A sci-fi story, a romance novel, and a fantasy book walk into a bar…and get reviewed by the book blogger who is there because y’all blogging is hard right now and I need a drink.
Heart of Iron
Author: Ashley Poston
Publisher: Balzar + Bray
Release Date: February 27th, 2018
Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Ana is a scoundrel by nature and a criminal by nurture. Found as a child in the wreckage of a spaceship with only a sentient android called D09 surviving with her, Ana has spent all the life she remembers with the fearsome space pirate captain and grizzled crew she now calls family. But D09—one of the last remaining illegal Metals—has been glitching, and without a specialized piece of tech, he’ll be gone for good.
When Ana finds information about the tech that will save D09, she’s beat out at the last moment by a spoiled noble boy, Robb Valerio, who wants the tech’s coordinates and doesn’t care what it will cost him. The only way for Ana to get the coordinates is to find the boy—by infiltrating a dangerous party of their world’s elite. But when everything goes wrong, Robb ends up escaping with her crew and saving their lives. Now the whole galaxy is after them—and not all of them will make it out alive.
What they find at the lost corners of the universe will change all their lives—and unearth plenty of secrets from the past. And when a dark conspiracy is revealed, Ana, D09, Robb, and their friends will have to do whatever it takes to protect themselves, and save their kingdom, before it’s too late.
Inspired by the story of Anastasia, Heart of Iron is a rip-roaring adventure story full of thrilling action, dangerous politics, and deadly choices.
Rating: 2 Stars
Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston is one of those books that I was constantly kicking myself for not reading sooner as I flew through the pages. But, somewhat ironically, what this story didn’t connect to was my heart. With the exception of a tiny, speechless robot, I wasn’t emotionally invested in any of the characters. However, the story is thrilling and kept me enthralled right to the very last moment. There was never a point in the story when I wasn’t dying to know what happened next and Poston’s writing is quippy without going overboard on humor or snark. While the Anastasia retelling is hardly new to YA novels, Poston gave us a fresh spin and kept the story intriguing. I am already reading the sequel, Soul of Stars, and I cannot wait to see where we go from here!
Never Seduce a Scot
Author: Maya Banks
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: September 25th, 2012
Synopsis: After a childhood illness, Eveline Armstrong has always been a little “different” but no one knows she’s actually deaf. Eveline plays this role to her advantage, hoping that she won’t have to marry. But secretly, she’s smart and reads lips so that she can understand people’s conversations. When the king, thinking to end the feud between Eveline’s family and the Montgomery family, orders a marriage between Eveline and Graeme Montgomery, everyone is horrified. However, neither Eveline or Greame have much choice in the matter. From first glance, Graeame is intrigued with Eveline, and even more fascinating to her is that his voice is a deep enough timbre that she “hears” his voice. Greame doesn’t know what to do with his silent bride, who simply stares at him, not realizing that she’s reading his lips. But when an enemy clan kidnaps Eveline, he realizes he loves his unique wife and will do anything to get her back.
Rating: 5 Stars
Never Seduce a Scot by Maya Banks feels like Intro to Romance Novels, but not in a bad way. This is the book that will get readers hooked into romance novels. The plot is intriguing and straight forward, the characters are well built, and the sexy times are teased out and well worth the wait. I haven’t read a romance novel in many years, but I feel the need to start reading them again, because now, more than ever, I feel the need for almost guaranteed happy endings.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how good this novel is via audiobook. I was able to borrow one from my library and it was fantastic! The narrator, Kirsten Potter, excels not only with male and female voices, but with her accents as well. If you are an audiobook reader, I definitely recommend checking this one out via audio!
Dark and Deepest Red
Author: Anne-Marie McLemore
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: January 14th, 2020
Synopsis: Straddling five centuries, Anna-Marie McLemore’s breathaking new YA novel centers on a young woman uncovering her family’s history while fighting her attraction to the wrong boy.
Summer, 1518. A strange sickness sweeps through Strasbourg: women dance in the streets, some until they fall down dead. As rumors of witchcraft spread, suspicion turns toward Lavinia and her family, and Lavinia may have to do the unimaginable to save herself and everyone she loves.
Five centuries later, a pair of red shoes seal to Rosella’s feet, making her dance uncontrollably. They draw her toward a boy who knows the dancing fever’s history better than anyone: Emil, whose family was blamed for the fever years ago. But there’s more to what happened in 1518 than even Emil knows, and discovering the truth may decide whether Rosella survives the red shoes.
Dark and Deepest Red pairs the forbidding magic of a fairy tale with a modern story of passion and betrayal.
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore is an intriguing fantasy that tackles some timely issues. There is a complexity in this story of race and gender issues that pairs perfectly with the fantasy aspects of the story. Where the story loses itself for me is the jumps between times and POVs. Though I thought the narrators were good, I would not recommend the audiobook for a first time read of this novel. I think that’s what hindered a lot of my ability to keep the thread of the story straight in my head. I do wish that there hadn’t been switches between 1st and 3rd person narration, because even on the page, that throws me off so much. McLemore has the ability to craft wonderful descriptions, powerful moments, and a beautiful story, but some of the execution just felt off to me.