Bite-Sized Reviews of The Lady Rogue, The Silence Between Us, The Kingdom, and Sorry for Your Loss

August 23, 2019 Reviews 20 ★★★½

I’ve got four reviews for you today: a YA historical fantasy, a YA sci fi, and two YA  contemps. I hope these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction!


Bite-Sized Reviews of The Lady Rogue, The Silence Between Us, The Kingdom, and Sorry for Your LossThe Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett
Published by Simon Pulse on September 3, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Paranormal
Pages: 384
Source: NetGalley
Cover Artist: Billely
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing, Some violence)
My rating:
3.5 Stars

The Last Magician meets A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue in this thrilling tale filled with magic and set in the mysterious Carpathian Mountains where a girl must hunt down Vlad the Impaler’s cursed ring in order to save her father.

Some legends never die…

Traveling with her treasure-hunting father has always been a dream for Theodora. She’s read every book in his library, has an impressive knowledge of the world’s most sought-after relics, and has all the ambition in the world. What she doesn’t have is her father’s permission. That honor goes to her father’s nineteen-year-old protégé—and once-upon-a-time love of Theodora’s life—Huck Gallagher, while Theodora is left to sit alone in her hotel in Istanbul.

Until Huck arrives from an expedition without her father and enlists Theodora’s help in rescuing him. Armed with her father’s travel journal, the reluctant duo learns that her father had been digging up information on a legendary and magical ring that once belonged to Vlad the Impaler—more widely known as Dracula—and that it just might be the key to finding him.

Journeying into Romania, Theodora and Huck embark on a captivating adventure through Gothic villages and dark castles in the misty Carpathian Mountains to recover the notorious ring. But they aren’t the only ones who are searching for it. A secretive and dangerous occult society with a powerful link to Vlad the Impaler himself is hunting for it, too. And they will go to any lengths—including murder—to possess it.

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If you’re a fan of historical fiction with a gothic feel and a paranormal twist, this book will make your heart happy. The story follows Theodora as she travels across 1930’s Romania with her ex (who she has no closure with) in order to save her father from a mysterious group of people who want to get their hands on Vlad the Impaler’s evil magical ring. Theodora is plucky and intelligent—a woman who holds her own in a man’s world. The romantic tension between her and Huck is palpable, which I loved. I did wish the magical elements had been a bit more pronounced throughout the book, but that’s just my personal preference. Things took a definitively supernatural turn at the end of the book, and I was riveted during the climax! This book reminded me a lot of Kari Maniscalco’s series (but with a magical flair), so if you like those, you should definitely pick this one up too!

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***


Bite-Sized Reviews of The Lady Rogue, The Silence Between Us, The Kingdom, and Sorry for Your LossThe Silence Between Us by Alison Gervais
Published by Blink on August 13, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 320
Source: The Publisher
Cover Artist: Nancy Rourke
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing)
My rating:
4.5 Stars

Moving halfway across the country to Colorado right before senior year isn’t Maya’s idea of a good time. Leaving behind Pratt School for the Deaf where she’s been a student for years only to attend a hearing school is even worse. Maya has dreams of breaking into the medical field and is determined to get the grades and a college degree to match, and she’s never considered being Deaf a disability. But her teachers and classmates at Engelmann High don’t seem to share her optimism.

And then there’s Beau Watson, Engelmann’s student body president and overachiever. Maya suspects Beau’s got a hidden agenda when he starts learning ASL to converse with her, but she also can’t deny it’s nice to sign with someone amongst all the lip reading she has to do with her hearing teachers and classmates. Maya has always been told that Deaf/hearing relationships never work, and yet she can’t help but be drawn to Beau as they spend more and more time together.

But as much Maya and Beau genuinely start to feel for one another, there are unmistakable differences in their worlds. When Maya passes up a chance to receive a cochlear implant, Beau doesn’t understand why Maya wouldn’t want to hear again. Maya is hurt Beau would want her to be anything but who she is—she’s always been proud to be Deaf, something Beau won’t ever be able to understand. Maya has to figure out whether bridging that gap between the Deaf and hearing worlds will be worth it, or if staying true to herself matters more.
 

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I fell in love with this book easily, mostly because Deaf culture has always been a topic that’s near and dear to my heart. Growing up with a Deaf uncle, I was always fascinated by the chasms and bridges between Deaf and hearing culture, which is the main focus of this book. (Things have gotten much better since my uncle’s days of growing up—but that’s a whole other topic). I honestly believe that every teen should read this book, just so that they can get a glimpse into a “disability” that they might easily misunderstand. As always with this type of topic, the book can’t encapsulate the myriad of views and perspectives of all Deaf people, but it gives you an in-depth look at the heart and mind of one Deaf person, which can often be more powerful.

Maya struggles when she moves from a Deaf school to a hearing one where she’s the only deaf student—she isn’t sure she even wants to fit in at this new school, and she knows that it’s going to be a rough road ahead of her. The book is honestly pretty light on plot, which usually frustrates me; but in this case I was carried forward by my personal investment in Maya’s character. I also loved Beau, even when he messed up (which most people will often do when they don’t really understand what being Deaf truly means). I appreciated that the book showed imperfect people trying their best to treat Maya with love and respect but sometimes failing because this is often reality in life (isn’t it true for so many things, actually, not just in the case of someone who’s Deaf?). And the friendship between Nina and Maya is fantastic too.

One other aspect of the book that I loved was the way dialogue was handled: Maya lipreads, but often misses things. This was shown by the fact that most of the sentences have ellipses to show these missing words from sentences. Also, the sign language is written in ASL format (or as close to it as possible) instead of just in plain English—I LOVED the authenticity that this gave to the story.

For me, this was an unforgettable read that highlights the humanity that connects us even when differences threaten to tear us apart.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***


Bite-Sized Reviews of The Lady Rogue, The Silence Between Us, The Kingdom, and Sorry for Your LossThe Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg
Published by Henry Holt & Company on May 28, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Pages: 352
Source: NetGalley
Cover Artist: Kevin Tong
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing, though there is implied sexual abuse; Some violence)
My rating:
4 Stars


Welcome to the Kingdom... where 'Happily Ever After' isn't just a promise, but a rule.

Glimmering like a jewel behind its gateway, The Kingdom is an immersive fantasy theme park where guests soar on virtual dragons, castles loom like giants, and bioengineered species--formerly extinct--roam free.

Ana is one of seven Fantasists, beautiful "princesses" engineered to make dreams come true. When she meets park employee Owen, Ana begins to experience emotions beyond her programming including, for the first time... love.

But the fairytale becomes a nightmare when Ana is accused of murdering Owen, igniting the trial of the century. Through courtroom testimony, interviews, and Ana's memories of Owen, emerges a tale of love, lies, and cruelty--and what it truly means to be human.

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This is one of those books that makes you think about the myriad of ways that scientific advancements can go wrong—and the moral implications of the choices we make in the name of technological advancement. We find out right at the beginning that Ana, an engineered human who is designed to perfectly cater to the happiness of amusement park guests, is on trial for murder. The book has court documents and interviews interspersed throughout. So, right from the beginning, a sense of mystery is created that carries you through the entire book. I read eagerly, wondering if Ana actually killed Owen and, if so, why she would possibly do such a thing. The twisted realities of The Kingdom are revealed slowly throughout the book. I loved that Ana started out as relatively innocent, truly believing that her creators have only her best interests at heart, but she gradually realizes that might not truly be the case. I’ll admit that I sort of guessed what happened with the murder (to an extent), but I never had it completely figured out, and there were enough twists and turns that I was constantly doubting myself. To me, this is the best sort of mystery. I did feel like the romance could have been developed a bit more, and there’s part of me that feels like the opening left for another book was a little forced (I think I would have been happy with this as a standalone), but those things were minor next to my enjoyment of the mystery and the moral questions that were raised.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***


Bite-Sized Reviews of The Lady Rogue, The Silence Between Us, The Kingdom, and Sorry for Your LossSorry For Your Loss by Jessie Ann Foley
Published by HarperTeen on June 4, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 336
Source: Edelweiss
Cover Artist: David Curtis
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing, Themes of death and alcoholism)
My rating:
4.5 Stars

Printz Honor winner and William Morris Award finalist Jessie Ann Foley’s latest YA novel is a comitragic coming-of-age story about an awkward teenage guy who, after the loss of his brother, finds healing and a sense of self where he least expected to.

As the youngest of eight, painfully average Pup Flanagan is used to flying under the radar. He’s barely passing his classes. He lets his longtime crush walk all over him. And he’s in no hurry to decide on a college path. The only person who ever made him think he could be more was his older brother Patrick, the family’s golden child. But that was before Patrick died suddenly, leaving Pup with a family who won’t talk about it and acquaintances who just keep saying, “sorry for your loss.”

But when Pup excels at a photography assignment he thought he’d bomb, things start to come into focus. His dream girl shows her true colors. An unexpected friend exposes Pup to a whole new world, right under his nose. And the photograph that was supposed to show Pup a way out of his grief ultimately reveals someone else who is still stuck in their own. Someone with a secret regret Pup never could have imagined.

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Sorry for Your Loss is a beautiful examination of the way grief affects and defines us. Pup’s brother died suddenly three years ago, and it has impacted his family in more ways than he can count: his mother has withdrawn, his brother has turned to alcohol, and he himself struggles to focus on school and life when there’s a constant sense of fear and tension in the air. Basically, the whole family has turned into a shell of what they once were. Pup realizes this, but he doesn’t see any way to escape this reality—after all, his family has always been less than communicative, and the topic of Patrick isn’t even brought up. Pup attends a therapy group at school that’s helped him, but it hasn’t enabled him to bridge the divide that seems to have opened up between him and most of his family members. As a last-ditch effort not to fail art, Pup turns to a photography project—and finds a talent and a passion he never expected.

I loved how Pup’s artistic talent is a complete surprise to him. He’s able to capture the essence of his family through his camera lens in a way that he’s never been able to see them before. The book finds Pup and his family coming to terms with their grief and dealing with it head-on instead of hiding from it. Themes of friendship and romantic love are also explored—I loved the romance, but I actually don’t want to say much about it because I almost feel like it would be a spoiler. I’ll just say that I felt all of Pup’s relationships (with both friends and family) were developed beautifully and realistically, even those that had conflict. I definitely recommend this book!

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***


That’s it for now! Have you read any of these? What did you think?

20 Responses to “Bite-Sized Reviews of The Lady Rogue, The Silence Between Us, The Kingdom, and Sorry for Your Loss”

  1. Sam@wlabb

    I was sweating it out waiting to read your review for Sorry For Your Loss, because I loved that book. Glad it was good for you, and I am right there with you on the romance – it was wonderful!

    I am so happy you mentioned the way Gervais did the dialog in The Silence Between Us. I saw other reviews complaining about her not translating the ASL and the lipreading parts, but I thought it was brilliant that she chose to go that route. It really opened that window into Deaf culture a little wider for me.

    Sam@wlabb recently posted: Discussion: Before I Was a Blogger
    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      Yes, thank you for bringing Sorry for Your Loss to my attention! I’m really glad I read it!

      And I guess I can see how the ASL dialogue could possibly be a bit off-putting for some people, but I think it’s probably a breath of fresh air for anyone even vaguely familiar with ASL. To me, that was a major part of the “worldbuilding.”

  2. Nicole @ BookWyrmKnits

    Great reviews! I hadn’t heard of The Silence Between Us before, but it sounds like a really important story. I took one year of ASL in college (all that was offered) and my teacher was Deaf. She taught us what she could of Deaf culture, but there’s only so much you can learn in a college class.

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      Any exposure to Deaf culture is better than none. I took a couple of years of ASL as well and learned a bit about the culture. And of course I got some from my uncle (and his girlfriend, who I adored!)—unfortunately, they lived across the country so I only got to see them once a year. Still, I think every bit of awareness that’s spread is a step forward.

  3. Olivia Roach

    These are brilliant reviews! I can’t wait to read The Lady Rogue because I am so curious to see that author try a different genre. I am looking forward to a supernatural twist and it sounds like it handles the gothic historical elements well! I love reading about deaf culture a lot, especially as it is underrepresented. I am very much looking forward to The Silence Between Us and have it on my list. Sorry for Your Loss sounds like it really digs deep into those emotions and it sounds like the perfect one for me…

    Olivia Roach recently posted: July Wrap Up! [2019]
  4. Jenna @ Falling Letters

    Lots of good books here! I hadn’t heard of The Silence Between Us – sounds like a valuable read. The Kingdom inevitably makes me think of Westworld. I’m not usually interested in AI ‘coming to life’ but just reading your reviews makes me wonder about how the murder plays out, haha.

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