*Book Review* Pax Novis by Erica Cameron

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Title: Pax Novis (The Pax Archives #1)

Author: Erica Cameron

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Release Date: November 4, 2019

Page Count: 400 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Summary:

Cira Antares is deeply loyal to two things: Pax Novis—the cargo ship captained by her mother that transports supplies across war-torn star systems—and her personal mission to save war orphans. But hiding them as stowaways on the ship is illegal, and if any of them were found, not even her mother could protect Cira from the consequences.

She has successfully kept her secret…until supplies start to go missing. Food. Clothing. Tools. All signs point to her stowaways, but they wouldn’t do anything to risk exposing themselves—or her. Especially not Riston, the oldest of the group and someone Cira has grown close to. Someone she might even be falling in love with…

And petty thefts are only the beginning—whole ships are disappearing now.

Not caught in a firefight. Not destroyed by another planet. Vanishing. Without a trace.

And Pax Novis is next.

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Purchase Links

AMAZON  |  BARNES & NOBLE

INDIE BOUND

Please note: A Court of Coffee and Books receives a small commission for any purchases made through the links above. All commission earned goes toward supporting and maintaining this blog.

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My Review

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for a digital review copy in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Pax Novis is a fun and thrilling space adventure set far into the future. Earth isn’t the only planet that contains lifeforms, so it was really cool to see how Cameron designs the future. I loved the overall setting and the character representation in Pax Novis, as well as the main plot behind the story.

Erica Cameron provides just enough information to make the reader aware of the world surrounding the ship, Pax Novis, which is where most of the book takes place. There were some instances where I felt there was information overload, but as the story progressed, I understood why so much was revealed at once; it was necessary to know that information for the future of the story. And I loved how everything pieced together by the end of the story!

Even though I did enjoy this science fiction story, I was a little thrown off by the slow plot. I felt that it took awhile for any action to really take place and set the story in motion. It did pick up for the last 100 pages or so, but I was hoping for more of an action-packed science fiction adventure. Those aspects are present, just not throughout the whole book, mainly the adventure part. But the mystery part was fun; I’m all for a good mystery and I loved how this one came together in stellar fashion.

It did take a few chapters before I got used to the writing and identification. One character does not identify as he/she but rather as the ‘Z’ pronouns, which I haven’t read a book yet that did that, so it was really nice to see that take shape. Even though it took a few chapters for me to get acquainted with the use of those pronouns, I thought it added a nice representation to the storyline and character. When it comes to the main two characters, I found them to be well-written and beautifully flawed, yet strong and brave. That’s what I love in characters: that characters are meant to come across as strong, but also highlight their flaws. That’s what makes them human, and Cameron does a wonderful job portraying those traits.

Overall, I enjoyed this thrilling science fiction adventure and I found it to be an entertaining and light read for the YA genre.

My rating: 3.0 stars out of 5 stars

nikole

*ARC Review* Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon

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Title: Gravemaidens

Author: Kelly Coon

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: October 29, 2019

Page Count: 416 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Summary:

The start of a fierce fantasy duology about three maidens who are chosen for their land’s greatest honor…and one girl determined to save her sister from the grave.

In the walled city-state of Alu, Kammani wants nothing more than to become the accomplished healer her father used to be before her family was cast out of their privileged life in shame.

When Alu’s ruler falls deathly ill, Kammani’s beautiful little sister, Nanaea, is chosen as one of three sacred maidens to join him in the afterlife. It’s an honor. A tradition. And Nanaea believes it is her chance to live an even grander life than the one that was stolen from her.

But Kammani sees the selection for what it really is—a death sentence.

Desperate to save her sister, Kammani schemes her way into the palace to heal the ruler. There she discovers more danger lurking in the sand-stone corridors than she could have ever imagined and that her own life—and heart—are at stake. But Kammani will stop at nothing to dig up the palace’s buried secrets even if it means sacrificing everything…including herself.

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Purchase Links

AMAZON  |  BARNES & NOBLE

INDIE BOUND

Please note: A Court of Coffee and Books receives a small commission for any purchases made through the links above. All commission earned goes toward supporting and maintaining this blog.

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My Review

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the advanced e-copy in exchange for an honest review.

When I first picked up Gravemaidens, I was beyond excited to start a book with a fierce main character and an intricate plot. Unfortunately, this book didn’t live up to my expectations; the book offered enthralling world building and a complex and distinctive plot, but unmemorable characters.

Kammani knows being a Sacred Maiden is a curse and a death wish. She knows it means dying in this world to become a queen in the next, and to her that’s terrifying. She doesn’t see it as an honor like everyone else. And when Nanaea, her sister, is picked as one of the three Sacred Maidens, Kammani can feel her entire world crashing around her. Her sister, who is beyond overjoyed, doesn’t quite understand why Kammani sees it as just death. And Kammani doesn’t understand why Nanaea would want to die. So Kammani does everything she possibly can to save the Alu’s ruler from dying and save her sister from the Boatman.

I really did like Kammani as the main character; she’s easy to understand and easy to relate to; no one wants to see a family member die, especially their younger sister. Kammani was a strong and brave character who knew she was getting herself into trouble but did it anyway, in hopes of saving her sister. She didn’t have much time to be a child, so her childhood was spent with her growing up and making sure her family survived. And even with saying all that, I didn’t find much character growth with Kammani, which is why her story line isn’t so memorable to me. Don’t get me wrong, she’s an interesting character, I just didn’t feel that connection I look for with the main character.

I would have liked to see more characterization of Dagan, the main love interest. He’s already madly in love with Kammani and basically throughout the first half of the book, he spends his time trying to win her over. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing, considering he wants to marry her. But Kammani isn’t ready to get married (which is completely fine), but she doesn’t seem to fully tell Dagan her reasonings, at least not yet. I did think, however, that Dagan improved as a character about half-way through the book. I liked his relationship with Kammani and I thought there was definitely something there, I just wish there was more development with their relationship and maybe there will be in the sequel.

In all honesty, what really put this book on my radar was the story line of the Sacred Maidens and the Boatman. It’s unique and intriguing. I was a little disappointed that there was not much on the Boatman in the book, but I understand why, since he comes to collect the souls of those that are dead. Either way, I thought it was a great idea. As Nanaea is a Sacred Maiden, the reader gets to see what really goes on behind the scenes with being a Sacred Maiden and why it is so important to their kingdom and their tradition to have these girls join the ruler in the afterlife. It’s an interesting concept, one that I enjoyed reading about.

Even though I was not loving all the characters, I was obsessed with the world building and the writing. Coon describes a harsh world but in beautiful and rich prose, and it’s downright captivating. The descriptions captured my attention and created an intricate picture of each scene in my head. Coon did an amazing job describing the hardships, the violence, and the good and bad within this world. The world itself is just as enchanting as the cover of this book (which is gorgeous!). If anything, the world was by far my favorite part of this book, and also the Sacred Maidens concept.

But overall, Gravemaidens is a beautiful tale, with a unique plot and harsh yet captivating world. Even thought I was not a big fan of this book, I do still plan to read the sequel, as I liked the ending and I’m curious as to how everything is going to wrap up.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

nikole

*Review* The Chain- Adrian McKinty

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You just dropped off your child at the bus stop. A panicked stranger calls your phone. Your child has been kidnapped, and the stranger explains that their child has also been kidnapped, by a completely different stranger. The only way to get your child back is to kidnap another child within 24 hours. Your child will be released only when the next victim’s parents kidnap yet another child, and most importantly, the stranger explains, if you don’t kidnap a child, or if the next parents don’t kidnap a child, your child will be murdered. You are now part of The Chain.

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“The Egyptians lived in a god-and-demon-infested world. There are demons here too, but they are human beings.”

This is every parent’s worst nightmare. You think your child is safe and then you get that dreaded call that your child has been kidnapped. That made this book intense, terrifying, and I just couldn’t stop reading it. It was really addicting even though it was seriously f***ed up.

You think your life is going good. You have a daughter you love unconditionally, you’ve had some great news about your health, and you just got a job that will change your life. And then you get a call that makes your life crash to the ground. Your daughter has been kidnapped and if you don’t follow every direction perfectly, you’ll break the chain and your daughter will die.

The panicked stranger tells you the rules. You have a short period of time to transfer a lot of money in bitcoins to an account on the dark web and then you have to complete the horrifying second part. You must kidnap another kid and relay those same terms to them. You have to pick someone that won’t go to the cops and break that chain. Any little slip will cause a chain reaction in children being murdered.

Now you must become a part of the chain to get your family back. Would you be strong enough to keep the chain intact? Or will you break that chain and cause chaos to your family and lots of others?

This book was completely insane. I didn’t know much about it until a friend mentioned it to me and I was instantly sold. It was morbid and made your skin crawl but there was something about it that I became obsessed with. The mystery was strong and it takes a bit to figure it out but once you do it is shocking.

The Chain is not for the faint of heart. This will be that book that haunts your dreams and makes you hug your children a little closer. It was unique and you won’t be able to put it down. It’s definitely an amazing read in dark sort of way but a must-read.

stacy

The Netgalley Tag

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So I was tagged by Devouring Books to answer these questions about Netgalley and since I am an avid user of Netgalley and it’s one of my favorite topics I figured I would do it right away. This Tag was originally created by Kourtni at Kourtni Reads.

The Rules:

  • Link back to the tag’s creator, Kourtni at Kourtni Reads.
  • Thank and link back to the person who tagged you
  • Answer the questions the best you can. If you don’t use NetGalley, you can substitute other sites or places where you get books!
  • Tag a few people to do this tag too.

NetGalley Questions

AUTO-APPROVED: Who’s one author whose books you automatically want to read, regardless of what they are about?

There’s more than one author for me that’s an automatic read: Sarah J. Maas, Sara Raasch, Sara Holland, Stephanie Garber, C. S. Johnson, Caryn Lix, Astrid Scholte, Meg Kassel, Holly Black, Adrienne Young, Cassandra Clare, and Heather Fawcett. I know there’s a ton more authors on my list, but my brain is hitting a wall.

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REQUEST: What makes you want to request a book on NetGalley?

Usually the first thing I look for is if I recognize the cover, especially if it’s one of a book I really want to read. But even if not, the cover, description, and author are reasons as to why I would request books.

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BADGES: If you could create one badge to display on your blog, what would it be for?

I definitely do wish there were a ton more badges NetGalley had to offer. One I would love to see is the creativity and uniqueness of my reviews. We all review differently, so I think it would be cool to see how creative all our reviews are. Either way, I definitely think there should be a badge that focuses on reviews.

wishWISH FOR IT: What’s one book that you are absolutely dying to read?

The current book I really want to read is Wicked Saints by Emily A. DuncanThis book sounds absolutely amazing and I would love to have the chance to review this beauty. Plus, the cover was just revealed and oh my! It’s a gorgeous one!

challenge2018 NETGALLEY CHALLENGE: What was the last ARC that you reviewed?

The last ARC I reviewed that I received from NetGalley was Star-Crossed by Pintip Dunn.

Let’s Talk NetGalley!

I love using NetGalley, so I’m curious: do you use Netgalley? If so, what’s one title you are hoping to get approved for? If you don’t use NetGalley for your blog, I highly recommend!

For this NetGalley Tag, I tag…

  1. Paper Eyed Girl
  2. A Bella Fairy Tale
  3. So Many Books, So Little Time
  4. The Scarlet Reader

The Heartbreak Cure by Amanda Ashby

The Heartbreak CureAn excitedly fast and romantic read with a swoon worthy bad boy. 


Goodreads Summary:

How to get over a heartbreak:

Step one: Eat your body weight in brownies.

Step two: Throw yourself into your dreams of becoming a famous writer.

Step three: Beg your (hottie) ex-neighbor to act as your fake boyfriend.

Step four: Skip step three unless you’re ready for some serious fallout.

After being dumped and humiliated over the summer, Cat Turner does what any sane girl would do. She asks bad boy Alex Locke to be her fake boyfriend and show the world (and her editor at the school newspaper) that she’s fine. Problem is, the more time she spends with Alex, the more she risks getting her heart broken. For real this time.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains a bad boy who will melt your heart, brownies, and witty banter. One, two, or all three might prove addictive…


Thank you to Entangled Teen and NetGalley for providing me with an early copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book was cute and most definitely swoon worthy! I finished this book in one day, and for me, that’s a huge feat, as I am not that fast of a reader. But The Heartbreak Cure was a fast and wonderful read. And the plot and characters were beautifully written. I enjoyed this book so much that when I had to put it down for work or school, I felt like I was dealing with separation anxiety. I had to know what happened next so when I was not reading this book, I was thinking about the characters and what was going to happen next. I am not a huge contemporary reader, so the fact that The Heartbreak Cure stayed on my mind days later after reading the book, demonstrates just how good this book is.

What I enjoyed about The Heartbreak Cure:

  • The swoon worthy romance: The romance between Cat and Alex is full of tension and swooning moments. Alex already likes Cat in a more-than-a-friend way, so knowing that from the beginning definitely adds to the romance throughout the book. I also liked how Cat liked Alex for who he is and did not try to change him; that is romance right there, and it was beautifully written.
  • The relationships between family and friends: I really enjoyed reading about Cat’s relationships with her mom and best friend. These relationships added a balance to the story, so the book was not all romance, but rather a mix of romance with healthy relationships between family and friends.
  • Cat and Alex: There is no doubt that I loved the two main characters. They both have passion for different things, but those passions helped shape each character, and it very much worked for this story. Also, Cat was dealing with her present issues while Alex was dealing with the demons from his past. Both of their issues helped bring them together.

Overall, Amanda Ashby wrote a wonderful book, and if you are looking for a new romantic read with a swoony bad boy, a relatable main character, and enjoyable banter, then The Heartbreak Cure is for you! The Heartbreak Cure by Amanda Ashby releases this week!

Thanks to reading The Heartbreak Cure, I will definitely be reading Amanda Ashby’s other books. The characters from The Heartbreak Cure are still in my mind days later, so this is a book you will remember!

Rate: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

♥ Nikole