Showing posts with label YA

Confession time, I didn’t read one YA book last year! Looking back over the titles I read and reviewed in 2022, I saw I’d shared lots of self-help, how-to’s  and gardening books instead. Don’t get me wrong, I adore those genres and will continue to share them, but I also want to add some other genres to the mix, including fun YA titles. Today. I’m reviewing my first YA book of 2023, Sugaring Off, by Gillian French. This is my first book of hers I’ve read as well, but hopefully, I’ll be sharing more of her work this year. 

First Book Review of 2023! 

Sugaring Off by Gillian French

By Tera Kinsman 

Hi, everybody! It’s YA book review time again. This week, I’m reviewing Dark Rising, the second book in Monica McGurk’s Archangel Prophecies series. (To read my review of the first book, Dark Hope, on the blog, click here.) As a thank-you, I received compensation, and two free copies of the book (one to keep and one to give away), but all opinions are my own. Shoutout to Monica McGurk for giving me the opportunity to read and share her work!

The Archangel Prophecies series by Monica McGurk

Book summary from publisher:

Can one person upend a prophecy as old as time?

Hope Carmichael is on the run. The only question is, from whom? The mark on her neck has branded her as part of an ancient prophecy, the Bearer of the Key. But the Fallen Angels have misunderstood and think Hope is their long-awaited way to regain Heaven by force. Now Hope is chasing down the artifact that could open Heaven’s Gates, while seeking to destroy it before the Fallen catch up with her. Will the Triad crime ring track Hope and exact their punishment before she gets the chance? Is the ragtag band of angels surrounding her now there to protect her, or imprison her? And will Michael, the Archangel sworn to defend Heaven at all costs, be forced to deny his love for Hope and take her life, instead, so the artifact won’t fall into enemy hands?

The epic narrative introduced in Dark Hope continues in Dark Rising as Hope crisscrosses some of the most ancient sites in Europe and plumbs the depths of history in search of the truth about the Key, herself, and love. Exploring themes of identity, fate, jealousy, trust, and forgiveness, Dark Rising’s mythological scope and moral urgency deepen as we come to understand the choices and consequences faced by a young woman determined to follow her heart and chart her own destiny.

My Summary and Thoughts:

Sometimes, the second book in a trilogy is sort of…boring? Certain Second Books That Will Remain Nameless have fallen desperately short of the first and sometimes even the third books in their series, leaving me flipping through pages, skimming the words and waiting for an exciting part. 

But Dark Rising didn’t do that. Instead, it built on the plot in Dark Hope, and added more tension and interesting plot twists that I genuinely didn’t see coming. The stakes were dramatically raised for Michael and Hope, as they stumble through Europe, searching for the Key, often with only the slightest clues to help them.  Their circumstances grow darker, but they grow closer. As they learn new, unexpected, and tragic truths about the Prophecy and themselves, Hope decides perhaps she was wrong to distance herself from Michael. But she realizes too late that she may have taken her faith from the one person she could trust, and put it in those she never could.

Mona and Don, her parents, also grow more desperate. New leads about Hope’s disappearance are not appearing often. Though Mona and Don are driven together by their shared love and grief, they are just as often pushed apart by their differing opinions on Hope’s disappearance. Mona still holds on to the logical explanation that Hope was taken by the human traffickers that lurk in high numbers in Atlanta, while Don insists that Hope is part of a higher plan, set apart to fulfill an amazing destiny given to her by God. 

By the end of the book, Hope feels even more alone than she did at the end of Dark Hope. Both her and Mona have experienced terrible loss and sadness. Their world, and the outside world around them, has dissolved into sadness and chaos. But neither have lost hope that the happiness – and perhaps the people – they have lost will return to them.

The book ends on kind of a sad note and cliffhanger, but the sneak peek of the third book, Dark Before Dawn (coming out in 2016), gave me hope (I feel like that’s a pun every time I write it…) for Michael, Hope, and her family.

As with Dark Hope, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of these books will be donated to organizations that help fight human trafficking, especially sexual trafficking of minors. 

Giveaway time! Because free stuff is the best stuff.  Below, you can enter to win a copy of Dark Rising.

Dark Rising by Monica McGurk

Terms: No purchase is necessary to enter using the Rafflecopter form below.  Open to U.S. residents sixteen (16) years old or older. My WAHM Plan is responsible for prize fulfillment. The prize will be one (1) paperback copy of Dark Rising by Monica McGurk. Winners will be notified by email used on entry form and have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.  This giveaway is not associated with nor endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, or any other social channel. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Comments! In the Archangel Prophecies books, Hope Carmichael is in love with an Archangel. So, what non-human would you be willing to date? Alien, angel, vampire, werewolf? Maybe those trolls, amirite, ladies? Or are you a humans-only sort of person? Let me know in the comments below! 

The Elite by Kiera Cass Book Review

in , , , , , , , by Tera Kinsman, Tuesday, July 28, 2015
By Tera Kinsman

Last Tuesday, I reviewed the first book in The Selection series, The Selection, by Kiera Cass. (You can read my review on the blog here.) Now I'm reviewing the sequel, The Elite. Summer might be almost over (*sob*), but the series isn't!

My WAHM Plan: The Elite book #review
Courtesy of Harper Collins 

Book summary from publisher:

"The Selection began with thirty-five girls.

Now with the group narrowed down to the six Elite, the competition to win Prince Maxon's heart is fiercer than ever---and America is still struggling to decide where her heart truly lies. Is it with Maxon, who could make her life a fairy tale? Or with her first love, Aspen?
America is desperate for more time. But the rest of the Elite know exactly what they want---and America's chance to choose is about to slip away.

35 girls. 1 crown. The competition of a lifetime. "

My Summary and Thoughts:

This book, I think, might be a bit better than The Selection.  The first novel had a feeling of hope and possibility.  America is living like a princess in a gorgeous palace, able to help support her family, from the compensation they are given for her participation, and she has the choice of two wonderful guys. 

The Elite has more tension and darkness, which of course meant I tore through it in a day. Life at the palace is no longer fun and games. Rebels attack the palace more and more often, for reasons they don't know, she must take on more responsibility as an Elite, and she begins to see the dark side of being one of the Selected, being a royal, even some darkness in Maxon himself. Maxon, Aspen, and the king of Illéa himself are losing patience with her.  America is running out of time to decide between Maxon and Aspen, to decide if she wants to be a princess or an officer's wife, to decide if she wants either option at all.

I can't wait to read books #3 and #4, The One and The Heir, and of course the highly anticipated fifth book. We don't have a title yet, but a review will (eventually) come when it releases in 2016! 

¡Los comentarios! (That's Spanish for "Comments!" There ya go.) So, the all-important question for Selection fans or soon-to-be fans everywhere: Are you Team Maxon or Team Aspen? (I know, it's like Twilight all over again, but the "team" thing happened, and we just have to roll with it.) 

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The Selection by Kiera Cass Book Review

in , , , , , , , by Linda A Kinsman, Tuesday, July 21, 2015
By Tera Kinsman

Summer is a great time for reading, especially when you can share a good book with someone. During the summer, I always try to catch up on my TBR list. Not that that does any good, since it keeps growing... But anyway. After reading (and loving) The Selection, by Kiera Cass, I wanted to share it with my mom. Maybe you'll put it on your TBR list too. (I know, another one, I'm sorry.)

The Selection book review on
Courtesy of Harper Collins

Book summary from publisher:

"For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. 

The opportunity to be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her, and leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want.

Then America meets Prince Maxon.  Gradually, she begins to realize that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined."

My Summary:

America Singer is a Five, but she is perfectly content.  Her family may be three castes away from the bottom, struggling at times to put food on the table, but she is in love, and happy where she is. Aspen Leger is a caste below her, his family even larger and more desperate than America's. Still, she dreams of the fast-approaching day when Aspen will propose to her, even if it means becoming an impoverished Six. 

Just as he has nearly saved up enough money to marry her, the Selection invitation arrives in the mail. The prince of their country has come of age. He will be soon taking the throne...and a wife. A young woman from each province will be randomly selected to go to the palace and compete to become Prince Maxon's wife and Illéa's princess. America has no interest in the competition, but her mother and Aspen both pressure her to enter, for the benefits it could bring to her family and to her. Out of thousands of girls, America is chosen. Now America must choose between a dazzling and unfamiliar future, or the comfort of a familiar love.

My Thoughts:

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed The Selection.  America is a likeable character. She does have her flaws, but I think her occasional selfishness or rudeness makes her more relatable. I enjoyed several of the supporting characters just as much as America. 

The setting was really interesting, too. Though the story is set in a future North America, it is also set in a kingdom. The story can be a bit dystopian, but instead of the main character being part of a revolution against the totalitarian rulers, the main character becomes a target of the rebels, who fight against a government that actually doesn't see enough of the lives of its citizens. 

Next week, I'll be reviewing the sequel to this fine book, The Elite. 

And, comment time! That cover has one of the most gorgeous dresses I've ever seen. (#promdressgoals) Share in comments: What's your favorite book cover dress?