eARC Review – The Morning Flower

Title: The Morning Flower (The Omte Origins #2)

Author: Amanda Hocking

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Publication date: August 4th, 2020

352 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Nestled along the bluffs of the forested coast lays the secret kingdom of the Omte—a realm filled with wonder… and as many secrets.

When Ulla Tulin took her internship at the Mimirin, the only mystery she thought she’d have to solve was that of her birth parents. After a girl named Eliana gets kidnapped while in her care, Ulla knows she has to find out the truth of who Eliana really is—and the only way to do that means traveling to the Omte capital, the place she suspects her mother is from.

Ulla didn’t expect that when she arrived she would discover the identity of a Skojare man who crossed paths with her mother—a man who could very well be her father. When the head of the Mimirin learns Ulla’s father is connected to the Älvolk, a secret society who believes they were tasked with protecting the First City and the only ones who know its location, he sends Ulla and Pan to Sweden where they find him living among the Älvolk. But all is not what it seems with the Älvolk and their urgent quest to find the Lost Bridge to the First City leaves Ulla feeling uneasy—and possibly in danger. 

Review

In the thrilling sequel to The Lost City, Amanda Hocking continues Ulla’s journey to finding her parents. This book takes Ulla across the country and world, searching other Trollian cities and areas for clues. Every time she gets close to some information, another wrench is thrown into the mix and turns everything upside down. With her friends Pan and Dagny, Ulla also is searching for Eliana, the young girl she became close to in The Lost City. As the book continues, it seem more and more like the two searches aren’t as separate as they seemed…

I truly enjoyed reading this book more than I expected. Going into this series I definitely thought it would be more high/epic fantasy and it totally isn’t. It’s very modern with some cool references. The plot keeps going, though it seems like it was stretched a smidge to make it into a trilogy instead of a duology. This book was almost more interesting than the first because you experience more of the world with Ulla’s travels. I also LOVE Dagny. She has ace rep, which I love, and she’s so no nonsense that it really balances Ulla out. They are so different but work so well together as characters.

I wanted more romance. Give me more Ulla and Pan. Every time they got close, one of them pulled away and I just kept screaming at them to get together already!! So it’s definitely a more slow burn romance as we’re in book two and it hasn’t really happened yet. There was also a bit of middle book syndrome where most of it is just used to set up for the third book, so there isn’t much action. It’s a lot of data finding and questioning people in order to find everyone Ulla is looking for. But, it sets everything up nicely for The Ever After, the third book in the trilogy – I will definitely be reading this one to see how it all shakes out.

Also, this book is second in the third trilogy in this world. I have not read Amanda Hocking’s other books set in this world, but you don’t really need to. Everything is explained and easily grasped so don’t let that stop you from picking this series up.

Thank you to Wednesday Books and Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – More Than Maybe

Title: More Than Maybe

Author: Erin Hahn

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Publication date: July 21st, 2020

336 pages

4.5/5 star

Goodreads Synopsis

Growing up under his punk rocker dad’s spotlight, eighteen-year-old Luke Greenly knows fame and wants nothing to do with it. His real love isn’t in front of a crowd, it’s on the page. Hiding his gift and secretly hoarding songs in his bedroom at night, he prefers the anonymous comfort of the locally popular podcast he co-hosts with his outgoing and meddling, far-too-jealousy-inspiringly-happy-with-his-long-term-boyfriend twin brother, Cullen. But that’s not Luke’s only secret. He also has a major un-requited crush on music blogger, Vada Carsewell.

Vada’s got a five year plan: secure a job at the Loud Lizard to learn from local legend (and her mom’s boyfriend) Phil Josephs (check), take over Phil’s music blog (double check), get accepted into Berkeley’s prestigious music journalism program (check, check, check), manage Ann Arbor’s summer concert series and secure a Rolling Stone internship. Luke Greenly is most definitely NOT on the list. So what if his self-deprecating charm and out-of-this-world music knowledge makes her dizzy? Or his brother just released a bootleg recording of Luke singing about some mystery girl on their podcast and she really, really wishes it was her?

Review

**Thank you to Wednesday Books, Netgalley, and Erin Hahn for an early copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

More Than Maybe is a Young Adult (or maybe New Adult) contemporary romance told in alternating POV’s. Luke is a shy and dorky, but very good looking, high school senior with a long term unrequited crush on music blogger, Vada. He runs a podcast with his twin brother Cullen, and secretly sings and composes songs. His father was a punk rock musician who wants nothing more for Luke than to have him famous – but Luke wants nothing to do with it. Vada ALSO crushes on Luke, and has her own dad issues. Vada has a plan to take her music career to the next level and Luke was decidedly not a part of that plan. But when they work together on a school project, they get close enough to throw some plans out the window.

I LOVED this book. Definitely 4.5 stars for me. I loved the emphasis on music and how even though they are in high school, they are able to work in a bar and have their dreams planned out. It’s so NOT how my life was in high school, but I love that they both know what they want – or DON”T want. I loved the characters, especially Luke. My favorite part of rom coms is when the guy also has a POV, and Luke does not disappoint. He is the softest, cinnamon roll of a boy ever and he makes me heart ache. He and Vada are just perfect for each other, because they bond over music and basically create their own language with songs.

There are some plot holes, and a plot line that I felt needed more attention at the end. Basically something kind of major happens and is never addressed again. Would’ve liked to see more closure with that piece.

Overall, the writing is beautiful, the descriptions and plot are pristine, and I loved watching Luke and Vada’s story arcs come together.

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – The Girl The Sea Gave Back

Title: The Girl The Sea Gave Back

Author: Adrienne Young

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Publication date: September 3rd, 2019

327 pages

4/5 stars

Goodread Synopsis

The new gut-wrenching epic from the New York Times bestselling author of Sky in the Deep.

For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.

For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again—a home.

Review

A companion novel to Sky in the Deep, The Girl the Sea Gave Back follows Halvard and Tova. Tova is a Truthtongue living among a hostile clan who believe she is bad luck. They would kill her given the opportunity, but she was found barely alive after her clan put her on a ship and set it on fire to sail out into the sea. The Svell took her in and she owes her life to them. Halvard is working to continue stabilizing the Riki and Aska clans, now combined to form one clan. The Svell are considering invading their land to try and take advantage of their precarious position. After Tova rolls the stones and foretells despair for the Svell tribe, they take it to mean they will be destroyed if they don’t take action. Tova and Halvard’s stories quickly collide and their fates are revealed.

I loved Sky in the Deep. Adrienne Young’s writing is so beautiful and lyrical, so I was fully expecting to love this one as well. I didn’t rate it as highly as SITD but it was still a great read for me. I liked getting to follow up with Halvard about 10 years after SITD ended, and other main characters from SITD were brought back as well – just not as main characters. I miss Eelyn though and her POV so it was hard to have her just in the background. I’m not sure she even had a line in the book, which was a shame.

My main issue with this book was the ending. It was left up to the imagination what happened and no clear explanation was given (not going to go into detail, because spoilers). I have a pretty good assumption as to what happened, but I prefer for it to be spelled out pretty clearly. I also just wasn’t as invested in Tova’s story as I was in the MC’s in SITD.

Overall, I really liked this book and the cover is absolutely GORGEOUS. Also, the first editions have this beautiful embossing on the naked book and it looks amazing. I took my time through this book as it was a gift from my boyfriend for my birthday and I didn’t want to finish it too quickly. This continues to show that I wasn’t as invested in it because I was able to easily put it down.

If you loved Sky in the Deep, check out The Girl the Sea Gave back for more Viking vibes.

Happy reading, bookish friends! 🙂

Book Review – Sky in the Deep

Title: Sky in the Deep

Author: Adrienne Young

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Publication date: April 24th, 2018

340 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

Part Wonder Woman, part Vikings—and all heart.

Review

We find things, just as we lose things. If you’ve lost your honor, you’ll find it again.

Adrienne young, sky in the deep

Okay, friends. I ordered Sky in the Deep from Amazon because it was on a super sale and I’d heard great things about it on Bookstagram. What I didn’t know, was that it was going to jump up to one of my favorite reads of this years! I’ve never thought I would be into Viking style books, but I’ve read several this year and they were all amazing!

Two tribes, the Aska and the Riki have been at war for decades in order to curry favor with their gods. Eelyn is of the Aska tribe, and she recently became of age to participate as a warrior. During a battle with the Riki, she sees her brother, who was thought dead for several years – fighting for the Riki. When trying to find out how this happened, she was captured by the Riki and turned into a slave for them. Sky in the Deep explores love, friendship, and to what lengths those will go to for their family.

I think Sky in the Deep is a great example of how different factions of people are from each other, but more importantly how similar they are. When a common enemy forces the Aska and Riki to join forces, everything that was once concerned fact is thrown into question.

Eelyn goes through a real journey during this book. It was absolutely fascinating to read and see exactly how her worldview changes based on the events she is living through. Adrienne Young did an amazing job with the characters arcs in Sky in the Deep. It’s normally hard to do as much as she did in a standalone novel, because you just don’t have as much time to take your characters on their journey.

I am now a huge Adrienne Young fan, and she is a new auto-buy author. Definitely go check out Sky in the Deep. There is another book in this world (not sequel though) that just came out a few weeks ago, so I’m going to go get that book and read it too!

Happy reading, bookish friends! 🙂