Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart

Grace and Fury

4 Star

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Date of publication: July 31st, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Where you can find Grace and Fury: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

In a world where women have no rights, sisters Serina and Nomi Tessaro face two very different fates: one in the palace, the other in prison.

Serina has been groomed her whole life to become a Grace – someone to stand by the heir to the throne as a shining, subjugated example of the perfect woman. But when her headstrong and rebellious younger sister, Nomi, catches the heir’s eye, it’s Serina who takes the fall for the dangerous secret that Nomi has been hiding.

Now trapped in a life she never wanted, Nomi has only one way to save Serina: surrender to her role as a Grace until she can use her position to release her sister. This is easier said than done. A traitor walks the halls of the palace, and deception lurks in every corner. But Serina is running out of time, imprisoned on an island where she must fight to the death to survive and one wrong move could cost her everything.

My review

Grace and Fury is one of those books that caught me by surprise. I don’t get taken by surprise by books. I can usually see a plot twist coming a mile away. I can usually see when an author is foreshadowing. I can usually see who the bad guy is in the book. I can usually call who is going to die. But not in Grace and Fury. The author did a fantastic job at keeping me in the dark with everything I stated above. And I loved it!!!

Grace and Fury starts off with Serina being chosen to go to Bellaqua to compete with other girls to become a Grace. Serina has worked her entire life to become a Grace. That dream is shattered when Serina’s younger sister, Nomi, is chosen instead. It is further shattered when Serina takes the blame for something that Nomi did. That something has Serina shipped off to a prison island. There she is forced to fight to the death for food. Back on the mainland, Nomi decides to embrace her role as a Grace. She does that with the hopes that she will get Serina off the island and back with her. But Nomi is soon caught up in a dangerous plot. A plot that could end everything that she has worked so hard for.

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I couldn’t believe the injustices that the women in that society endured. They weren’t allowed to go to school. They were dominated by the men in their lives. So, I loved it when Nomi bucked the rules. Learning to read was her way of thumbing her nose a the society that was keeping her down. Even as rebellious as she was, she was loyal to Serina. Using her position as a Grace, she did try to get her sister off that island. I was as surprised as she was when everything went down the way it did.

I didn’t like Serina, at first. She had trained to be a Grace since she was a child and had no clue how the real world was. Being a Grace meant that her family would never go hungry. She also loved her sister. My turning from not liking her to liking her happened when she took the fall for Nomi. She could have taken Nomi down with her. And when she got to the island. Instead of having a breakdown, she did what she had to do to survive.

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There are several twists and turns in the plotline. I wasn’t ready for any of them. I thought that this was going to be one of those typical YA fantasy book that would be heavy on the romance and teen angst but would have no twists. Yeah, I was wrong. This book had more twists than a mountain road.

The fantasy angle of the book was fantastic. Set in an Italian-like country, the author did fantastic world building. The world was 3D, as was the character.

The YA angle I didn’t feel. Yes, Serina and Nomi were in their late teens but it didn’t read like it. If I didn’t know their ages, I would have placed Serina in her mid 20’s and Nomi as the teenager. This book also didn’t have much angst that most YA books. Which was refreshing.

I do want to touch upon the amazing girl power vibe that was going on in this book. It was fantastic and I loved it!!!

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The end of Grace and Fury was insane. Everything happened at once. I was surprised at what happened with Nomi. Very surprised. Surprised to the point that I had to wake up BK and tell him about it. He wasn’t impressed…lol. I will say that the book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. Which means that I need to read book 2 when it comes out.

Onto why I gave Grace and Fury a 4-star rating. I loved how I was taken surprised time and again in the book. I liked Nomi and her rebellious ways. I loved the strong girl power vibe throughout the book. I didn’t like how the women were treated in the book. I didn’t like Serina at first. I also didn’t like the cliffhanger.

What I liked about Grace and Fury (to recap):

A) Being taken surprise by the different elements of the book

B) Nomi

C) Girl Power

What I disliked about Grace and Fury (to recap):

A) How the women were treated in the book

B) Serina, the first half of the book

C) The cliffhanger

I would give Grace and Fury an Older Teen rating. There is no sex. There is kissing (that’s about it). There is violence, sometimes graphic. There is no language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

I would reread Grace and Fury. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for allowing me to read and review Grace and Fury.

All opinions stated in this review of Grace and Fury are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Invictus by Ryan Graudin

Invictus

Title: Invictus

Author: Ryan Graudin

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Date of publication: September 19th, 2017

Genre: Young Adult

Number of pages: 464

POV: 3rd person

Where you can find Invictus: Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Time flies when you’re plundering history.

Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far’s birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he’s ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past. 

But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with the knowledge that will bring Far’s very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.

In this heart-stopping adventure, Ryan Graudin has created a fast-paced world that defies time and space.

Trigger Warning: None

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The Star Thief by Lindsey Becker

The Star Thief

Title: The Star Thief

Author: Lindsey Becker

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Date of publication: April 11th, 2017

Genre: Middle Grade, Children’s Fiction

Number of pages: 408

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Honorine’s life as a maid at the Vidalia mansion is rather dull, dusting treasures from faraway places and daydreaming in front of maps of the world. But everything changes when she catches two brutish sailors ransacking Lord Vidalia’s study, and then follows a mysterious girl with wings out into the night….

Suddenly, Honorine is whisked into the middle of a battle between the crew of a spectacular steamship and a band of mythical constellations. The stars in the sky have come to life to defend themselves against those who want to harness their powers. Much to her surprise, Honorine is the crux of it all, the center of an epic clash between magic and science, the old ways and the new. But can this spirited young girl bring both sides of a larger-than-life fight together before they unleash an evil power even older than the stars?

My review:

When I saw the cover for this book on NetGalley, I thought it was cute. I mean, two kids sitting on the back of Pegasus in star constellation form? Adorable!! When I read the synopsis, I went “Hmm”, would this be a book that my 9 and 11-year-old like?”. So, I requested this book and I was thrilled when I got selected to review it.

What I liked that there was a bit of steampunk in the book. If you have followed this blog, you all know how much of a fan I am of steampunk. So I was thrilled when I saw that there were airships and other steampunk elements in the book. The bees were probably the coolest part of the book. They were all mechanical and acted like real bees. Except they didn’t make honey, they tracked down the Mordant’s and reported where they were to Captain Nautilus.

I loved the use of the constellations in The Star Thief. What a great way to get kids to look to the stars and track the constellations. I even got into it, googling the names of the various characters and seeing what constellations they were attached too. There were a lot that I wasn’t aware of (not that I know a lot about constellations). Like I said, it was truly fascinating.

Honorine was a very spirited girl. She had been raised in the Vidalia (yes, like the onion…lol) household with her best friend, Francis, and worked there as a maid. She loved inventing and dedicated her free time to doing so. She was also very spunky and knew her own mind. So when the Mapmaker showed up to “save” her, she questioned him. And she questioned his motives during the entire book. She was a very smart girl.

I was a little shocked when it was revealed who Honorine’s parents were. Actually, a little shocked wasn’t the word for it. I did feel a disconnect when she actually met her parents. Maybe because they weren’t like “Oh my baby girl, I have searched for you” and smothered her with kisses. Instead, her father wanted to use her for his own agenda and her mother, well, she wasn’t very motherly….lol.

The end of the story was full of action and I liked how everyone had an HEA….including the bad guys.

How many stars will I give The Star Thief: 4

Why: This is a perfect story for any child between the ages of 8-12. The storyline is great and keeps your attention and the characters are likable. The drawings at the beginning of each chapter are beautiful and I can’t wait to see them in paperback (I am pre-ordering for my son).

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Child

Why: some very mild violence and one scene where Honorine is hurt that might upset some younger readers. Other than that, a perfect children’s book.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Defy the Stars (Defy the Stars: Book 1) by Claudia Gray

Defy the Stars

Title: Defy The Stars

Author: Claudia Gray

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Date of Publication: April 4th, 2017

Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult

POV: 3rd Person

Number of pages: 513

Series: Defy the Stars

Defy the Stars – Book 1

Where this book can be found: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Noemi Vidal is a teen soldier from the planet Genesis, once a colony of Earth that’s now at war for its independence. The humans of Genesis have fought Earth’s robotic “mech” armies for decades with no end in sight.

After a surprise attack, Noemi finds herself stranded in space on an abandoned ship where she meets Abel, the most sophisticated mech prototype ever made. One who should be her enemy. But Abel’s programming forces him to obey Noemi as his commander, which means he has to help her save Genesis–even though her plan to win the war will kill him.

Together they embark on a daring voyage through the galaxy. Before long, Noemi begins to realize Abel may be more than a machine, and, for his part, Abel’s devotion to Noemi is no longer just a matter of programming.

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