Posted in backlog reviews, Blogtober, Reviews, Uncategorized

Backlog Reviews: Legacy

 The Keeper of the Lost Cities: Legacy

Legacy

So I’ve been meaning to put this review up but with Unlocked coming out in less than a month (don’t ask me how many copies I’m buying) I figured I’d better put this up so I’d have room to review Unlocked which I’m going to stay up and finish in like a day. 

This is the eighth book in The Keeper of the Lost Cities series. It clocks in at 789 pages so I’m not sure it’s the longest in the series but it’s one of the longest. 

The series focuses on Sophie Foster and her friends. This book specifically has Sophie and her friends reeling after one of their group is taken by the enemy, The Neverseen. In the book Sophie and her friends are finally seen as equals by the Elvin council after years of strife but what does all that responsibility mean, and will Sophie and her friends be able to stop the enemy’s plans and save their friend in the process.

Sophie wants to know who her biological parents are, but the Black Swan, who created her won’t tell her and it’s essential to the match, where elves are given lists of who they can marry, so its essential information if she wants to be with Fitz. But Mr. Forkle doesn’t seem to think so. He sees staying single for centuries as a solution which is why Sophie starts to investigate the issue on her own, with Keefe’s help.

Just when she’s about to start working on it, the Council offers her a unique position in the nobility, she will be a Regent and a leader of a team of her friends, and Stina Heks, her frienemy. They will be responsible for helping the council with some of the same concerns that The Black Swan has about the dwarves and their missing friend Tam’s ability as a Shade being used against them.

But Sophie isn’t the only one with blank spots in her past, Keefe’s mother, Lady Gisela the leader of the Neverseen, erased some of his memories and wants him to face up to something called his ‘legacy’. When their friend Tam warns he’s been ordered to kill Keefe, Sophie must do everything she can to keep Keefe out of the line of fire. But Keefe may be a part of something much bigger than Sophie can even imagine so keeping him out of the line of fire may be impossible.

Sophie is also trying to put together a plan to face the dwarves and figure out how to be the leader of her new team called Team Valiant. All while Keefe is throwing mind-bending ideas about who her biological parents might be and she is trying to be Fitz’s girlfriend.

Keeping everything in balance seems impossible especially when Mr. Forkle throws her new information about the fact that one of her abilities may be malfunctioning and she may have to risk her life to get it to reset, again.

But none of them can stop the showdown that is coming with the enemy, and Keefe’s legacy is coming for him whether he likes it or not, will Sophie be able to keep Keefe, herself, and her friends safe, or will everything fall apart?

This book may be long but it’s also one of my favorites and I can’t wait till book 8.5 Unlocked comes out in November! Less than a month from now but still way too long! 

Image by Jalyn Bryce from Pixabay

Amazon: Legacy

Posted in backlog reviews, Recommendations, Reviews

Keeper of the Lost Cities: Flashback

Though this book has it’s moments that I like I wouldn’t call it one of my favorites in the series, maybe because it spends a lot of time focusing on characters I’m not super duper fond of. I like some of Sophie’s growth in it and some of the side characters.

Flashback

Summary

Sophie and her friends are out of their depth, the Neverseen have injured her and Fitz and they got them good. They used something called shadowflux which even their trusty psychician Elwin had no idea about. Thankfully their Shade friend Tam was able to rescue them by pulling this poison like substance from their bodies.

What clear is they’ve got a long recovery ahead of them as the shadowflux did some damage to their bone, muscles and bodies, even to their minds. Fitz is sedated for until they can figure out how this shadowflux is messing with his heart. Sophie meanwhile has a monster haunting her dreams that may have something to do with the Neverseen’s attack.

So they can be taken care of they are staying at Foxfire Elwin, but Sophie can’t help thinking they were taken out for a reason, Keefe tries to keep her cheerful, and Sophie has to make an unusual new agreement with Sandor in order to get her bodyguard to stay.

But even after the Foxfire slumber party is over things don’t exactly feel right either both Fitz and Sophie still have echos ( shadows of the attack) which bother their mind (in Sophie’s case) and their emotions (in Fitz’s case.)

Not only that Fitz is having to play nice with his formerly murderous older brother, Alvar. Fitz and Sophie try everything they can to get Alvar to regain his memories but it seems like he truly is a blank slate is that even possible?

Then there are the feelings Sophie had a crush on Fitz since forever and it’s always been the wrong time to tell him but…

Finally Silveny, Sophie’s pregnant alicorn friend may be in danger and Sophie may have to enter a risky alliance to stop her from losing the baby for good?

Most risky of all to stop her friends from falling into the Neverseen’s big plans she may have to trust an old enemy to down a new one.

Review

I love the pacing of the book. I love the emotional beats of the time the characters spend in the healing center. I also really enjoy Sophie’s new army of body guards and how this book leads up to the next book, however compared to the next book it isn’t my favorite. I think perhaps it’s because of one of the characters that the book is so focused on. I love the reappearance of an old enemy just because he’s cool.

Amazon: Flashback

Photo by Tommy van Kessel 🤙 on Unsplash

Posted in backlog reviews, Reviews

Keeper of the Lost Cities: Nightfall

This is one of my favorite books in the series. I’m not exactly sure why, Sophie has to go through a lot of trouble in this book, maybe it’s because we find out more about old characters and the the new ones who are introduced are either really cool or cool villains.

Nightfall

Summary

The Neverseen have taken many things from Sophie Foster over the years, but have they finally taken too much, she is struggling and grieving and her friends are scrambling for a solution to these new problems.

But will they be able to find one? The battle is far from over but Sophie realizes they may have missed details right from the beginning, to win she may have to trust people who she thought were her enemies.

All paths lead to Nightfall, a door only seen in Keefe’s memories, with an unknown purpose. Sophie and her friends must strike a risky bargain with someone who has lied to them before to get where they need to go.

But nothing can prepare them for what they find and how it’s going to change the world forever. Sophie and her allies must be forced to make choices they have never faced before in challenges set by unimaginably wicked new villians.

Will Sophie and her friends be up for the challenge? Or will the burden of history and their mistakes be too much for the group?

Review

I love Messenger’s world building on this one. I also love how the plot was made personal for the protagonist as well as the return of some familiar characters who hadn’t gotten much page time in past books. Lot of small events in other books had lead up to bigger events in this one so I think that’s part of why it’s one of my favorite books. Completely biased opinion.

Rating: 5 out of 5.


Amazon: Nightfall

Image by Martin Str from Pixabay

Posted in backlog reviews

Backlog Reviews: Loadstar

Spoilers for Keeper of the Lost Cities Book 5

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Lodestar (Keeper of the Lost Cities Book 5)

Lodestar (Keeper of the Lost Cities Book 5) by [Shannon Messenger]

Summary

After her banishment in the last book, Sophie and her friends are finally free to return to the Lost Cities, but everything isn’t perfect, because not all of them have come back. Keefe left his friends to join the Neverseen, claiming he was the only one who could fix the problems his mom had caused.

Now Sophie and her friends are reeling from betrayal, but when it turns out they may not have lost Keefe after all and may have a voice on the inside. It seems like it could change everything, that is if they can trust him?

But Keefe isn’t her only worry, Sophie and The Black Swan’s Collective have discovered a symbol in Prentice’s memories that may help find the Neverseen, but it will take all the efforts of Sophie and her friends working together to figure out what it means and how it works.

But the Black Swan isn’t the only one with a plan, and when Keefe warns that her family may be threatened Sophie springs into action, but even with the help of her friends it may not be enough. Will Sophie be able to save everything she cares about or will it all come crashing down around her?

Review

Definitely one of my favorites of the series, it kept me guessing up till the end. It also featured a lot of new places and gave page time to characters who I thought deserved attention but didn’t get it. I’ve probably read it at least 6 or 7 times and some of the stuff in here dovetails really nicely with some of the stuff later in the series. Messenger definitely has her plotting down.

Five Favorite Things

  1. Edaline getting more page time
  2. Keefe’s reappearance
  3. Sophie and Prentice talking
  4. Fintan’s appearance
  5. Keefe showing up when he did.

Amazon: Loadstar

Photo by Egor Kamelev from Pexels

Posted in backlog reviews, Reviews

Backlog Review:Aquicorn Cove

I read Aquicorn Cove awhile back, maybe the middle of last year, but somehow I missed reviewing another one of Katie O’Neill’s masterpieces.

Aquicorn Cove

Spoilers for Aquicorn Cove
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A deeply emotional story, Lana and her father return to the town her late mother called home after a hurricane effects it to help Lana’s aunt and the town recover. While Lana is walking the beach, remembering how much she misses the ocean and her mom, she finds a mysterious injured creature.

As Lana soon finds more of the creatures she discovers that they are Aquicorns, small magical seahorse-like creatures that live in the coral reef. With her aunt’s help, who has had experience taking care of the creatures before, Lana starts helping the injured creature back to health. 

But Lana’s curious, how does her aunt know so much about the Aquicorns, and what other mysteries is the town hiding? But when a second storm threatens the town and conflicts that happened years ago come back to haunt both the town and her aunt.

Lana realizes she may have to defy everyone if she wants to settle things peacefully, so her home and the ocean can co-exist side by side. 

Review

This book is a great example of how to talk about environmentalism without being preachy. It’s also a book about taking what you need and not what you want and being in balance with nature, like everything Katie O’Neill does it respects the old ways. It’s another beautiful piece.

Five Favorite Things:

  1. The sea queen lady
  2. The ocean palace
  3. The aquicorns
  4. Lana’s aunt
  5. The memories of Lana’s mother.

Overall I’d give this book a 5 like I give everything from Katie O’Neill.

 

 

Posted in backlog reviews, Reviews

Backlog Review: Amina’s Voice

One of my favorite Hena Khan books, Amina’s Voice is one of those books I re-read at least every couple of months, it’s so positive and sweet.

Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

Pakistani-American Muslim girl Amina isn’t sure about all the changes middle school is bringing. Amina doesn’t like the spotlight, she’s got stage fright from a past experience on stage and despite wanting to sign up for a school concert she can’t get past it.

It doesn’t matter what her best friend Soojin says about her voice is better than most everyone in the school. Soojin is one of the only ones who know she can sing and Amina wants to keep it that way.

Amina and Soojin have a bond over shared experiences they are used to be the only ones with names no one can pronounce and who have different cultural backgrounds from the students around them.

But with Soojin’s family’s citizenship ceremony coming up. Soojin is talking about changing her name to something more ‘American’ and Amina isn’t sure how to feel about that, she likes Soojin as Soojin. Plus if Soojin is changing, does that mean she should be too?

Plus Soojin starts to let a ‘cool girl’ Emily hang out with them at lunch. Emily and her friend Julie had been mean to Amina and Soojin in the past so Amina isn’t sure why Soojin is now willing to look past those old wrongs.

If all that isn’t enough her uncle is coming to visit from Pakistan, the visit is very important to her father so he wants Amina and her brother to be on their best behavior, and he’s staying for three months! But when her uncle arrives it is clear he doesn’t share some of her parents’ beliefs, especially about music. This makes Amina wonder if her love for music is wrong.

When Amina accidentally reveals one of Emily’s secrets it drives a rift between her and Soojin and Emily that Amina doesn’t know how to fix.

When her local mosque is vandalized it puts everything in perspective, but will Amina be able to solve the rifts in her personal life and use her voice to bring together her community?

This OwnVoices novel is by multiple award-winning author Hena Khan author of It’s Ramadan, Curious George, Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns and More to the Story. 

Posted in backlog reviews, Recommendations, Reviews

Backlog Reviews: The Keeper of the Lost Cities: Neverseen

In my continued backlog reviews, I’m focusing on the next book in Shannon Messenger’s The Keeper of The Lost Cities series. The fourth book Neverseen is also one of my favorites.

TW: Mention of torture, and murder.

Spoilers for Neverseen

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After the events of the last book, Sophie and her friends are on the run from the Elvin Council and hide with the mysterious organization that helped create Sophie, The Black Swan. 

Sophie and her friends don’t exactly trust The Black Swan, after all, the organization has refused to reveal who they are, and put Sophie and her friends in danger multiple times. Sophie also isn’t looking forward to working closely with her creators.

The group ends up spending some time in Florence, a human city, also known as a Forbidden City to the elves, trying to solve The Black Swan‘s clue about their hideout. On the way, they find out someone may have been following them in their journey.

But even when The Black Swan reveals their identities, things are still a mystery. However, they offer to share a memory Sophie has been trying to trigger since the second book and the two enter into a rocky alliance. Sophie does meet someone new that she trusts while staying with the Black Swan, a gnome named Calla. Sophie learns that Calla was a part of Project Moonlark, the project that helped create Sophie and Sophie finds herself becoming friends with the kind gnome.

However, the rest of The Black Swan wants the group to focus on lessons and strengthing their skills. Why? They are going to rescue Prentice from Exile, the Elvin prison where he was sent after his mind was broken. Now that Sophie can heal minds healing Prentice might just hold the answers they need to find the rebels. But Prentice isn’t the only thing the group has to worry about. 

When a mysterious plague starts effecting the gnomes, residents of the Lost Cities and helpers to the elves in exchange for protection. Sophie worries that something bigger might be afoot with the orges and that it might have something to do with her reading the orge king’s mind in the last book.

But when the raid on Exile doesn’t go as plan Sophie must make a bargain that puts her and her friends in danger at the elves school for hopeless cases, Exillium. While attending she meets two mysterious elves who may hold clues about the plague, if only Sophie can get them to trust her enough to reveal them.

As the plague worsens Sophie must find the answers to save her new friend and the gnomes that live in the Lost Cities but are she and her group ready for a betrayal that hits close to home for more than one of Sophie’s friends.

Review:

This is one of my favorite books of the series because of a lot of characters I really like getting introduced, including The Black Swan’s collective. The group also gets closer and certain issues between different characters are resolved from previous books. I’d say however it is one of the sadder books of the series though I won’t say why.

Five Favorite Things:

  1. Calla, she’s just a great character and the bond she and Sophie share is really sweet.
  2. We get to see more of the group interacting with each other.
  3. We get to see more of one of the parents of the group.
  4. Two new, favorite characters are introduced.
  5. Sophie learns more about her past.

Overall I really enjoyed the book, it has got some mentions of physical violence, but nothing too over the top so I think it would be fine for a mature middle schooler.

Photo by Magda Ehlers from Pexels

 

 

 

Posted in backlog reviews, Recommendations, Reviews

Backlog Reviews: Keeper of the Lost Cities: Everblaze

Another review focusing on my favorite series, as I try to get through my super-long backlog of reviews. Everblaze is actually one of my favorite books in the series, I think it helps the characters shift and grow in ways they need to for later in the series.

Spoilers for Everblaze below:

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TW: death

Picking up where The Keeper of the Lost Cities: Exile left off, The Keeper of the Lost Cities: Everblaze finds Sophie Foster is facing problems both at home and with her friends. Now that she can do mind healings, healings that bring a person back from a coma-like state which destroys their mind and memories called a break.

This ability is coming under fire from the Council, who are concerned about who it should and should not be used on, especially when it comes to the person who helped protect Sophie’s existence, Prentice. 

Not only that but the rebels may be closing in, when Sophie finds a tracker on her alicorn friend Silveny, it’s clear that the rebels can get anywhere they want and that they are after Silveny. They also keep finding a way to track Sophie, and when she find out that their enemies, the orges may be involved the stakes become higher.

With The Black Swan ignoring her calls for help, Sophie and her friends are on their own to solve the mystery of how the rebels keep finding them. The answers may be more heartbreaking than any of them can handle.

But this isn’t Sophie’s only problem, while the Council won’t approve the mind healing for Prentice, they approve it for Fintan, the elf who helped start the Everblaze fires in the first Keeper of the Lost Cities. Since he kept his memories from Sophie and Alden during his memory break, the Council thinks Sophie will have another shot at secrets that will lead them to the rebels.

But when an accident occurs, one that shakes up the Elvin world and places the blame of Sophie, it leaves her willing to take risks that land her in a world of trouble and nearly start a war.

With the Elvin world trying to recover from the shock of the accident, they must also find a proper punishment for Sophie for nearly starting a war. The Black Swan finally starts communicating, but the answers they provide are going to change everything.

When Sophie’s punishment is an awful ability restricting circlet which her friend Dex made by accident, Sophie must sit on the sidelines as her friends take the risks for The Black Swan. 

But Sophie finds a project while she’s limited by the circlet, trying to find Grady and Edaline’s daughter Jolie’s connection to The Black Swan, something that Prentice showed her when she tried to read his mind in The Keeper of the Lost Cities: Exile. She may discover that the rebels are closer than she ever imagined. And the secret she discovers will shake up not only her family but the world.

Sophie and her friends have made themselves public enemy number one, and the Council will soon be after them. Sophie’s friend Keefe must face a life-changing secret, and everything the group of friends knows about the world will change. But first, they have to survive a showdown with the rebels, who they now know as the Neverseen, and it’s not clear whether or not if everyone will make it out alive.

Review

This is one of my favorite books in the series, mostly because Sophie and her friends get closer. After The Black Swan shuts them out they have to rely on each other, Sophie also gets closer with her guardians, Grady and Edaline. In this book you can start seeing the beginning of the great friendships and family connections you’ll see later in the series.

5 Favorite Things 

  1. The way Sophie’s friends help her out and they start to form a cohesive group.
  2. Biana more of a part of this book as she and Sophie get over some of the drama that happened in the previous two book.
  3. Keefe appears more in this book.
  4. The larger Elvin world is introduced more.
  5. More of Grady and Edaline.

Overall this book is a solid 4.5 and was one of my favorite books from last year.

 

 

 

Posted in backlog reviews, Reviews

Backlog Review: Keeper of The Lost Cities: Exile

I’ll start out by saying that while I love Shannon Messenger’s work this is my least favorite book in the series for a number of reasons.

Sophie is finally settling into her life in the Lost Cities. She’s been adopted by Grady and Edaline Ruewen, guardians she was placed with in the first book. But her kidnappers are still free, leaving her with goblin bodyguard Sandor shadowing her every move.

She’s also experiencing certain problems she doesn’t know how to explain, such as the light being painful to look at and Fitz Vacker, her telepathic friend and the boy who rescued her in the first book, being able to transmit into her supposedly impenetrable mind. But she’s trying to put that out of her mind and focusing on having a normal life.

When she’s out on an adventure with Grady looking for a mythical creature she finds something that the Elvin world has been looking for, for millennia, an alicorn. Sophie finds out that the elves believe if any creature goes extinct the world will lose something precious and for millennia they’ve only had one male alicorn, Greyfell. 

Sophie finds out that the alicorn’s name is Silveny, and realizes she can communicate with her since her unusual telepathy allows her to talk with speak with animals. Because of this unique connection.

Sophie is tasked with preparing this new alicorn for the Sanctuary, a place where the elves keep all the animals they are trying to protect. But there are people who don’t think Sophie is qualified, including certain members of the elves rulers, the Council, so Sophie has extra pressure to succeed in taming wary Silveny.

But Silveny isn’t the only complication in Sophie’s life, the mysterious group, The Black Swan, is back in contact with her. They send her a charm and message that she takes to her mentor Alden Vacker, the note leads Alden to a drastic decision involving Sophie. Sophie isn’t sure she can handle the responsibility, but Alden assures her with his signature phrase “No reason to worry”.

However something goes wrong and Alden’s mind breaks, basically the Elvin equivalent of an irreversible coma that destroys the person’s memories and sanity. Breaks usually happen from guilt and Sophie can’t help but think that communicating with Prentice, while she was helping Alden during their risky task, may have pushed Alden over the edge.

Prentice, was the Keeper who kept Sophie’s existence a secret and who now has a broken mind due to a memory break a method of getting someone’s secrets that also destroys their sanity and that since Alden now realized Prentice is innocent, it put him over the edge guilt wise.

Sophie must deal with the repercussions of being involved in the break, especially when her friends, Alden’s children, Fitz and Biana are unwilling to speak to her because they blame her for what happened.

Fitz even goes so far as to claim some of the symptoms Sophie has been suffering from, might mean she’s malfunctioning, and that she was the reason his father broke because she couldn’t help him properly.

Sophie tries to put this idea out of her mind, but when other events seem to confirm the idea. Sophie is heartbroken, however, when she learns there may be a way to bring Alden back from the break, she tries to find out what is wrong with her and how the secrets of her past may be able to help Alden.

Keefe Sencen, Fitz’s best friend and one of Sophie’s friends get in on her plans to help Alden and the two realize they must trust The Black Swan with Sophie’s life and Alden’s when The Black Swan promise they can fix the symptoms Sophie has been experiencing and give her a way to help Alden.

Review:

It wasn’t that the writing was bad in this book. Everything Shannon Messenger writes is excellent. However, the amount of Sophie bashing that goes on just makes this book very annoying for me. It’s understandable plot-wise, but it’s still annoying. She is pretty much against herself, and nearly everyone else is too. I think that’s one of the reasons two of my favorite things in the book are Keefe, because he’s so helpful to Sophie, and Silveny because she’s just a super positive sparkly horse.

Top 5 Favorite Things:

  1. Keefe, he adds much-needed humor to the book
  2. Grady and Edaline, they have to make a decision to put Sophie ahead of their own fears and it makes them really awesome.
  3. Silveny because she’s a positive sparkly horse.
  4. Prentice, because it’s his first appearance and the way his mind is portrayed is interesting.
  5. The Black Swan themselves because we learn more about them.

Amazon: Keeper of the Lost Cities: Exile

 

Posted in Weekly Wrap-ups

Weekly Review 2/2/20-2/8/20

So I’m writing this on Saturday and it’s already been a pretty productive week. I wrote about 5 posts for this week. I’ve also written about 5 posts for the next couple of weeks, so I’m super ahead which give me more time to socialize with the bookstagram community, write extra posts, etc. So that makes me happy.

I’m happier overall this month so far. I think in part because I changed my medicine and quit my job. I’m working on a case for disability so just focusing on that, and not having to worry about work have been super helpful to my mental health.

I finished two books this week both by Stephaine Burgis: The Girl with the Dragon Heart and The Dragon with the Chocolate Heart. 

Books:

The Girl with the Dragon Heart

The Dragon with the Chocolate Heart

My reviews for The Dragon with the Chocolate Heart and The Girl with the Dragon Heart will be up in the next week or two. I’m also about to start the third book in the series, which aren’t direct sequels of each other but are loosely connected.

The third book is called

The Princess who Flew with Dragons

I’m also working on a few graphic novels including one that is amazing and includes both POC and trans representation. I can’t wait to finish it and review it.

The Deep & Dark Blue

Reviews:

I also have gotten two backlog reviews done. Both for Shannon Messenger’s The Keeper of the Lost Cities series. These should be up in the next two weeks and I’m very happy to be reviewing them and trying to be impartial because it’s my favorite series. Not sure I’m completely succeeding though. 😛

Gaming

Gym leader Raihan poses, getting ready to battle

I’ve nearly gotten to the end of Pokemon Sheild, I beat the Dark Gym, I beat the dragon gym, and I beat both of the semi-final challengers. So now all I think I have to do is beat the champion. I’m really enjoying this game, and I am looking forward to going back and catching and evolving more Pokemon even after I finish the main story.

Health

My psychical health hasn’t been great because changing meds is a pain. Plus my chronic migraines are being extra chronic this week. So I have been tired or in pain lots of days this week. But I seem to be feeling a bit better overall, so hopefully next week will be better.

I’m feeling much better mentally overall than I did in January. I’m also feeling more productive, which isn’t an indicator of value but it makes me feel better about being able to do some things without my mental health shutting me down.

I’ve been kinder to myself this week, and have not let things that would otherwise be a big deal feel like and become disasters. I’m doing better learning to treat mistakes as simply learning experiences and not the end of the world.

I hope your mental health is doing well too!

Etc..

I did my first tarot reading for someone else this week. I’d love to start doing that more, I’m starting for free because I’m learning, so reach out to me if you want a reading.

I’m also happy about getting back into the habit of doing an old hobby of mine, baking. I’m trying to make today or at the beginning of next week.