot mess and needed further editing before being presented to the world.

 

Verdict: Fold and go home while you’re on top or risk losing it all… in this book.

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Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

Rating: 4/5

 

Genre: YA Fantasy/Mystery

 

Recommended Age: 16+ (violent deaths, sexual content, but lots of diversity)

 

Pages: 377

 

Author: Amanda Foody

 

Amazon

 

I was given an arc of this book on NetGalley then obtained my own copy. Thanks NetGalley! All opinions are my own.

 

In 2017 there were three major books about carnivals that came out. Why carnivals? Well, because they always have had an aura of mystery and intrigue about them. And from reading this book I think I have found out why they seem so mysterious. Mostly fantasy, but part mystery, this book centers on an eyeless girl named Sorina and her ability to create illusions. And then someone starts killing her illusions and she must work to find out why this is happening and most importantly how. I thought the characters were all very well developed and the plot was very intriguing. The book was adequately well paced as well, which made me not want to put down this enthralling read.

 

However, I did feel that there was some room for more world-building. Two things that are central to the plot are the politics of the Upper Mountain and Vallium and Angi’s backstories and development. While the book did excellent at surprising the reader with the “whodunit” portion of the book, it made me wonder if there were intentional clues left behind or if this revelation came out of nowhere like it appears to me right now.

 

Verdict: If you’re looking for a mystery fantasy stand-alone novel this is your book! It’s weird and fun and amazingly well written and it’ll keep you guessing until the very last page.

July 2017 – Whimsify


Rating: 4.5/5

 

Price: Whimsify offers three subscription plans for you to choose from: billed monthly at $34.95 each month, billed every 3 months at $101.85, or billed once every 6 months for $197.70. You can also choose the gift box option (which is what I used for this review) for $34.95.

 

Ships: USA, Canada, and almost all other countries worldwide. Shipping is calculated based on location.

This was a suggested sub box I should try out from a follower on my Instagram! If you have a sub box you’d like me to test out, leave a comment down below! I also choose this box because it’s mainly fantasy/sci-fi based and I loved July’s theme!

 

The July theme of this box was “Something Wicked This Way Comes” and I love how dark and evil it sounded. I also think while the front of the card was a bit odd looking that the back of the card was very well done.

 

The first two items from the box is some caramel popcorn from Kettle Encore Gourmet Popcorn and some Night Circus themed tea from Riddle’s Tea Shoppe and Curiosities. I included these two items first because I’m not a huge fan of either item. Both of these items will be going to my husband for him to enjoy. The popcorn goes for about $1.50 and the tea sample is about $2.50.

 

The next items in the box was a cool, custom Caraval themed tote back from Miss Phi and a print from Shakespeare’s Macbeth made by Dorothy Reads. I absolutely adore these items! The canvas tote bag seems study enough to carry a large amount of books and the quote will make a great piece for some wall decoration in the future. Similar tote bags can be found on Miss Phi’s website for $20.00 and Dorothy Reads has similar art prints on her website for $15.00.


 

The next items in the box were a bookmark from Dreamy and Co! I LOVE Dreamy and Co (hands down one of the best bookmark shops out there, next to inapaperforest, inkandwonder, and markedbymary) and I was SO EXCITED to see something from them in this box. It’s a quote from Menagerie by Rachel Vincent. The candle in this box was from Muggle Library Candles (again, another favorite shop of mine!) and the candle they created just for this box was named Gamorrah and it smells of licorice cherries. Honestly, while I adore the company this candle wasn’t a favorite of mine. It might just be me, but the candle scent is very overpowering to the point where I got a bit of a headache from smelling it. But in all honesty I’ve been having issues of smelling overpowering smells recently and so it might just be me. The bookmark is around $1.80 and the candle is around $7.00.

 

Lastly, we have this month’s book: Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody! Here’s the blurb:

Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.

But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.

Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca. Their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all her loved ones disappear. – Amazon.com

 

There was also a poster that came with the book! Posters can retail between $2.00- upwards of $30.00 depending on the quality and artwork. The book is retailing for $13.59 on Amazon currently.


Verdict: Oh my gosh, this box was pretty good and I definitely feel like I got a steal on all of these items! I loved most of the items in this box, but I felt that there were some things that could have been better. I felt that the candle was very overpowering and should have been tones down some and I feel that the popcorn and tea are just wasted on me since I don’t like caramal and I don’t like tea. I think the popcorn was a good idea, but I would have enjoyed regular popcorn better and I think that would have been a safer option to go with. I also don’t feel like tea is a carnival item. It was nice and it was carnival themed, but it wasn’t something you’d really see in a carnival. Overall, I liked the box and I’d really love to buy more boxes from this company!